Religious Archaeology - How Does Archaeology Reveal Our Religious Past?
Religious Archaeology (archaeology of religious history) really begins with the Sumerian civilization of about 2500 BC. To date, numerous sites and artifacts have been uncovered that reveal a great deal about the ancient Mesopotamian culture, including the Sumerian King List, the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Law Code of Hammurabi, and the Nuzi tablets. Archaeologists have uncovered the early cities of Abraham and the Patriarchs, including Ur and Haran, and ancient civilizations that were unknown outside the Bible until the last 100 years, including the Hittite Empire. Archaeology has revealed ancient evidence for the early Israelites, including the Merneptah Stele, the Shishak Relief, the Mesha Stele, and the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser. Archaeology has uncovered evidence for ancient Israeli kings and culture, including the Tel Dan Inscription (David) and the House of Yahweh Ostracon (Solomon).
Religious Archaeology – A Valid Source of Information
Archaeology has been a great source of vindication for both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. As a matter of fact, many archaeologists have become Christians as a direct result of their vocation. Sir William Ramsay is regarded as one of the greatest archaeologists of all time. He was a student in the German historical school of the mid-19th century. As a result, he believed that most of the New Testament was a generally-fabricated product of the mid-second century AD. He was firmly convinced of this belief. In his research to make a topographical study of Asia Minor, he was compelled to consider the writings of Luke, who is responsible for about 1/4 of the New Testament. As a result of his archaeological investigation, Ramsay was forced into a complete reversal of his beliefs due to the overwhelming evidence for the historical credibility of the Books of Luke and Acts. After 30 years of research, Ramsay concluded that "Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy...this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians." Ramsay adds: "Luke's history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness."