Archaeology Questions

Institute For Biblical and Scientific Studies


 
Table of Contents

Gold of the Exodus

Mt. Sinai

Chuck Missler 

Face on Mars 

Jonathan Swift & the two moons of Mars 

Velikovshy's Theories 

Rohl's Theories

Vendyl Jones Claims?

Shroud of Turin

Ark of the Covenant

Gospel in the Stars?

Gospel in Pyramids?

Prophecies of Nostradamus

Ron Wyatt's Claims?

Mysteries of the Bible

Bible Unearthed - the latest archaeological views of the Bible. 



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Last updated: 4/28/01

 

Archaeology Questions

Gold of the Exodus

 


Howard Blum (journalist) has written the book "The Gold of the Exodus" about the the adventures of Bob Cornuke's and Larry Williams' quest for Mt. Sinai. Bob a former cop believes that Mt. Sinai is  Jabal al Lawz in Saudia Arabia. In 1988 Bob along with Larry (a Wall Street millionaire) illegally entered Saudi Arabia to search for Mt. Sinai. Bob also believes in a different route for the exodus. He thinks that Moses crossed the Red Sea from the tip of the Sinai Peninsula across the gulf of Aqaba to Saudi Arabia. He thinks that Moses buried huge amounts of gold taken from the Egyptians at Jabel al Lawz. You can see a picture of Jabal al Lawz and his purposed route of the exodus at his web site: http://www.baseinstitute.org/photos.html.

First of all these amazing claims are not backed up by any solid evidence. If he has found a chariot wheel then let the experts examine it to see if it is Egyptian and what time it dates to. A wheel does not prove anything. There are also many altars and high places in the Middle East. An altar must be examined for what kind it is and time of use. More than a few large rock piles and rock carving are needed to prove that Jabal al Lawz is Mt. Sinai. Rock piles and carvings can be found all over the Sinai and Saudi Arabian deserts.

Cornuke claims that Jabal al Lawz is burnt at the top by the fire of God. It is true that the rocks on top are dark, but this is because they are basalt rocks with intrusive dikes of lighter color rocks, not because fire burnt them.  The darkened mountain top may have given rise to the stories of Mt. Sinai.  

There are a number of places that could be Mt. Sinai. We do not know for sure which mountain was Mt. Sinai. There are also a number of possible routes that the Israelites could have taken across the Sinai Peninsula. The amazing claims of Bob Cornuke demand amazing proofs which are sorely lacking in the book the Gold of the Exodus. No serious archaeologist would make these claims without proof (see BAR July/August 1999 Vol.25:4, 54-56). See Did Amateur Archaeologists Find the Real Mt. Sinai?.


Mt. Sinai

There are various suggestions as to were Mt. Sinai is. De Vaux believes that the theophany of Sinai was a description of a volcanic eruption in northern Arabia (1978, 432-8). Exodus 19:18 describes the mountain like a furnace of smoke. From a distance it would look like a pillar of cloud in the day, and a pillar of fire at night. Following this cloud of smoke would lead them right to the volcano. There are no volcanoes in Sinai, but there are several in northern Arabia (Lee 1996, 20). The only known large eruption around this time is Santorini on the Greek island of Thera (Simkin et al. 1981, 111). Professor Goedicke thinks a giant tidal-like wave called a tsunami caused by the eruption of Santorini, destroyed the Egyptian army, and the eruption formed the pillar of cloud and fire in Exodus (Shanks 1981, 42-50; Oren 1981, 46-53). Note that at the time of Ogyges there occurred the first great deluge in Greece. Ogyges "lived at the same time of the Exodus from Egypt" (Eusebius 1981, 524). Maybe a tsunami caused this deluge in Greece?

