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Learning Experiences


Please read through this entire section thoroughly. It contains important information on assignments as well as submission instructions. Please note: all learning experiences must be completed before a final grade can be issued.

The student is required to read the following materials in their entirety.These materials include the required textbooks (see immediately below) as well as articles that are listed under specific assignments.Articles are boldfaced where they are assigned. Again, they can be obtained at a college or public library through either their own holdings or on loan (ask the librarian).If you do not have access to ANY library at all, please notify me as indicated above as soon as possible.It is the student's responsibility to inform the instructor in regard to the availability of materials.If you do not have library access, we can work out alternative learning experiences.I will, however, ask you via email or "snail-mail" to demonstrate your lack of access to ANY library at all.For your convenience, I have posted a master list of the articles on my website ( by publication and year so you can hand them to a librarian (if necessary) for ordering.If you need to order articles via inter-library loan, do it as soon as possible – and do them all at once.


Required textbooks:

Walter Kaiser, A History of Israel:From the Bronze Age to the Jewish Wars (Broadman & Holman); abbreviated as KAISER below

Alfred Hoerth, Archaeology and the Old Testament (Baker); abbreviated as AOT below


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 – 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.



*** If you are concurrently enrolled in my class "Archaeology and the Old Testament," you MAY count readings and answers to questions that overlapbetween the classes toward BOTH classes.


Assignment 1 – Read KAISER, chs. 1-3,AOT ch. 1., as well as the articles below:


Mark Chavalas, "Recent Trends In The Study of Israelite Historiography," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 38:2 (1995):161-169.


In 4-7 pages, answer the following questions:

1.What is historiography?

2.List and summarize the viewpoints of the various "schools" of Israel's history / historiography. What are the primary reasons for the skepticism in certain schools?

3.Compare Kaiser and Chavalas – how similar are their views on Israel's history and historiography? Are there dissimilarities?

4.Since skepticism inevitably derives (to some degree) over the disagreement of archaeological data, how should those scholars and students who believe the Old Testament is God's word use archaeology?


Assignment 2 – Read KAISER, ch. 4, AOT chs. 2-5 and the articles below In the order they are listed).


Donald J. Wiseman, "Abraham In History And Tradition, Part I:Abraham The Hebrew," Bibliotheca Sacra 134:534 (1977):123-130

Donald J. Wiseman, "Abraham in History and Tradition, Part II: Abraham the Prince," Bibliotheca Sacra 134:535 (1977):228-237.

"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)


In 4-7 pages, summarize the evidence for the historicity of Abraham, interacting with objections to those evidences.


Assignment 3 – Read KAISER chs. 5-6, AOT chs. 6-7, and the articles below (in the order given):


Nahum Sarna, "Exploring Exodus:The Oppression,"Biblical Archaeologist 49 (1986):68-80.

"The Duration of the Egyptian Bondage" by Harold W. Hoehner, Bibliotheca Sacra 126:504 (1969):306-316

"The Meaning of the Divine Name YHWH," Charles R. Gianotti, Bibliotheca Sacra 142:565 (1985):38-51

Donald Redford, "The Monotheism of the Heretic Pharaoh:Precursor of Mosaic Monotheism or Egyptian Anomaly?"Biblical Archaeology Review 13:3 (1987): 16-32.


In 5-8 pages, answer the following questions:


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)Summarize the controversy concerning extra-biblical evidence for the bondage/oppression in Egypt.

3)Summarize the confusion over exactly how long the Israelites were in Egypt?What are the alternatives for sorting out the pertinent biblical verses?

4)Summarize the options for what the divine name YHWH means.Which view do you find most persuasive?(feel free to use other sources)

5.What are the Redford's conclusions regarding the monotheism of Akhenaten? How does he support them, and would they have any impact on the biblical story of Moses?


Assignment 4 – Read KAISER chs. 7-8, AOT ch. 8, and the articles below. Answer the questions associated with each article in a cumulative total of 5-10 pages.


"Divine Hardening in the Old Testament," Robert B. Chisholm Jr., Bibliotheca Sacra 153:612 (1996):410-434


1.Why is the hardening of pharaoh's heart controversial? What is Chisholm's solution?


2.Compare the two articles below on the plagues in Egypt: James K. Hoffmeier, "Egypt, Plagues in," in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 2, pp. 374-378, Ed. By David Noel Freedman (Doubleday, 1992); and Robert Steiglitz, "Ancient Records and the Exodus Plagues, "Biblical Archaeology Review 13:6 (1987): 46-49.Do you feel one is more accepting of the biblical account than the other? Why or why not? Judging by the content of both articles, do you think they do an adequate job of "validating" the biblical record of the plagues? What do these articles demonstrate about the limits of archaeology for faith?


All the articles below deal with the chronological problem of the exodus.  Read your texts first to get a basic idea of the debate.

