...The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." ~ Psalm 14:1
 
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BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY

 

        The word ‘archaeology’ was used by the ancient Greeks (spelt archaiologia) to mean ancient legend, or antiquarian tradition, and was first recorded in English in 1607, when Bishop Joseph Hall referred to ‘all the archaeology of the Jewes till Saul’s gouernment’.  Since at that time the only knowledge of ancient Israel came from such written sources as the Bible, Bishop Hall was clearly using the word in this limited sense, and was not referring to objects dug out of the ground, or even ancient ruins still visible above ground.  This latter sense only came into use during the early nineteenth century, when the word was spelt ‘archaeology’, and referred to the study of prehistoric monuments and excavated remains independent of written records.  This meaning held sway for some time, but with the rediscovery by excavation of the ancient literate civilisations, it became plain that inscriptions were so inextricably associated with objects, that the archaeology of an area such as Mesopotamia had to embrace all aspects of the study, including the contents of the cuneiform inscriptions.  Today the term ‘archaeology’ can be used very widely to embrace the study of the remains, including inscriptions where available, of all areas from prehistoric to modern times.

 

This excerpt is from:

Mitchell, T. C., The Bible in the British Museum:  Interpreting the Evidence, The British Museum Press, 2004; page 9.

 

 

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