Jewish tradition seems to place Mt. Sinai in Arabia. Demetrius stated that Dedan was Jethro's ancestor which is identified with the oasis of el-'Ela, and when Moses went to Midian he stayed in Arabia (De Vaux 1978, 435). In Josephus' book Antiquities of the Jews he placed Sinai where the city of Madiane was (Antiquities, II.264; III.76). In the Babylonian Talmud (Sotah 5a) R. Huna and R. Hisda say, "the Holy One, blessed be He, ignored all the mountains and heights and caused His Shechinah to abide upon Mount Sinai" (Freedman and Simon 1935, 18-19).

According to Old Testament passages Mt. Sinai is identified with Seir and Mt. Paran. Deuteronomy 33:2 says, "The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran" (KJV, see also Judges 5:4-5, Hab. 3:3,7; Axelsson, 1987; Simons 1959). It seems that the itinerary that was followed in Numbers 33:18-36 locates Sinai in northern Arabia. Midian was also located here (I Kings 11:18) where Moses lived with Jethro, priest of Midian, for forty years (Exodus 2:15, 3:1).

According to the New Testament, Paul in Galatians 4:25 states, "For this (H)Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia" (KJV). Paul is probably following Jewish tradition that placed mount Sinai in northern Arabia.

From Egyptian topographical lists one area the Shasu lived in was Seir. One place is called "land of the Shasu Yhw" (Axelsson 1987, 60). Yhw is used as a toponym, a place-name, which is most likely named after a deity. Yhw corresponds to the Old Testament YHWH, which would make this the earliest known reference. Axelsson concludes, "Thus it is conceivable that the full name of the area in question was Yhw's land, Yhw's city, Yhw's mountain, or the like" (Axelsson 1987, 60). After further study Astour places this city north of Israel in Lebanon (1979, 17-34; for more on the origins of YHWH see, De Moor, 1990, Huffmon, 1971, Murtonen, 1951).

Tradition seems to place Mt. Sinai in Arabia (see article by Allen Kerkeslager "Mt. Sinai-in Arabia?" in Bible Review April, 2000 pages 32-39, 52). The Septuagint translators thought Jethro was from a city named Madian (Madiam). This ancient city was located in northwestern Arabia not far from Jabal al Lawz, the tallest mountain in the area at 8,500 feet. "Qurayyah ware, a pottery style usually associated with the Midainites, indicates that the large oasis at Al-Bad' was probably a Midianite settlement in the Late Bronze and early Ion Ages (Ibid, 36). Other evidence comes from Demetrius the Chronographer (cited in Eusebius Preaparatio Evangelica 9:29.1-3). Philo placed Mt. Sinai in northwestern Arabia and says that Moses "went up the highest and most sacred of the mountains in its region" (Ibid, 37; Moses 2.70). The Book of Jubilees 8:19 seems to locate Mt. Sinai in the Arabian peninsula. Origen, Eusebius and Jerome all locate Mt. Sinai in Arabia (Ibid, 39) For more details see the article by Allen Kerkeslager "Mt. Sinai-in Arabia."

 


 

What about Chuck Missler?

Chuck Missler is the head of Koinonia House Ministries (Web site: http://www.khouse.org/). I remember hearing him for the first time when he came to Calvary Chapel in Philadelphia. The church was packed out. I was shocked by what Missler said! I could not believe what I was hearing. He thought the face on Mars indicated that there are Martians who are planning an attack on earth via the moon which would signal the start of the Tribulation (See http://www.best.com/~dolphin/noahdays.html). It has been a number of years since he has said this, and I have not seen any Martians, but maybe they are too busy causing problems with the Mars Polar Lander.

