Saturday, August 02, 2003

THE TOP TEN BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERIES, as ranked by New Testament scholar John Dominic Crossan and archaeologist Jonathan Reed, are given in this Washington Post article (requires free registration). It has a heavy bias toward discoveries that illuminate the New Testament: Qumran, with Madasa, only comes in at number 8 and there is no mention at all of the Ugaritic texts or the Iron Age epigraphic finds. I wonder if the book this comes from didn't make clear that this was about New Testament-related finds and this article missed that point. The "James Ossuary" comes in at number one, which, despite the rationale given, seems to me to be overdoing it. Even if it turned out to be genuine it wouldn't tell us much new. The Dead Sea Scrolls (which I would rank as number one) and the Ugaritic texts (which I would rank as second) both give us vastly more new information. And the major excavations, such as Caesarea and Jerusalem (number 6) and Sepphoris and Tiberias (number 7) add much more cumulative data too.

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