The Bible and Ancient History


#1

So, I'm beginning an Ancient History BA course in September, and I've been reading up on it. Now, admittedly most of the books I've read unfortunately seem to have an anti-Christian bias, yet they consistently claim that there are major discrepancies between the Bible and historical and archaeological facts. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good book, written by a Catholic who knows what he's/she's talking about, that answers these frequent accusations of the historical veracity of the Bible.


#2

LINK: churchinhistory.org/

Here is a few:
openlibrary.org/books/OL7036612M/A_general_history_of_the_Christian_era
archive.org/details/generalhistoryof02gugguoft
archive.org/details/generalhistoryof03gugguoft
openlibrary.org/books/OL7203876M/Compendium_of_church_history
archive.org/details/amanualofchurchh01funkuoft
openlibrary.org/books/OL7065336M/A_manual_of_church_history


#3

These might help also:
openlibrary.org/books/OL23285118M/The_Catholic_student%27s_aids_to_the_Bible
archive.org/details/WhereWeGotTheBibleOurDebtToTheCatholicChurch
eclipseofthechurch.com/Library/Martin_Corruptions.pdf
archive.org/details/fourgospelsexami00heis


#4

I did a massive amount of research on this topic for my dissertation about 20 years ago and I wrote a condensed article that I have published on my site called "The Bible vs. Archaeology." scripturescholar.com/BibleArchaeology.pdf
It is only 14 pages long, not book length, but it can give a perspective on how to read books on archaeology related to Biblical events. The short answer is that if one properly identifies the different population in the middle east, the record dramatically backs up the Bibles testimony regarding the events it describes.
grace and peace,
Bruce


#5

I cannot help you with any book references, but I can offer you some advice. Get in touch with the priest associated with the Newman House organization on your campus. He is experienced with problems such as yours. If that is not possible, try to find if there is a Jesuit institution near you. Talk to one of the priests there.
On line, look up Israeli Archeological finds. The Israelli Government has spent millions upon millions of dollars in archeological exploration since they formed their government to proove the Jewish right to their land. Just recently they found the ruins of one of King David's Palaces in Judea.
But, above all, do not confront your Professors in class with this information. Not only will you get your head bitten off and be rediculed, but it could imperil your grade. If your professor teaches something against the Church, I suggest you make an appointment with him and discuss the matter, Let him/her know that you are a practicing Catholic and you resent the teaching of falsehoods about the Church. If the Professer is Anti-Catholic, then make an appointment with the Dean of Students and discuss the matter. I would consult the Catholic Chaplain for the School first.


#6

[quote="Thaladan, post:1, topic:333350"]
So, I'm beginning an Ancient History BA course in September, and I've been reading up on it. Now, admittedly most of the books I've read unfortunately seem to have an anti-Christian bias, yet they consistently claim that there are major discrepancies between the Bible and historical and archaeological facts. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good book, written by a Catholic who knows what he's/she's talking about, that answers these frequent accusations of the historical veracity of the Bible.

[/quote]

Speaking as a student of history (BA, also in 1996 ), the longer it takes you to get over the many biases in history, the harder you will find your major, and the less you will get out of it.

What you need to get a jump start on is the differences between events, chronology, and historiography, which are the elements of history...and put away worries about "history repeating itself" (it doesn't), "revisionist history" (no such thing, only historiography changes), and the infamous "if we don't study history, we are doomed to repeat our past".

Finally understand that history has nothing to do with politics, but rather it is the purest form of academics.

Have fun with it, and get some rest, because with the reading list and writing demands of the major, you probably won't see much sleep for a few years.

But, it's worth it.


#7

=Thaladan;10996674]So, I'm beginning an Ancient History BA course in September, and I've been reading up on it. Now, admittedly most of the books I've read unfortunately seem to have an anti-Christian bias, yet they consistently claim that there are major discrepancies between the Bible and historical and archaeological facts. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good book, written by a Catholic who knows what he's/she's talking about, that answers these frequent accusations of the historical veracity of the Bible.

FYI:

This is:

  1. True :)

2.To be expected:D

WHY?

Because the Bible is not, does not claim to be a "History book" in the sense of a HISTORICAL BOOK. Think of it MORE as a STORY book grounded on truth and experiece
:thumbsup:

Nor is it a Scientific Book

It teaches "a history' BUT NOT "the history"

God Bless,

Patrick /PJM


#8

[quote="Thaladan, post:1, topic:333350"]
So, I'm beginning an Ancient History BA course in September, and I've been reading up on it. Now, admittedly most of the books I've read unfortunately seem to have an anti-Christian bias, yet they consistently claim that there are major discrepancies between the Bible and historical and archaeological facts. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good book, written by a Catholic who knows what he's/she's talking about, that answers these frequent accusations of the historical veracity of the Bible.