THE FACE ON MARS

Because of the NASA announcement about possible ancient life on Mars, there has been wild speculation about aliens. Unfortunately, Richard Hoagland was on CNN pushing the issue that the face on Mars was built by an ancient civilization. He also insists there are remains of large cities on the moon. A number of Christians are also caught up with these wild ideas. Since the invention of large telescopes many have claimed to see familiar objects from fuzzy photographs. These types of illusions are called pareidolia. Italian astronomer Schiaparelli first mapped canals on Mars in 1877. The astronomer Lowell (1855-1916) thought these canals on Mars were made by Martians. This sparked a controversy that peaked in 1910. In 1953 H. Percy Wilkins claimed to see a man-made bridge on the moon. These illusions disappeared when space-crafts took detailed pictures of the moon and Mars. According to planetary scientists the face on Mars is just a natural formation. It is like finding shapes in clouds. Other pictures show no alien civilizations on Mars or the moon. What this does show is man's vivid imagination.  The Face of Mars has been photographed again in higher and closer resolution by the Mars Global Surveyor showing that it is just a rock formation. See NASA pictures at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/msss/camera/images/4_6_face_release/index.html (Information for this article is based on the books, "How to think about Weird Things" by Schick and Vaughn, and The Outer Edge" edited by Nickell, Karr, and Genoni.

JONATHAN SWIFT & THE TWO MOONS OF MARS

I was also amazed to find out from Chuck Missler that once Mars was so close to earth that you could see its two moons. The proof offered was that Jonathan Swift in his famous book, Gulliver's Travels (1726), describes Mars as having two small moons, way before these two moons were discovered in 1877 by Asaph Hall. Velikovshy, and some Christians, explain this by saying that Mars in ancient times was very close to the earth so man could see these two moons. Then Jupiter ejected a comet (now the planet Venus) which passed close to earth, causing the plagues of Egypt, and parting the Red Sea for Moses. Centuries later Venus jolted Mars into its present orbit. This theory is a fantasy that is devoid of facts. UFO fans say that extraterrestrials visited Swift and told him about the two moons of Mars. At the time of Swift the common theory put forth by the great astronomer Johannes Kepler was that Mars had two moons. This was based on the harmony of the planets in the solar system. Since earth had one moon, Jupiter had four, and Saturn had eight, and Mars is between the earth and Jupiter, the logical conclusion is that Mars had two very small moons. Although this theory is false, Swift used this in his book for the Laputians to claim there were two moons around Mars. One does not have to turn to wild speculation as Velikovshy has done, but to the common theories of that day to explain the two moons around Mars. (Information is based on the book The Great Copernicus Chase by Owen Gingerich p. 179, and An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural by James Randi, p.155).

Velikovsky's Theories

What I did not realize when Chuck Missler was speaking, was that much of what he was saying was from Velikovsky's wild theories (See above). This led me to a study of Velikovsky's views. What was even more surprising was that some of the speakers at ICC-International Creation Conference brought into Velikovshy's views.

The vast majority of Astronomers both Christian and non-Christian do not follow Velikovshy's theories of Venus knocking Mars out of a close orbit with Earth. He wrote World in Collision in 1950. There have been numerous articles showing the problems with his views. Dr. Newman wrote "The Astrophysics of World in Collision" in Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation (December 1973, p.146) which points out the problems. (See the web page at: http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/vdtopten.html)  

The vast majority of Archaeologists both Christian and non-Christian do not follow Velikovsky's Egyptian chronology that puts the New Kingdom 550+ years later, so that Thutmose III is Shishak king of Egypt in I Kings 14:25, but a stele of Sheshonk at Megiddo indicates that he is the Shishak of the Bible (See "The Campaign of Pharaoh to Palestine" by Maisler in Vetus Testamentum Supplement IV 1957, 57-66). Velikovsky also places the Hyksos at the same time as David and Solomon. Queen Hatshepsut is equated with the Queen of Sheba. A number of articles have been written to show how wrong he is. The Amarna letters link Amenhotep III and other Amarna pharaohs with the Kassite kings of Babylon in the 14th century. (See articles: Biblical Archaeologist Spring 1980, 119; and "Immanuel Velikovshy's Catastrophic History" by Edwin Yamauchi in Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation (December 1973, p.134-39).


What about the views of David Rohl's?

