Hector Avalos: How Archaeology Killed Biblical History



Part two is below:

30 comments:

John Murphy said...

Hector needs to take off the blinders. Archaeology has affirmed biblical history again and again.

Evan said...

Wow John Murphy. You seem to be capable of asserting more than one thing without providing evidence.

So here are my questions to you about what archaeology has proven about the Bible:

1. Has archaeology proven there was a garden of Eden?

2. Has archaeology proven that the Exodus took place?

3. Has archaeology proven that the kingdom of David existed?

You would have to admit that if those things never existed, it would make the Bible a typical ancient near eastern myth right?

So have at it. Show us where archaeology proves the above 3 things.

JUSTIN said...

(I interrupt this argument to ask:)

John, what happened to the post on the PT article about atheists in pulpits?

(Now, back to your regularly scheduled argument...)

John W. Loftus said...

Justin, I'm going to post it later.

GordonBlood said...

While I feel Avalos intentionally ignores many of the arguments that support certain facets of history recorded in the Old Testament, for the sake of brevity and final-exam studying time I would note something far more nuanced. In terms of actual area truly searched, only a small percentage of potential digsites have been examined. When one adds to that the fact that many important sites for discussion about either David or Solomon were completely destroyed repeatedly throughout history, one should not be shocked that we only find at best traces and echos of the ancient world. While almost everyone (including myself) rejects a 2,000,000 person Exodus (for good reason) there are many scholars who would strongly argue for some sort of movement from Egypt (the numbering of persons, if I understand it correctly, gets complicated due to the meaning of a word that can be translated in a whole host of various ways including thousand, family, and something akin to group. Either way, my point is simply to say that we are not justified in either saying the bible is wrong about everything (certainly it is unwarranted to say archaeology "killed" biblical history) and it is equally unwarranted to say that the archaeology has proven everything in the bible (again, we have not nearly enough evidence to make such assertions.

Thranil said...

"Hector needs to take off the blinders. Archaeology has affirmed biblical history again and again."

Troll.

Scott said...

In addition to Evan's excellent questions, I'd add...

04. Has archaeology proven all animals, including current day carnivores, were originally herbivores?

05. Has archaeology proven a world-wide flood occurred?

06. Has archaeology proven that we all spoke one language up to the time God supposedly confused everyone at Babylon?

John W. Loftus said...

Thranil, you sound just like a Mormon when it comes to the lack of archaeological evidence for their beliefs, too.

Shygetz said...

john murphy said: Hector needs to take off the blinders. Archaeology has affirmed biblical history again and again.

"Indeed, archaeology has affirmed biblical history so many times that I cannot be bothered to name a single example, QED, ipso ergo sum."

Did that sound sufficiently like John Murphy, or do I need more practice?

Thranil said...

"Thranil, you sound just like a Mormon when it comes to the lack of archaeological evidence for their beliefs, too."

I'm sorry, John, but I think you have mistaken my meaning. I was quoting the Troll known as 'john murphy' and referring to him as such.

Thranil said...

shygetz: "Did that sound sufficiently like John Murphy, or do I need more practice?"

Close, but I think you need to be doing more of the "Lalalalalala I can't hear you lalalalalala!" before you'll make the imitation really clear.

goprairie said...

john loftus, you are the king here - do YOU think there was a historical Jesus and what that we 'know' of him from the bible do YOU think from your studies is true? (Would I know this if I had the book that I can't have cuz it isn't out yet?)
Others who are 'experts' and have studied this stuff? I'd like some opinions on what you have read and seen and digested so far. What do you think there is evidence for and such a profound lack of that you are pretty certain it ws totally made up?

goprairie said...

and much is made of how you cannot prove for sure something didn't happen or wasn't, but you can way with pretty good liklihood that it wasn't there if there is no mention of it. In all those records and letters from kings to each other, if there is no mention of Solomon or David, they probably did not exist. they mention each other from what I understand and so 'gossip' about each other. It would be like looking at old newspapers from a town and people's letters to and from each other and trying to say that a famous person visited town and gave a speech, and yet, if there was not mention of it by anyone, it probably did not happen. so you can say that it just hasn't bee found yet in all those digs, but the point is there is not reason, from other references, to think it might ever be found.

