Beneath The Surface: An Editorial Comment -- By: Bryant G. Wood

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 13:1 (Winter 2000)
Article: Beneath The Surface: An Editorial Comment
Author: Bryant G. Wood


Beneath The Surface: An Editorial Comment

Bryant G. Wood

The Associates for Biblical Research staff is interested in the Ark of Noah, Ark of the Covenant, Tablets of the Law, Pharaoh’s chariots, Holy Grail and Shroud of Turin. Any solid evidence relating to these historical artifacts would be exciting and could have significant ramifications to historical and Biblical studies.

Yet, as scientists and particularly archaeologists, we remain skeptical of claims made on behalf of any of these artifacts. While stories and claims regularly circulate about these and other Biblical artifacts, in every case there is nothing to substantiate them. Of course, we do not doubt the historical reality of Noah’s Ark, the Ark of the Covenant, the Last Supper or Jesus’ burial. We only question claims made on behalf of these artifacts.

As archaeologists, we can presently offer little insight on either Ark or the Last Supper cup. While scientific exploration in pursuit of Noah’s Ark continues in eastern Turkey, to date there is still nothing archaeologists can actually examine to offer an opinion. The Ark of the Covenant generates much discussion and a little activity, but to date there is absolutely no evidence anywhere on which to comment. Finally, there is no historical reason to believe the Last Supper cup still exists or is even recognizable today.

The Shroud of Turin is different. This artifact has continued to be widely examined in a multi-disciplinary scientific approach. To date, its examiners are greatly divided on its historical reliability. At seminars across the country we find significant interest in the subject, yet attendees are also divided on the Shroud’s historicity. Some of the skepticism has to do with the Biblical text. The Shroud does not seem to fit either its Biblical description or typical first-century AD Jewish burial customs. Other Shroud-doubt comes from carbon- 14 dating, which placed it in the Middle Ages. Finally, with the majority of the scholarly world solidly set against a first century AD date, many assume the issue has been settled.

Yet, as we know from our own work, just because leading scholars like Kathleen Kenyon, Joseph Callaway and Bill Dever do not believe something is true, that does not necessarily negate the evidence. We are usually on the other side of these leading archaeologists when it comes to relating archaeological evidence with the Bible. As to the Shroud, the fact that so many mainstream scholars line up against it is reason for many Christians to support it! For them, if all those critical scholars are against it, it must be right!

In this issue of Bible and Spade, we present some of the most recent results in Shroud research. ABR does not have...

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