Saturday, 12 November 2011

Birds of a feather?

The world has moved on from the days when 'biblical archaeologists', "Bible in one hand, spade in the other", went forth to prove that the Good Book told it just as it was. Oh but the temptation is still there, especially when American evangelists with deep pockets want to throw money at a cause they can profit from.

Which is why Gerry 'Six Pack' Flurry, 'Pastor Generalissimo' and self-proclaimed Prophet of the bizarre high-demand sect the Philadelphia Church of God is such a big fan of Eilat Mazar and other suitably cooperative figures in the Israeli archaeological establishment, sending students from his unaccredited college to dig the dirt for her in Israel.

And why she is praised by Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, and gets positive press from conservative evangelical magazine Christianity Today in a current feature.

But there's a chill wind blowing out of Petros, Tennessee. Jim West's comments on Mazar's work are a valuable corrective for anyone tempted to take the gushy PR at face value. Do check it out.

To redact a comment of Jim's: That Flurry is among Mazar’s supporters says everything that needs to be said.


  1. Bible in one hand, spade in the other

    The reason for the spade is covered in Deuteronomy 23:13 -- it is not for historical reasons.

    You can't say that the Scripture isn't often practical, especially on those remote digs without facilities.

  2. Hopefully, posters here will get a few digs of their own in.

  3. Perhaps a better headline would be: "False Prophet Photo Op with Archeologist to Improve Image" or some such.

  4. The spade may not have been for historical reasons but archeology would have found the evidence of its use by 2 1/2 million people wandering the desert for 40 years.

    Can anyone imagine how many campfires that amounted to or the big forests that it would have taken to fuel them? No wonder it's a desert, they used up about 40,000,000 trees!

    The whole old testament is nothing but Jewish fables created from older myths. I can't understand why intelligent people can't see that. Maybe they think it's too obvious, I don't know, but the new testament is based on it - which makes it a fable too.

  5. they probably burned dried animal dung. they would have had plenty of that around.

  6. If there were enough animals to supply dung for campfires for 2 1/2 million people...we're talking a lot of animals. Pasture land? Camels can eat the scrub in the desert but cattle and sheep cannot.

    Give it up, the Exodus described in the Bible never happened. Some have even suggested that it really describes the exodus of Ezra, Nehemiah and crew from Babylon after the exile - metaphorically, of course.

  7. Corky, if God can drop manna from the sky, He can probably drop hay.

  8. larry said...

    Corky, if God can drop manna from the sky, He can probably drop hay.

    So, if the book doesn't say it just make it up, right?

  9. Well Corky, by your reasoning, we are to assume that God fed the people but let the animals starve. Hmmm.....

    Maybe the cattle and sheep developed a taste for all that leftover manna. Whatever. For people who are "skeptics" (and I am being very generous with that description), no explanation will suffice.

  10. I have an explanation, Larry - it never happened. There is no evidence of the exodus and there should (and would) be tons of it, literally.

  11. That was Jeremiah, Larry, and he only burned animal dung because he was ordered to, by God. What some 18th-century authors refer to as "the patriarchal peoples" of the Bible would not have burned animal dung for daily fires, which would have been used for cooking as well as this would have rendered the food unclean.

    There's a reason it stands out, when mentioned in the prophet's writings, after all.

    Oh, yes, before the pitchforks and hue and cry of "Fundamentalist!" come gushing out of the woodwork, let me just say, I believe in Theistic Evolution, and in fact, always have done. Matter of fact, so does the Church in Canada (beginning page 2 of the Oct-Dec 2009 issue).

  12. "Some have even suggested that it really describes the exodus of Ezra, Nehemiah and crew from Babylon after the exile - metaphorically, of course."

    Hm. I can see that. *tilts head* Doesn't mean I believe it, but it's certainly an interesting perspective on it, thanks, Corky.

  13. Uh, Larry? I thought the livestock ate the manna as well....

  14. As for evidence of the Exodus, might I recommend Nehemia Gordon's writings? Again, I don't agree 100% with everything he (or various other Karaite leaders/factions say), but it's fascinating stuff.