From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [1]

Throughout human history, each generation has left behind all sorts of objects that enable people of later generations to learn about life in former times. The science of archaeology, which is concerned with the study of ancient findings, is particularly useful in helping us understand the history, cultures, religions and languages of the biblical era. Although the truth of the Bible is not dependent upon such findings, archaeology has confirmed the reliability of the biblical record.


Many features of the ancient world can be readily investigated, because they are still standing and exposed to public view (e.g. the pyramids of Egypt). Others can hardly be investigated at all, because they lie beneath present-day settlements (e.g. the city of Damascus). The ruins that lie buried and can be excavated are some of the best sources of information on ancient civilizations .

As archaeologists dig into ruins, they are aware that human occupation of a site may have stretched over hundreds or thousands of years. When a town was destroyed, whether by conquest, earthquake, storm or flood, the usual practice for the new generation of builders was simply to level off the ruins and build on top of the flattened rubble and dirt. This rebuilding pattern may have been repeated a number of times over a long period. The result is that in many places today, the site of an ancient town is covered by a mound (Arabic: tell), which looks like a small tableland. These mounds are a rich source of archaeological information.

Since archaeological investigation takes much time and money, archaeologists are usually able to investigate only a small area of a buried town. They try to choose those parts of the town that are likely to produce the most worthwhile results, such as palaces, government buildings, temples and selected houses. Beginning at the top level of the mound, they may dig down progressively through the layers, gradually forming a trench that cuts through the mound. The layers reveal successively more ancient eras of the town’s history. By carefully recording and investigating everything they find, archaeologists will in time be able to suggest the era and setting for different findings.

Many features help to indicate which period is being investigated. These include the nature of the soil, the kind of pottery, building characteristics, metal articles, coins, jewellery and any inscriptions or other writings (see also Writing ). Scientists are often able to calculate the approximate date of animal and plant substances by using a technique known as Carbon-14. With knowledge continually increasing in all areas of science, archaeologists can call upon more and more expert help from research facilities all over the world. They are also aware that they must constantly review their earlier conclusions as more information becomes available.

Stone Age and Bronze Age

In biblical archaeology, the successive periods from prehistory to the fourth century BC are usually classified according to the successive technologies (Stone, Bronze, Iron). From the fourth century BC into the Christian era, the archaeological periods are usually classified according to successive empires (Greek, Roman).

The Stone Age, which covers an indefinite period extending back beyond 4000 BC, is divided into Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic Ages, meaning respectively Old Stone, Middle Stone and New Stone Ages. The next eight hundred years, referred to as the Chalcolithic or Copper/Stone Age, leads to the Bronze Age, which lasted two thousand years from 3200 to 1200 BC. Much of the early part of the biblical record fits into the Bronze Age.

It is not the concern of the Bible to provide a detailed history of the world. The Bible’s chief concern is to show how God, in a gracious response to human rebellion, provided a way of salvation. God’s plan of salvation began its major development with Abraham. God promised that from Abraham he would make a people, who would receive Canaan as their homeland and who would be God’s channel of salvation to the world. Abraham enters the Bible story about the 20th century BC. The countless centuries before Abraham are passed over in only a few chapters (Genesis 1; Genesis 2; Genesis 3; Genesis 4; Genesis 5; Genesis 6; Genesis 7; Genesis 8; Genesis 9; Genesis 10; Genesis 11), whereas the seven centuries from Abraham to the end of the Bronze Age are spread across more than two hundred chapters (Genesis 12 to the opening chapters of Judges).

Out of the huge amount of archaeological evidence from the Bronze Age, certain discoveries have been particularly helpful in understanding some of the customs, laws, languages and other social features relevant to the Pentateuch. Important discoveries from the ancient Mesop

Webster's Dictionary [2]

(n.) The science or study of antiquities, esp. prehistoric antiquities, such as the remains of buildings or monuments of an early epoch, inscriptions, implements, and other relics, written manuscripts, etc.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [3]

( Ἀρχαιολογία , the knowledge of antiquity, antiquarian lore). This word is used by different writers in three senses: 1st, as including all the elements of public and private life of ancient peoples, together with their language, history, and the geography of their lands; 2d, as embracing only a scientific knowledge of the material, and especially monumental remains of ancient civilizations (in this sense, (See Antiquities)); or, 3d, as synonymous with the history of the formative arts of the ancients (in this sense, (See Christian)).