David Rohl has written "Pharaohs and Kings: A Biblical Quest" and "Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation." These are beautifully illustrated, but his theories are way off. In "Pharaohs and Kings: A Biblical Quest" he throws away traditional Egyptian chronology like Velikovshy. Rohl equates Ramses II with Shishak of the Bible. He equates the Amarna letters with the time of David. In my opinion Dr. Kitchen has clearly shown that Rohl is mistaken in a number of areas (see http://www.christiananswers.net/abr/rohl.html ).

In "Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation" Rohl has located the Garden of Eden between Lake Urmia and the Caspian Sea. His exegesis of names seems way off. Similar sounding names do not mean they are the same. The "source" of a river is what we call the "mouth" of a river today, which Rohl fails to understand. I do agree with him that Judi Dagh is more likely the resting place for Noah's Ark than on Mount Ararat. Making the Egyptians come from Mesopotamia is another failure to understand the Table of Nations in Genesis 10. (See Overview of Genesis at http://bibleandscience.com/genesis.htm ).

David Rohl's web site is at http://www.nunki.net/ also see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NewChronology

 


What about the claims of Vendyl Jones?

I remember being at a conference when someone asked me about the amazing discoveries by Vendyl Jones who claims to have found the ashes of the red heifer near where the Ark of the Covenant is to be found in a cave near the Dead Sea. He claims to be the real Indiana Jones, just take the V off his first name. His web site is at http://www.vendyljones.org.il/

First of all Vendyl Jones is not an archaeologist. He claims that his translation and interpretation of the Copper Scroll from Cave 3 where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, will lead to the greatest of all treasuries, the Ark of the Covenant. Yet all of his digging has not produced a single temple artifact. Scholars do not agree with his translation or interpretation of the Copper Scroll (More details in the Spring 1996 issue of Biblical Archaeologist). See http://www.christiananswers.net/abr/scoop.html#Jones


What about the Shroud of Turin?

The Shroud of Turin is a Fake! The first recorded evidence of the Shroud of Turin is in 1357 AD. in France far removed from the time of Christ. Joe Nickell in his book Inquest into the Shroud of Turin, tells about a bishop's report to Pope Clement that told how the cloth was used in a healing scam to defraud pilgrims, and its image had been "cunningly painted" by a confessed artist. Nickell states that the image is similar to French gothic paintings. There is a lack of wraparound distortions and "blood" flows that are "picture like" and still bright red, not dull as real blood would be (See Nichell's book).

Secondly, In 1973 forensic tests for blood on the Shroud of Turin turned up negative.

Thirdly, after analyzing samples from the Shroud microanalyst Walter McCrone discovered that both image and so called blood areas had been painted by an artist using a red ocher and vermilion tempera paint. There are pictures of this at his web site at http://www.mcri.org/shroudupdate.html#anchor577043  

Fourthly, in 1978 examinations were done by STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project). They claimed the image was anatomical correct, yet Nichcell states that the footprint does not match with the leg's position, the hair falls as if standing, not lying down, and the whole body is unnaturally long similar to Gothic art.

Fifthly, In 1988 samples of  the Shroud were radiocarbon dated by three independent labs which dated the Shroud between 1360 and 1390 AD. A Team in Texas led by Leoncio A. Garza-Valdes have questioned these results, but the origin of their samples have been challenged. The Archbishop of Turin, Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini, has publicly challenged the sample's authenticity, and he says that he and the Vatican "declare that they cannot recognize the results of the claimed experiments." Walter McCrone, who has "examined thousands of fibers from 32 different areas of the 'Shroud,'" contends that the fibers shown in the team's photomicrographs "did not come from the 'Shroud' of Turin." (For more details see http://www.csicop.org/articles/shroud/index.html

Garza-Valdez has claimed to have found human DNA supposedly of Jesus. He wrote The DNA of God? (1999). The Vatican has refused to authenticate his samples. Anyone who has touched the shroud, cried over it, or a hair has fallen on it, can leave traces of human DNA on the shroud. 

