Posts Tagged ‘apologetics’

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Does the archaeological ‘Low Chronology’ disprove the Biblical narrative?

April 23, 2011

The Challenge

The ‘Low Chronology’ is a proposed redating of the Iron Age,[1] dating the reigns of David and Solomon to a time during which there is no archaeological evidence supporting them.[2]

The Objections

Proposed at least as early as the 1980s,[3]  the redating received almost no support,[4] and was resisted strongly by the archaeological consensus.[5]

Objections were raised by archaeologists including Dever (1997),[6] Mazar (1997, 1999),[7] Zarzeki-Peleg (1997),[8] Ben-Tor (1998), and Ben Ami (1998).[9]

Finkelstein responded, but criticism was renewed in 2000 by Na’aman[10] and Ben-Tor.[11] Over the next five years Finkelstein was virtually the only promoter of the theory. [12] [13] [14]  [15] [16] [17] [18]

The Evidence

Mazar and Dever note evidence agreeing with the Bible’s description of Jerusalem under David and Solomon.[19]  [20] Garfinkel likewise says evidence supports the description of the Israelite battles with the Philistines.[21]

Architecture at Khirbet Qeiyafa indicates David ruled an established state, as in the Biblical narrative.[22] Carbon 14 dated olive pits at the site have an age within the traditional date for the reign of David.[23]

Dead and Buried

Garfinkel believes the evidence from Khirbet Qeiyafa to be conclusive, [24] [25] and has declared ‘Low chronology is now officially dead and buried’.[26]


[1] ‘Proponents of the low chronology suggest that the end of the Iron Age I and the Iron Age IIA should be dated some eighty to one hundred years lower than the traditional chronology.’, Lehman, ‘The United Monarchy in the Countryside: Jerusalem, Judah and the Shephelah during the Tenth Century B.C.E’, in Vaughn & Killebrew (eds.), ‘Jerusalem in Bible and archaeology: The First Temple Period’, pp. 119-120 (2003; Iron Age I and Iron Age IIA are specific eras within the Iron Age.

[2]This suggested “Low Chronology” supposedly supports the replacement of this paradigm by a new one (in fact, similar to one presented earlier by David Jamieson Drake and others), according to which the kingdom of David and Solomon either did not exist or comprised at best a small local entity.’, Mazar, ‘The Search for David and Solomon: An Archaeological Perspective’, in Schmidt (ed.), ‘The Quest For the Historical Israel: debating archaeology and the history of Early Israel’, p. 119 (2007).

[3]“Revisionism” began on the archaeological front in the early 1980s, when several archaeologists o the Tel Aviv University set out to lower the conventional 10th century date of the distinctive four-entryway city gates and casement (or double) walls at Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer to the early-mid-9th century BCE.’, Dever, ‘Biblical and Syro-Palestinian Archaeology’, in Perdue (ed.), ‘The Blackwell companion to the Hebrew Bible’, p. 137 (2001).

[4] ‘The Tel Aviv group’s idiosyncratic “low chronology,” however, was not accepted by the Jerusalem school, or by any European or American archaeologist (it still is not widely accepted, even by all Tel Aviv archaeologists).’, ibid., pp. 137-138.

[5] ‘The underlying premises of the Low Chronology were quickly challenged.’, Ortiz, ‘Deconstructing and Reconstructing the United Monarch’ , in Hoffmeier & Millard (eds.), ‘The Future of Biblical Archaeology: Reassessing Methodologies and Assumptions’, p. 128 (2004).

[6] ‘And I can tell you that not a single one of the other Israeli archaeologists agrees with this low chronology, except Israel Finkelstein.’ Dever, quoted in Shanks, ‘Face to Face: Biblical Minimalists Meet Their Challengers’, Biblical Archaeology Review (23.04), July/August 1997.

[7] ‘Mazar concluded that Finkelstein’s suggestion to push the date of the Philistine Monochrome pottery beyond the end of the Egyptian presence in Canaan is based on a debatable assumption (Tenet #2).’, ibid., p. 128.

[8] ‘A second article criticizing the Low Chronology was published by Anabel Zarzeki-Peleg.17 She also focused on the Iron Age stratigraphy of northern assemblages. Zarzeki-Peleg presented a ceramic typological study of three important northern sites (Megiddo, Jokneam, and Hazor) and concluded that the stratigraphical redating of the Low Chronology is not possible.’, ibid., p. 128.

[9] ‘The most significant studies, all opposed to Finkelstein’s “low chronology,” are those of Zarzeki-Peleg, 1997; Ben-Tor and Ben-Ami, 1998; and Mazar, 19991.’, Dever, ‘Biblical and Syro-Palestinian Archaeology’, in Perdue (ed.), ‘The Blackwell companion to the Hebrew Bible’, p. 202 (2001).

[10] ‘A second set of responses to Finkelstein’s Low Chronology came in a 2000 issue of BASOR.22 First, Nadav Na’aman challenged Finkelstein’s redating of the Philistine Monochrome pottery using Trojan Grey Ware from Lachish and Tel Miqne-Ekron.’, ibid, p. 129.

[11]‘A second article by Ben-Tor addressed Finkelstein’s redating of the northern sites, particularly Hazor.’, ibid., p. 129.

[12]‘In the meantime, his views are opposed by such leading archaeologists as Amihai Mazar of Hebrew University, excavator of Tel Rehov;* Amnon Ben-Tor of Hebrew University, excavator of Hazor;* Lawrence Stager of Harvard University, excavator of Ashkelon; and William Dever of the University of Arizona, excavator of Gezer. More to the point, Finkelstein’s low chronology has not been accepted even by his codirector at Megiddo, David Ussishkin. Ussishkin tells us that “on archaeological grounds it is quite possible (though not necessary) that some or all of [the structures in Stratum VA-IVB] originate in the 10th century B.C.E., during Solomon’s reign,” which is what the traditional chronology holds.’, Shanks, ‘Reviews:  Megiddo III—The 1992–1996 Seasons, Israel Finkelstein, David Ussishkin and Baruch Halpern, Editors’, Biblical Archaeology Review (6.06), November/December 2000.

[13] ‘What they do not tell the reader is that Finkelstein does not deny an Israelite state, but only down-dates its origins somewhat; and that his idiosyncratic “low chronology” is scarcely accepted by any other archaeologist.’, Dever, ‘What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know it?’, p. 43 (2002).

[14] ‘It should not go unnoticed that not a single other ranking Syro-Palestinian archaeologist in the world has come out in print in support of Finkelstein’s ‘low chronology’.’, Dever, ‘Histories and Non-Histories of Ancient Israel: The Question of the United Monarchy’, in Day (ed.), ‘In Search of Pre-exilic Israel: proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar’, p. 73 (2003).

