(Watch Jerusalem) There’s nothing like finding a beautifully preserved artifact with a clear, unbroken inscription. Trouble is, that never really happens. More often than not, the “money” part is broken off or missing—the most important part so often seems to be the section that is broken. And that is certainly the case with biblically significant artifacts. An inscription will describe a biblical character to a T, to the point where the identification is virtually certain—yet the name will be broken off.
That’s not to say it happens all the time, or that very few biblical figures have been proved through archaeology. Currently the tally stands at 53, according to Prof. Lawrence Mykytiuk’s stringent analyses (this is the number just for individuals mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament). Mykytiuk’s list has an additional 13 “nearlies.”
It is the archaeological “nearlies” that I want to focus on in this article. They aren’t given as much publicity, of course, due to their fragmentary nature. But they do provide a great deal of biblical evidence in themselves. And they actually highlight some dangerous trends.
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