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  #1  
Old 01-17-2008, 02:41 PM
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Default Historical Accuracy of Nehemiah

http://www.religiousforums.com/forum...newthread&f=64
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A stone seal bearing the name of one of the families who acted as servants in the First Temple and then returned to Jerusalem after being exiled to Babylonia has been uncovered in an archeological excavation in Jerusalem's City of David, a prominent Israeli archeologist said Wednesday.

The 2,500-year-old black stone seal, which has the name "Temech" engraved on it, was found earlier this week amid stratified debris in the excavation under way just outside the Old City walls near the Dung Gate, said archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, who is leading the dig.
According to the Book of Nehemiah, the Temech family were servants of the First Temple and were sent into exile to Babylon following its destruction by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.

The family was among those who later returned to Jerusalem, the Bible recounts.

The seal, which was bought in Babylon and dates to 538-445 BCE, portrays a common and popular cultic scene, Mazar said.
The 2.1 x 1.8-cm. elliptical seal is engraved with two bearded priests standing on either side of an incense altar with their hands raised forward in a position of worship.

A crescent moon, the symbol of the chief Babylonian god Sin, appears on the top of the altar.
Under this scene are three Hebrew letters spelling Temech, Mazar said.
The Bible refers to the Temech family: "These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city." [Nehemiah 7:6]... "The Nethinim [7:46]"... The children of Temech." [7:55].
The fact that this cultic scene relates to the Babylonian chief god seemed not to have disturbed the Jews who used it on their own seal, she added.
The seal of one of the members of the Temech family was discovered just dozens of meters away from the Opel area, where the servants of the Temple, or "Nethinim," lived in the time of Nehemiah, Mazar said.
"The seal of the Temech family gives us a direct connection between archeology and the biblical sources and serves as actual evidence of a family mentioned in the Bible," she said. "One cannot help being astonished by the credibility of the biblical source as seen by the archaeological find."
The find will be announced by Mazar at the 8th annual Herzliya Conference on Sunday.
The archeologist, who rose to international prominence for her recent excavation that may have uncovered King David's palace, most recently uncovered the remnants of a wall from Nehemiah.
The dig is being sponsored by the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem research institute where Mazar serves as a senior fellow, and the City of David Foundation, which promotes Jewish settlement throughout east Jerusalem.
This find confirms the historical accuracy of Nehemiah's documentation of the rebuilding of the First Temple in present-day Jerusalem. Surprising or not?
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Old 01-17-2008, 02:58 PM
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Not surprising to me. I watched a TV show about looking for any historical evidence of King David and they found evidence of Goliath.
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by tomspug View Post
http://www.religiousforums.com/forum...newthread&f=64
This find confirms the historical accuracy of Nehemiah's documentation of the rebuilding of the First Temple in present-day Jerusalem. Surprising or not?
And there are tornadoes in Kansas. Therefore?
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by ChristineES View Post
Not surprising to me. I watched a TV show about looking for any historical evidence of King David and they found evidence of Goliath.
Let me guess, a larger than normal skull with a hole where the temple should be?
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Francine View Post
Let me guess, a larger than normal skull with a hole where the temple should be?
Actually, it was his name carved in stone.
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Old 01-18-2008, 09:32 AM
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My point is that, time and again, archeology and history tends to point TOWARDS the historical authority of the Bible, not AWAY. The general assumption of today is that, of course, the Bible is mostly infallible because it mentions miracles (and those don't exist), therefore most of it is probably bull. This is simply an opinion of the uneducated.
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Old 01-18-2008, 10:48 AM
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This find confirms the historical accuracy of Nehemiah's documentation of the rebuilding of the First Temple in present-day Jerusalem. Surprising or not?
To what extent would you say this find confirms the historical accuracy of the book of Nehemiah? Would you say it confirms that Nehemiah is accurate in every detail? That Nehemiah is mostly accurate? That Nehemiah is partially accurate?
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Old 01-18-2008, 12:08 PM
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Whenever a historical document is found to have accurate information, it increases the historical strength of that document. In other words, the more information we have that finds the Bible to be historically accurate, the more reliable of a historical document.

In other words, since there is historically accurate information in Nehemiah, it presents a stronger case for the historicity of the rest of the information within it. The only way to counter this process is to have information that directly contradicts certain passages of the document, then the document becomes historically unreliable.

So, if there is nothing but historical accuracy within a document, it becomes a historically authoritative document. However, one small contradiction will greatly diminish this authority.

So, with the Bible as a whole, each book should be examined in this way, attempting to find historical inaccuracies within them. In the case of the gospel of Matthew, there are several instances of miracles, but they can not be proven to contradict with history without an authoritative source. Because there are no contradictions of history within Matthew (as far as I'm aware of) it is technically a historically reliable document. Whether or not you accept the miracles part is entirely up to you, but the fact that it documents them does not automatically make Matthew an historically unreliable document.
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:21 PM
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Whenever a historical document is found to have accurate information, it increases the historical strength of that document. In other words, the more information we have that finds the Bible to be historically accurate, the more reliable of a historical document.
Eilat Mazar has found a seal that may have the name Tamah/Temech on it. The reading is by no means certain. In addition, Eilat makes the claim that this is the "Temech family seal" -- as opposed to, say, the seal of a person named Temech.

I'd like to see some more discussion of Eilat's reading of the seal, and also of the questions:

How common were "family" seals in the ancient Near East?
How is a family seal distinguished from an individual's seal?

However, let's assume for the sake of argument that Eilat's reading of the seal is correct and that her conclusions are also correct. In that event, exactly how much of Nehemiah's account would be confirmed?

To put it another way, if I find evidence that a family named Earnshaw lived in Yorkshire in the 19th century, will you consider that evidence of the historical accuracy of Wuthering Heights?
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Old 01-19-2008, 09:42 AM
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This is less about the family of Temech and more about the reconstruction of the temple. Essentially, the Babylonian king had a large amount of the Jews captured and indoctrinated into their culture. Somehow, over hundreds of years, apparently the Jewish religions survived this (see Daniel, Esther, 1 Chronicles), even after the Persian nation conquered Babylon. After all of this, for some strange reason, the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem for the purpose of rebuilding their nation and their temple.

This seal is evidence of the construction of this temple around the correct time period. Not only that, it bears Babylonian influence, which implies that it was not constructed solely by the Jews of Jerusalem but were influenced by the Babylonian occupation. So the point of this seal is less about the Temech family and more about the confirmation of a Biblical EVENT.
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