We use the word in the first or more general sense, omitting history and geography, however, from the definition. Sacred Archaeology naturally divides itself into (1st) Jewish and (2d) Christian.

1.' Jewish. This has been defined as the science that makes us acquainted with the physical nature and social condition of those countries where the Hebrew Scriptures originated and to which they relate (Gesenius, in the Hall. Encyclop. 10, 74; comp. De Wette, Archaol. § 1). Some (as Jahn) regard it as including history and geography, but it is usually considered as embracing only such subjects as are involved in the science, art, and customs (political, social. and religious) of the nations of the Bible, especially the Jews (Hagenbach, Encykl. § 45; Schleiermacher, Darstell.. d. theol. Studien, § 140). For the general history and the best treatises on the whole subject, (See Antiquities); it is the object of the present article to indicate more in detail the principal original materials and sources of Biblical archaeology (comp. Rosenm Ü ller, Al'erthumsk. I, 1:6-130; Duncker, Gesch. des Alterthums (Berlin, 1852, 4 vols.).

1. Sources Of Archaeological Knowledge.

a. Remains Of Ancient Hebrew Art These are unfortunately few, and but imperfectly understood, and are confined almost entirely to Palestine. Many of the reputed monuments of Old Testament times owe their authority to mediaeval (Mohammedan or Christian) tradition. A most important monument illustrating the Jewish service is the triumphal arch (q.v.) of Titus at Rome, containing in relief a delineation of the spoils of the Temple at Jerusalem (see Reland, De Spol. Templi Hieros. Traj. a. Rh. 1716, 2d ed. by Schulze, 1775). Besides these, the only genuine monuments in artistic relics are the Jewish "Samaritan" coins (q.v.), especially those of the Maccabees (see Bayer, De nummis Hebr. Samar. Valenc. 1784). The monumental remains of neighboring countries are also useful in the study of Jewish archaeology, especially the sculptures of Egypt (see Description de l'Egypte, Par. 1808; Rosellini, Monumenti dell'Egitto, Padua, 18,34; Wilkinson, Anc. Egyptians, Lond. 1847, N. Y. 1854; comp. Lane's Mod. Egyptians, Lond. 1842), the Phoenician inscriptions and coins (see Levy, Phonikische Studien, Breslau, 1856-62; Gesenius, Phaen. monumenta, Lips. 1837; also the numismatic works of Vaillant, Par. 1682; and Frohlich, Vindob. 1744), the ruins and sculptures of Persepolis (see the Travels of Ker Porter, Chardin, and Ousely) and Petra (see the Travels of Laborde and Olin), and the monuments of Nineveh and Babylon recently discovered by Botta and Layard.

b. Written Memorials The Bible itself stands first in value as the chief source of Jewish archaeology. Next are the works of Josephus and Philo, which are of great service; then follow the Talmuds (q.v.), and the Rabbins (q.v.), whose statements must be used carefully (see Meuschen's N.T. Ex Talmud Illustsr. 1736; Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. Cantab. 1658; Schottgen, Hor. Hebr. 1,733-1742; Wetstein, Annot. In N.T. Amst. 1751). To these may be added notices respecting Egypt, Persia, Judaea, etc., found occasionally in Greek and Roman writers, especially Herodotus (see Hupfeld, Exercit. Iterod. 1, 2); next, Xenophon, Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Pliny, Plutarch, Tacitus, Justinian, give illustrations of the customs of the times, particularly useful for the elucidation of the N.T., although they are very much given to misrepresentation of the Jews. c. Oriental Treatises such as geographies and works on natural history, like those of Edrisi, Ibn Hautal, Abulfeda, Abdollatif, Avicenna; to which may be added the slight illustration to be derived from Eastern sacred hooks, such as the Koran, Zendavesta, Hamasa, and likewise the old historical and poetical productions of the East. d. TRAVELS in Oriental countries, particularly Egypt, Arabia, and Palestine, with itineraries, maps, and observations, from the 7th century, through the Middle Ages, down to modern times, constituting an immense fund of information, and affording reports not only on the geography, but also the natural history, and particularly the customs and social condition of the lands of the Bible, which have been proverbial for their uniformity. See a list of these at the end of the art. PALESTINE. The archaeological knowledge acquired by the Crusades may be found in the work of Bongarsius, entitled Gesta Dei per Francos (Hanov. 1611); many of the early travels are collected in the Bewahrten Reisbuch d. heil. Landes (1609), the most valuable of which were published with notes by Paulus (Jena, 1792). For a fuller view of the literature of the subject, see Mensel's Bibl. Hist. 1, 2, p. 70; Winer's Handb. d. theol. Lit. 1, 151, 3d ed.; and Ritter's Erdkunde, XV, 1.