[15]‘The overwhelming consensus is, now more than ever, against Finkelstein’s low chronology, and therefore against his ‘new vision’ of ancient Israel.’, Dever, in Tel Aviv, volumes 30-31, p. 278 (2003).

[16]‘Demolishing Finkelstein’s supposed late date for the appearance of Philistine Bichrome pottery, based on an argument entirely from silence, leaves him without a leg to stand on for the remainder of his Iron I ‘low chronology’. While he continues to present it as fact, even claiming a growing consensus, there is not a shred of empirical (that is, stratigraphic) evidence to support this chronology.’, Dever, ‘Histories and Non-Histories of Ancient Israel: The Question of the United Monarchy’, in Day (ed.), ‘In Search of Pre-exilic Israel: proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar’, p. 73 (2003).

[17]‘Most senior archaeologists reject Finkelstein’s low chronology.’, Shanks, ‘Radiocarbon Dating: How to Find Your True Love’, Biblical Archaeology Review (31.01), January/February 2005; he cites ‘Amihai Mazar, Ephraim Stern, Amnon Ben-Tor, all of Hebrew University; Lawrence Stager of Harvard; William Dever and Seymour Gitin, the former and present directors of the Albright Institute in Jerusalem; and even Baruch Halpern, co-director with Finkelstein and David Ussishkin of the current excavation of Megiddo.’, but adds ‘But at this level of scholarship, you don’t simply count noses; you reason and argue! Recently, two brilliant younger archaeologists working at what is becoming a key site in the debate (Tel Dor on the Mediterranean coast) have parted company on this issue from their mentor, Hebrew University archaeologist Ephraim Stern, and now support Finkelstein’s low chronology.† Are the sands shifting?’.

[18] ‘Currently, Finkelstein is the only outspoken proponent of the Low Chronology.’, Ortiz, ‘Deconstructing and Reconstructing the United Monarch’ , in Hoffmeier & Millard (eds.), ‘The Future of Biblical Archaeology: Reassessing Methodologies and Assumptions’, p. 128 (2004).

[19] ‘Jerusalem of the tenth century B.C.E. is described by Finkelstein as a small and unimportant village. However, the “Stepped Stone Structure” in Area G in the City of David is a huge retaining wall that must have supported one of the largest buildings (perhaps the largest) of the 12th-10th centuries B.C.E. in the entire land of Israel. The pottery evidence indicates that it was founded during the Iron Age I (12th-11th centuries B.C.E.) and went out of use at some time after the tenth century. This fits the Biblical description of “The Citadel of Zion” (Metsudat Zion) as a Jebusite citadel captured by David and used as his stronghold (2 Samuel 5:7). In addition, Iron IIA pottery was found in almost every excavation area in the City of David. Jerusalem may not have been an enormous city during that time, but it definitely was much more than merely a small village, as Finkelstein contends. Outside of Jerusalem, monumental structures at Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer can, in my opinion, be dated to the tenth century B.C.E. Thus Yigael Yadin was probably correct in suggesting that these should be associated with Solomon’s building projects mentioned in 1 Kings 9:15.’, Mazar, ‘Does Amihai Mazar Agree with Finkelstein’s “Low Chronology”?’, Biblical Archaeology Review (29.02), March/April 2003.

[20] ‘If the biblical Solomon had not constructed the Gezer gate and city walls, then we would have to invent a similar king by another name.’, Dever, ‘What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know it?’, p. 133 (2002).

[21]The geopolitical circumstances in the Elah Valley during the late 11th–early 10th centuries are quite clear. The mighty Philistine city state of Gath, ca. 30 hectares in area, was located only 12 km downstream from Khirbet Qeiyafa. This was a hostile border area, where the Kingdoms of Gath and Jerusalem had constant millenary conflicts. The story of David and Goliath is just one of many such “warrior tales” listed in 2 Sam 21:15–22 and 1 Ch 11:11–27. Even if many of these traditions are folkloristic in character, their chronology and geography bear historical memories. As by the end of the 9th century BCE Gath disappeared as a political power, these traditions must have been created at an earlier time.’, Garfinkel, ‘Khirbet Qeiyafa: Sha’arayim’, Journal of Hebrew Scriptures (8.22.6). 2008.

[22]Khirbet Qeiyafa is surrounded by a massive casemate city wall, 700 m long and 4 m wide. It is constructed of megalithic stones, quite often reaching a weight of 4–5 tons apiece, and in the eastern gate, even ca. 10 tons each. Our calculation suggests that 200,000 tons of stone were required for the construction of these fortifications. A four-chambered gate, its upper part constructed of ashlars, was located and excavated in the western part of the city. It is clearly a fortified town rather than a rural settlement.’, Garfinkel, ‘Khirbet Qeiyafa: Sha’arayim’, Journal of Hebrew Scriptures (8.22.5). 2008.

[23] ‘As Khirbet Qeiyafa is an Iron Age IIA site, we are left with a dating post-1000 BCE, that is, 1000–975 BCE (59.6%) or 1000–969 BCE (77.8%). These dates fit the time of King David (ca. 1000–965 BCE) and are too early for King Solomon (ca. 965–930 BCE).’, ibid., p. 3.

[24] ‘The four new C14 results from Khirbet Qeiyafa clearly indicate that the “low chronology” and the “ultra-low chronology” are unacceptable.’, ibid., p. 4-5.

[25] ‘The biblical text, the single-phase city at Khirbet Qeiyafa, and the radiometric dates each stands alone as significant evidence clearly indicating that the biblical tradition does bear authentic geographical memories from the 10th century BCE Elah Valley. There is no ground for the assumption that these traditions were fabricated in the late 7th century BCE or in the Hellenistic period.’, ibid., pp. 5-6.

[26] Garfinkel & Ganor, ‘Khirbet Qeiyafa: An Early Iron IIa Fortified City in Judah’, presentation to the American Schools of Oriental Research, slide 24 (2010).

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The Historicity of the book of Acts (5)

April 22, 2011

Paul’s Commission: Acts 9:1-2

It has been claimed there is no historical basis for Paul’s commission from the High Priest to extradite from Damascus to Jerusalem any Jews who had become Christians,[1] and that neither the High Priest nor the Sanhedrin had any jurisdiction in Damascus.[2] [3] [4]

Evidence & Commentary

Peerbolte raises a parallel in the history of the Maccabees, in which a Roman consul ordered Jewish rebels in Egypt to be extradited to the High Priest for punishment according to Jewish law[5] (qualifying this with care[6]); noting support for the record,[7] he still urges caution.[8]

The Maccabean parallel is dismissed as historically inadequate by Légasse[9] and Marshall,[10] but Bruce defends it with reference to a decree by Julius Caesar re-affirming all the previously held rights of the High Priest.[11] Kistemaker and Hendriksen likewise believe the High Priest actually had extradition authority.[12]

Dunn disputes the idea of formal jurisdiction,[13]  but notes the informal influence of the high priest and Sanhedrin over provincial synagogues was far higher.[14]

Bond[15] and Williams[16] note similarly that the letters would have carried influence despite their lack of formal weight.

