My interest in archaeology goes back over 35 years (1979) to my first archaeology course while a student at Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale University College and Seminary). Since that time I have had the privilege to teach archaeology in various settings to undergraduate students, travel through the lands of the Bible and visit firsthand many archaeological sites. In addition I have been working at Tall el-Ḥammâm, Jordan since 2009, uncovering artifacts in the Chalcolithic, Early Bronze, Middle Bronze, Iron Age and Roman Byzantine periods. During this time I closely followed, with interest, the new discoveries that have been made. What I observed is that, unfortunately, the modern media does not normally present the facts relevant to new archaeological discoveries of the Bible, and “revisionist” scholars seek to undermine and downplay the relevance of many of the discoveries. For the minimalists, Sodom never existed, the Exodus never happened, Jericho never fell to the Israelites, and David was never a great king. But so often the archaeological material essential for a meaningful dialogue over the reliability of the Bible is confined to academic journals and conference papers. While there are many good older works on biblical archaeology available on the market, few dealt with both the Old and New Testament together in one volume, with an introduction to archaeological methods, a concise history of archaeology, descriptions of the manuscripts, and the recent archaeological discovery and finds. For students just being introduced to archaeology, all of these elements are important and necessary for a good grasp of biblical archaeology. Thus, this book was born out of necessity and a desire to deliver an accessible single-volume work for approaching up-to-date research in biblical archaeology.
The discoveries of the last 20 years, presented in this work, are not meant to be an exhaustive treatment of the subject, nor presented as a technical discussion and the final conclusion of archaeological research. As with all archaeological investigations, many of the conclusions are ongoing. However, they are presented here in a summary introduction for undergraduate students to appreciate the availability of relevant discoveries and some of the possible implications for understanding the biblical text. Some of the most significant and promising finds have been selected to demonstrate the historical reliability of the people and events of the Bible. This work is intended to fill the void in providing an accessible and collective work on the subject of biblical archaeology and the reliability of the Bible.
The advantage of such a text is that it provides a collective source of material for students that would otherwise take a long time to assemble or be inaccessible. Of help for the student are 140 photographs, charts, timelines, maps, and a glossary, which will facilitate the difficult task of understanding the unfamiliar lands of the Bible. Numerous footnotes and an academic bibliography are provided to give students the tools for doing further research. It is my hope that those who use this work will find it useful and develop a love and passion, like the author, for the fascinating field of biblical archaeology. Students can read the Bible with confidence that the details of its geography and facts are accurate and be encouraged in their faith that the Bible is reliable.
The online Biblical Archaeology companion website is free for everyone and accessible through this link. The website provides photos from the book, enlarged and in color, external web links, and an extended bibliography for research, along with additional material that could not be put into the book due to space limitations.
David E. Graves, PhD
Nov 12, 2014