Saturday, October 16, 2004

Biblical Archeology - Take 2

Since I've been reading about biblical archeology I have had some thoughts banging around in my head. One of the thoughts, no one I've read says the same thing, but we can read into the archeology things that are not there. For instance, we might think all of ancient culture was pottery. Pottery and baskets were simply packaging. We fill up our landfill with packaging, and some might call us a consumer society, but movies and books are much more important culturally than packaging. Packaging is a part of our culture, but not the main feature.

People and individuals who may have been important in a sense of God's covenant and revelation might have been relatively unimportant in comparison to other people. If we do not see evidence of these people in the dirt, it really does not matter. As the book of Hebrews says that they wondered around and dressed in skins. What kind of physical evidence would we expect would be left behind from such a nomadic society? Additionally, we should not think that what is recorded in the scriptures some sort of pristine society which was all pure, all Israeli and all worshipping God. Instead we would see a mixing of cultures, a mixing of religions and a mixing of morality. Given this, when an archeologist digs, they should not be expecting to find the idea, but the ordinary physical residue of living. While we can learn a lot about a society through archeological research, we should understand the limits of the discipline. How much would we learn about our society by digging around in a land fill?
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