Every few years, it seems, a spectacular Bible-related archaeological claim catches media attention. Such claims dominate news websites for a few weeks and then tend to fade quickly from public attention, revealed as fakes—or at the very least shown to be less compelling than originally claimed. In recent years we’ve seen flurries of hype and interest over the Jesus tomb and Noah’s Ark. The latest claim—suspiciously timed for Easter—is by a journalist who claims to have (maybe) found the nails used to crucify Jesus.
You don’t have to read very far down that Time article to realize that this is less spectacular than the hype suggests; even the journalist making the claim admits that it’s a possibility, not a certainty. Not knowing anything more about this particular claim, I won’t comment on its merits, but this seems a good opportunity to talk about how to approach sensational claims like this.
It’s understandable that Bible readers and believers would be excited at the discovery of a possible artifact mentioned in the text of Scripture. (And by contrast, an atheist might be excited by an archaeological find that appears to contradict the Bible.) But how can we—most of us not archaeologists, and only dimly aware of the scholarship and context behind archaeological claims—evaluate these claims? Here are a few thoughts to consider…
Read the here.
They’re well worth remembering for the next time (which will be soon enough) a sensational archaeological claim hits the headlines.
HT: Bible Places