[/quote]

When we realize that historical accuracy is not the point of the Bible, then the argument becomes moot and a waste of time.

The Bible exists for the sake of salvation, and everything in it for the sake of salvation is without error. That's the whole point of the Bible - salvation.

Historical accuracy isn't the point.

-Tim-


#9

[quote=Thaladan]… they consistently claim that there are major discrepancies between the Bible and historical and archaeological facts …
[/quote]

This is simply not true especially the era between the division of the kingdom through to Christ. The books of Kings are more accurate / more comprehensive than anything found in Assyrian records or the Babylonian Chronicles.

As for the times preceding David, there is more evidence of Biblical accuracy than secularists would care to admit. My area of research pertains to the unbroken cycle of ‘sevens’ which were set into motion at the time of Moses. No, I am not R.C. but nothing in my research would contradict traditional Christian belief. (Heck, I even quote Maccabees and the fathers! :wink: ) My book here:

All the best in your B.A. course.


#10

Here is my take, and what has helped me to learn more of the Bible and man made acedemics, is first and foremost give the Bible the benefit of the doubt, hold it up as the authority. Then as you study what man has compiled as his version of history, compare the differences, which will amazingly work to your favor in learning the Bible and your required studies in school. I have done this in the past when studying science and philosophy by realizing that those are all man made and always being revised and proven to be full of errors, not to mention radicals who have changed the books in order to advance an agenda (revisionist historians), while often enough as time goes on discoveries end up showing that the Bible was right all along.


#11

I don't know much about the other posters' claims, but I do recall that, until recently, there was growing doubt that King David even existed among archeologists, because nothing had been found referring to him outside of the Bible and similar late sources.

"Then, on July 21, 1993, a team of archaeologists led by Prof. Avraham Biran, excavating Tel Dan in the northern Galilee, found a triangular piece of basalt rock, measuring 23 x 36 cm. inscribed in Aramaic. It was subsequently identified as part of a victory pillar erected by the king of Syria and later smashed by an Israelite ruler. The inscription, which dates to the ninth century bce, that is to say, about a century after David was thought to have ruled Israel, includes the words Beit David ("House" or "Dynasty" of David"). It is the first near-contemporaneous reference to David ever found. It is not conclusive; but it does strongly indicate that a king called David established a dynasty in Israel during the relevant period."

It is also striking that some of the founders and Jewish commanders in the 1948 War of Liberation also relied on the Bible to know what parts of the land they wished to take and hold most strongly--and their choices were repaid by giving Israel resources they needed, particularly in the Negeb.


#12

Thanks for those links, soroman and Bruce Killian, I'll have a look through them.

[quote="George_Stegmeir, post:5, topic:333350"]
On line, look up Israeli Archeological finds. The Israelli Government has spent millions upon millions of dollars in archeological exploration since they formed their government to proove the Jewish right to their land. Just recently they found the ruins of one of King David's Palaces in Judea.
But, above all, do not confront your Professors in class with this information. Not only will you get your head bitten off and be rediculed, but it could imperil your grade. If your professor teaches something against the Church, I suggest you make an appointment with him and discuss the matter, Let him/her know that you are a practicing Catholic and you resent the teaching of falsehoods about the Church. If the Professer is Anti-Catholic, then make an appointment with the Dean of Students and discuss the matter. I would consult the Catholic Chaplain for the School first.

[/quote]

Interesting point about the Israeli archaeology; I'll look it up.

I don't think my professors are particularly anti-Catholic. I was very forthright in my personal statement about my religious beliefs, and, well, I got accepted. :)

PJM and TimothyH, I understand that the Bible is not meant to be a historical book, but if there are glaring historical discrepancies, then that tends to dissuade potential converts. Personally, I'd first like to know whether there are historical discrepancies, and, if there are, why.


#13

The Bible has been written from multiple perspectives. When it comes to the Joshua conquests, for example, the Bible is not even consistent with itself—in terms of history that is.


#14

Can you give an example Darryl concerning Joshua conquests inconsistencies?


