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3,000-year-old artifacts fuel Biblical archaeology debate
The Times of Israel ^ | May 8, 2012 | MATTI FRIEDMAN

Posted on 05/08/2012 1:00:23 PM PDT by Pharmboy

New finds presented Tuesday from an intriguing site in the Judean Hills are part of a scholarly argument about the accuracy of the Bible


The excavation at Hirbet Qeiyafa is currently one of the most important in the world of Biblical archaeology (Courtesy of Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Two rare 3,000-year-old models of ancient shrines were among artifacts presented by an Israeli archaeologist on Tuesday as finds he said offered new support for the historical veracity of the Bible.

The archaeologist, Yosef Garfinkel of Hebrew University, is excavating a site known as Hirbet Qeiyafa, located in the Judean hills not far from the modern-day city of Beit Shemesh.

Garfinkel says the central finds presented Tuesday at a Jerusalem press conference — two model shrines, one of clay and one of stone — echo elements of Temple architecture as described in the Bible and strengthen his claim that the city that stood at the site 3,000 years ago was inhabited by Israelites and was part of the kingdom ruled from Jerusalem by the biblical King David.

Since Qeiyafa was first unveiled in 2008, it has become considered one of the most important ongoing excavations in the world of biblical archaeology. Garfinkel says the existence of a fortified city at the site around 1,000 BCE supports the idea that a centralized kingdom existed around that time, as described in the Bible.

Archaeologists are split over whether King David was a historical figure, a point of dispute that reflects a broader debate over whether the Bible is an accurate record of events. Some scholars believe the text is just that, while others believe it is largely mythical, based perhaps on fragments of fact.

Garfinkel is firmly in the former camp, and sees his finds at the site as supporting the idea that the Bible’s account is factually based.

“There is an argument here that is bigger than the dating of any one site,” Garfinkel said at the press conference. “In essence, the whole Bible is being judged.”

Model shrines of the type found at the site would have been used in ritual practice. One of the models, 8 inches high, is made of clay, and includes a main door and two pillars as well as decorative elements like two lions on the doorstep and three birds perched on the roof. Garfinkel suggested the pillars were suggestive of the ones known as Boaz and Yachin, which the Bible says existed in Solomon’s Temple.

The other shrine, made of limestone and standing 14 inches high, includes stylized roof beams and a recessed doorway, which Garfinkel said could help settle disputes about how best to translate some of the Hebrew words used in the Bible to describe architectural elements of the Temple.


Yosef Garfinkel with a shrine model made of stone, found at Hirbet Qeiyafa (Courtesy Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the Qeiyafa finds, he said, is not what has been found but what has not: The diggers have found none of the cultic figurines of animals or people common at other sites, he said, suggesting residents followed a prohibition against idol worship. And the archaeologists at the site have found thousands of bones of sheep, goats and cattle, but none of pigs, suggesting they followed a dietary prohibition on swine.

“The people at the site obeyed two biblical commandments — they didn’t eat pig, and they didn’t make graven images,” he said. This, he said, supported his view that the site was a fortified Israelite city.

The fortified nature of the settlement at Qeiyafa is important because members of the “minimalist” school in biblical archaeology, who claim there was no organized kingdom in Judea at the time David was supposed to have existed, have based that conclusion in part on an absence of fortified cities at the time. Building such cities requires centralized administration.

Qeiyafa would seem to show that such cities in fact existed, meaning that there could well have been a centralized kingdom like the one described in the Bible.

Other scholars have urged caution in reaching conclusions based on the findings from Qeiyafa.

Model shrines of the type presented Tuesday have been found at many other sites belonging to other local cultures, and their similarity to Temple architecture as described in the Bible has already been noted, said Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan University, who leads a dig at the ruins of the nearby Philistine city of Gath. And the existence of lions and birds on the clay model undermine the claim that no figures of people or animals have been found at Qeiyafa, he said.

Qeiyafa indeed appears to have been inhabited by Israelites, Maeir said, but the cultural lines among the various peoples of the Land of Israel at that time, he said, were “fuzzier than the way they are often described.”

The new finds do not prove conclusively who residents were or provide dramatic new evidence for any side in the ongoing dispute among biblical archaeologists, he said.

“There’s no question that this is a very important site, but what exactly it was — there is still disagreement about that,” Maeir said.

The ruins at Hirbet Qeiyafa were first noticed in 2003 by Saar Ganor, a ranger with the Israeli Antiquities Authority. He contacted Garfinkel, and digging began in 2007.

The next year, Garfinkel unveiled the first dramatic find from the site – a ceramic shard that some scholars believe contains the oldest example of Hebrew ever found. He suggested the writing supported the case for the Bible’s accuracy, because it meant that 3,000 years ago the Israelites could record events and transmit the history that was compiled as the Bible several hundred years later.

The excavation has uncovered a city eight acres in area with two monumental gates and a wall running 770 yards in circumference.

Carbon dating of olive pits found at the site show it was active between 1020 and 980 BCE, according to the archaeologists.


