Bible - Archaeological and Historical Research

Archaeological and Historical Research

Biblical archaeology is the archaeology that relates to and sheds light upon the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. It is used to help determine the lifestyle and practices of people living in biblical times. There are a wide range of interpretations in the field of biblical archaeology. One broad division includes biblical maximalism which generally takes the view that most of the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible is based on history although it is presented through the religious viewpoint of its time. It is considered the opposite of biblical minimalism which considers the Bible a purely post-exilic (fifth century BCE and later) composition. Even among those scholars who adhere to biblical minimalism, the Bible is a historical document containing first-hand information on the Hellenistic and Roman eras, and there is universal scholarly consensus that the events of the sixth century BCE Babylonian captivity have a basis in history.

The historicity of the biblical account of the history of ancient Israel and Judah of the tenth to seventh-centuries BCE is disputed in scholarship. The biblical account of the eighty to seventh-centuries BCE is widely, but not universally, accepted as historical, while the verdict on the earliest period of the United Monarchy (tenth-century BCE) and the historicity of David is unclear. Archaeological evidence providing information on this period, such as the Tel Dan Stele, can potentially be decisive. The biblical account of events of the Exodus from Egypt in the Torah, and the migration to the Promised Land and the period of Judges are not considered historical in scholarship. Regarding the New Testament, the setting being the Roman Empire in the first-century CE, the historical context is well established. There has been some debate on the historicity of Jesus, but the mainstream opinion is that Jesus was one of several known historical itinerant preachers in first-century Roman Judea, teaching in the context of the religious upheavals and sectarianism of Second Temple Judaism.

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