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Faith and Facts

Finds = Evidence

Historical finds are not merely conversation pieces or objects of material value. Each find can also be considered as a a piece of evidence. Its presence at the find spot proves human activities of the period in question at that very place. If the find can even be linked to a specific event it proves that this event actually took place in the searched area.

Since the dawn of archaeology 200 years ago people tried to prove that events described in written sources have at least a true core. In particular, that was applied to religious traditions. To verify the bible became a distinct branch of archaeology. This website is a contribution to finding the historical truth within the bible.

Biblical Archaeology

Biblical archaeology appeals to many people because it attracts those who are interested in the past as well as those who are interested in the bible. Even people not very much interested in any sort of science or history still would like to know whether the descriptions in the bible can be backed up by hard evidence. This public interest, especially in the U.S., helped to raise the funds for intensive archaeological investigations in modern day Israel. As a consequence, today Israel has seen more excavations per squaremile than most countries in the world.

Knowledge is one aspect of archaeology, finds are the other. When archaeology was still in its infancy it was mainly about finds. The various European countries competed for the most spectacular finds and displayed their trophies proudly in their museums.

Today it is a mixture of finds and knowledge. Finds usually remain in their country of origin. Some archaeologists claim that knowledge is by far more important and dismiss other attitudes as materialistic. I do not agree with that very academic point of view. The ordinary people will always want to see unusual and stunning objects. These people buy books, museum and exhibition tickets and in some way or another they have a severe influence on the funds of most archaeologists, even the most academic ones.

The desire to see material evidence is part of human nature. This applies in particular to the religious field if we think of the relics.

Many who believe in religions or myths strive for visible or, even better, tangible objects related to that believe. In Central Europe, when Christian religion reached the climax of importance in the 12.-14. century, people were so fond of relics they were prepared to pay high prices. The crusades intensified this development. Demand created supply so many items were faked in just the same way as Nazi insignia today are faked by an entire industry in Eastern Europe to supply the US collectors market.

Religious places desperately needed relics to attract pilgrims and thus money. Some people and institutions even went as far as faking or stealing such items while most purchased them in good faith from those who had connections to the Near East. Today, by pure logic, we must conclude from the sheer amount of relics in Europe that the majority is not authentic. There are just too many nails and pieces from the cross Jesus died on, not to mention an amazing number of skulls of John the Baptist. Ground finds, however, are almost never faked.

The bible, the » Old Testament in particular, mentions some very special objects and very dramatic events. The descriptions of some objects, e.g. of the » Ark of the Covenant, are so precise that it is possible to create replicas. To find any of these objects or to find traces of the described events is the dream of many searchers and the content of countless books and TV productions from documentations to Indiana Jones. Did the Ark of the Covenant exist? Where Jericho’s walls destroyed by trumpets? Can we hope to find remains of » Noah’s ark on Mt. Ararat? On this website I will try to give a quick overview on the current state of knowledge and my opinion on find chances.

(C) 2006-2011 Thorsten Straub, www.biblical-finds.com