About the Course …
Archaeological work has been carried out in the lands of the ancient Near East, and particularly in Palestine, since the middle of the 19th century, and biblical scholars are now able to draw on a wide range of data uncovered by generations of archaeologists. But the nature and methods of archaeology are often misunderstood, and the relationship of archaeology and the study of the Bible has become controversial in recent decades. How far can archaeology be used to ‘prove’ the truth of the Bible? Some scholars have questioned whether the attempt should even be made.
This course will firstly introduce students to the world of the ancient Near East, which is the historical and geographical context of the Old Testament. It will then describe the methods of archaeology, explaining both its potential for Biblical Studies and also its limitations. The rest of the course will be taken up with discussion of particular issues in Old Testament studies which illustrate the role archaeology can play: the question of writing and literacy in the ancient Near East and in Israel and Judah; and the question of historicity as it relates to key people and events in Israel’s history.
The aim of the course is to enable students to reach a balanced assessment of current opinions and arguments in the debate about archaeology and the Old Testament and to offer a positive approach to it.
You are required to complete two assignments of 2500-3000 words.