2. Departments Of Biblical Archaeology (see generally the extensive Bibl. Archaol. of Jahn, Wien, 17961805).

a. The GEOGRAPHY of Bible lands, including not only Palestine and its immediate neighborhood, but also Egypt, the high interior of Asia, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and to some extent Greece and Italy, with an elucidation of the ethnographical table in Genesis 10 (see Gesenius, in the Hall. Encyklop. 10, 84 sq.). The most comprehensive work on this subject is that of Bochart, entitled Phaleg (Cadom. 1646, Frankf. 1674), with the supplement of Michaelis, entitled Spicilegium (Gott. 1780); to which may be added as an accompaniment Knobel's Volkertafel (Giess. 1850). On Palestine and vicinity alone may be named, as well-nigh exhaustive: of the ancient materials, Reland's Palaestina (Utrecht, 1614, etc.); the most convenient manual is Raumer's Palastina (3d ed. Lpz. 1850; and the most complete and exact modern book of travels is Robinson's Researches (2d ed. N. Y. 1856). General works on the subject are especially Hamesveld's Bibl. Geographie (2d ed. Hamb. 1793-1796), Ritter's Erdkund" (Berl. 1817 sq.), and Robinson's Physical Geography of the Holy Land. The best maps are those of Berghaus (1835); Zimmermann (Berlin, 1850); Kiepert (Berlin, 1857); and Van de Velde (Gotha, 1859). b. On the Natural History of the Bible there are principally Scheuchzer's Physica Sacra (Augsb. 1731); Oedmann's Vermischte Samml. (Rost. 1786); Th. M. Harris, Natural Hist. Of The Bible (Lond. 1824); J. B. Friedreich, Zur Bibel (Niirnberg, 1848); while on Biblical zoology and botany separately the only complete treatises are still respectively Bochart's Hierozoicon (Lond. 1663), and Celsius's Hierobotanicum (Upsala, 1745). On the Domestic Habits of the Hebrews may be named Selden, Uxor Ebr. (Lond. 1646); Michaelis, Ehegesetze Mosis (Getting. 1786); Benary, De Iaebr. cirratu (Berl. 1835); Schroder, De vestitu mulier. Hebr. (Leyd. 1745); Hartmann, Hebraerin am Putztische (Amst. 1809).

d. On Biblical Agriculture Paulsen, Ackerbau D. Morgenlander (Helmst. 1748); and the two prize essays by Buhle and Walch, Calendarium Palaest. (Gott. 1785).

e. The Social Relations of the Hebrews are treated in works on their political and judicial institutions, especially Michaelis, Mos. Recht (Frkft. 1775-1780); Hullmann, Staatsverfassung d. Isr. (Lpz. 18S4); Selden, De jure naturali (Lond. 1640); Saalschiitz, Das Mos, Recht (Berlin, 1846-48, 2 vols.).

