Friday, December 07, 2007

Judaic, Archeology, Biblical

ARCHEOLOGY, BIBLICAL:   By : Morris Jastrow Jr.   Ira Maurice Price 


The branch of archeology that has for its province a scientific presentation of the domestic, civil, and religious institutions of the Hebrews, in the lands of the Bible, especially in Palestine. It deals with these for the whole stretch of Judaic history down to the fall of Jerusalem in the year 70, the end of Judaism as a power in Palestine. The term "Archeology" was used by Josephus in his great work, 'Ιουδαϊκὴ 'Αρχαιολογία (literally "Judaic Archeology," but usually translated "Antiquities of the Jews"), to cover the entire history of his people, their life, customs, religious institutions, and literature. This comprehensive sense remained current until the time of the Reformation. Indeed, writers like Eusebius, Jerome, and Epiphanius, while they produced neither history nor archeology as such, contributed material valuable for the enrichment of both. It is safe to say that no treatise on Biblical Archeology proper made its appearance until after the Middle Ages.

First Meaning of Biblical Archeology.

It was not until the sixteenth century that Carlo Sigonius (died 1584) gathered up and presented in his "De Republica Hebræorum" a discussion of sacred places, persons, and rites. This classification seemed to furnish scholars with a clue to what should be included in the term "Archeology" as applied to the Bible; so that De Wette (in 1814), followed by Ewald (in 1844), gives the first really systematic classification of the material that, up to the present time, is regarded as belonging to the field of Biblical Archeology. Even as late as Keil's work (1875), the main divisions of the subject are treated in the following order: (1) sacred antiquities; (2) domestic antiquities; and (3) civil antiquities.

The historico-critical method of investigating Old Testament history claims to have rectified a former error. It is now generally maintained that many of the records of the history of Israel originated at a date later than was formerly supposed, and that consequently many of the religious institutions, customs, and rites current among the Jews bear the marks of later ideas, conditions, and environments. It is further claimed that religious rites and customs owe their character largely to the domestic life and surroundings of a people. The recognition of this fact necessitates a reversal of the order of the themes usually included in the term "Biblical Archeology." Accordingly the present order of treatment is: (I.) Domestic Antiquities; (II.) Civil Antiquities; and (III.) Sacred Antiquities; but, as will be seen, there is still another section to add on the land of Palestine itself.

Judaic, Archeology and Biblical

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