#15

[quote="Cyberseeker, post:9, topic:333350"]
My area of research pertains to the unbroken cycle of 'sevens' which were set into motion at the time of Moses. No, I am not R.C. but nothing in my research would contradict traditional Christian belief. (Heck, I even quote Maccabees and the fathers! ;) ) My book here:

Since I am always interested in chronology and since you mentioned that you have done some research and writing, I was interested, but I am unable to evaluate your work to see if it is of interest because you don't even give one date, or better two or more far apart dates that support your cycle to sevens. I have also done a study freely available that goes back at least to Abraham and arguable to Adam. scripturescholar.com/JubileeTimetable.pdf and since you are apparently also interested in the future see scripturescholar.com/ApocalypseKey.pdf

By the way the Jubilee cycles link right up to the point when the Catholic Church instituted the holy year in 1208AD and then in its current pattern in 1300.
Grace and peace,
Bruce

[/quote]


#16

Among the Jews

The belief in the sacred character of certain books is as old as the Hebrew literature. Moses and the prophets had committed to writing a part of the message they were to deliver to Israel from God. Now the naby (prophet), whether he spoke or wrote, was considered by the Hebrews the authorized interpreter of the thoughts and wishes of Yahweh. He was called, likewise, "the man of God," "the man of the Spirit" (Hosea 9:7). It was around the Temple and the Book that the religious and national restoration of the Jewish people was effected after their exile (see 2 Maccabees 2:13-14, and the prologue of Sirach in the Septuagint). Philo (from 20 B.C. to A.D. 40) speaks of the "sacred books", "sacred word", and of "most holy scripture" (De vita Moysis, iii, no. 23). The testimony of Flavius Josephus (A.D. 37-95) is still more characteristic; it is in his writings that the word inspiration (epipnoia) is met for the first time. He speaks of twenty-two books which the Jews with good reason consider Divine, and for which, in case of need, they are ready to die (Contra Apion., I, 8). The belief of the Jews is the inspiration of the Scriptures did not diminish from the time in which they were dispersed throughout the world, without temple, without altar, without priests; on the contrary this faith increased so much that it took the place of everything else.

Among the Christians

The gospel contains no express declaration about the origin and value of the Scriptures, but in it we see that Jesus Christ used them in conformity with the general belief, i.e. as the Word of God. The most decisive texts in this respect are found in the Fourth Gospel, v, 39; x, 35. The words scripture, Word of God, Spirit of God, God, in the sayings and writings of the Apostles are used indifferently (Romans 4:3; 9:17). St. Paul alone appeals expressly more than eighty times to those Divine oracles of which Israel was made the guardian (cf. Romans 3:2). This persuasion of the early Christians was not merely the effect of a Jewish tradition blindly accepted and never understood. St. Peter and St. Paul give the reason why it was accepted: it is that all Scripture is inspired of God (theopneustos) (2 Timothy 3:16; cf. 2 Peter 1:20 21). It would be superfluous to spend any time in proving that Tradition has faithfully kept the Apostolic belief in the inspiration of Scripture. Moreover, this demonstration forms the subject-matter of a great number of works (see especially Chr. pesch, "De inspiratione Sacrae Scripturae", 1906, p. 40-379). It is enough for us to add that on several occasions the Church has defined the inspiration of the canonical books as an article of faith (see Denzinger, Enchiridion, 10th ed., n. 1787, 1809). Every Christian sect still deserving that name believes in the inspiration of the Scriptures, although several have more or less altered the idea of inspiration.

Value of this belief

History alone allows us to establish the fact that Jews and Christians have always believed in the inspiration of the Bible. But what is this belief worth? Proofs of the rational as well as of the dogmatic order unite in justifying it. Those who first recognized in the Bible a superhuman work had as foundation of their opinion the testimony of the Prophets, of Christ, and of the Apostles, whose Divine mission was sufficiently established by immediate experience or by history. To this purely rational argument can be added the authentic teaching of the Church. A Catholic may claim this additional certitude without falling into a vicious circle, because the infallibility of the Church in its teaching is proved independently of the inspiration of Scripture; the historical value, belonging to Scripture in common with every other authentic and truthful writing, is enough to prove this.

inspiration and history

other links -

proving inspiration

fathers of the church

proofs for the bible in history

hope this helps

God bless


#17

[quote="Cyberseeker, post:14, topic:333350"]
Can you give an example Darryl concerning Joshua conquests inconsistencies?

[/quote]

Christine Hayes, Yale University, I believe Lecture 12 in the series has a pretty good discussion of this, free stuff from learnoutloud ancient history section.
oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/rlst-145#sessions

Also here, in written form

cresourcei.org/conquest.html


#18

Key dates would include:
[LIST]
*]Exodus from Egypt - 1444 BC
*]Division of Kingdom - 930 BC
*]Destruction 1st temple - 587 BC
*]Decree of Artaxerxes - 457 BC
*]Crucifixion of Christ - 30 AD
[/LIST]

Looks good. :thumbsup: Am reading it now. Apart from minor differences we see eye to eye concerning things like Israels sojourn in Egypt and the 49-year Jubilee cycle. I might start another topic if anything else crops up.

Did the church count in increments of 49 or 50 years?


#19

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