f. On Jewish and the connected Weights And Measures may be especially consulted Bockh. Metrolog. Untersuch. (Berl. 1838); Bertheau, Gesch. D. Isr. (Gott. 1842)

g. The Hebrew ARTS have been specially treated, as to Poetry, by Lowth, De Sacra Poesi Hebr. (ed. Michaelis, 1768, and Rosenm Ü ller, 1815); Herder, Geist Der Hebr. Poesie (1782); E. Meier, Form Der Iebr. Poesie (Tib. 1853), and Gesch. De, Poet. Nat. Literatur Der Hebraer (Leipz. 1856); Saalschutz, Form und Geist der Hebraischen Poesie (Konigsberg, 1856); as to Music, by Saalschutz, Gesch. d. Musik bei den Hebraern (Berl. 1829); Schneider, Darstellung d. Hebr. Musik (Bonn); Weissmann, Geschichte der LMusik (Munich, 1862; still going on); as to Architecture, by Hirt, Der Tempel Salomo's, (Berl. 1809). h. The Religious Usages of the Hebrews, including the moral condition of surrounding nations, have been specially treated by Spencer, De legibus Hebr. ritualibus (Camb. 1685); Reland, Antiq. sacrae vet. Hebr. (Utrecht, 1708, etc.); Vitringa, De Synagog. vet. (Frankf. 1696); and, as exhibiting more modern views, Bahr, Symbolik d. Mos. Cultus (Heidelb. 1837). The foregoing are but a few leading works; for others, see each subject in its alphabetical place. 2. Christian Archaeology is that branch of theological science the object of which is to represent the External phenomena of the Ancient Church, i.e. its institutions, usages, ceremonies, etc. Theologians are not yet agreed how far the period of the Ancient Church ought to be extended, and what matter, consequently, Christian archaeology ought to comprise. The prevailing opinion at present is that it ought mainly to extend over the first six centuries, and ought not to include the constitution of the Church. It is also generally agreed that, in representing the external forms of the ancient Church, the subsequent developments of these forms up to the present times ought to be constantly kept in view and referred to.

1. Sources Of Christian Archaeological Knowledge:

(a) Remains. The first class of sources consists of ancient remains, such as monuments, works of art, (See Christian Art), inscriptions (q.v.), and designs on tombs, arches, buildings, and other monuments; medals and coins (q.v.); catacombs (q.v.) and other places of burial (q.v.).

(b) Written Memorials The New Testament, of course, gives the beginnings of the most important Christian usages, such as Baptism, the Lord's Supper, Ordination, Prayer, etc. Next in importance come the writings of the apostolical fathers (q.v.), and of contemporaneous pagan writers. e.g. Pliny, Tacitus, Celsus, Julian, etc. After these come the fathers (q.v.) generally, and at a later period, liturgies, decrees of councils, etc.

2. Christian archaeology, as a science, cannot be said to have fairly arisen before the 18th century. Nevertheless, in the struggles of the Reformation, both parties appealed to primitive usage, and this appeal made the study of antiquities a necessity. The church historians, therefore (the Magdeburg centuriators, 1559-1574, 13 vols. fol., on the Protestant side, and Baronius [ 1607], in his Annales Ecclesiastici, on the Roman Catholic side), treated of the polity, worship, usages, etc., of the ancient church. As early as 1645 Casalius wrote his Christianorum Ritus Veteres (Reman Catholic), who was followed by Cardinal Bona (t 1694), Claude Fleury (1682), and by Edm. Martene, whose work De antiquis ecclesie ritibus (Antw. 173638, 4 vols. fol.) belongs among the best of the ancient works. But the science, in its modern form, may be said to have originated with Bingham's massive work, the Origines Ecclesiastica, which first appeared in 10 vols. 8vo, 1710-1722. It is divided into twenty-three books, of which the titles are, I. Names and Orders of Men in the Early Church;

