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Assignments for Archaeology and the OT

Recommended Methodology for Learning Experiences:

As a way to assist you in getting the most out of the learning experiences below, I suggest you do the following:

1) Read the required textbook reading first. Make a sincere effort at understanding the material in AOT especially – with particular attention to material that relates to the questions.

2) Read through the questions in the assignment.

3) Check my website (under the appropriate class title) for any hints in regard to the questions. "Hints" refers to the notations I sometimes include that, in a sentence or two, give you the gist of the article and or the point of the question(s) I have asked you to read in conjunction with the required texts. If you do not have internet access, let me know right away so I can provide a hard copy of any hints.

4) Read the articles and complete the assignment.

Assignment 1: Read AOT ch.1 and Currid's book in its entirety. Read the articles listed below. In 4-7 pages, answer the following questions:

1) In your own words, what is a "Tell"? In light of how tells are formed over time, what are some basic presuppositions one might make about things that would be unearthed in a tell?(see esp. Currid chs. 3,6)

2) Briefly explain (in your own words) the "Reisner-Fisher" and "Wheeler-Kenyon" methods of excavation. What are some unavoidable weaknesses in a method that digs only trenches at a tell (as with Wheeler-Kenyon)? See esp. Currid, ch.6.

3) What does pottery and building-type tell us about ancient people and the way they lived? (hint: what might the variety of containers and cooking utensils in a modern family's kitchen or the type of house in which they live tell us about that family?). See esp. Currid chs. 7-8).

Assignment 2:Read AOT chs. 2 and 9, and POTW pp. 19-42 (Sumerians). Read as well the articles listed below and answer the following questions in a total of 4-7 pages.

Evaluate the ancient cuneiform parallels to the relevant early chapters of Genesis. In what areas do they aid or obstruct biblical interpretation? What questions do they generate and how would you address those questions?

Read the following in connection with this question:

"What the Babylonian Flood Stories Can and Cannot Teach us about the Genesis Flood," by Tikva Frymer-Kensky, Biblical Archaeology Review4:4 (1978):32-41.

"The Antediluvian Section of the Sumerian King List and Genesis 5," by John Walton, Biblical Archaeologist 44 (1981):207-208.

Assignment 3: Read AOT chs. 3-5, as well as the articles listed below and answer the following questions in a total of 4-7 pages.

Tell me what problems has the discipline of archaeology raised in connection with the historicity of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) and the biblical narratives about them?

Read the following in connection with this question:

"The Patriarchal Age: Myth or History? By Kenneth Kitchen, Biblical Archaeology Review21:2 (1995):48-57, 88, 90, 92, 94-95.

“Finding Historical Memories,” by Ronald Hendel Biblical Archaeology Review 21:4 (1995): 52-59 and 70-71 (his response to Kitchen above)

Assignment 4: Read AOT chs. 6-8, and POTW251-292, as well as the articles listed below and answer the following questions in a total of 6-10 pages:

1) Explain the controversy involving Joseph's presence in Egypt and the connection (or dis-connection) of the biblical account of his life in Egypt and the Hyksos people of Egypt's Second Intermediate Period. What contribution has archaeology made (if any) toward solving this issue?

2) Read and evaluate the following article: Nahum Sarna, "Exploring Exodus: The Oppression," Biblical Archaeologist 49 (1986):68-80.What are the author's conclusions, how does he support them, and do they have any impact on the biblical story of the oppression?

3) Read the article by Robert Steiglitz, "Ancient Records and the Exodus Plagues," Biblical Archaeology Review 13:6 (1987): 46-49.Judging by the content, do you think it does an adequate job of "validating" the biblical record of the plagues? What does the article demonstrate about the limits of archaeology for faith?

4) Read and evaluate the following article: Donald Redford, "The Monotheism of the Heretic Pharaoh: Precursor of Mosaic Monotheism or Egyptian Anomaly?" Biblical Archaeology Review 13:3 (1987): 16-32.What are the author's conclusions, how does he support them, and do they have any impact on the biblical story of Moses?

5) Summarize the problems with retracing the route of the exodus and the traditional location of Jebel Musa for Mount Sinai.Read the following in connection with these questions:

Charles Krahmalkov, "Exodus Itinerary Confirmed by Egyptian Evidence," Biblical Archaeology Review 20:5(1994):54-62, 79

Michael S. Heiser, "Mount Sinai in Arabia?A Reconsideration of Frank Moore Cross's Proposal" (available on my website, msheiser.tripod.com/page1/ - if the site is not up and running by the time you get to this assignment, notify me by email for a hard copy).

Assignment 5: Read AOT ch. 10, and POTW 157-182 (Canaanites and Amorites), 293-316 (Ammonites), 317-334 (Moabites), and 335-348 (Edomites) and the articles below, answering the following questions:

In 6-10 pages, explain the controversy over the dating of the exodus from Egypt and the Israelite entrance into Canaan.How has archaeology contributed to this debate (on either side)?