Wallace and Williams approach the legal-historical background with care.[17] Observing the letters were addressed to the synagogues not local officials, they argue the matter was internal Jewish business in which Roman officials would not become involved.[18] Noting the apparent absence of Roman forces in Damascus at the time, they suggest this would have reduced the probability of Roman interference. [19]

Klauck and Bailey also view the letters as simply letters of introduction rather than legal documents with which to exercise authority over local officials,[20] and note no difficulty with the record. Oepke,[21]  Bond,[22] and Gaertner[23]  take a similar view.


[1] Acts 9: 1 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing out threats to murder the Lord’s disciples, went to the high priest 2 and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, either men or women, he could bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

[2] ‘Neither the high priest nor the Jewish Sanhedrin in Jerusalem ever had such powers of jurisdiction. The persecution would have taken the regular process in the local synagogue:’, Köster, ‘Introduction to the New Testament’, volume 2, p. 107 (2006).

[3]neither the high priest nor the Sanhedrin had judicial authority outside the eleven toparchies of Judaea proper. Their moral authority might be persuasive, but they could not empower Paul to make arrests, particularly on the territory of a Roman province.’, Murphy-O’Connor, ‘Paul: a critical life’, p. 66 (1998).

[4] ‘The jurisdiction of the High Priest and the Sanhedrin would in fact have been limited to the eleven toparchies of Judaea.’, Légasse, ‘Paul’s pre-Christian Career according to Acts’, in Bauckham (ed.), ‘The Book of Acts in its Palestinian Setting’, p. 389 (1995).

[5] ‘The Roman legal system was not built on the territorial principle of law, but on the personal.64 This meant that a Roman citizen fell under Roman law wherever he was. In consequence, it may have been that the High Priest in Jerusalem could extend his jurisdiction to Jews in Damascus.65 That this practice was indeed prevalent is often argued on the basis of a passage from 1 Maccabees: 1 Macc 15, 16-21. Here, the Roman Consul Lucius writes to the Egyptian king Ptolemy (probably VIII) on the subject of the Jews: ‘if any scoundrels have fled to you from their country, hand them over to the High Priest Simon, so that he may punish them according to their law’ Peerbolte, ‘Paul the Missionary’, p. 154 (2003).

[6] ‘However, although the assumption is that this custom was still in use in Paul’s day, it is unclear whether this was correct’, ibid., p. 154.

[7] ‘Many students of the book of Acts nevertheless consider 9, 1-2 as evidence that Paul was sent as a shaliach by the Sanhedrin’, ibid., p. 154.

[8] ‘Still, a more cautious approach is to be preferred: we simply cannot decide with certainty on the historicity of Paul’s commissioning by the High Priest. It is a possibility, but remains far from certain.’, ibid., p. 154.

[9] ‘But, even supposing this letter is authentic,85 it is not addressed, like the letter of which Acts speaks, to the ‘synagogues’ but to a local ruler by the Roman authority. The case is therefore wholly different, as are the period (the events mentioned are supposed to have occurred in 139 BC) and the political situation: whereas at the time of Paul Judaea was a Roman province administered by a Roman governor, Simon, the brother of Judas Maccabeus, was a sovereign, autochthonous vassal of the Seleucids of Antioch.’, Légasse, ‘Paul’s pre-Christian Career according to Acts’, in Bauckham (ed.), ‘The Book of Acts in its Palestinian Setting’, p. 389 (1995).

[10] ‘Haenchen (p. 320 n.2) argues rightly that previous scholars have drawn unwarranted deductions from such passages as 1 Maccabees 15:15–21, which deals with a different and much earlier situation;’, Marshall, (1980). Vol. 5: ‘Acts: An introduction and commentary’ Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, volume 5, p. 178 (1980).

[11]Julius Caesar confirmed those rights and privileges anew to the Jewish nation (although Judaea was no longer a sovereign state), and more particularly to the high-priesthood.5 Luke’s narrative implies that the right of extradition continued to be enjoyed by the high priest under the provincial administration set up in A.D. 6. The followers of The Way whom Saul was authorized to bring back from Damascus were refugees from Jerusalem, not native Damascene disciples.’, Bruce, ‘The Book of the Acts’, New International Commentary on the New Testament, pp. 180-181 (1988); his source for the decree of Caesar is a passage by Josephus, ‘I also ordain, that he and his children retain whatsoever privileges belong to the office of high priest, or whatsoever favors have been hitherto granted them;’, Antiquities 14.195, in Whiston, ‘The Works of Josephus: Complete and unabridged’ (electronic ed. 1996).

[12] ‘The high priest served as head of the Sanhedrin, which as a legislative body had jurisdiction over the Jews living in Jerusalem, Palestine, and the dispersion. Thus the high priest had power to issue warrants to the synagogues in Damascus for the arrests of Christian Jews residing there (see 9:2; 22:5; 26:12).’, Kistemaker & Hendriksen, ‘Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles’, Baker New Testament Commentary, volume 17, p. 329 (1953-2001); as evidence they cite ‘Emil Schürer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 B.C.–A.D. 135), rev. and ed. Geza Vermes and Fergus Millar, 3 vols. (Edinburgh: Clark, 1973–87), vol. 2, p. 218.’, p. 329.

[13] ‘the high priest had no formal jurisdiction over synagogues, least of all in other countries.’, Dunn, ‘Beginning from Jerusalem’, p. 337 (2009).

[14]But he had at least two considerable constraints which he could bring to bear on archisynagōgoi and synagogue elders. One was that he was responsible for much of the content and timing of lived-out Judaism; he and his councillors were the ultimate authority in matters of dispute, and it is not at all unlikely that Jerusalem authorities occasionally wrote to disapora synagogues to encourage them to maintain the traditions and possibly to take sides in some dispute on timing of festivals and the like.86 The high priest might even have been willing to claim jurisdiction over a ‘greater Judea’ which included Damascus. In any case, the high priest was not a person whose envoy could be lightly disregarded or dismissed with his mission unfulfilled. The other is that the Temple in Jerusalem held an amazing range of financial deposits for Jews at home and abroad; it was Judaism’s ‘central bank’. It is quite conceivable, therefore, that any requests were backed, explicitly or implicitly, with threat of financial sanctions.’, ibid., p. 337.

