the aim of this little book is very simple:
it is to give a general survey, as complete and up to date as possible within the prescribed limits, of the main discoveries of archaeology as far as they concern the Old Testament, especially on its historical side.
Where opinion differs about the weight or significance of the evidence, I have tried to give what I believe to be the general consensus of responsible scholarship, rather than to press any particular point of view.
In the hope that readers may be stimulated to further study of this fascinating subject, the sources from which information may be obtained are indicated somewhat fully, for recent arrangements made by the National Lending Library now make these sources accessible to all.S. L. C.
Very few of these are used in this volume, but the following may be permitted for convenience:
|Century||A hundred years; e.g. 'the ninth century BC.' signifies 899-850-800 BC.|
|Millennium||A thousand years; e.g. 'the second millennium BC.' covers 1999-1500-1000 BC.|
|Pentateuch||The first five Books of the Old Testament traditionally called 'The Books of Moses' or 'The Law', i.e. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.|
|J, E, D, P||In the Biblical references, e.g. (Gen. 1 P), (Gen. 2 J), &c., indicate the original documentary source of the Pentateuch to which the passage in question is ascribed by the critics, thus giving a criterion of its weight as evidence.|
|J||The 'Jehovistic Source'.|
|E||The 'Elohistic Source'.|
|These two sources are the earliest, generally dated as eighth or ninth century BC.|
|D||The 'Deuteronomic Reviser', dated in the seventh century.|
|P||The late 'Priestly Editor', dating from the Exile (sixth and following centuries).|
|For further information see the various 'Introductions to the Old Testament'.|
|LXX||Septuagint, that is, the famous translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek made by the Jews of Alexandria in the third century BC, thus giving a clue to a very early Hebrew text of the Scriptures.|
|P.B.A.S.||Proceedings of the Biblical Archaeological Society.|
|J.P.O.S.||Journal of the Palestine and Oriental Society.|
|J.E.A.S.||Journal of the Egyptian Archaeological Society.|
|W.O.P.||Wonders of the Past (edited by J. A. Hammerton. Amalgamated Press. 1934).|
By Dr. A. W. F. blunt, Bishop of Bradford
THIS book supplies a real need. Some of the more famous archaeological finds, such as the Moabite Stone or the Taylor Cylinder, have been familiar to readers of modern Biblical histories: and students know where to look for information about others such as the Amarna Tablets or the Stele of Merenptah. But there was no single manual covering the field of Biblical archaeology in such a way as to be of help to the general student or to those who had to teach Scripture in schools.
Moreover, it is unfortunate that the recent discoveries in Palestine, which have shed so interesting a light on the earlier history of the Hebrew invasion, have at times been misused in the interests of an unscholarly prejudice against the work of those who are vaguely called 'the higher critics', or even 'the so-called higher critics': and we have been treated to such statements as that 'archaeology has disproved the higher criticism'.
It is a serious mistake thus to set archaeology and criticism against one another. Both are needed as helps to understand the Bible story. Without higher criticism, Old Testament history would still be largely a chaos: criticism has introduced order and development into the story. Archaeology does not disprove criticism: it only contributes additional data for the problems which criticism has to solve; and the finds of the excavator have to be set side by side with the literary evidence of the Bible itself, in order to obtain what every student, critic, or archaeologist desires, a trustworthy account of the way in which the history and religious growth of the Hebrews prepared for the coming of Christ.
In this book Mr. Caiger, without any cheap disparagement of the great work done by criticism, has given, in popular form, a synopsis of Biblical archaeology which ought to be of real service to clergy, teachers of Scripture, and general students; and as such I am glad to be allowed to commend it.
In one important particular, viz. the early date for the Exodus, I am convinced that the case is a strong one. I have always felt that the archaeological indications were in its favour, and that the Biblical evidence that suggested a later date, was of questionable force. In opting for the early date Mr. Caiger is abreast of what seems to be the rising tide of opinion among historians.ALFRED BRADFORD