Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

In 1896 archaeologists discovered a stele in Pharaoh Merneptah’s mortuary temple in Thebes,Egypt.  The stele measures 10’4” x 5’4”, and is written in Egyptian Hieroglypics.  It dates to 1209-1208 BC, which places it during the time of the Judges.

The stele was originally erected by Pharaoh Amenhotep III, but later inscribed by Merneptah (1213-1203 BC), the son of Ramses II.

Mummy of Pharaoh Merneptah

And we have Merneptah’s mummy!

The stele describes Merneptah’s victories over the Libyans et al, but the last two lines mention a prior military campaign in Israel (this campaign is not mentioned in the Bible): “Canaan is captive with all woe. Ashkelon is conquered, Gezer seized, Yanoam made nonexistent; Israel is wasted, bare of seed.  (more…)

Judaism and Christianity are unique among the world’s religions in that they stand or fall on the veracity of their historical claims.  If the Exodus did not occur, then Judaism is false, because the God of Judaism is the God who revealed Himself to the Hebrew people through the Exodus.  If Jesus did not exist or was not resurrected from the dead, then Christianity is false.  Other religions may incorporate historical elements into their religion, but the religious claims of the system are not based on such historical details.  If you removed the historical elements, the philosophical, ethical, and ritual teachings would still remain.  They are able to stand on their own fully apart from any historical context.  

Given the centrality historical events play in the Judaeo-Christian religions, it is important to establish the reliability of the historical accounts in order to lend credibility to the veracity of the spiritual claims that are tied to such events.  It’s important to establish that the stories we read about in the Bible are not mere stories or myths, but genuine historical events that transpired in a specific time and locale.  Can this be done?  Yes.  The historical claims of Judaism and Christianity can be corroborated by archaeological discoveries.