Garza-Valdez also claimed that a microbal coating on the shroud altered the radiocarbon date. Physicist Thomas Pickett calculated that would have to be twice as much contamination, by weight, as the cloth itself (see Sketical Inquirer September/October 2001 and Skeptical Briefs, June 1996). 

It has been claimed by Max Frei-Sulzer that he has found pollen on the shroud that only comes from Palestine. Max has a bad reputation. He claimed to be a handwriting expert who said the "Hitler daries" were genuine when they were exposed as forgeries. He has also been found guilty and censured by the Police hierarchy in Switzerland. STURP's tape samples show few pollen samples. Only one single tape had many pollen spores in one small area indicating the tape had been contaminated. Schafersman publicly proclaimed that Max was guilty of deception (Sketical Inquirer September/October 2001, 19). 

There was a story circulated that the radiocarbon dating was done on a patch from the1532 AD fire causing a late date, but this is totally false. Dmitrii Kuznetsov, a Russian scientist claimed that the heat from the fire of 1532 could alter the dating, but others could not replicate his results because his calculations had been plagiarized complete with an error (Wilson 1998, 219-223).

A retired psychiatrist, Alan Whanger and his wife have claimed to see all sorts of amazing things in the shroud like plant images, Roman coins, nails, a hammer, pliers, two scourges, two brush brooms, coil of rope, a cloak with a belt, sandals, Roman dice and much more. This is like finding shapes in the clouds. 

Most importantly, the New Testament in John 19:40 states, "Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with spices." Note that the body was wound around in linen clothes (plural). The shroud is one cloth with no marks of being wound. John 20:6-7 states "Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself." There was a napkin around Jesus' head, not a one piece shroud. The question is whether to believe the Gospel of John or not. 


Is the Gospel in the Stars?

I was surprised to learn that Henry Morris and a number of other people believe that the gospel is seen in the constellations of the Zodiac. For example, the constellation Virgo pictures the virgin Mary and Aries the Ram is Christ. This view was first made popular by two books: The Gospel in the Stars by Joseph A. Seiss in 1892, and The Witness of the Stars by E.W. Bullinger in 1893.

First of all the Bible strictly forbids looking to the stars for answers (Deuteronomy 4:19; Isaiah 47:13). They completely misunderstand Romans 1:20. It is God’s eternal power and divine nature that are clearly seen, not the story of the gospel. In Genesis 1:14 the stars in the sky are to serve as signs to mark seasons, days, and years, and not to mark the gospel, or any astrology.

Secondly, the grouping of stars into constellations have changed during the history of man. Seiss and Bullinger have deleted 3 constellations named by Ptolemy in the Almagest and replaced them with three others to better fit their theory. Also different names and figures are seen by different tribes of people. For example, the Maya Indians have very different views of the constellations. For the origin of the zodiac see The Great Copernicus Chase by Owen Gingerich (1992, 7-12).

Thirdly, the position of stars are changing. The stars are slowing moving. Today’s North Star was not at the North Pole at the time of Christ. Also there is the procession of the constellations so that some that were seen in ancient times are not seen today.

Finally, what about the people in the Southern hemisphere? Are they without the gospel because they can not see all the same constellations in the North? Does God only love the people in the Northern hemisphere? Can one truly understand the gospel by just looking at the stars?


Is the Gospel in the Pyramids?

Some Christians believe that not only is the gospel is in the Pyramids, but prophecies predicting the end of the world. Some think that Adam, Seth, or Enoch build the Great Pyramids of Giza.

The idea that the world’s past, present and future history is concealed in the measurements of the Great Pyramid was popularized by Scottish astronomer Charles Piazza Smyth in 1864.

Later Sir Flinders Petrie set out to prove this true. People were not allowed to measure the pyramids, so the eccentric Petrie dressed up in a ballerina costume. They thought he was crazy, but this allowed him to measure the Great Pyramid. He found out that is was not truth. Petrie turned to digging and became the father of modern archaeology.

