One Thousand Years Missing From Biblical History? A Review Of A New Theory -- By: Bryant G. Wood

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 06:4 (Autumn 1993)
Article: One Thousand Years Missing From Biblical History? A Review Of A New Theory
Author: Bryant G. Wood

One Thousand Years Missing From Biblical History?
A Review Of A New Theory

Bryant G. Wood


In his book A New Approach to the Chronology of Biblical History from Abraham to Samuel (Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon CA, 1993), Gerald Aardsma proposes that 1, 000 years is missing from Biblical history between the end of the book of Judges and the beginning of 1 Samuel. By restoring this 1, 000 years, the author claims, harmony is established between the Bible and extra-Biblical archaeological data. In this review we will examine the bases for Aardsma’s claim, and compare the archaeological evidence with the proposed chronology to see if there is indeed harmony.

Although the following review is rather long, we believe that it is justified. A New Approach was published by a reputable Christian organization and those who are not well informed on the subject of Biblical archaeology could easily be led astray by some of the assertions made by the author. In addition, the subject of the book provides an opportunity to review a number of aspects of Biblical history and chronology which should be of interest and benefit to our readers.

Problems With Traditional Chronology

Aardsma begins by pointing out a number of apparent problems with “traditional” Biblical chronology. The traditional chronology assumes an Exodus of ca. 1450 BC (all dates henceforth are BC), and the resulting dates for events before and after based on Biblical data (birth of Abraham ca. 2170, Jacob entering Egypt ca. 1880, Conquest of Canaan ca. 1410–1400, period of Judges ca. 1400–1050). Because of the presumed difficulties he believes that a revised chronology is necessary.

Biblical People

Traditional Chronology. The author produces a list of kings named in the Bible from the 10th-5th centuries corroborated by extra-Biblical evidence (pp. 7-9). He then wonders why there is a “complete absence of archaeological confirmation of biblical persons for all times much before the 1st millennium BC” (p.9). It is not due to a lack of written sources, he says, because we have documents from Ebla dating to the 3rd millennium, from Ugarit dating to the 14th-13th centuries

and from Amarna dating to the 14th century (p. 10).

The reasons for this phenomenon are quite clear to anyone who is familiar with the literary sources. Kings and officials are the only personages we can hope to find in extra-Biblical records since the historical documents in most cases deal with political events, not the activities of ordinary citizens. Biblical history prior to the monarchy, on the other hand, is that of individ...

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