Dr. John Bergsma is Associate Professor of Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio. At his blog The Sacred Page, he tells a fascinating story about his recent trip to the Society of Biblical Literature Congress in San Francisco. The SBL is normally a pretty staid collection of scholars, but something really sensational seems to have happened there:
I am always curious about what is going on in biblical archeology, so one afternoon I decided to skip the dozen or so sessions dedicated to Bakhtinian Decontextualization of Identity Construction in Persian Yehud (I had to tear myself away) and go hear about the excavations at a certain site called “Tall-el-Hammam.” I had no idea what I was in for. After about five minutes into the session, I realized that the archeological team assigned to this dig was convinced that they had found the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah. After another half-hour, it seemed they had most of the participants convinced as well. The sites fit the geographical and temporal context into which Sodom and Gomorrah are placed in the biblical texts. The cities at the site were suddenly and completely wiped out in the Late Bronze Age, which makes a reasonably good fit with the biblical accounts of Abraham and Lot. The entire presentation was very convincing, but never once did they deal with the “elephant in the room”: what caused the sites to be suddenly abandoned? As soon as the session was over, I was the first to raise my hand. “Did you find any arrow heads? Signs of invasion? What happened to them?” The lead archeologist paused for a moment. “I didn’t want to go there,” he said. Another pause. “I’m preparing material for publication.” Pause. “All I want to say ‘on camera’ is, they appear to have been wiped out in a ‘heat event’.”
There are undoubtedly some who think that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, like everything else in the Bible, is just a myth. I don’t need scientific proof for biblical history, but I certainly won’t turn it down when it presents itself, especially not for an era as old as Genesis depicts. If you’d like to explore this further, you can find more here.
(Via Stand Firm.)