I recently went on a tour of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago led by Ted Wright, Executive Director of Epic Archeology. After exploring his site here are a few of the many topics I found of interest.
- Among the top 10 things to know about Biblical archeology are that “every major New Testament village and town has been discovered”, the Book of Acts records accurate geographic references, and there is an “historical synchronism” between the Assyrian record and the Old Testament regarding Sennacherib’s sacking of Lachish and the siege of Jerusalem. The prism containing the annals of Sennacherib is on display in the Oriental Institute.
- The uraeus representing the Egyptian goddess Wadjet was a cobra often seen on the heads of statues of the pharaohs. When the Israelites yearned to return to Egypt, God sent them poisonous snakes to remind them what would be waiting if they went back (Numbers 21). As a cure for the bites Moses hung a copper snake on a pole which was how John 3 represented Jesus on the cross.
- The references to Pharaoh hardening his heart is evidence that Exodus was written by an eye-witness who knew the Egyptian Book of the Dead where a weighty, hardened heart meant a miserable afterlife.
In the video below Ted Wright reviews one of the documentary films in Timothy Mahoney’s Patterns of Evidence series. Some of the questions asked in these documentaries are whether the Exodus and Conquest happened in the 15th century BC, where was the Red Sea crossing and whether Moses would have been able to write the Torah.
There is also the question of whether Hebrew is the language of “the world’s oldest alphabet”, a position held by Douglas Petrovich. The discovery of the origin of the alphabet involved the discovery of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim at the beginning of the Sojourn in Egypt at Avaris. As Petrovich presented the data, they would have been the most likely inventors. This alphabet made it possible for Moses to write the Bible and for the Israelites to read it.