My View on Archaeological Discoveries and Proofs of the Bible 2

I wrote this over three years ago now but I think it is still relevant. Please bear in mind that this was written for a very general audience (Christianity Today) so some of my generalizations are, well, pretty general. Oh, and the title is not mine.

What Do the Stones Cry Out? – Christianity Today magazine –

What Do the Stones Cry Out?
Beware of claims that archaeology disproves—or proves—the Bible is true
Christian M.M. BradySeptember 1, 2003
Readers of Christianity Today are by now familiar with the debate surrounding the authenticity of the so-called “James Ossuary” and the Jehoash inscription. In the last few months, the Israel Antiquities Authority and a number of preeminent scholars in paleography (the science/art of reading scripts) have determined that both the James ossuary and the Jehoash inscription are modern forgeries. Discussion will no doubt continue, since many scholars such as Ben Witherington III still believe that the James ossuary is indeed genuine. But if these two examples are a guide, it might seem to some that the only archeological “discoveries” that support the Bible are ones that have been forged.

Before we become too morose, however, we should note that just last week Israeli scientists announced that they had confirmed through radiocarbon-dating that the tunnel commonly referred to as “Hezekiah’s Tunnel”—widely believed to date to the time of King Hezekiah (727-698 B.C.) and the events described in 2 Kings 20:20—indeed dated to the eighth century B.C. So the pendulum swings again, and we can once more shout “Hurrah!” as science and archaeology prove the Bible.

You can read the rest at the Christianity Today Library.


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2 thoughts on “My View on Archaeological Discoveries and Proofs of the Bible

  • Joe

    In 2002 Ben Witherington said this about his phony James Ossuary:

    “This is probably going to be the biggest New Testament find in my lifetime, as big as the Dead Sea scrolls.”

    In 2007, James Cameron said this about HIS phony ossuaries:

    “This is the biggest archeological story of the century. It’s absolutely not a publicity stunt.”

    It’s true that a prophet has no honor in his own country. The press in Witherington’s native Kentucky have delicately raised the issue of the pot calling the kettle black, I mean, the pot calling the ossuary cracked in Witherington’s overheated (the gentleman protests too much) protestations against the latest “biggest New Testament find” in his lifetime.


    The IAA decided that the unprovenanced ossuary on which Ben Witherington gambled and loss his credibility was a fake. He is left with supporting conspiracy theories about the IAA in support of a forger and seller of fake antiquities, Oded Golan, and little else.

    But Witherington’s protestations aren’t really about Golan, or even about the so-called James Ossuary. They’re all about Witherington.

    He used the so-called “James Ossuary” as a base to launch attacks on some very precious elements of the Faith of both Roman Catholic and Orthodox believers.*

    Now he finds his “extrabiblical proof” being used against the very resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ!

    Consumed with the desire to “one up,” so to speak, the RCC and the OC, he overreached and is still overreaching.

    I almost feel sorry for Witherington, now that his precious, yet phony James Ossuary is being sold as the missing 10th ossuary in the Jesus Tomb by Cameron and Jacobovici.

    (This is the same Jacobvici who helped him with HIS documentary on the phony James Ossuary, shown on, you guessed it, The Discovery Channel!).

    In news coverage of the ongoing trial of antiquities forger Oded Golan, Witherington said that he would stand by his conclusion that the phony James Ossuary is authentic REGARDLESS of the trial’s outcome!

    He’s not interested in proof. He’s only interested in getting the word of Witherington out.

    Too bad that he can’t see that he has reaped what he has sown.

    One phony ossuary has yielded a crop of ten.

    * “It is possible the inscription on the ossuary — “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” — provides us with a challenge in regard to some basic Christian assumptions about James. The Roman Catholic tradition is that Jesus’ brothers and sisters actually were cousins; Orthodox Christians believe they were Joseph’s children by a previous marriage. The inscription conflicts with both of those Christian traditions, in fact, for there certainly was an Aramaic word for “cousin” that could have been used in this inscription but was not. If Jesus was the son of only Mary, and James was the son of only Joseph, then Jesus and James would not literally have been brothers, as this inscription states.”

    – Ben Witherington in USA Today Weekend

    Here is a rebuttal that Witherington NEVER answered:

  • Chris Brady

    Joe – you already posted some of this as a comment on my other post here, where it was relevant. It is only tangentially relevant to this post. I see that you are trolling/trawling and have posted some of the same at other blogs (see here). I have no problem with you linking to your comments or your own posts, but please do us the courtesy of merely linking to the old material and only posting what is new. Do you have a blog? Perhaps you could share it with us?

    Now I am not, as I noted before, going to defend Witherington as I do not hold to his views and it does indeed smack of irony, if not hypocrisy. The program comes on in a little less than an hour. I will try and watch as much as I can with two wee ones to get to bed, but I am also recording it, so I will assess this case later. In the meantime, I do think BW presents many reasonable challenges to this latest theory and, perhaps most telling, he is joined in these criticisms by many who do not believe in what they might call “the Jesus myth.”

    All in all, interesting days are ahead… But my bold prediction: In a week, no later than a month, it will be more or less forgotten by all but those of us in the profession.