Martin Gardner has written that events can be correlated with any structure. He shows how measurements of the Washington Monument parallel current history (James Randi 1995, 110).

Another extreme view is that the Pyramids are so complex and too large for man to build, so they must have been build by aliens. Erich von Daniken popularized this view in his book Chariots of the Gods. I.E.S. Edwards has written an excellent book entitled The Pyramids of Egypt that goes into detail about how the pyramids were build by man. There are ropes, sleds, and pictures of the Egyptians building different structures. Herodotus even describes how they did this (Book II, 125). It was not aliens.

 


What about the prophecies of Nostradamus?

Nostradamus is the Latin form of Nostradamus. Michel De Notradame was born in 1503 in Saint Remi in Southern France, and died in Salon in 1566. He was raised a Roman Catholic. He studied medicine in Montpellier, and started his medical practice in 1529 in Agen, and then moved to Salon in 1544. He became well known as a gifted healer because of his innovative treatments during the outbreak of the plague in Aix and Lyon in 1546-7. He began making prophecies in 1547. In 1555 his prophecies were published in a book entitled The Centuries. His prophecies are in poetic rhyme grouped into 100 lines called "century." These are subdivided into four lines called "quatrains." An enlarged second edition was published in 1558, and dedicated to the King. The Queen of France, Catherine de Medicis requested him to figure out the horoscopes for her husband, King Henry II, and their children. In 1560 Nostradamus was appointed the court physician by King Charles IX.

Nostradamus’ prophecies are very vague as horoscopes are today. Many different meanings have been read into them (See Randi, James. The Mask of Nostradamus : the prophecies of the world's most famous seer, Buffalo, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 1993). There is a letter to his son in his preface to his book The Centuries where he clearly predicts a great reduction in population by 1732. This clearly did not happen (Robert Newman, IBRI; see his excellent web page: Nostradamus and the Bible).

On one web site (http://web1.tusco.net/ourlady/index.htm) it states: Five hundred years ago, Nostradamus prophesied that World War III would occur on July 4th of 1999, the feast of the "eagle" or USA, with Russia and Iran launching nuclear and chemical assaults upon Western and Southern Europe. I know I had a busy summer, but I can not recall World War III in July.

In the early 1980’s there was a TV program about Nostradamus predicting the end of the world that week. That night at work some where concerned that the world was going to end at midnight. I told them it would not happen because the Bible says that no one knows the day or the hour when the world would end (Acts 1:7).

It should be noted that Nostradamus’ prophecies were condemned in 1781 by the Congregation of the Index of the Roman Catholic Church (Britannica 1986, 8:803).

Did Nostradamus Predict World Trade Tower Disaster? See http://inq.philly.com/content/inquirer/2001/09/15/specials/attack/NOSTRA15.htm  and http://www.snopes2.com/inboxer/hoaxes/predict.htm 

What about the Claims of Ron Wyatt?

Ron Wyatt has made many amazing claims. Amazing claims demand amazing proof which Wyatt lacks.

1. He claims to have found Noah's Ark. Answers in Genesis has written articles showing his claims are false. See http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/1154.asp  

2. He claims to have found the Ark of the Covenant in a quarry outside Jerusalem. His pictures of the Ark are blurred so it could be any thing. To see the pictures from Wyatt's website see http://www.wyattarchaeology.com/ark.htm                                              What Wyatt probably saw was an ossuary which is a box where bones are placed. Knights in medieval times probably also mistook ossuaries for the Ark of the Covenant. For more information see web page at http://www.geocities.com/ronsdiscoveries/ark.htm

