The Spade and the Bible

spade taken from feature pics

I believe no journalistic report on middle eastern archaeology would be complete without a discussion of the Bible. Biblical archaeology Review, a monthly magazine is testimony to this as many of the articles are written by journalists. The articles combine the Bible, archaeology and journalism. It makes for interesting reading. I first started reading it back in 2007 when i was 15 years of age as that was the time i decided i wanted to be an archaeologist.  I  started reading so many books and magazines on the subject. Biblical Archaeology Review, known for short as BAR caught my eye at my local newsagent and despite being expensive at $10.95 especially back then i was curious so i bought it. Despite not understanding every single term and phrase at 15 years old i liked it and from then on bought it regularly and still do now. Its gone up to $14.95. I could read it online for cheaper but im old fashioned preferring the paper format.

Despite secularism in the media, the Bible still makes its presence felt especially in Israel where  there is so much sensationalism in the media about discoveries linked to famous biblical  people like Jesus, Joseph, Mary etc. Israeli and American media  tend to make  archaeological discoveries  linked to the bible very big as in the case of the tomb of James, brother of Jesus.  This was a high profile case covered in depth by both American and Israeli journalists. It centered around Simcha Jacobovici an Emmy-winning journalist who has made several several films about  finds that apparently reveal the true history of Christianity.  His 2002 film James, brother of Jesus introduced the world to the James ossuary, a bone box with an ancient Aramaic inscription translated as James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus. Many scholars claimed and still do that the inscription is a fake. Below i have uploaded Jacobovici’s documentary. I leave you to decide the verdict!

I believe that although journalists need to be objective as its part of their creed, we often see biases coming through when it comes to religion and politics. Unlike Australia which is highly secular the states and Israel are not as secular as religion is woven into their constitutions.  Thus this would influence the reporting of places linked to the bible.

I strongly  believe that  the bible is a great and useful artefact as since World War 1 so many discoveries have confirmed the biblical records at many points.  It has proven a wonderful GPS for locating cities like Babylon and people like the Hittites who were only known through scripture before the spade proved their existence. One needs not to be religious to appreciate this historical book. In recent years archaeologists have located the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Scripture states that God turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of stone  for looking back. Archaeolgoy can never prove this but can prove the city’s existence. Although tricky for some people of faith including reporters one can separate God from archaeology.

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