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You are here: knowtruth >> bible >> reliability >> 17 June 2021
External Evidence Tests: Archaeology
Page 3: Recent Confirmations

Up until 1993, this same sort of skepticism existed towards David. In that year, however, evidence confirming the Bible's historical accuracy regarding David and his rule over Israel was discovered. The Time article explains,

"In what may be the most important of these discoveries, a team of archaeologists uncovered a 9th century B.C. inscription at an ancient mound called Tel Dan, in the north of Israel, in 1993. Words carved into a chunk of basalt refer to the 'House of David' and the 'King of Israel.' It is the first time the Jewish monarch's name has been found outside the Bible, and appears to prove he was more than a legend." 2

Perhaps the most significant discovery of this generation has been the Dead Sea Scrolls found in the caves of Qumran. These scrolls, discovered in 1947, provided some of the best archaeological and bibliographic evidence of the modern era. Charles Pellegrino, confirmed agnostic, archaeologist, and historian had this to say,

"The Qumran texts are at most a thousand years older than the Aleppo Codex, which was written in Israel about AD 900 and was, until AD 1947, the oldest-known Hebrew manuscript containing the full text of the Bible. What has surprised most scholars is that in spite of the millennium of hand copying that separates them, the Aleppo Codex and the books of the Old Testament unearthed at Qumran are virtually identical. One of the oldest of the Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to about 200 BC, is the Book of Isaiah. Only thirteen minor variations from the Aleppo text (and from its modern descendants) have been identified. During the approximately three and a half centuries separating the Qumran Book of Isaiah from the version originally compiled in Babylon, one might be tempted to posit even fewer changes than during the eleven centuries separating Qumran and Aleppo. If this assumption is correct, then the modern Hebrew Bible is, in most essentials, the same Bible one would have found in Babylon about 550 BC." 3

This evidence supporting the accuracy of Isaiah is noteworthy. As we can see in studying prophecy, Isaiah contains some curiously detailed and accurate prophecies about Jesus; so detailed, in fact, that modern skeptics have insisted that they must have been written after the life of Christ. Until the Qumran discovery the evidence of their dating was largely circumstantial. With the Qumran manuscripts predating Christ by 200 years, the power of God to foretell the future with accuracy and detail is confirmed. Pellegrino continues,

"Evidence supporting this assumption can be found in Jerusalem's silver scroll-which is, next to the writing on the 750 BC wall of Deir Alla, the earliest fragment of biblical text presently known. The scroll of beaten and inscribed silver was contained in a one-inch-diameter prayer amulet. Construction workers found it in AD 1981, when they accidentally broke into a gravesite under New Jerusalem's cinema district. The verses on the scroll are literally microscopic, and are indistinguishable from the priestly benediction in Numbers 6:24-26. The biblical fragment, dating between 700 and 500 BC, is almost an exact contemporary with the Babylonian compilations and reads: 'The Lord bless thee and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and give thee peace.' The modern biblical version reads: 'The Lord bless thee and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee: The Lord lift up his countenance to thee, and give thee peace.' More than twenty-five hundred years... yet we witness no mutation of the text. The DNA of moths living on the Hawaiian Islands has undergone vastly greater change in that same time frame. It is a testimony to the amazing fidelity of transmission, through dozens of generations of pious scribes, once the old song stories and oral histories were committed to writing." 4

The Dead Sea Scrolls not only testify that many messianic prophecies pre-date Christ, but they clearly demonstrate the quality of our ancient manuscript copies. With copies spanning well over 1,000 years with no meaningful change, we can be confident that the scribes respected the word of God. This discovery is but a grain of sand in a vast ocean of scrolls, papyrus fragments, tablets, and thousands of other artifacts confirming the historicity of God's word.

To conclude this section on archeology and the Bible I quote the great archaeologist William F. Albright,

"The excessive skepticism shown toward the Bible by important historical schools of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, certain phases of which still appear periodically, has been progressively discredited. Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of innumerable details, and has brought increased recognition to the value of the Bible as a source of history." 5



FOOTNOTES / WORKS CITED
Ibid.
Charles Pellegrino, The Return to Sodom and Gomorrah, New York: Random House, 94. 324-325.
Ibid.
McDowell, Josh, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, San Bernadino, CA: Here's Life Publishers, 1979. p.65


 Article info: 
By: Bill Smith
This article is adapted from Bill's book Firmly Rooted. Click here to learn how to get a copy.
  
 This Series: 
1 The Bible's Track Record
2 A Letter to Time
3 Recent Confirmations



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