3. Wyatt claims to have found Sodom and Gomorrah, but what he found was just a geological feature of salt.

4. Wyatt claims to have found Mt. Sinai at Jabal al Law as does Bob Cornuke. See the Gold of the Exodus

5. Wyatt claims to have found where Israel crossed the Red Sea, but there is no proof. He has supposedly planted a wheel in the water. See http://www.geocities.com/ronsdiscoveries/redsea.htm  See A Great Christian Scam at http://www.tentmaker.org/Dew/Dew7/D7-AGreatChristianScam.html  See also http://www.tentmaker.org/WAR/index.html 

For more details see http://bibleandscience.com/wyatt.htm 

Mysteries of the Bible

There is a web site called Mysteries of the Bible produced by Michael Sanders. Sanders makes extraordinary claims, but lacks the extraordinary evidence to back them up.

Sanders claims to know where the Ark of the Covenant is!

Michael Sanders believes that the Ark is in the village of Djaharya in Israel. There is suppose to be a TV special on NBC soon about this. I think that his chronology and interpretation of Egyptian texts are off. The location at Djaharya sounds similar to Egyptian words, but similar sounds do not mean they are the same. I think Rohl in his books also assumes that similar sounding words must be the same. Djahi is a general area for part of Palestine and Phoenicia (See A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian by Raymond O. Faulkner 1991, 319). I looked up all the occurrences of Djahi in ANET, and they do not seem to fit the location of Djaharya. Pekanan is literally "the Canaan" according to Breasted. The "Pe" is the article "the" plus "Canaan." (This is what I remember from taking Egyptian Heiroglyphics) Djahi and Pekanan are two different Egyptian words, that are general geographic terms, and should not be put together to form a new word Djahi Pakaanan. These two words seem to be used in parallel. There were a number of Egyptian Temples in Canaan not just in Djaharya. His web site is at http://www.biblemysteries.com/library/ark/. For more information about where the Ark of the Covenant click here.

Sanders claims to know where the city of Sodom is!

Michael Sanders believes that Sodom and Gomorrah are on the bottom of the Dead Sea. He has even used a submarine to dive down to the bottom to see what is there. You can see pictures of this at http://www.biblemysteries.com/library/deadsea/

The problem is that there is no evidence that this is Sodom. Sodom is most likely to be identified with the modern site name Bab edh-Dhra. Even in an earlier lecture Sanders seems to think that Bab edh-Dhra is Sodom (See http://www.biblemysteries.com/lectures/sodom/) Gomorrah is identified with Numeira. Walter Rast and Thomas Schaub excavated these sites starting in 1975. (See ASOR website) The Smithsonian Institution has some of the remains of bones and pottery from Bab edh-Dhra in their Natural History Museum in the exhibit of "Origins of Western Culture" on the second floor. There was a total of five Early Bronze Age sites that matched the five cities of the plain mentioned in Genesis 14. Probably an earthquake caused an eruption of gas, oil, sulfur, salt, and bitumen to rain down on Sodom and Gomorrah. The Dead Sea is right on a fault line where earthquakes occur.

Sanders is all mixed up in his chronology!

Sanders cuts out several hundred years out of Egyptian chronology to make it fit with Biblical chronology. He seems to follow David Rohl's theories. Most scholars equate the Biblical Shishak with the Egyptian king Sheshonq I. Sanders rejects the evidence for this.
Scarab of Sheshonq I. He ruled Egypt from 945-924 BC.

The Hebrew name Shishak matches the Egyptian name of Sheshonq I in Egyptian history. Sheshonq is the founder of the 22nd Dynasty of Egypt. Sheshonq I ruled from 945-924 BC. He was from a Libyan tribe who became  commander-in-chief, then King. He was a strong leader who reunited Egypt. 2 Chronicles 12:3-4 says, "With 1200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen and the innumerable troops of Libyans, Sukkites (mercenary Libyan soldiers) and Cushites (Upper Egypt) that came with him from Egypt, he captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem" (NIV). Note the many troops from Libya. Thutmose III nor Rameses II would not have had an army composed of mainly outsiders, but Egyptians. There are inscriptions of Sheshonq's campaign into Palestine on the wall of the temple of Amon in Karnak. ANET, 263; ANEP, 349; ANE 1, fig.94. It says that Sheshonq I went as far as Megiddo where a victory stele was erected. ANET 242-3 has a list the the cities he captured. For more information on the list see Handbook for the Study of Egyptian Topographical Lists Relating to Western Asia by J. Simons, Leiden 1937 (pp.90-101,178-186: see also Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Vol. 4, paragraph 709).