[15] ‘Writing letters to Diaspora communities was one of the high priest’s duties (see above, p. 47). Such letters would have had no formal weight (the high priest had no legal jurisdiction in Damascus, situated as it was in the Roman province of Syria), but his position as high priest would have conferred authority on his requests.’, Bond, ‘Caiphas: friend of Rome and judge of Jesus?’, p. 81 (2004); she also suggests ‘Second, and more probably, the rather vague reference to “the high priest” in 9:1-2 and in the flashbacks of 22:5 and 26:12 may be simply another example of Luke’s attempt to give opposition to Christians official backing.’, p. 81.

[16] ‘The letters to the synagogues (v. 2) would be a help, for though the Sanhedrin had no legal authority outside Judea, its reputation did give it some moral authority over the Jews of the Diaspora (see Sherwin-White, p. 100). Paul would also have had to seek the cooperation of the local magistrates, but the name of the Jewish Sanhedrin may have carried sufficient weight even with them for him to be confident of their acquiescence, if not their active assistance.’, Williams, ‘Acts’, New International Biblical Commentary, pp. 167-168 (1990).

[17]Unfortunately, we know very little about the internal affairs of Damascus  in Paul’s day. It is therefore difficult to know how to make sense of Paul’s commission from the High Priest to seize and carry to Jerusalem ‘any belonging to the Way’ (Acts 9, 2).’, Wallace & Williams, ‘The Three Worlds of Paul of Tarsus’, p. 163 (1998).

[18] ‘Since Acts says quite clearly that the letters Paul was carrying were to the synagogues at Damascus (9, 2) and not to the Gentile authorities, whatever he was doing must have been an entirely internal Jewish affair.‘, ibid., p. 163.

[19] ‘Since it is unlikely that the arrest and extradition to Judaea of dissenters was one of the privileges enjoyed by diaspora communities (for discussion see Wallace and Williams 1995:51-2), what Paul was engaged in must have been unauthorised; that is to say, kidnapping. So why was he not stopped? Such evidence as there is suggests that no Roman forces were stationed in Damascus (Millar 1993:37), so that unless an appeal was made to the governor, or serious disorder broke out, the Roman authorities would not have become involved. As for the city authorities, if the business was done discreetly without causing public disturbances they might well have taken the view that what went on in the Jewish community was none of their concern, especially if those involved were not citizens of Damascus, but incomers.‘, ibid., pp. 163-164.

[20] ‘As a persecutor of Christians Paul carried letters with him to gain admittance into the synagogues in Damascus as an otherwise unknown representative of the high priest and the Jewish elders (Acts 9:1-2; 22:5).’, Klauck & Bailey, ‘Ancient Letters and the New Testament: a guide to context and exegesis’, p. 76 (2006).

[21] ‘Oepke, ‘Probleme’, 403/426, who does not exclude a request from Paul to the High Priest, sees it, not as a mandate to arrest officially entrusted to Paul, but a letter like the sustati kai epoistolai to which 2 Cor. 3:1 refers.’, Légasse, ‘Paul’s pre-Christian Career according to Acts’, in Bauckham (ed.), ‘The Book of Acts in its Palestinian Setting’, p. 389 (1995).

[22] ‘The question is whether any evidence supports a situation in which the Sanhedrin had authority over synagogues so far from home.4 The point may be moot, however, in view of the fact that Luke does not say that the letters were papers of extradition. The letters may simply have been letters introducing Paul and his mission, as well as recommendations that such Jews be handed over to him. Such letters would carry no official authority to enforce the arrests.’, Gaertner, ‘Acts’, The College Press NIV Commentary (electronic ed. 1993).

[23] ‘It is possible that Caiphas supplied Saul with letters of recommendation to Diaspora synagogues (rather like those of 2 Cor 3:1), introducing him to their leaders, asking for help to root out troublemakers’, Bond, ‘Caiphas: friend of Rome and judge of Jesus?’, p. 81 (2004).

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The Two Books: Historic harmony of Bible & nature

April 19, 2011

The Bible describes nature as a reliable witness to God and His truth in harmony with the written word of Scripture; Psalms 8 [1] & 19,[2] [3] [4] Acts 4:16-17,[5] [6] [7] Romans 1:19-20.[8] [9] [10]

Early Jewish expositors understood this,[11] and Jesus taught it also.[12] In Christianity the principle became known as the ‘two books’.[13]

  • c.130-202: Irenaeus[14]
  • c.160-225: Tertullian[15]
  • c.251–356: Anthony the Abbot[16]
  • c.329-379: Basil of Caesarea[17]
  • c.347-407: John Chrysostom[18]
  • c.354-430: Augustine[19]
  • c.580-662: Maximus the Confessor[20]
  • c.810-877: John Scotus Eriugena[21]
  • c.1096-1141: Hugo of St Victor[22]
  • 1090-1153: Bernard of Clairvaux[23]
  • c.1140-1214: John Abbot of Ford[24]
  • 1217-1274: Bonaventura[25]
  • 1214-1294: Roger Bacon[26]
  • 1385-1436: Raymond of Sebond[27]
  • 1561: Belgic Confession[28]
  • 1571:1630: Johannes Kepler[29]
  • 1564-1642: Galileo Galilei[30] [31]
  • 1605-1682: Thomas Browne[32]

In the 19th century the ‘two books’ principle [33] [34] [35] was used as the reason for interpreting Scripture using scientific knowledge.[36] [37] [38]  [39]


[1]In the vast expanse of the creation that witnesses to God’s glory and greatness, the singer becomes conscious of the utter depths of his being as a human., Kraus, ‘A Continental Commentary: Psalms 1-59’, p. 182 (1993).

[2] ‘There is no speech or language, where their voice is not heard — meaning that, whatever the language or dialect of a people, they can still hear and comprehend the message of God as told by creation, told in a language that all can understand.’, Tesh & Zorn ‘Psalms’, College Press NIV commentary, p. 190 (1999).

[3] ‘The narration of the heavens is “word” (אמר) and entails “theological knowledge.”so also a knowledge concerning the Creator and his work is transmitted by the heavenly powers’, Kraus, ‘A Continental Commentary: Psalms 1-59’, p. 270 (1993).

[4]But the speech of the heavens and firmament, of day and night, has a twofold thrust: it is addressed to God as praise, yet it is also addressed to mankind as a revealer of “knowledge” (v 3).’, Craigie, ‘Word Biblical Commentary: Psalms 1-50’, p, 180 (2nd ed. 2004).

[5] ‘the notion that God’s providential care can be demonstrated by the beneficence of nature’, Pervo & Attridge, ‘Acts: A Commentary on the Book of Acts’, Hermeneia, pp. 357–358 (2009).

[6] ‘it should have been possible for men to realize that he existed, since he had given testimony to himself in the world of nature by providing good things for men.’, Marshall, ‘Acts: An introduction and commentary’, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, volume 5, p. 253 (1980).

[7]Jewish teachers agreed that nature testifies to God’s character (this is biblical; cf. Ps 19:1; 89:37)’, Keener, ‘The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament’, (1993).

