Archaeology and the Bible: What Has Assyria Revealed?


What Has Assyria Revealed?

1. Is the Bible True?

What does this question actually mean? This introductory class will demonstrate the problems in applying this question to understanding the Bible and set the stage for the case studies of archaeological discoveries to come in the subsequent lessons.

2. When Israel and the Arabs Were Allies

The archaeological record reveals a different relationship between Israel and the Arabs than the one which exists today. This lecture will introduce Israel and the Arabs into the historical record and demonstrate that in the beginning, they were allies.

3. The Burial Site of Moses: A Case Study

Some of the earliest discoveries from Assyria in modern northern Iraq and Moab in present day Jordan help us to understand the history the Bible including the meaning of the burial site of Moses at Mt. Nebo during the 840s BCE.

4. The Tel Dan Stela: A Case Study

The discovery in 1993 of the Tel Dan Stela produced the first mention of David outside the Hebrew Bible. The reference to the “House of David” in the Kingdom of Judah helps develop a more complete reconstruction of Israelite history in the 840s BCE and provides another opportunity to compare the biblical record and archaeological artifacts.

5. The Black Obelisk and Israel: A Case Study

One of the first archaeological discoveries when archaeology began in the 1840s in modern northern Iraq was the Assyrian Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III showing the Israelite king Jehu paying tribute to Assyria in 841 BCE. This object combined with the artifacts from the previous three classes will enable us to better understand the ancient kingdom of Israel during this crucial time in its history and for the writing of the Hebrew Bible.

6. How Did Ahab Die?: Ahab, Aramaeans, and Archaeology

Both the Assyrian and biblical texts mention several Aramaean kings by name. The biblical texts also contain a number of confrontations between the Aramaeans and Israel which one would not expect to find in the Assyrian records; but the biblical texts do not contain any references to the Assyrians at this time either. The result is a challenge to reconstruct what happened in history.

7/8. The Assyrian Assault on Jerusalem: A Case Study (two part class)

The Assyrian attack on Jerusalem in 701 BCE is one of the best documented events from the ancient Near East incorporating Assyrian texts and reliefs, archaeological evidence, biblical texts, and geological evidence including new information just revealed. In this incident one may observe the current conflict among biblical scholars who take the Hebrew Bible seriously as an historical document and those who do not.

9. Priests, Prophets, and Politics: The Writing of the Hebrew Bible

Using the examples of archaeological discoveries and biblical texts discussed in the previous classes, it will now be possible to draw some conclusions about the writers of the Hebrew Bible during the period of Assyrian domination in the ancient Near East.