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The Stones Cry Out

The Stones Cry Out

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The Stones Cry Out, What Archaeology Reveals About the Truth of the Bible, by Dr. J. Randall Price. The book is Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon; Copyright 1997 by World of the Bible Ministries, Inc.

The author received his Master of Theology degree in Old Testament and Semitic Language from Dallas Theological Seminary, and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has participated in field excavations at Tel Yin’am in the Galilee, as well as at Qumran, the site of the community that discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls.

In the Preface of his book, under the subheading The Popularity of Biblical Archaeology, the author writes (from Jerusalem, Shavuot, 1997): “It is for the popular audience that I have written this book … My purpose, however, is not to ‘prove’ the Bible, which as an archaeological document is proof itself. Rather, it is to show from the stones that the Scriptures are reliable and reveal to us the Scriptures in such a way impossible without them …”

Regarding the title, The Stones Cry Out, two Biblical quotes are given:  

Habakkuk 2:11: Surely the stone will cry out from the wall, and the rafter will answer it from the framework.

Luke 19:40: When leaders sought to silence those praising Jesus’ Messianic entry into the rock walls of Jerusalem, he answered and said, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”

This 346-page book is presented in three Parts: What Can Archaeology Prove, New Discoveries in Archaeology, and Listening to the Stones Today. Throughout the entire book the author never loses his enthusiasm – at times his contagious joy – for the fact that the Old and New Testaments have both been confirmed by today’s science of archaeology to be historically accurate. In the first chapter, he writes: “Archaeology has revealed the cities, palaces, temples and houses of those who lived shoulder to shoulder with the individuals whose names appear in scripture. Such discoveries make possible for us what the Apostle John once voiced to authenticate his message: What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life, these things we write. – John 1:1-4.” In the same chapter the author also quotes a foremost authority in archaeology, the dean of the old school of biblical archaeology, Professor William Foxwell Albright (1891-1971): “Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of innumerable details and has brought increased recognition of the value of the Bible as a source of history.”

Part I – What Can Archaeology Prove? – has four chapters in which the author details the basics of the science of archaeology. He defines a tel as an unnatural mound created by the repeated destruction and rebuilding of ancient cities and villages on the same site. Excavation areas are called digs. The archaeological finds of greatest value are inscriptions or written words (So Shall it be Written So Shall it be Found) on papyrus, parchment, clay, metal, stone, and pottery fragments called ostraca. An example of a Stratigraphy of a Tel shows thirteen layers of the ground, from the present ground level to the Early Bronze IV period (2300-2100), beneath which is the original level of virgin soil. In addition, the book offers scientific charts of Major Inscriptions and Major Tablets of Old Testament Significance, and maps, graphs, models, and many photographs of ancient sites, such as the Great Hall of Columns, Karnak, the Rosetta Stone, and the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III (which is located in the ancient Assyrian city of Calah, modern Nimrud). Pictures or paintings from the past also offer proof. For example, the remarkable Beni-Hasan Mural, on the walls of a tomb that is south of Cairo on the east bank of the Nile. It is 8 feet long and 10 feet high and pictures Semites in Egypt, from about 1890 BC, as a “parade of foreigners, eight men, four women, three children, and donkeys (one of which carries the two smaller children) and other animals, all being led by Egyptian officials.” The author writes that “the importance of the painting lies in its visual depiction of what people looked like in the time of the patriarchs.”

Part II – New Discoveries in Archaeology – has twelve full, thoroughly researched chapters. As with the first part of the book, the reader will want to have the Bible at hand for the many citations the author has included. Chapter Five is that of The Patriarchs, Living Legends or Legendary Lives? A table in this chapter lists the Proposed Dating for the Patriarchs, and archaeological evidence is given from the period of 2166, Middle Bronze, to 165 BC, Persian/Greek. Chapter Six is Sodom and Gomorrah, and on the basis of extensive archaeological evidence, notably the work of Albright, the author suggests that Sodom is located at Bab edh-Dhra. on the eastern shore of Transjordan, and Gomorrah at Numeira, just south of Bab edh-Dhra. The chapters that follow describe the search for the path of The Exodus; The Conquest, Did Joshua Really Conquer Jericho?; King David and the finding of the inscription “House of David” on the Tel Dan Stele; The Temple, and the Temple Mount of Jerusalem, still at the center of conflict; Archaeology and The Ark, the Ark of the Covenant; Kings and Prophets, Sacred Signatures in Stone; Archaeology and Prophecy, Can Stones Show the Supernatural?; Archaeology and a Miracle, Reading Between the Cracks; The Dead Sea Scrolls, Archaeology’s Front-Page Story.

Chapter 16 examines Archaeology and Jesus, Theological Fiction or Trustworthy Facts? Here, in addition to many other related discoveries (such as the ossuary of Caiaphas) is described the now-famous stone – a stone that had been re-used as a cornerstone for a later building – that has an inscription from Caesarea of the name Pontius Pilate, “the Roman officer in charge of Judea.” In this chapter, the author also provides a table of Significant New Testament Archaeological Discoveries, from the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Kinneret Boat, AD 30-70, discovered in 1986.

Part III includes the chapters Listening to the Stones Today and Where Do the Stones Lead You? These are followed by Study Aids, Notes, and Indices, and a long list of Museums all over the world that have Biblical Archaeological Exhibits. There is also a substantial Glossary; Suggested Resources in Biblical Archaeology; References and Magazines; Internet Sites and Videos; extensive pages of Notes, and Person and Subject Indexes.  –  Review by Martha Keltz

References:

Israel Antiquities Authority – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Antiquities_Authority

Biblical Archaeology Society – https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/

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