The goal of the Bible was not to record history, and the text does not shy away from theological explanations for events. Given this problematic relationship between sacred interpretation and historical accuracy, historians welcomed the discovery of ancient Assyrian cuneiform documents that refer to people and places mentioned in the Bible. Discovered in the 19th century, these historical records are now being used by scholars to corroborate and augment the biblical text, especially the Bible’s “historical books” of Kings. This field for comparison complements the recent trend among biblical scholars of using new interpretative methodologies and archaeology to question some of the Bible’s historical claims.
© 2002 University of Pennsylvania Museum
The following appears in Expedition 44, no. 3 (2002) 9-15 and may be found at http://www.museum.upenn.edu/new/Zine/44.3.shtml