[8] ‘This refers to what may be known of God by observing the creation’, Abernathy, ‘An Exegetical Summary of Romans 1-8’, p. 72 (2nd ed. 2008).

[9] ‘Stoic philosophers argued that the nature of God was evident in creation… Jewish people scattered throughout the Greco-Roman world used this argument to persuade pagans to turn to the true God.’, Keener, ‘The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament’, (1993).

[10]in addition to revealing himself in Christ and in the Scriptures, God has also revealed himself to everybody through nature and history.’, Carson, ‘New Bible Commentary: 21st century edition’ (4th ed. 1994).

[11] ‘The day when rain falls is greater than [the day of] the Revival of the Dead, for the Revival of the Dead is for the righteous only whereas rain is both for the righteous and for the wicked’, Talmud Babylon, Tractate Taanith, folio 7a (Soncino Press ed. 1973).

[12] Matthew 5: 44 But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

[13] Ephrem the Syrian (c.306-373), Gregory of Nyssa (c.335-394), John Cassian (c.360-435), Pelagius (c.354-420/440), Vincent of Beauvais (c.1190-c.1264), Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274), Thomas of Chobham (c.1255-1327), Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464), Thomas of Kempis (1380-1471), and Louis of Granada (1505-1588), were others holding this view.

[14] ‘He is to Us in This Life Invisible and Incomprehensible, Nevertheless He is Not Unknown; Inasmuch as His Works Do Declare Him.’, Irenaeus, ‘Against Heresies’ (4.20), in Roberts, Donaldson, & Coxe, ‘The Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume I: Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325’, p. 487 (1997 ed.).

[15] ‘He, as I suppose, who from the beginning of all things has given to man, as primary witnesses for the knowledge of Himself, nature in her (manifold) works’, Tertullian, ‘Against Marcion’ (5.16), Roberts, Donaldson, & Coxe, ‘The Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume III: Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325’, p. 464 (1997).

[16] ‘My book, O philosopher,’ replied Antony, * is the nature of things that are made, and it is present whenever I wish to read the words of of God.’, Socrates Scholasticus, ‘Historia Ecclesiastica’ (4.23), in Walford & Valois, ‘The Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Surnamed Scholasticus, or the Advocate’, p. 238 (1853).

[17]continuously contemplating the beauty of creatures, through them as if they were letters and words, we could read God’s wisdom and providence over all things’, Tanzella-Nitti, ‘The Two Books Prior to the Scientific Revolution’, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith (57.3.237), September 2005.

[18] ‘This it was which the prophet signified when he said, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” … Upon this volume the unlearned, as well as the wise man, shall be alike able to look;’, Chrysostom, ‘Homilies Concerning the Statues’, (9.4, 5), in Schaff,  ‘The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Volume IX’, p. 401 (1997 ed.).

[19]It is the divine page that you must listen to; it is the book of the universe that you must observe. The pages of Scripture can only be read by those who know how to read and write, while everyone, even the illiterate, can read the book of the universe.’, Tanzella-Nitti, ‘The Two Books Prior to the Scientific Revolution’, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith (57.3.237), September 2005.

[20]the natural law and the written law have the same dignity and teach the same things, in a way that one of them has nothing more, nothing less than the other’, ibid., p. 237.

[21] ‘Theternal light manifests it to the world in two ways, through Scripture and through creatures.’, ibid., p. 246.

[22] ‘this whole visible world is a book written by the finger of God’, ibid., p. 239.

[23] ‘since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made, as if this sensible world were a public book, in which everyone is able to read God’s wisdom’, ibid., p. 247

[24]there is the book of creatures, the book of Scripture and the book of Grace’, ibid., p. 241.

[25] ‘By the book of nature shows itself as the principle of power; by the book of Scripture as the principle of restoring.’, ibid., p., 240.

[26] ‘Our Saviour says, “Ye err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God;”* thus laying before us two books to study, if we will be secured from error; viz., the Scriptures, which reveal the will of God, and the creation, which expresses his power; the latter whereof is a key to the former’, Bacon, ‘Advancement of Learning’, in ‘Advancement of Learning and Novum Organum’, p. 27 (rev. ed. 1900).

[27]there are two books given to us by God, the one being the book of the whole collection of creatures or the book of nature, and the other being the book of sacred Scripture.’, Hess, ‘God’s Two Books: Special Revelation and Natural Science in the Christian West’, in Peters & Bennett, ‘Bridging Science and Religion’, p. 123 (2003).

[28] ‘Article 2: The Means by Which We Know God * We know him by two means: First, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe, since that universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God: his eternal power and his divinity, as the apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20. All these things are enough to convict men and to leave them without excuse. Second, he makes himself known to us more openly by his holy and divine Word’, the Belgic Confession (rev. ed. 1619, in Schaff, ‘Creeds of the Evangelical Protestant Churches’, volume 3, p. 384 (1876).

[29]Since we astronomers are Priests of the Most High God with respect to the book of nature, it behooves us that we do not aim at the glory of our own spirit, but above everything else at the glory of God’, Tanzella-Nitti, ‘The Two Books Prior to the Scientific Revolution’, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith (57.3.248), September 2005.

[30] ‘Galileo famously said “Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.”’, Lissitz, ‘The Concept of Validity: revisions, new directions, and applications’, p. 96 (2009).

[31] ‘the glory and greatness of Almighty God are marvelously discerned in all his works and divinely read in the open book of heaven.’, Galilei, ‘Letter to Madame Christina of Lorraine, Grand Duchess of Tuscany: Concerning the Use of Biblical Quotations in Matters of Science’ (1615), Drake (trans.).

[32]there are two books from Nature whence I collect my divinity. Besides written one of God, another of his servant, nature‘, Browne, ‘Religio Medici’ part one, in Roberts (ed.), ‘Religio Medici And Other Essays By Sir Thomas Browne’, p. 21 (1st rev. ed. 1902).

[33] ‘The Advocate: For the Testimony of God as it is Written in the Books of Nature and Revelation CONDUCTED BY JOHN THOMAS, M.D. The invisible attributes of God, even his eternal power and divinity, since the creation of the world, are very evident; being known by his works.—PAUL. All scripture given by divine inspiration, is profitable for doctrine, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect—completely fitted for every good work.—PAUL.’, Thomas, The Advocate, volume 4, title page (1837).

[34] ‘THE ADVOCATE will, therefore, exercise himself to the best of his ability and judgment, in setting forth the manifold wisdom of God as inscribed on the brilliant pages of those two interesting volumes.”’, Thomas, The Advocate, volume 3, (1835-1836).

[35] ‘Coming now to man himself, we find in him a subject common to both revelations—an object in nature subject to her and a subject of scripture inseparable from it.’, The Christadelphian, (2:115), 1865.