"The Sphinx Stele Of Thutmose IV And the Date Of The Exodus," by Charles F. Aling, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society22:2 (1979):97-101

"The Biblical City Of Ramses," by Charles F. Aling, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society25:2 (1982):129-137

"Paul’s Use of “About 450 Years” in Acts 13:20," by Eugene H. Merrill, Bibliotheca Sacra 138:551 (1981):246-257

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


3.Summarize the (biblical) textual problems with dating the exodus precisely.Which position or resolution do you think is most workable and why?What do Aling's articles contribute to the debate?


Bernard Batto, "Red Sea or Reed Sea?"Biblical Archaeology Review 10:4 (1984):56-63

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, - if the site is not up and running by the time you get to this assignment, notify me by email for a hard copy).There is some dense textual discussion here, but it isn't pertinent to the major thrust of the article (so don't worry about it) – that the Sinai of Moses is NOT in the southern tip of what is today the Sinai peninsula.


4.Generally, what is your opinion of the article by Batto?Does his suggestion harm the authenticity of the biblical story, or is it just a workable alternative?Why?


5.How secure do you think Krahmalkov's contentions are about confirming the exodus itinerary?Do his arguments answer all the questions?How? If not, which ones still stand?


6.What is the gist of my article regarding Mount Sinai, esp. as it relates to Paul's statement in the book of Galatians?


Assignment 5 – Read KAISER chs. 9-13, AOT chs. 10-11, and the articles below:


Part I

In 5-8 pages, explain the controversy over the dating and nature of the Israelite entrance into Canaan.How has archaeology contributed to this debate (on either side)?

Read the following in connection with this assignment:

Volkmar Fritz, "Conquest or Settlement?The Early Iron Age in Palestine,"Biblical Archaeologist 50 (1987):84-100.

Adam Zertal, "Israel Enters Canaan:Following the Pottery Trail," Biblical Archaeology Review 17:5 (1991):28-47

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

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).


Part 2 

With respect to the era of the Judges, CHOOSE 1 of the following – give me your position on one of these matters in 1-3 pages:

a)How does knowing the location and significance of Ophrah help explain the Gideon stories (from beginning to his death)?Use a Bible dictionary for help, esp. a dictionary relating to Bible places.

b)Explain how Jephthah carried out his vow – did he sacrifice his daughter or not?

c)How could it be morally right for God to call Samson because "he had something against the Philistines"?


Assignment 6 -Read KAISER chs. 14-19, AOT chs. 12-14, and the articles below.Answer the questions in a cumulative total of 5-10 pages.


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 on how the promise of the Land to Abraham may or may not have been fulfilled during the monarchy of David and Solomon (whether you realize it or not, this question determines whether or not you believe in a coming literal millennium or not).


"Fulfillment of the Land Promise in the Old Testament," Jeffrey L. Townsend, Bibliotheca Sacra 142:568 (1985):320-333

"Covenant Conditionality And A Future For Israel," Ronald W. Pierce, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 37:1 (1994):27-38

Why would the issue of whether Israel received the promised Land affect one's view of the millennial kingdom (literal 1,000 years or spiritual fulfillment through the Church)?Without letting your theological preconceptions dictate your answer, who builds a better case?What are the main issues you'll want to think about more?


3)Read "The Case for Kingship in Deuteronomy and the Former Prophets," David M. Howard, Jr., Westminster Theological Journal 52:1 (1990):101-115.Do you think God approved of the institution of kingship?Why or why not?Are there any conditions to be met?Why was Samuel so worried about it?


Assignment 7 -Read KAISER chs. 20-26,AOT chs. 15-17, and the articles below.Answer all the questions in a total of 4-7 pages.


"The Polemic against Baalism in Israel’s Early History and Literature," Robert B. Chisholm, Jr., Bibliotheca Sacra 151:603 (1994):267-283


1.How did the prophets preach and argue the superiority of Yahweh using pagan Canaanite religious literature?

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

Why would some believers be troubled at the content of these last two 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?


Assignment 8 –an introduction to I and II Chronicles in a study Bible of your choice, looking for some comment regarding the historiographical differences in the history recorded in I & II Samuel, I & II Kings and that of I & II Chronicles.Then read the articles below:


"The Reign Of Asa (2 Chronicles 14-16): An Example Of The Chronicler’s Theological Method," Raymond Dillard, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 23:3(1980):207-218

"Reward and Punishment in Chronicles: The Theology of Immediate Retribution,"Raymond B. Dillard, Westminster Theological Journal 46:1 (1984):164-172


In 4-7 pages, why is the chronicler selective in his use of material?Is there any intent to deceive his readers?Are his chronicles still accurate history?Why or why not?


Assignment 9 –Read KAISER chs. 27-31, AOT chs. 18-20, and the articles below.Answer the questions below in a total of 4-7 pages.


"Modern Rationalism and the Book of Daniel," Gleason L. Archer, Jr., Bibliotheca Sacra 136:542 (1979):129-147

Alan Millard, "Daniel and Belshazzar in History,"Biblical Archaeology Review 11:3 (1985):72-78

"Archaeological Backgrounds of the Exilic and Postexilic Era Part I: The ArchaeologicalBackground 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.