Proof of literacy in Bible days

Liberal scholars arguing for a late date for the texts of the Old Testament say that the Hebrews couldn’t have been literate until after the Babylonian exile.  (Circular reasoning, anyone?)  But archaeologists have discovered a trove of letters written on pottery from a remote military installation.  They are dated around 600 B.C., shortly before Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem.   The 18 letters come from at least six different writers, showing that even ordinary soldiers of the day could read and write. [Read more…]

3rd century fragment of John’s gospel offered on eBay

A priceless fragment of the Greek New Testament, a text from St. John’s gospel, was discovered on eBay, with an opening bid of $99.  (Similar texts have sold for $500,000.)  A relative of a deceased Bible scholar and collector came into possession of the document, not really knowing what he had.  Another scholar saw the eBay offering, contacted the seller, and persuaded him to pull the auction and make it available for study.  It turns out that the fragment is especially significant because it appears to come from a scroll, whereas all other ancient New Testament texts are from the book-like pages of a codex. [Read more…]

The seal of Hezekiah discovered

Archaeologists have discovered the seal of King Hezekiah near the Temple Mount.  It is a small piece of clay bearing the imprint of a ring, inscribed with various symbols and the words  “Belonging to Hezekiah, [son of] Ahaz, king of Judah.”  The seal must have been placed on a document ratified by the king’s ring, on the finger of a Biblical hero, one of Judah’s most godly rulers. [Read more…]

Childhood home of Jesus found?

An archaeologist may have discovered the house in Nazareth in which Jesus grew up.  He found a first-century house, upon which had been built a church, corresponding to ancient records about the Church of the Nutrition that was reportedly erected over the place where young Jesus and his family lived. [Read more…]

Discovery of the site of Jesus’ trial?

Archaeologists have found what they are identifying as Herod’s palace in Jerusalem, which many scholars believe was the headquarters of Pontius Pilate and the site of Jesus’ trial. [Read more…]

How scholars proved that the “wife of Jesus” text is a forgery

I’m a little late on this, but I just learned the details.  You will remember a few years ago when a Harvard professor announced the discovery of an ancient manuscript fragment in which Jesus refers to “my wife” and says “she will be able to be my disciple.”  Many questioned the text’s authenticity, but everyone had to wait for further tests.  Then there were tests, and news reports said that the fragment is very ancient and that the text appears to be authentic.

But, finally, just before the summer, scholars proved once and for all that the document is a forgery and a hoax.  Read how they did so after the jump. [Read more…]


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