Read the following in connection with this assignment in the order listed:

http://www.tinninroad.org/ministers/exodusdate.html

http://www.ldolphin.org/Jericho.shtml

Charles Dyer, "The Date of the Exodus Reexamined," Bibliotheca Sacra 140: 559 (1983):225-243

Eugene Merrill, "The Late Bronze/Early Iron Age Transition and the Emergence of Israel," Bibliotheca Sacra 152:606 (1995):145-162.

Gerald Mattingly, "The Exodus-Conquest and the Archaeology of Transjordan: New Light on an Old Problem," Grace Theological Journal 4 (1983):245-262.

Bryant Wood, "Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho?" Biblical Archaeology Review 16:2 (1990):44-58

Piotr Bienkowski and Bryant Wood, "Battle over Jericho Heats Up," Biblical Archaeology Review 16:5 (1990):45-49, 68-69 (this is Bienkowski's response to Woods earlier article above, and Wood's rejoinder).

Assignment 6:

Part I - Read AOT chs. 11-12 and POTW 231-250 (Philistines) and the articles listed below.

In 2-3 pages, summarize the archaeological controversy (as it relates to the Old Testament) concerning just when the Philistines entered Canaan. In conjunction with this assignment, read Trude Dothan, "What We Know about the Philistines," Biblical Archaeology Review 8:4 (1982):20-44.

Part II - 

The view that the ark of the covenant is now in Ethiopia has recently been popularized in a book by Graham Hancock entitled The Sign and the Seal: The Search for the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Although Hancock's book is helpful at points, it is given to much speculation and stilted handling of the biblical evidence (not to mention antagonism toward the Old Testament itself). For a review of Hancock's biases, see my article, "Moses as High Priest and Sorcerer? A Response to Graham Hancock's Egyptian Explanation for the Ark of the Covenant," available on my website.

Assignment 7: Read AOT chs. 13-14 and POTW 127-156 (Hittites), 183-206 (Phoenicians), and 207-230 (Arameans).In a total of 6-10 pages, answer the following questions:

1) Summarize the importance of the find at Tel Dan and the controversy surrounding it. Evaluate the evidence for and against the authenticity of this fragmentary reference to King David.

Read the following articles (in this order) in conjunction with this assignment:

Hershel Shanks, " 'David' Found at Dan," Biblical Archaeology Review20

:2 (1994):26-39

Philip Davies, " 'House of David' Built on Sand: The Sins of the Biblical Maximizers," Biblical Archaeology Review 20:4 (1994):54-55

Anson Rainey, "The 'House of David' and the House of the Deconstructionists," Biblical Archaeology Review 20:6 (1994): 47, 68, 70, 72

2) Read the following articles and tell me where the author locates situates the temple mount (and why), where he situates the original position of the ark of the covenant (and why), and, lastly, why would his findings be important to both believers and unbelieving Jews and Muslims?

Leen Ritmeyer, "Locating the Original Temple Mount," Biblical Archaeology Review 18:2 (1992):24-45, 64-65

Leen Ritmeyer, "The Ark of the Covenant: Where it Stood in Solomon's Temple," Biblical Archaeology Review 22:1 (1996):46-55, 70-73

Assignment 8:Read AOT chs. 15-16 and POTW pp. 77-106 (Assyrians), as well as the articles listed below:

Read the following articles and, in 4-7 pages, tell me (a) why would some believers be troubled at the content of these articles (i.e., at the finds mentioned in the articles); and (b) should such people be troubled? Why or why not?(c)How could such finds be construed as being entirely consistent with the biblical record?

Ze'ev Meshel, "Did Yahweh have a Consort?" Biblical Archaeology Review 5:2 (1979):24-35

Glen Taylor, "Was Yahweh Worshipped as the Sun?" Biblical Archaeology Review 20:3 (1994):52-61, 90-91

Ruth Hestrin, "Understanding Asherah: Exploring Semitic Iconography," Biblical Archaeology Review 17:5 (1991):50-59

Assignment 9:Read AOT chs. 17-20 and POTW 43-76 (Babylonians) and 107-126 (Persians), as well as the articles below.Answer the following questions in a total of 4-7 pages.

Why is the mention of Belshazzar in Daniel viewed as problematic by some scholars? How does archaeology assist in the treatment of this issue? Read Alan Millard, "Daniel and Belshazzar in History," Biblical Archaeology Review 11:3 (1985):72-78 in conjunction with this part of the assignment.

"Archaeological Backgrounds of the Exilic and Postexilic Era Part I: The Archaeological Background of Daniel," Edwin M. Yamauchi, Bibliotheca Sacra 137:545 (1980):3-16

1.Summarize the problems historians often have with the contents of the book of Daniel. Summarize as well how evangelical scholars have responded to these problems.

"Archaeological Backgrounds of the Exilic and Postexilic Era, Part 2: The Archaeological Background of Esther," Edwin M. Yamauchi, Bibliotheca Sacra 137:546 (1980):99-117

2.Summarize the problems historians often have with the contents of the book of Esther. Summarize as well how evangelical scholars have responded to these problems.