The Bible mentions a lot of people and places that have entered our collective cultural consciousness. For example, Joshua defeated the Canaanites at the battle of Jericho. David fought the Philistine warrior Goliath. King Ahab and his wife Jezebel sparred with the prophet Elijah.
Some of these biblical stories have even become common cliches. However, less well known is the archaeology of the biblical world, the actual material remains of these cultures and places, and what they can tell us about the stories of the Bible on which many of us have been raised, and which many of us can recite by memory. Whereas the Bible tells us the tales, biblical archeology seeks to answer questions about those stories; questions like: Who were the Canaanites, and what was daily life like for them? Where did the Israelites come from? What about the Philistines? Who were they, and what were their interactions with the ancient Israelites actually like?
Archaeology can teach us much about the Bible, its culture and peoples—because archaeology’s focus is on the material remains of those cultures and peoples which we read about in the text. While we all know the stories, archaeology fills in the holes, allowing us to peak in on the ancient world; seeing the details of curious things like their pottery, diets, the physical structures in which they dwelt, and, when we really get lucky, perhaps even their bones. The YouTube explainer series, “Excavating the History of the Bible: What Archeology Can Teach us About the Biblical World”—hosted by Dr. Andrew Mark Henry—examines many common and lingering questions about the Bible and its peoples, but does so through the lens of archaeology.
The various episodes in this series will progress through time, starting with the Bronze Age and ending in the time of Jesus (in the 1st century CE). The series begins with a peek into what archaeologists do and tells the story of the beginnings of biblical archeology. We then shift to the Late Bronze Age, around 1300 BCE, with the waning centuries of the Canaanite civilization. Next, “Excavating the History of the Bible” explores the archaeological evidence pointing to the rise of the Israelites and their Hebrew language—its development and evolution. Later episodes will examine the heyday of the Israelite kingdoms, including famous kings like Hezekiah and Ahab. We’ll take a peek into Jezebel and her death at the mouth of some hungry dogs!
Along the way, the series will introduce viewers to some of the greatest archaeological discoveries from this region: The Merneptah Stele, possibly the earliest inscription to mention the word “Israel.” The siege ramp at Lachish, attesting to a dramatic battle between the Assyrian Empire and the Kingdom of Judah. The Magdala Synagogue, a synagogue from the town of Mary Magdalene—dating to the time of Jesus. We will even look into the lives of famed biblical figures like Joshua, Ahab, Herod and the Magi, Peter, and others.
The 15-part series follows the pattern of Dr. Andrew Mark Henry’s popular “Religion For Breakfast” YouTube show. Each episode was written by, and in consultation with, professional archaeologists and biblical scholars. And yet, in his trademark style, Dr. Henry will inform and entertain, while overturning some long-held misconceptions and answer some long-held questions you may have had about the biblical world and its peoples.
We invite you to join us on the Patheos YouTube channel for the exciting and informative new series, “Excavating the History of the Bible.” New episodes will air weekly, beginning February 17, 2021.