Current Events Articles: November 2013

Joshua's Ai Exhibit At Houston Baptist University posted by ABR Staff

If it is indeed true that a picture is worth a thousand words, the ABR Khirbet el-Maqatir exhibit at Houston Baptist University (HBU), will be loudly proclaiming the reliability of the biblical text.


Khirbet el-Maqatir: History of a Biblical Site will be a year-long exhibit of 42 artifacts from excavations in Israel at Khirbet el-Maqatir, thought to be the site of ancient Ai from Joshua 7-8.  The Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria has approved the loan of these artifacts for exhibit at the Houston Baptist University’s Dunham Bible Museum from January 21-December 19, 2014.  In conjunction with the exhibit, a symposium will be held on February 8th, focusing on the role of archaeology in understanding ancient history and biblical studies as well, including critical reflection on the excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir and what light they shed on the ancient biblical world. Starting from Genesis 12-13 and moving forward in time toward Maqatir's magnificent monastery, 4,000 years of history will be on display. Special attention will be given to the Late Bronze Age fortress (the Ai of Joshua 7-8) and the Early Roman/New Testament village (perhaps Ephraim of John 11:54). 


Over the millennia, the human footprint on the earth has many layers, and archaeology fascinatingly uncovers them, bringing to the surface artifacts long buried.  Each artifact is a piece of the story of an earlier time and civilization.  The exhibit and symposium focusing on excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir connect us with people across two millennia who lived between 3500 and 1500 years ago, helping us understand humankind across the ages.


Topics addressed include the epic struggles during the Israelite conquest of Canaan, the Roman occupation of Judea, the Jewish revolt resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and the establishment of the Church in the early Christian era.  Archaeology’s role in interpreting the Bible and Israel’s early history will also be addressed.


Three scholars will organize the exhibit (Dr. Scott Stripling, Dr. Diana Severance, Dr. Bryant Wood).  Four scholars will be the lecturers and facilitators at the symposium (Drs. Bryant Wood, Eugene Merrill, Leen Ritmeyer and Scott Stripling).


Visitors to the exhibits and audience at the symposium will gain a renewed appreciation for the changing evidences of mankind’s civilization and culture across the centuries.  Their examination of archaeological and historical evidence will develop critical thinking skills.  They will also better be able to assess the historicity of the Bible, the foundational text for Western civilization.


Hear Dr. Scott Stripling talk about the Khirbet el-Maqatir Exhibit at Houston Baptist University and the Symposium on February 8, 2014.



Symposium and Conference: February 8, 2014


Throughout 2014, the Dunham Bible Museum will be hosting the special exhibit Khirbet el-Maqatir: History of a Biblical Site.  Over 40 objects from the excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir, thought to be the site of the biblical Ai, will be brought from Israel to HBU just for this exhibit.  In conjunction with the exhibit, the Dunham Bible Museum will host an Archaeological Conference on February 8, 2014.  The conference will be in the Belin Chapel of the HBU’s Morris Cultural Arts Center.  The Dunham Bible Museum is nearby and will be open throughout the Conference.  The following are confirmed speakers and topics:


Dr. Eugene H. Merrill


Distinguished Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the author of over 10 books.  He was an Associate Editor of the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, a translator of the New King James Version and the New Living Translation, and an editor of the Holman Christian Standard Bible. Dr. Merrill is a Square Supervisor at Khirbet el-Maqatir.


                          Dr. Leen Ritmeyer


Founder of Ritmeyer Archaeological Design, which offers “consultancy on archaeological background and illustration to groups as diverse as Hollywood movie companies, National Geographic, the ESV Study Bible and the new GLO Bible study computer program.” Ritmeyer is architect for the Khirbet el-Maqatir excavations, the premier archaeological architect for Jerusalem, and numerous other archaeological sites. 




                          Dr. Scott Stripling


Chair of Humanities and Foreign Languages at Wharton County Junior College. He is director of the Khirbet el-Maqatir excavation, and has supervised excavations at Tall el-Hammam in Jordan and the Temple Mount Salvage Project in Jerusalem.



                          Dr. Bryant Wood


Director of Research with the Associates for Biblical Research, consulting editor for Bible and Spade, and ceramic typologist of the excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir.  He is author of The Sociology of Pottery in Ancient Palestine: The Ceramic Industry and the Diffusion of Ceramic Style in the Bronze and Iron Ages.


Saturday, February 8, 2014


9 am – Dr. Bryant Wood, “ Khirbet el-Maqatir: A Border Fortress in the Highlands of Canaan and a Proposed New Location for the Ai of Joshua 7-8”


10:15 – Dr. Eugene Merrill, “Ai and Old Testament Chronology: Who Cares?”


11:30-1:00 Lunch Break


1 pm - Dr. Scott Stripling, “Ritual Purity at Khirbet el-Maqatir’s First Century Village and the First Jewish Revolt Against Rome”


2:15 – Dr. Leen Ritmeyer, “Does the Byzantine Church at Maqatir reflect the sacred architecture of the Temple in Jerusalem?


3:30 – Closing panel discussion


Cost for the conference is $25, which includes lunch on Saturday.  There is no fee for Houston Baptist University faculty, staff, and students, but they MUST register for the conference and purchase meal tickets if eating at the conference.  Registration is available online on the HBU Website or by mail, with registration mailed to:

Dunham Bible Museum

Houston Baptist University

7502 Fondren Road

Houston, Texas 77074 

The deadline for registration is February 1, 2014. 


For more information contact:

Dr. Diana Severance at 281-649-3287 or


James Ossuary Returned to Oded Golan posted by Henry B. Smith Jr. MA

The bone box, or ossuary, inscribed “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus,” marking the culmination of a ten-year unsuccessful effort by the Israel Antiquities Authority to prove the inscription is a forgery, has been returned to its owner. For more, see: Biblical Archaeology Review (off site link).

Image of Nebuchadnezzar Found at Carchemish posted by Gordon Franz MA

Isaiah 10:9–11 refers to the destruction of Carchemish by the Assyrian king Sargon II in 717 BC. 2 Chronicles 35:20–25 records the death of Josiah, king of Judah, in 609 BC at Megiddo when Josiah tried to prevent Necho, king of Egypt, from going to Carchemish to help the Assyrians against the Babylonians. And Jeremiah 46:2 alludes to the final defeat of the Assyrians and their Egyptian allies at Carchemish by soon-to-be Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC.

For more see: Anna Lindh Foundation (off site link).

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