John W. Loftus said...

gopraire, thanks for the compliment, but there are others here who may have a more informed opinion on this than I. Along with Bart Ehrman yes I think there was a historical Jesus, an apocalyptic doomsday prophet who predicted there was about to be a reversal of fortunes where the poor reign with the "Son of Man" when he comes. It just fits. Although, I admit I could be wrong and I'm listening to others who have studied this topic out more than me. I think such a discussion is only for skeptics anyway. It's an alternative hypothesis to the Christian one which Christians will only take seriously if they doubt their own view. Therefore, even if I didn't think Jesus existed as a historical person I wouldn't argue for it when speaking to Christians. It's a tactical error. It only proves to Christians that we are not truly skeptical, for to them it appears as if we'll believe anything in order to escape the claims of Christ.

goprairie said...

john, there are so many people out there sitting on the fence belief-wise who think there really was a Jesus who rose from the dead and they are afraid to say it might have been faked and they think there is archaeological evidence for the triple crusifixion and that there was some sort of earthquake/eclipse at the time and that all the 12 diciples were real documented historical men - sure a true die-hard christian may not be convinced, and that may be your goal, to debunk them, but i see supporting people who are on the verge of deconverting and just unsure and lack the courage to take a stand as an important mission - and if telling those people that the person was made up and the cross was made up and the raising from the dead was made up, you take away their fear and free them to give it up. so I think it is important to know the truth to help people like that who want out but are afraid it might be true.

Shygetz said...

I agree with John that Jesus was probably a historical figure an apocalyptic itinerant charismatic rabbi whose cult of personality grew into the early Christianities.

As far as Solomon, as far as I know there is no incontrovertable testimony or artifacts from Solomon's reign outside of the Bible. I remain neutral as to the existence of a historical Solomon, although the archaeological evidence indicates that Israel was nowhere near as magnificent as indicated in the Bible during the time that would be Solomon's reign. Similarly with David, although there is some evidence that there was an actual ancient "House of David".

I am inclined to believe that many of the figures in the Bible are based on real people with names or nicknames similar to those given in the text, but the connection is analogous to that of historical King Arthur to Morte D'Arthur; that is, real historical leaders are mythologized through the oral tradition, which makes the historical roots of the person almost wholly unapproachable from the mythological text itself.

Lee Randolph said...

I would like to point out that in the field of archeology, the motivation to unearth evidence supporting the bible is about as strong as it gets and has endured for close to two hundred years. I am not saying that biblical archeology has 'petered out' but I am saying that any lack of evidence for this or that is not due to a lack of trying or funding.

Ironically it is the demonstration of how to tackle an argument from ignorance. You take one premise at a time, investigate them and iterate through them till all thats left is a wish.

Heck you don't even need to be an expert on archeology to see that the bible doesn't accurately represent history, you just have take college history courses on ancient history, cultures and religions/mythology in that area.

There is so much NON-ATHEISITIC material that contradicts the bible that any open minded person should be a liberal christian or non-christian.

Lee Randolph said...

After reflecting on it, I realized that in the statement above, I presumed that a christian would know their bible well enough to spot something in a history course that doesn't match.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Evan~ you strike again. You said this: "So here are my questions to you about what archaeology has proven about the Bible:

1. Has archaeology proven there was a garden of Eden?
2. Has archaeology proven that the Exodus took place?
3. Has archaeology proven that the kingdom of David existed?

You would have to admit that if those things never existed, it would make the Bible a typical ancient near eastern myth right? So have at it. Show us where archaeology proves the above 3 things."

How you go from point A to point Gamma Zulu Z is BEYOND me.

Do you even know the name of your 15th generation prior grandparents? Can you prove he and she existed? Is there archaeology that can be dug up...In fact I'll tell you this, as a BLACK man I' can't tell you my 10th prior grand-ancestor on my mother's side. Many of my oldest relatives WERE NOT given birth certificates and unlike Alex Haley's family, my families records can't be reproduced.

AM I A MYTH EVAN? Do I not have hands, feet and extension in space and in the material realm?(LOL)

Get outta here! Proof of existence IS NOT solely based on being able to find archaeology. There are multiple considerations BESIDES archaeology in determining factual historical events, people, and places.

Your words are just one more EVIDENCE of an EXTREME, Irrational, atheist amped up by taking possibility to probability and probability to certainty AGAINST all sanity and reason.

For the record, Eden is lost because MAN was banished from it. If we found it that would mean that God lied...HE DIDN'T.

Egypt WON'T ALLOW excavation of many places some of which are believed to contain a clear record of the Jews and the Exodus (Although, one should not overlook Ipuwer's [An Egyptian Priest]record of what many consider to be the plagues of Egypt DESCRIBED IN DETAIL, and the monolith of el-Arish which virtually gives the exodus account including the death of pharoah's son and the drowing of the army in what he described as a "whirlpool" of water.

So far as David is concerned I guess you never heard of the Tel-Dan Inscription ~ "a remarkable inscription from the ninth century B.C.E. (before the common era, or B.C.) that refers both to the ‘House of David’ and to the ‘King of Israel’" ("’David’ Found at Dan," Biblical Archaeology Review, March-April 1994, p. 26)." David was no MYTH.

Gordonblood ~ you said,: " Either way, my point is simply to say that we are not justified in either saying the bible is wrong about everything (certainly it is unwarranted to say archaeology "killed" biblical history) and it is equally unwarranted to say that the archaeology has proven everything in the bible (again, we have not nearly enough evidence to make such assertions."

