Should Archaeology Affect Your Faith?

Todd Bolen of the BiblePlaces blog argues that it is a bad idea to base your faith on biblical archaeology.

“…much in archaeology is ambiguous, and multiple conclusions are possible…For me it means one thing: thou shalt not trust in archaeology.  If certain conclusions are the primary support of one’s faith, it’s quite possible that one day those conclusions will be questioned…”

Although it is clear that the science of archaeology provides us with a greater understanding of the biblical period and its events, the Bible remains a theological book and not a historical one.

For example, in 1846, a British archaeologist by the name of Austen Henry Layard discovered the five-foot high Black Obelisk at Nimrud’s Palace in Kalah (modern-day Iraq).  It depicts the payment of tribute by Jehu, King of Israel (2 Kings 9-10), to Shalmaneser III, King of Assyria. The drawing shows Jehu bowing down before the Assyrian king, followed by his tribute-bearing retinue. 

If you read 2 Kings 9-10 carefully you will discover no mention of Jehu’s defeat at the hands of Shalmaneser or record of his paying tribute to him.  You will discover that Jehu was defeated by Hazael, King of Aram.  On the other hand, it’s pretty amazing that an archaeological discovery confirms the existence of an Israelite king named Jehu.

These types of complexities  make it impossible for one to base his/her faith in the Bible on archaeology.  Point in case, the disputed discovery of David’s palace, discussed by Todd Bolen in the aforementioned post.

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