Sanders Claims to have found the Garden of Eden!

Sanders now claims that Eden is in Eastern Turkey. See http://www.biblemysteries.com/lectures/edennorth/ for a satellite photo of Eden. Earlier in his lectures Sanders spends much time showing how the island Bubiyon in Southern Iraq is the probable location of Eden. Sanders seems to flip-flop in his views. See his earlier lecture at http://www.biblemysteries.com/library/edens/. He now seems to follow David Rohl's theory on the location of Eden. There are a number of problems with this view. 

In "Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation" Rohl has located the Garden of Eden between Lake Urmia and the Caspian Sea. His exegesis of names seems way off. Similar sounding names do not mean they are the same. The "source" of a river is what we call the "mouth" of a river today, which Rohl  and Sanders fails to understand.


Below is my analysis of where the Garden of Eden may be.

In order to locate Eden one must understand the ancient words being used. The "source" or "head" of the river is what we would call the "mouth" of the river (Hess & Tsumura, 1994, 178-9). Therefore all four rivers would empty into the Persian gulf. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers are easy to locate. Speiser identifies the possibilities of the other two as the Gihon=Diyala, Kirkha, or Kerkha and Psihon=Kerkha, Karun, or Wadi er-Rumma respectively (Ibid., 181, Map and more information at http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/rels/2/lectures/lecture3.html). If Gihon is identified with Kerkha, then the rivers of Eden are listed in an east to west direction, and the Pishon would be the Karun river in Elam. If Eridu may be equated with Eden then the Garden would be just east of Eridu where a branch canal produced abundant crops (Fischer 1996, 222). It should be noted that back then the Persian gulf would have been extended all the way back to Eridu and Ur.

There is another new identification of the river Pishon with the Wadi Batin that was seen from satellite photos. Wadi Batin is a dried up river, but at one time it would have connected with the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. See http://www.ldolphin.org/eden/ for photos and details. This is a very good possibility. The Gihon would then be identified with the Karun river in Elam.

Some think the Hebrew word "eden" is from the Sumerian word "edin" meaning "plain" and its Akkadian equivalent is edinu (Fischer 1996, 223) which refers to the land between the Trigris and Euphrates Rivers.

Other scholars equate the garden of Eden with the similar description of ancient Dilmun. See http://emuseum.mankato.msus.edu/archaeology/sites/middle_east/dilmun.html. Dilum was probably the island Bahrain in the Persian gulf.
There is a Sumerian story entitled Enki and Ninhursag which describes a paradise similar to Eden only it is called Dilmun. It says:
The land Dilmun is pure, the land Dilmun is clean; The land Dilmun is clean, the land Dilmun is most bright. In Dilmun the raven utters no cries, The ittidu-bird utters no the cry of the ittidu-bird, The lion kills not, The wolf snatches not the lamb, The sick-eyed says not "I am sick-eyed," The sick-headed (says) not "I am sick-headed," Its old woman (says) not "I am an old woman," Its old man (says) not "I am an old man,"He filled the dikes with water, He filled the ditches with water, He filled the uncultivated places with water. The gardener in the dust in his joy (ANET 1969, 38-9).The geography surrounding Eden seems to be the same before the flood as well as after the flood. The same rivers and mountains are mentioned. This seems to indicate that Noah’s flood was local. There is an excellent article on this by John Munday Jr entitled Eden’s Geography Erodes Flood Geology (Westminster Theological Journal 58:1. 123-44, 1996).