The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Historicity of the Old Testament

All those "scholars" who for years have dismissed the Old Testament's historicity have been getting hammered again and again as archaeological and other evidence confirms the accuracy of the Bible as a historical document.

One must understand that the goal of many of these scholars has never really been scholarship and truth; rather, it has been to undermine belief in the Bible and, consequently, the faith of Christians and Jews. You might think this a rather strident opinion, but the evidence is clear. For example, based on their writings many critical-historical scholars believe that there really was no historical David, certainly not as he is depicted in the Old Testament. And yet just consider the amount of documentation on David's life included in Scripture. For any non-Biblical ancient personality, this amount of documentation would be considered an historical treasure trove, especially when there exist snippets of corroborating references in other ancient documents. But not when it comes to David -- or, for that matter, Abraham or Moses -- because he was a religious figure, a person important to the faith of today's Christians and Jews. These same scholars would not even think to question the existence of some obscure potentate whose name might appear only in one or two vague references.

I bring this up because of something I recently came across -- a reference to a find in 2007 that I expect didn't make headlines in the US mainstream media. A researcher in the British Museum, while going through some of the thousands of cuneiform tablets kept in the Museum discovered the name of a minor Assyrian official who worked under King Nebuchadnezzar II. This same official is also mentioned in chapter 39 of the Book of Jeremiah. This corroboration of the existence of such a minor official who is mentioned in the Bible only lends credence to the historical accuracy of the Old Testament. For more information, read the article describing the find in the Telegraph.

A wonderful book on the subject of the Old Testament and its validity as a historical document was written recently by K. A. Kitchen, one of the world's foremost scholars on ancient Egypt and the Near East: On the Reliability of the Old Testament, Eerdmans (2003).

How good of God to bless us with the knowledge and ability to uncover these little pieces of history that increasingly prove to us the truth that is His Word.

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