THANK YOU SIR. One of the MOST reasoned AND FAIR statements I've read on this site. As a Christian I appreciate that insight because that's exactly THE TRUTH.

Much of history CANNOT be excavated. I don't believe that there will ever be a complete excavation to prove every biblical claim, but archaeology has continued to affirm many Biblical passages so This NUT Avalos is another "Simon Magus" trying to pull a fast one to say the least.

To the atheist~ Look up the discoveries of TRUE archaeologists and historians such as Sir William Ramsay, (one of the greatest archaeologists of modern history)who also was an avid skeptic of Biblical history until archaeological and historical evidence proved him wrong. He ADMITTED his findings were contrary to his beliefs and gladly adjusted his beliefs to conform to the evidence.

Thanks.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Harvey,
sharpen up your wits because I'm starting my articles on folklore/mythology and discontinuities between the bible and history this month.

Blair said...

There are over 25,000 archaeological finds that support the Bibles people, places, events, and titles.

-Case closed!

Lee Randolph said...

fine blair,
there are probably just as many to support the iliad, the odyssey, the enuma elish, the vedas, the legend of king arthur, the davinci code, and any number of historic novels you want to list.

There is a thing called Negative Evidence

The negative evidence concept is, in my mind, applicable in determining the likelihood of the reality of the events in the bible.

The lack of force of presumption for the supernatural versus the strength of the force for the presumption for lack of supernatural is key in my mind of verifying historicity of Key events, in the bible. Sure donkeys existed, but it does not follow they could talk just because a revered document says they can.

We need to borrow one of our principles from our daily life and apply it to the scriptures. We need to do a reality check. Is it consistent with my experience? If yes, alrighty then, if not, why not?

Evan said...

Harvey,

Good to see you back posting. I missed you.

So let's go over the case shall we?

First I asked for archaeological evidence for the Garden of Eden, and you agreed there was none.

The fact that you had ancestors 15 generations ago (which is indisputable) is not at all like the fact that there may have been a garden built by God that housed Adam and Eve. One conclusion is a necessary one that follows from existing, provable facts. The other conclusion is that a fairy tale must be true because ... well because you say it must be.

Would you say that because you had ancestors there must be unicorns, or leprechauns? Can you see how the garden of Eden is more like a unicorn than it is like your ancestors?

Count one for me.

Then I asked if the Exodus took place. You retort that the papyrus of Ipuwer shows a historical account of the plagues from the side of the Egyptians, except of course it doesn't.

The Nile routinely becomes red with mud from the upper part of the river, so it's not at all surprising there would be several accounts of it flowing with blood.

Beyond that here's what Ipuwer says:

2:5-6 Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere.

2:10 The river is blood.

2:10 Men shrink from tasting - human beings, and thirst after water

3:10-13 That is our water! That is our happiness! What shall we do in respect thereof? All is ruin.

2:10 Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire.

10:3-6 Lower Egypt weeps... The entire palace is without its revenues. To it belong [by right] wheat and barley, geese and fish

6:3 Forsooth, grain has perished on every side.

5:12 Forsooth, that has perished which was yesterday seen. The land is left over to its weariness like the cutting of flax.

5:5 All animals, their hearts weep. Cattle moan...

9:2-3 Behold, cattle are left to stray, and there is none to gather them together.

9:11 The land is without light

4:3 (5:6) Forsooth, the children of princes are dashed against the walls.

6:12 Forsooth, the children of princes are cast out in the streets.

6:3 The prison is ruined.

2:13 He who places his brother in the ground is everywhere.

3:14 It is groaning throughout the land, mingled with lamentations

7:1 Behold, the fire has mounted up on high. Its burning goes forth against the enemies of the land.

3:2 Gold and lapis lazuli, silver and malachite, carnelian and bronze... are fastened on the neck of female slaves.


Try as I might, I don't see a plague of frogs, or locusts or anything like the Exodus in there. So sorry, once again that fails. As far as a conspiracy theory that the Muslim Egyptian government is keeping people from finding out about the Exodus -- you do understand that Muslims also believe the Exodus was historical and that it would also boost their apologetics, right?

So count two for me.

Finally I asked if archaeology had proven that the kingdom of David existed. You bring up the Tel Dan inscription.

In invite readers to see it for themselves. 4 letters in an undecipherable line say in Hebrew BYTDWD ... and that proves there was a united Kingdom centered in Jerusalem that was larger than ancient Assyria but for which there is no other proof.

Wow Harvey ... you could sell used cars to Bedouins.

So count three for me.

I would remind you of the old Roman legal code falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. If you just want to argue that there was some history that is accurately recorded in the Bible, then I am sure you are right. But if you want to place your life in fealty to the truth of a given book, you should be sure it never gets anything wrong.