[36]NATURE makes no false impressions, and just so the Bible. …The inconsistency spoken of between nature and scripture, arises not from antagonism, but from the misinterpretations of both. It is man’s interpretation of the one set against man’s interpretations of the other. It is not nature versus scripture, but false science against true theology, or false theology against scientific fact.’, WDJ, ‘The Bible as a Law of Life and Immortality’, The Christadelphian, (1:93), 1864.

[37] ‘Every thing in art and science are but copies of the workings of God’s spirit in nature. And it is by the study of nature and by meditation, on the discoveries which have been made as communicated to him through books, that man acquires his knowledge in the science of life, and so inhales this inspiration of God’s spirit.’, WDJ, ‘The Bible as a Law of Life and Immortality’, The Christadelphian, (2:161), 1865.

[38] ‘Some scientific men, we believe, view the Scriptures through the distorted medium of “confessions of faith” and doubt them, and theologians view science and call it false, because it does not take to their turn-pike road.’, Roberts, ‘The Christadelphian, (1:93-94), 1864.

[39] ‘That the earth had a history anterior to the six days’ work, is certain, from both scripture and nature. Geology proves the existence of forms of life long before the Mosaic creation; and the Bible tacitly affirms a pre-Adamite order of things,’, Roberts, ‘Were There Human Beings Before Adam?’, The Christadelphian, (48. 5:172), 1868.

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Article: The Historicity of the book of Acts (4)

April 17, 2011

The historicity of Acts is taken seriously (though not accepted completely), even by highly regarded critical scholars such as Gerd Lüdemann,[1] Alexander Wedderburn,[2] Hans Conzelmann,[3] and Martin Hengel.[4] Furthermore, recent modern studies are far more positive in their assessment of the historicity of Acts than many previous critical commentaries.[5]

Acts 1:1-14: Visions of Christ

Lüdemann acknowledges the historicity of Christ’s post-resurrection appearances,[6] the names of the early disciples,[7]women disciples,[8] and Judas Iscariot.[9] Wedderburn says the disciples indisputably believed Christ was truly raised.[10] [11] Conzelmann dismisses an alleged contradiction between Luke 13:31 and Acts 1:3.[12] Hengel believes Acts was written early[13] by Luke as a partial eyewitness,[14] praising Luke’s knowledge of Palestine,[15] and of Jewish customs in Acts 1:12.[16]

Acts 1:15-26: The New Apostle

Lüdemann is sceptical with regard to the appointment of Matthias, but not with regard to his historical existence.[17] Wedderburn ridicules the theory that denies the historicity of the disciples,[18] [19] Conzelmann considers the upper room meeting a historical event Luke knew from tradition,[20] and Hengel considers ‘the Field of Blood’ to be an authentic historical name.[21]

Acts 2: Pentecost

Lüdemann considers the Pentecost gathering as very possible,[22] and the apostolic instruction to be historically credible.[23] Wedderburn acknowledges the possibility of a ‘mass ecstatic experience’,[24] and notes it is difficult to explain why early Christians later adopted this Jewish festival if there had not been an original Pentecost event as described in Acts.[25] He also holds the description of the early community in Acts 2 to be reliable.[26] [27]


[1] A German critical scholar and atheist who he expresses extreme scepticism of the New Testament record of Christ in ‘The Great Deception: And What Jesus Really Said and Did’ (1999).

[2] A critical scholar with what he describes as ‘a more than somewhat agnostic view of the evidence for the nature of the resurrection and its implications for Christian faith’, Wedderburn, ‘A history of the first Christians’, p. 17 (2004).

[3] A German critical scholar sceptical of much of the gospels and Acts, and who did not believe them to be inspired.

[4] A German critical scholar with a sceptical attitude to the gospels and Acts who nevertheless writes ‘after Josephus and Philo’s two historical writings, the Acts represents the most important source for the history of Judaism between Herod and A.D. 70.’, Hengel, ‘Early Christianity as a Jewish-Messianic, Universalistic Movement’, in Hengel & Barrett, ‘Conflicts and Challenges in Early Christianity’, p. 28 (1999).

[5]At the same time it must be admitted that such indictments against Luke as a historian are not so firmly based as is sometimes claimed. (1) Although study of Acts as history continues to be plagued by a relative dearth of corroborative evidence, whether literary or physical, recent examination of that evidence by C. J. Hemer has encouraged a much more positive assessment of the historical reliability of Acts (see also Hengel). (2) The sometimes spectacular accounts of healing in Acts (e.g., Acts 5:15; 19:11–12) have given some scholars pause in accepting the whole as an historically faithful account. However, in the wake of postmodern epistemology and in light of increasing criticism of the biomedical paradigm for making sense of non-Western accounts of healing (see, e.g., Hahn), such miraculous phenomena—previously understood as expressions of duplicity, mental pathology, superstition, fantasy and/or a prescientific worldview—are not so easily dismissed and have begun to be reexamined for their sociohistorical significance.’, Green, ‘Acts of the Apostles’, in Martin & Davids (eds.), ‘Dictionary of the Later New Testament and its Developments’ (electronic ed. 2000).

[6] ‘”There were in fact appearances of the heavenly Jesus in Jerusalem (after those in Galilee)” (ibid., 29-30)”’, Lüdemann quoted by Matthews, ‘Acts and the History of the Earliest Jerusalem Church’, in Cameron & Miller (eds.), ‘Redescribing Christian origins’, p. 164 (2004); he attributes the appearances to hallucination.

[7]‘”The names of the disciples of Jesus are for the most part certainly historical[”].’, Lüdemann quoted by Matthews, ibid., p. 164.

[8] ‘[“]The existence of women disciples as members of the earliest Jerusalem community is also a historical fact” (ibid., 31).’, Lüdemann quoted by Matthews, ibid., p. 164.

[9] ‘”The disciple Iscariot is without doubt a historical person… [who] made a decisive contribution to delivering Jesus into the hands of the Jewish authorities” (ibid., 35-36).’, Lüdemann quoted by Matthews, ibid., p. 165.

[10] ‘Whatever one believes about the resurrection of Jesus,5 it is undeniable that his followers came to believe that he had been raised by God from the dead, that the one who had apparently died an ignominious death, forsaken and even accursed by his God, had subsequently been vindicated by that same God., ’ Wedderburn, ‘A History of the First Christians’, p. 17 (2004).

[11] ‘Whether they expected it or not, they came to believe that God had in fact raised Jesus and this was for them a truly revolutionary conviction.’, ibid., p. 17.

[12] ‘According to this verse Jesus seems to appear only to the apostles (for Luke, the Twelve), while the parallel in 13:31* says he appeared to all who went with him on the journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. The contradiction is not a serious one, however, nor is there any real difference between the forty days mentioned in this text and the ἡμέρας πλείους, “many days,” of 13:31*.’, Conzelmann, Limber (trans.), Epp, & Matthews (eds.), ‘Acts of the Apostles: A commentary on the Acts of the Apostles’, Hermeneia, p. 5 (1987).