TOPICS: History; Judaism
KEYWORDS: archaeology; beitshemesh; biblical; catastrophism; epigraphyandlanguage; godsgravesglyphs; hirbetqeiyafa; israel; khirbetqeiyafa; letshavejerusalem; yosefgarfinkel
This is a terrific find.
1 posted on 05/08/2012 1:00:33 PM PDT by Pharmboy
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To: SunkenCiv; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Nachum

Here’s something that you folks might find of interest.


2 posted on 05/08/2012 1:09:02 PM PDT by Pharmboy (Democrats lie because they must.)
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To: Pharmboy

Thank you for the post. Interesting read.


3 posted on 05/08/2012 1:15:38 PM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: Pharmboy
Ancient Artifacts?


4 posted on 05/08/2012 1:21:31 PM PDT by GraceG
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To: Pharmboy
'Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan University, who leads a dig at the ruins of the nearby Philistine city of Gath.'

It was skipped over in the article. But, for those who don't know, Gath was the hometown of Goliath.

5 posted on 05/08/2012 1:34:43 PM PDT by Theoria (Rush Limbaugh: Ron Paul sounds like an Islamic terrorist)
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To: Theoria

Wasn’t Gath in the novel, The Rapes of Gath?


6 posted on 05/08/2012 1:46:31 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: GraceG
I just don't know...why is it that I can see this graphic 100 times and STILL laugh every time? Is it aliens?
7 posted on 05/08/2012 1:53:25 PM PDT by Pharmboy (Democrats lie because they must.)
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To: Theoria
Suggested reading: The Bible Among the Myths, by John Oswalt. It's an exposition of the elements of mythology in the people surrounding the Hebrews and in fact all world religions. Folks who assume the religion of the Bible is mythical and evolved from other mythical religions are uninformed or just dishonest. It's not just a little different in minor detials; it's diametrically and drammatically different at its core from every other religion on earth.

Which begs the question: Why would an insignificant group of people (in their own estimation), surrounded by brilliant, wealthy, and powerful people all around them, eschew idolatry and have such a radically different view of reality and concept of the Divine in the first place?

8 posted on 05/08/2012 1:53:31 PM PDT by mikeus_maximus (I won't vote for Romney, period. Voting for "the lesser of two evils" is still voting for evil.)
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To: mikeus_maximus

Why would an insignificant group of people (in their own estimation), surrounded by brilliant, wealthy, and powerful people all around them, eschew idolatry and have such a radically different view of reality and concept of the Divine in the first place?

AND, how is it that they are STILL HERE...?


9 posted on 05/08/2012 2:13:27 PM PDT by Paisan
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To: Pharmboy

Very interesting indeed.


10 posted on 05/08/2012 2:23:53 PM PDT by Nachum (The complete Obama list at www.nachumlist.com)
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To: count-your-change
Wasn’t Gath in the novel, The Rapes of Gath?

No, that was "Grath".
11 posted on 05/08/2012 2:40:24 PM PDT by Sopater (...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. - 2 COR 3:17b)
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To: Paisan
AND, how is it that they are STILL HERE...?

There are many who are working diligently to "remedy" that.
12 posted on 05/08/2012 2:41:56 PM PDT by Sopater (...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. - 2 COR 3:17b)
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To: Sopater

A grath is an animal with a very long neck so I’m not sure.


13 posted on 05/08/2012 3:12:02 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Pharmboy

An excellent article. Thanks for posting!


14 posted on 05/08/2012 3:14:22 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: mikeus_maximus
it's diametrically and drammatically different at its core from every other religion on earth.

In what way? Say, versus Zoroastrianism.

15 posted on 05/08/2012 3:24:02 PM PDT by Sirius Lee (When we cease to be good we'll cease to be great. Be for Goode.)
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To: Red_Devil 232; count-your-change

Both of you are most welcome.


16 posted on 05/08/2012 3:41:17 PM PDT by Pharmboy (Democrats lie because they must.)
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To: Theoria
Something I learned that the average Bible person missed: 1 Sam. 17:40 when David went out to meet Goliath note, he picked up FIVE stones. Why??

Now go to 2 Sam. 21: 16-22. Goliath had four sons, vs.16, 18,19, 21-22. David or one of his many Mighty Men killed all of them.

But I'm a romantic and think that when David picked up those five stones, he meant to kill them all not just Goliath.

17 posted on 05/08/2012 3:54:58 PM PDT by fish hawk (Religion: Man's attempt to gain salvation or the approbation of God by his own works)
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To: Sopater
When Frederick the Great asked the court preacher for an unanswerable proof, in one word, of the inspiration of the Bible, he replied “The Jew, your Majesty”. (from Dispensational Truths by Clarence Larkin, a must have book for Christians)
18 posted on 05/08/2012 4:10:11 PM PDT by fish hawk (Religion: Man's attempt to gain salvation or the approbation of God by his own works)
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To: fish hawk

You may well be right, but I feel compelled to point out that I don’t keep just one round in my revolver (which is a five-shot) -— but then maybe David was a better shot with his sling than I am with my gun ... :))


19 posted on 05/08/2012 4:14:57 PM PDT by Vesparado
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To: fish hawk

That is correct. David was a capable hunter.


