Sunday, 1 February 2009

[Sunday School] Day 4: topic 3 part 1

We'll now talk about archaeology and the Old Testament. If you google "archaeology" and "bible", you'll probably run into hits that involve a man named Ron Wyatt. This person claimed to have "discovered" quite a few things, just to name a few, Ark of Noah, Ark of the Covenant, Mt. Sinai, chariot wheels in Red Sea, and Jesus' blood.

I know, looking at this ridiculous list, you would think: "what idiots would believe in a scam like this?"

Christians would, I tell you. Just a simple random google exercise brought me to this person's blog, which talks about Ron Wyatt's "discovery" of wheels at the bottom of the Red Sea with excitement. And not just him, look at how people make comments to praise Wyatt's discovery and how it "proved" that the Bible is true!

And you might think: "hey, you got to be fair; it was just a random Christian's blog." But the problem is, even a well-respected Chinese Christian newspaper used Ron Wyatt as a credible source, to prove the reliability of the Bible!!! Lame, lame, lame.

And of course, you must have also heard of this Chinese movie, made by a well-respected Christian organization. They claimed that they had found the Ark of Noah, despite the fact that they hadn't done any studying at all while they released the movie. And half a decade has passed, they still haven't made much progress. Not even one shred of direct evidence that says they had found Noah's Ark. Shame, shame, shame.

What I found soooo amazing about these things that we have seen is that: why the heck do Christians so love to talk about these fake stuff while we actually have the genuine archaeological finds to look at?

We'll look at finds that will enrich our understanding of the OT, then look at ones that contradict the OT, and end with a discussion.

See the info yourself. Merneptah is a pharoah of Egypt; this thing is about the cool stuff that he had accomplished.

The discoverer on the left. The mummy of the original owner of the stele on the right. He doesn't look too happy now, does he?

As far as I know, this is the earliest reference to "Israel". Dates to around 1200 BCE.

This 9th/8th century inscriptions is famous for its reference to "the house of David." But there's some problem. There's no word divider between the words "house" and "David", so some scholars question whether this is saying "the house of David" at all, because it would be just a place name, such as "Bethdod", hence no word divider because it's just a one-word place name.

Another early inscription. I want to point this out because this thing says "the house of Yahweh", and there apparently is no word divider between the words "house" and "Yahweh"! So I think it is still at least possible that the Tel Dan Inscription does say "the house of David".

Cool. This thing talks about the cool stuff that Shalmaneser III had done.

And one of those "cool" stuff is that he received tributes from the Israelites king Jehu. Jehu, what a loser.

Similar stuff, but this one is about a Moabite king.

2 things to note. First, it tells of how Moab was overpowered by Israel for a long time, but then shook off the oppression; same story told in 2 Kings. Second, it talks about how Mesha would slaughter everyone/thing when he conquered a city as an offering to his god. A parallel custom to what we read in the "cruel" parts of the Old Testament that promote a "ban".

[to be continued]