The Bible has three things wrong at least.

I invite you to actually look at the items you suggest prove your case. They don't.

GordonBlood said...

Evan, the inscription from Tel Dan is almost universally believed by scholars (including, interestingly enough, Israel Finklestein) to provide evidence for a Davidic monarchy of some sort. Scholars still argue to this day about the nature of that monarchy, although Avalos provides an extremely biased point of view given the fact that most archaeologists continue to reject the lowered chronology for a whole host of reasons. It simply astounds me that you look at archaeology in such a simplistic fasion. The very discovery of the "large stone structure" (il let archaeologists decide what it is) simply goes to show that there are discoveries being made all the time concerning these times and place. Of course your statement "But if you want to place your life in fealty to the truth of a given book, you should be sure it never gets anything wrong." betrays your own presupposition that the bible must be right on everything or it is little more than scrap.

Evan said...

Gordon:

There is more evidence to verify the Iliad and the Odyssey archaeologically than there is to verify the Bible. Do you live your life based on the truths held in the Odyssey and the Iliad?

Do you feel that Achilles and Agamemnon are worthy role models and that Athena should be worshiped because of this wonderful archaeology that proves the truth of the Iliad?

I bet you don't.

As for the Tel Dan inscription, again, look at it. Look at what it actually contains. Tell me how you can derive the Davidic KINGDOM from that.

Remember that my first question was about a KINGDOM not just a dude named David. It would of course be a shock if there were never anyone named David, wouldn't it?

So when I am talking to Harvey, who believes in Creationism, the inerrancy of the Bible and other similar beliefs, I am happy to point out the falsus in uno falsus in omnibus problem, as I know him to be an inerrantist.

You, on the other hand, are a "could-be-true-ist". Thus, from you, I ask if you hold the Iliad and Odyssey in the same regard as you do the Bible.

GordonBlood said...

Firstly the tablet refers to a "House of David", not just a "dude" named David. This implies a dynasty of some sense. Now it is quite fair to ask if the kingdom was as large as is stated in the bible. Alot of that concerns dating of Gezer, Hazor, and Maggedo (which is FAR more complex than Avalos would have his listeners believe, to say the least) and the nature of the "large stone structure" discovered in Jerusaleum. What will the conclusion be? Will there ever be one? The only warranted answer is to not hold ones breath.

Evan said...

Gordon -- as I'm sure you are aware, the tablet says BYTDWD in an otherwise indecipherable line. As you know there are often multiple meanings of a given text in Hebrew that will work and the proper meaning is dependent on the context.

This line has no context since the rest is indecipherable. While most archaeologists agree that it says Beth David -- again, this does NOTHING to establish there was a kingdom of David. It establishes that in the 9th century in Palestine there was a history of a kingdom of David. A real kingdom of David would have left contemporary artifacts from the time it existed.

Homer, again, has FAR more archaeological evidence supporting him. Was he divinely inspired?

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Evan~ "So when I am talking to Harvey, who believes in Creationism, the inerrancy of the Bible and other similar beliefs, I am happy to point out the falsus in uno falsus in omnibus problem, as I know him to be an inerrantist."

How u know that? Did I tell you that my friend?

I've been busy so I haven't been able to give this the time it deserves...I could go round and round like you like but I'll simply say this:

All you atheists live by Ehrman and Bauer's premise when it comes to the bible..."Possibility, Probability then Certainty...And you are PARRALLEL fanatics...If it looks like a parallel IT MUST BE TRUE...Your ONLY exception is when the parrallel negates your presupposition.

Classic exapmple is your response for Ipuwer's account...Although it parrallels, (in much greater detail than what you give credit...but I don't have the time) you discount it...However if there is a parrallel against the bible you'll agree every time...Evan, you're an extreme atheist not given to reason or actual evidence. 2 funny 2 me!

By the way, any contradiction you can name is ONLY an apparent one. There's over 2000 years of refrences I have for ANYTHING you can bring up. I have a solid foundation for truth, Do you? Ooh, I forgot, the atheist doesn't need truth...it may go against your materialistic premise.

I'll catch you in another post. Peace.

Evan said...

Harvey,

Did you tell me you were a creationist? You bet you did.

Is there any reason to be a creationist if you aren't an inerrantist? I can't think of one.

Please, if I have mischaracterized you I apologize deeply. The fact that you don't correct me leaves me uncertain as to whether I have done so or not.

Kyle said...

It is ignorant to disregard the 'House of David' inscription that was found as 'just some guy'. What is funny to me is that an atheist will quickly say that a Christian is closed minded. Ironic considering how you are dismissing that.
Also, where is your proof that there is more archeological finds for the Iliad than the Bible? You guys keep asking for proof, give me yours