If we are honest, those of us who love to “dig into” the Bible, have at least a passing interest in archaeology. An archaeological find that supports a biblical statement or event is one of the those “Aha; I told you so moments.” On the other hand, there are few of us who completely comprehend how archaeology and the Bible work together. We plug through a variety of Bible and/or archaeological websites and magazines hoping to find a few nuggets of knowledge and information. The real dilemma is we do not know how the Bible and archaeology are in sync.
So, when a book entitled The Bible and Archaeology comes along, just the title should pique our interest. And this one does! For those who have a limited knowledge of archaeology and how it intersects with the Bible, this is the perfect book to begin to understand the association.
The book is written by Matthieu Richelle, a professor Old Testament at the Faculté Libre de Théologie Évangélique, Vaux-sur-Seine, France. It was originally published in French in 2011, translated into Portuguese in 2016 and has now been translated into English. It is now published by Hendrickson Publishers. It is concise, just 108 pages of text but contains 168 pages total. The additional material includes a recommended reading list for those who wish to explore more in depth, extensive end-notes which are valuable to those with some knowledge of archaeology and thirty-one figures depicting various archaeological discoveries relating to the Bible. These are fascinating. In short, it’s well put together for easy reading and reference.
Chapters one through three are the equivalent to a mini-course in Archaeology 101. These chapters tell us how archaeology works – the inner workings and the limits. Do not skip these chapters. They set the stage for Chapter four, “The Bible and Archaeology: What Kind of Relationship?” It’s here that Richelle gets to the matters that will interest Bible students. This chapter is a mini-course in Biblical Archaeology 101. Richelle deftly explains the complicated relationship that the Bible and the field of archaeology enjoy.
Richelle finishes the book with some practicality presenting a case study of the Kingdom of David and Solomon and “Archaeology and Writing in the Time of David and Solomon.” These final two chapters tie up the entire book quite succinctly, logically and practically.
The Bible and Archaeology is a must read for any Bible student. It puts archaeology and its relationship to the Bible in perspective.
Disclaimer: This volume was provided to me by Hendrickson Publishers for a fair and honest review.