20 posted on 05/08/2012 4:17:02 PM PDT by Theoria (Rush Limbaugh: Ron Paul sounds like an Islamic terrorist)
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To: Vesparado

I’m with you. That is why my shotgun (right here close by) is loaded with six shells, buckshot, slug, buckshot, slug, well you get the picture.


21 posted on 05/08/2012 4:23:50 PM PDT by fish hawk (Religion: Man's attempt to gain salvation or the approbation of God by his own works)
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To: Sopater

There are many who are working diligently to “remedy” that.

The “Book” says, they will fail...


22 posted on 05/08/2012 4:42:39 PM PDT by Paisan
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To: GraceG

ROTFLOL

That guy is so full of baloney. That graphic is perfect.


23 posted on 05/08/2012 8:24:19 PM PDT by F15Eagle (1 John 5:4-5, 4:15, 5:13; John 3:17-18, 6:69, 11:25, 14:6, 20:31; Rom10:8-11; 1 Tim 2:5; Titus 3:4-5)
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To: 75thOVI; agrace; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; ...

Thanks Pharmboy. Not sure, I'm tired and didn't read it carefully, probably one of *those* topics.




24 posted on 05/08/2012 9:20:37 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Pharmboy; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks Pharmboy.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


25 posted on 05/08/2012 9:20:37 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: mikeus_maximus; Sirius Lee

Sirius Lee is correct. Monotheism in a sense was there in Zoroastrianism around the same time. I don’t believe either influenced the other though..


26 posted on 05/09/2012 3:09:32 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Paisan
AND, how is it that they are STILL HERE...?

An antisemitic liberal once told me that it was a miracle the Jews were still in Israel or anywhere. I agreed, which I think startled him.

27 posted on 05/09/2012 4:53:21 AM PDT by Pollster1 (Can we afford as much government as welfare-addicted voters demand?)
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To: Paisan
AND, how is it that they are STILL HERE...?

And STILL managing to tick off surrounding peoples. Anti-semitism is rampant in the Mid-East, but forget that. Why is it making such a big comeback among Europeans, who really should know better after Hitler, and Leftists of all stripes?

28 posted on 05/09/2012 6:08:01 AM PDT by chesley (Eat what you want, and die like a man. Never trust anyone who hasn't been punched in the face)
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To: Paisan
The “Book” says, they will fail...

Yes, it does. :-)
29 posted on 05/09/2012 6:49:38 AM PDT by Sopater (...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. - 2 COR 3:17b)
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To: Pharmboy

BFLR


30 posted on 05/09/2012 6:53:45 AM PDT by antisocial (Texas SCV - Deo Vindice)
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To: Sirius Lee
You should read the book I mentioned, avaialble on Amazon for <$20. Some Greek philosophers and one Egyptian pharoah were monotheists too. That similarity to Hebrew monotheism is very superficial, however. Only the Hebrews worshipped a transcendant God, unconnected with nature, in a loving covenant with His people, and espoused a unique view of reality that did not blur the realms of the Divine, Nature, and Humanity as did all other religions, including those noted above. The book is not just someone's personal decaration of faith, but is a scholarly exploration of historical facts and details about mythological religions. Whatever the Bible is, it's not myth. You'll enjoy it, I think.
31 posted on 05/09/2012 7:03:34 AM PDT by mikeus_maximus (I won't vote for Romney, period. Voting for "the lesser of two evils" is still voting for evil.)
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To: Pharmboy

Hello boys..

32 posted on 05/09/2012 7:10:47 AM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: mikeus_maximus

Thanks, I will check it out.


33 posted on 05/09/2012 7:31:03 AM PDT by Sirius Lee (When we cease to be good we'll cease to be great. Be for Goode.)
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To: Sopater

I think you mean the Grapes on Raft.

A historical fiction novel about the spread of cheap (boxed) wine culture.


34 posted on 05/09/2012 11:05:49 AM PDT by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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To: chesley
Anti-semitism is rampant in the Mid-East, but forget that. Why is it making such a big comeback among Europeans, who really should know better after Hitler, and Leftists of all stripes?

Just part of Satan's plan, like the founding of islam.

35 posted on 05/09/2012 11:06:45 AM PDT by Max in Utah (A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within.)
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To: Max in Utah

Of course.

Fortunately, we know how it turns out in the long run. The short run can be pretty tough, though


36 posted on 05/09/2012 11:36:36 AM PDT by chesley (Eat what you want, and die like a man. Never trust anyone who hasn't been punched in the face)
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To: Pharmboy

Agreed. In your face, UNESCO . . .


37 posted on 05/11/2012 11:24:45 PM PDT by Olog-hai
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Khirbet Qeiyafa keyword, newest to oldest:
38 posted on 05/28/2012 2:17:06 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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