II. Superior Orders of Clergy;

III. Inferior Orders of Clergy;

IV. Elections and Ordinations of Clergy;

V. Privileges, Immunities, and Revenues of Clergy;

VI. Rules of Life for Clergy;

VII. Ascetics;

VIII. Church Edifices, etc.;

IX. Geographical Divisions of the Ancient Church;

X. Catechumens and Creeds;

XI. Rites of Baptism;

XII. Confirmation and other Ceremonies following Baptism;

XIII. Divine Worship;

XIV. Catechumen Service;

XV. Communion Service;

XVI. Unity and Discipline of the Ancient Church;

XVII. Discipline of the Clergy;

XVIII. Penitents and Penance;

XIX. Absolution;

XX. Festivals;

XXI. Fasts;

XXII. Marriage Rites;

XXIII. Funeral Rites.

This vast work, the product of twenty years of industry, is full of erudition, especially patristical, and the material is set forth generally with simplicity and discretion. It is a store-house from which all subsequent writers have drawn copiously. But it lacks scientific method, and has the disadvantage of a High-Church stand-point. It is a great arsenal for the upholders of prelacy; the true organization of the original church is not to be gathered from it. But, with all its faults, it is still indispensable to the student of archaeology. It was translated into Latin, and the originals of the quotations added, by Grischovius (Halae, 1724-29, 10 vols. fol.; and again in 1751). The best English edition now extant is that of Pitman, which contains Bingham's other writings as well as the Origines (Lond. 1840, 9 vols. 8vo). A cheap and good edition of the Origines for students is that of Bohn (London, 1852, 2 vols. imp. 8vo). 3. At the request of Pope Benedict XIV, the Dominican Mamachi composed his work Originum Et Antiquitatum Christianarum Libri 20 (Romans 1749-1755). But of the twenty books into which the matter was to be divided only four appeared in five volumes. Shorter works were published by Selvaggio, Antiquitatum Christianarum Institutiones (Naples, 1772-1774, 6 vols.), and by the German Jesuit Mannhardt, Liber Singularis de antiquit. Christianorum (Augsb. 1768). Better than any preceding work by Roman Catholic authors was that of Pellicia, De Christianae ecclesiae primae mediae et novissimae aetatis politia (Naples, 1777-1779, 3 vols. 4to; last edition by Ritter and Braun, Cologne, 1829-1838, 3 vols.). On the basis of this work Dr. Binterim compiled his Denkwurdigkeiten der christckatholischen Kirthe aus den ersten, mittleren und litzten Zeiten (Mentz, 1821-1841, 7 vols.).

4. Of recent works on Christian archaeology, the most extensive is Augusti's Denkwurdigkeiten aus der Christlichen Archaologie (Leipzig, 1816-31, 12 vols.). This work adds immensely to the stock of materials, but is very prolix, and also deficient in arrangement. These faults are mended somewhat by the author in his compendium, entitled Handbuch der christl. Archaologie (Leipz. 1836, 3 vols. 8vo). A scientific and condensed treatise is Rheinwald's kirchliche Archaologie (Berlin, 1830, 8vo), the best hand-book on the subject extant. Bohmer's Christlich- kirchl. Alterthumswissenschaft (Breslau, 1836-39, 2 vols. 8vo) is equally scientific, and more copious. Guericke's Lehrbuch der christl. Archaologie (Leipz. 1847, 8vo; 2d ed. 1859) is a useful manual. Other German manuals are by Lochcrer (Romans Cath.), Lehrbuch d. christl.-kirch. Archaol. (Frankf. 1822); Siegel, Handbuch der christl. Alterthumer (in alphabetical order, Leipz. 1835-38, 4 vols.). In English we have Henry's Compendium of Christian Antiquities (Philadel. 1837, 8vo), which is chiefly extracted from Bingham; Riddle's Manual of Christian Antiquities (2d edit. London, 1843, 8vo), in which large use is made of Augusti. But the best modern manual in English is Coleman's Ancient Christianity Exemplifjed (Philad. 1853, 8vo), in which the material is carefully wrought over in a truly Protestant spirit. See Hagenbach, Theolog. Encyklopadie, § 77; Coleman, Christian Antiquities (Introduction); Herzog, Real-Encykaopadie, 1:481; Riddle, Manual of Antiquities (Appendix H). For works treating more particularly of liturgies, (See Liturgy).

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [4]

The study or the science of the monuments of antiquity, as distinct from palæontology, which has to do with extinct organisms or fossil remains.