[13] ‘That makes it all the more striking that Acts says nothing of Paul the letter-writer. In my view this presupposes a relatively early date for Acts, when there was still a vivid memory of Paul the missionary, but the letter-writer was not known in the same way.’, Hengel & Schwemer, ‘Paul Between Damascus and Antioch: the unknown years’, p. 3 (1997).

[14] ‘Contrary to a widespread anti-Lukan scholasticism which is often relatively ignorant of ancient historiography, I regard Acts as a work that was composed soon after the Third Gospel by Luke ‘the beloved physician’ (Col. 4:14), who accompanied Paul on his travels from the journey with the collection to Jerusalem onwards. In other words, as at least in part an eye-witness account for the late period of the apostle, about which we no longer have any information from the letters, it is a first-hand source.’, ibid., p. 7

[15] ‘So Luke-Acts looks back on the destruction of Jerusalem, which is still relatively recent, and moreover is admirably well informed about Jewish circumstances in Palestine, in this respect comparable only to its contemporary Josephus. As Matthew and John attest, that was no longer the case around 15-25 years later; one need only compare the historical errors of the former Platonic philosopher Justin from Neapolis in Samaria, who was born around 100 CE.’, ibid., pp. 7-8.

[16] ‘The term ‘a sabbath day’s journey’, which appears only here in the New Testament, presupposes an amazingly intimate knowledge — for a Greek — of Jewish customs.’, Hengel, ‘Between Jesus and Paul: studies in the earliest history of Christianity’, p. 107 (1983).

[17] ‘”One is… inclined to challenge the historicity of the election of Matthias… This does not mean, though, that the Jerusalem Christians Matthias and Joseph were not historical figures” (ibid., 37).’, Lüdemann quoted by Matthews, ‘Acts and the History of the Earliest Jerusalem Church’, in Cameron & Miller (eds.), ‘Redescribing Christian origins’, p. 166 (2004)

[18]Yet is such a theory not an act of desperation?21 Is it not in every way simpler to accept that the Twelve existed during Jesus’ lifetime and that Judas was one of them?’, Wedderburn, ‘A History of the First Christians’, p. 22 (2004).

[19] ‘The presence of some names in the list is, in view of their relative obscurity, most easily explained by their having indeed been members of this group.’, ibid., p. 22.

[20]A local tradition about the meeting place can still be detected. The upper room is the place for prayer and conversation (20:8*; cf. Dan 6:11*), and for seclusion (Mart. Pol. 7.1). The list of names agrees with Luke 6:13–16*.’, Conzelmann, Limber (trans.), Epp, & Matthews (eds.), ‘Acts of the Apostles: A commentary on the Acts of the Apostles’, Hermeneia, pp. 8-9 (1987); he nevertheless believes the waiting for the spirit is a fiction by Luke.

[21]The Aramaic designation Akeldamakc for ‘field of blood’ has been correctly handed down in Acts 1:19; this is a place name which is also known by Matthew 27:8′, Hengel, ‘The Geography of Palestine in Acts’, in Bauckham (ed.), ‘The Book of Acts in its Palestinian Setting’, p. 47 (1995).

[22] ‘Although doubting that the specification “Pentecost” belongs to the tradition, Lüdemann supposes, on the basis of references to glossolalia in Paul’s letters and the ecstatic prophecy of Philip’s daughters (Acts 21:9), that “we may certainly regard a happening of the kind described by the tradition behind vv.1-4 as very possible.”’, Lüdemann quoted by Matthews, ‘Acts and the History of the Earliest Jerusalem Church’, in Cameron & Miller (eds.), ‘Redescribing Christian origins’, p. 166 (2004)

[23] ‘”The instruction by the apostles is also to be accepted as historical, since in the early period of the Jerusalem community the apostles had a leading role. So Paul can speak of those who were apostles before him (in Jerusalem!, Gal. 1.17)” (40.)’, Lüdemann quoted by Matthews, ibid., p. 166.

[24] ‘It is also possible that at some point of time, though not necessarily on this day, some mass ecstatic experience took place.’, Wedderburn, ‘A History of the First Christians’, p. 26 (2004).

[25] ‘At any rate, as Weiser and Jervell point out,39 it needs to be explained why early Christians adopted Pentecost as one of their festivals, assuming that the Acts account was not reason enough.’, ibid., p. 27.

[26]Many features of them are too intrinsically probable to be lightly dismissed as the invention of the author. It is, for instance, highly probable that the earliest community was taught by the apostles (2:42)—at least by them among others.’, ibid., p. 30.

[27] ‘Again, if communal meals had played an important part in Jesus’ ministry and had indeed served then as a demonstration of the inclusive nature of God’s kingly rule, then it is only to be expected that such meals would continue to form a prominent part of the life of his followers (Acts 2:42, 46), even if they and their symbolic and theological importance were a theme particularly dear to ‘Luke’s’ heart.47 It is equally probable that such meals took place, indeed had to take place, in private houses or in a private house (2:46) and that this community was therefore dependent, as the Pauline churches would be at a later stage, upon the generosity of at least one member or sympathizer who had a house in Jerusalem which could be placed at the disposal of the group. At the same time it might seem unnecessary to deny another feature of the account in Acts, namely that the first followers of Jesus also attended the worship of the Temple (2:46; 3:1; 5:21, 25, 42), even if they also used the opportunity of their visits to the shrine to spread their message among their fellow-worshippers. For without question they would have felt themselves to be still part of Israel.’, ibid., p. 30.

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The Biblical Flood Narrative: does the text indicate a local or global flood?

April 17, 2011

There are three possible interpretations of the Genesis flood:

  • Anthropologically global, geographically global: all humans everywhere in the earth affected, the entire earth covered with water
  • Anthropologically global, geographically local: all humans on the earth affected, but only a local area of the earth covered with water because all the humans were localized
  • Anthropologically local, geographically local: only humans within the area of the flood affected, and only a local area of the earth covered with water

An argument will be made here for the third of these interpretations, on the basis of the Biblical text.

The Language Used

The language used to describe the flood does appear to refer to a global event, but can apply locally, as the following examples show.

  • ‘all flesh’: Psalm 145:21, Isaiah 40:5; 66:23, Jeremiah 45:5, Ezekiel 20:48; 21:4, Joel 2:28
  •  ‘the face of the earth’: Genesis 4:14; 41:56, Exodus 10:5, Numbers 11:31; 22:5, 11, Isaiah 23:17, Jeremiah 25:26, Ezekiel 34:5; 38:20
  • ‘The fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the wild beasts, all the things that creep on the ground’: Ezekiel 38:20

Equivalent phrases are also used non-literally.

