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Researcher gives seal of approval to 53 biblical characters’
Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:38pm

As I have stated many times before, the History recorded in the Hebrew Bible is quite accurate, although not necessarily perfect. In particular, the people mentioned were absolutely real. Of course, non of this proves that the miracles mentioned actually happened. Following David Hume, I do not see how any testimony can establish a miracle; not even a video, and videos from the days of the Hebrew Bible are very scarce.

Lawrence Mykytiuk looks for ancient personalities who have made an impression — be it on a signet ring or a monument
By Rich Tenorio August 4, 2017, 6:29 pm

Thanks to a researcher’s unique system, 53 individuals in the Hebrew Bible have been proven as genuine historical characters through material evidence of their existence. The system’s creator, Lawrence Mykytiuk, an associate professor of library science at Purdue University, calls it “a way to develop historicity.”

It sounds like an unlikely project: a professor in the Midwest verifying ancient names from the Mideast. Yet Mykytiuk’s training as a librarian and interest in the Bible help him do what he says on-the-scene archaeologists are too busy to — pore through journals and books, scrutinize inscriptions discovered on digs and attempt to match names in the historical record with names in the Bible.

Mykytiuk’s system relies on three criteria: A biblical name must match the name on an authentic inscription, with no possibility of a forgery (thus ruling out items from the antiquities market, he said). The names — in the Bible and on the inscription — must match in terms of setting and time period. And, in perhaps the most exacting category, Mykytiuk looks for matches of at least three specific details identifying an individual, such as name, father’s name and title.

“If it matches the same three mentions in Scripture, it’s a virtual certainty,” Mykytiuk said. “There might be a few people with the same name, father’s name,” he added, “but same title? That’s stretching it. I consider it a virtual certainty, either a dead ringer or virtual certainty.”

He does note in a PowerPoint presentation, however, that verifications of biblical names do not guarantee verifications of biblical events involving these individuals.

Developed over 25 years, Mykytiuk’s system is arguably successful. Studying 94 inscriptions, he has verified kings, pharaohs, high priests and scribes, among others.

All of the names are male, although he said he is “hoping to identify a woman from an inscription. Not yet.”

Verified characters include eight kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and six from the Southern Kingdom of Judah. One is King Ahab of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, who fought in the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BCE — an event that eagle-eyed Mykytiuk noted in both the Book of Kings and on an image of the Kurkh Monolith.

“There was only one Israelite king at a time who could have fought [in the battle],” Mykytiuk said. “Bingo. There was a match between the inscription and the Bible.”

Mykytiuk’s oldest verification is another sovereign — King David himself, from 1000 BCE. He found a match between the protagonist of Samuel I and the “House of David” wall inscription at the Tel Dan excavations in northern Israel.

“‘King of Israel’ was in one line,” Mykytiuk said. “The next line read ‘Melech Beit David.’ It was in Aramaic, by the enemies, the Arameans, who conquered Tel Dan and indicated a victory monument, a stele, a big sign in stone. The Israelites reconquered it, and smashed [the stele] to pieces that they used to make a wall.”

“David is so important in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament… If you want to verify anybody, he’s the guy,” he added.

Persians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Moabites, Arameans and Damascenes also show up on Mykytiuk’s list — a fraction of the almost 3,000 people in the Hebrew Bible.

“For most, all we get is a name,” Mykytiuk said. “Perhaps not more than a couple hundred have enough identifying facts in the Bible to actually identify [them] in some other written source.”

But the identifications keep coming. His latest, published in the May/June issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, are Tattenai, a Persian administrator under Darius the Great; and Nebuzaradan and Nergal-sharezer, two Babylonian warriors who fought for King Nebuchadnezzar II, destroyer of the First Temple.

Tattenai is mentioned in biblical sources such as Ezra 5:3 — and in a tablet from Darius dating to 502 BCE.

Nebuzaradan and Nergal-sharezer appear in Kings and Jeremiah, respectively. Their names are inscribed in cuneiform on Nebuchadnezzar II’s Prism, reproduced in James B. Pritchard’s book “Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament.”

Mykytiuk said that his criteria “apply across the board.” And indeed, he is expanding his focus to the New Testament as well.
One ring to rule them all

Mykytiuk’s interest in verifications began in 1992, while he was in graduate school in Hebrew and Semitic studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He saw an image of a clay impression from a signet ring belonging to a servant of King Hezekiah, who ruled the Southern Kingdom of Judah and is mentioned in the Book of Kings. He recalled seeing what looked to be the king’s name.

“Hezekiah ruled around 700 BCE,” he said. “I couldn’t shake my interest.”

He said he also found it noteworthy at a time when some scholars who were “European mainly, were saying the Hebrew Bible was a work of fiction with a few historical references thrown in. I said, ‘Wait a minute. I just saw a seal impression of a servant of Hezekiah.’


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    • ..."Atlanta". Independent verification has also been discovered proving that a battle of some kind was fought at a location called "Gettysburg" in which thousands and thousands of men were killed and ... more
      • You miss the point entirely.DFM, Mon Aug 28 10:07pm
        Nobody claims that the minor characters of legend were real. But the KINGS are quite different. They DID exist as stated in the Hebrew Bible. Inscriptions bear their names. It is analogous to finding ... more
    • Prophecy is for real.Contrarian, Mon Aug 28 3:02am
      You have the best example in the resurrection of latter-day Israel.
      • prophecy come true, but there are so many that failed miserably, that I must chalk this up to coincidence. DFM
        • Yes, you have exampled a few "failures."Contrarian, Mon Aug 28 1:19pm
          My non-scholarly opinion is they have not occurred yet. The timing was not ripe.
        • (KJV is used below.) God says that David's kingdom will last forever. It didn't of course. It was entirely destroyed about 400 years after Solomon's death, never to be rebuilt. Even upon returning... more
          • According to my Southern Baptist inculcationsContrarian, Mon Aug 28 1:26pm
            David is a metaphor for The Lord. Jesus Christ Lord is to return at the exquisite height of the Battle of Armageddon, the Second install the rule over this earth via the House of David.... more
            • What is the purpose of prophecy?SES, Tue Aug 29 10:27am
              I like the one where jesus told everyone that some of those present would be there -- still be alive -- when he returned. Now here we are 2017 years later and -- no jesus. Have you seen the... more
              • The thing I wonder is whether or not theseSprout, Tue Aug 29 7:29pm
                charismatic religious leaders who crop up occasionally through history KNOW that they are simply scam artists? Or were they genuinely insane individuals who believed that they themselves were... more
              • But it is a tribute to the integrity of the authors and copying scribes of the New Testament that they left this verse in despite the fact that it had failed. DFM
                • So then that means that either...SES, Wed Aug 30 6:19am
                  ...they did not accurately write down what jesus said, which makes the entirety of everything that they wrote suspect, or... ...they just made it up, which again makes the entirety of everything that ... more
              • A typo?Contrarian, Tue Aug 29 11:25am
                So there are a few imponderables. Big deal. Prophecy is all about THE PLAN. It's the presient future laid out for those with an eye to see and an ear to hear. I believe it. And I am not easily... more
                • A "typo". lol. That's a new one.SES, Tue Aug 29 11:43am
                  "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing... more
            • 16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. Your interpretation is rather forced. DFM
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