Biblical Archeology: Excavating the World of the Bible (Cynthia Shafer-Elliott)

A surefire way to make a biblical scholar groan is to use the phrase “back in Bible times.” Of course, there is no “Bible times”; the events and writing of the Bible span millennia of concrete, dynamic history. Dr. Cynthia Shafer-Elliott, a professor at William Jessup University and an experienced field archeologist, talks with Dru about the households and daily life of ancient people in Iron Age Israel, specifically.

Biblical archeology can reveal everything from ancient Israelites’ fingerprints, to their social and family structures, to their acquaintance with daily struggle for survival. Biblical passages that seem opaque to modern Westerners, especially passages in the Old Testament, can suddenly make sense as our understanding is enriched with knowledge of the authors’ historical and physical contexts.

Here are some things we can learn from the permanent features, artifacts, and structures of ancient Israelite households.

Show notes:

  • 0:25 How biblical archeology illuminates the biblical world and hence, the text
  • 6:23 The years and significance of the Iron Age
  • 14:23 “Household archeology” and daily life in the Iron Age
  • 24:10 Permanent features of the ancient house, e.g., grinding installations and ovens
  • 28:02 “Spatial analysis” and the placement of artifacts in the house
  • 31:19 Typical household members and the betʾav vs. contemporary individualism
  • 41:23 The dependence of household members on everyone’s participation in the household for survival
  • 45:12 The land flowing with milk and honey?

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