  • Deuteronomy 2:25, ‘all people under heaven’
  • 1 Kings 18:10, ‘every nation and kingdom’
  • Ezekiel 38:20, ‘The fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the wild beasts, all the things that creep on the ground, and all people who live on the face of the earth’
  • Daniel 4:1; 5:19; 6:24, ‘all peoples, nations, and language groups’

The People Judged

The judgment of the flood came as a direct result of the sins of the covenant community, the people who knew God and His commandments, and who were called by His name.[1]

On the principle that God judges and punishes only those who are enlightened by His law and choose to disobey it,[2]  the flood could only have destroyed those who had been enlightened by God’s law and chose to break it. This validates the view that God destroyed only the enlightened people in the earth by means of a local flood, while unenlightened people elsewhere in the earth were unaffected by the flood.

The Human Survivors

A well known problem for the geographically and anthropologically global interpretation of the flood, is the survival of the Nephilim.[3] The flood narrative itself tells us that the Nephilim ‘were on the earth in those days (and also after this)’ (Genesis 6:4).  This is recognized by standard commentaries as an explicit statement that the Nephilim survived the flood.[4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

The Animals Saved

Animals designated using the Hebrew words basar, behema, hayya, nephesh, op, remes, and sippor are used to describe the animals which were taken aboard (the common theme is land based oxygen breathing animals with blood).[10] Animals designated using the Hebrew words sheres and yequm (the common theme is sea creatures, swarming creatures, insects, reptiles, rodents, and amphibians), are not in the list of animals taken aboard.[11] This limited list of animals saved demonstrates that not all species were preserved in the Ark, which suggests a local flood and also suggests that the animals saved were only those immediately local to Noah.

The Floodwater Depth

After the waters had been receding for 150 days (Genesis  8:2-3), the Ark ran aground on the 17th day of the seventh month even though  the tops of the mountains were not seen until much later, on the 1st day of the tenth month (Genesis 8:4-5). This proves that the floodwater was only 20 feet above the mountains (Genesis 7:20), in the area local to Noah, and could not have covered all the mountains in the earth.

The Early Expositors

Two first century interpreters of the flood narrative, the Jewish Alexandrian philosopher Philo[12] and the Jewish historian Josephus,[13] both interpreted the flood as local.


[1] Genesis 6:2, ‘the sons of God saw that the daughters of humankind were beautiful. Thus they took wives for themselves from any they chose.’.

[2] Romans 2:12, ‘For all who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law’; 4:15, ‘where there is no law there is no transgression either’; 5:13,’there is no accounting for sin when there is no law’, 1 John 3:4, ‘sin is lawlessness’.

[3] ‘The bald allusion to the Nephilim (lit. fallen ones) in Gen 6:3 (‘The Nephilim were on the earth in those days … ’) fits uneasily into a context that has always presented a challenge to exegetes.’, Coxon, ‘Nephilim’, in Toorn, Becking & Horst (eds.), ‘Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible’, p. 618 (2nd rev. ed. 1999).

[4] ‘In Genesis 6, the Nephilim are connected with the multiplication of humanity on the face of the earth (v 1) and with the evil of humanity which brings about God’s judgment in the form of the flood (vv 5–7). Verse 4 includes a reference to later (postdiluvian) Nephilim. The majority of the spies who were sent by Joshua to spy out Canaan reported giants whom they called Nephilim, and who are designated in the account as the sons of Anak (Num 13:33).’, Hess, ‘Nephilim’, in Freedman (ed.), ‘Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary’, volume 4, p. 1072 (1996).

[5] ‘From Numbers 13 we learn that the Anakites are said to be descendants of the “Nephilim.” If the Nephilim of Num 13:33 and Gen 6:4 are taken as the same group, the verse indicates that the Nephilim and their descendants survived the flood.’, Matthews, ‘New American Commentary’, p. 336 (2001).

[6]It is not clear why or how the Nephilim survived the Flood to become the original ‘Canaanites; probably a duality of older oral traditions can be detected in the clash between these two texts.’, Hendel, ‘Nephilim’, in Metzger & Coogan (eds.), ‘The Oxford guide to people & places of the Bible’, p. 217 (2004).

[7] ‘The nephilim of Num 13.33 are the people whom the men saw when they were sent to spy out the land of Canaan while Israel was in the wilderness. These beings described as giganteV in LXX present the reader with the problem of how giants survived the Flood, in contrast to the Watcher tradition that conveys that all the giants were physically killed.’, Wright, ‘The Origin of Evil Spirits: The Reception of Genesis 6.1-4 in Early Jewish Literature‘, p. 81 (2005).

[8] ‘Thus, within the Flood narrative itself, the sole continuity of life between pre-Flood and post-Flood is represented by Noath and the others in the ark. Beyond the Flood narrative proper, however, there are implicit pointers in a different direction. One issue is the presence of “the Nephilim” both before the Flood (Gen. 6:4) and subsequently in the land of Canaan as reported by Israel’s spies (Num. 13:33). Indeed, there is a note in the text of Genesis 6:4 which expliciitly points to the continuity of Nephilim pre-and post-Flood: “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days – and also afterwards” (my italics), a note which of course poses the problem rather than resolves it.’, Barton & Wilkinson, ‘Reading Genesis After Darwin’, p. 12 (2009).

[9] ‘Although in Numbers 13 the inhabitants of Canaan are considered enemies of the Israelites, both the use and co-ordination (LXX) or derivation of the designation (MT) in an allusion to Genesis 6 betrays an assumption that one or more of the Nephilim must have escaped the great deluge.’, Auffarth & Stuckenbruck, ‘The Fall of the Angels’, p. 92 (2004).

[10]All these words refer to birds and mammals, though some can be used a little more broadly. We see a high correlation between this list and the list of soulish animals God created on the fifth and sixth creation days, animals that held significance in the preparation of Earth for humankind. Clearly, the survival of these creatures would be important to the restoration and survival of human society after the Flood. Nothing in the Genesis text compels us to conclude that Noah’s passengers included anything other than birds and mammals.’, Ross, ‘The Genesis Question: Scientific advances and the accuracy of Genesis’, p. 167 (2001).

[11] ‘While sheres can refer to small mammals, most often it is used for small nonsoulish animals. Likewise, yequm can refer to all animals or just those that merely subsist.’, ibid., p. 167.

[12] ‘Since the deluge of that time was no trifling infliction of water, but an immense and boundless overflow, extending almost beyond the pillars of Hercules and the great Mediterranean Sea, since the whole earth and all the spaces of the mountains were covered with water; and it is scarcely likely that such a vast space could have been cleared by a wind, but rather, as I have said, it must have been done by some invisible and divine virtue.’, Philo, ‘Questions and Answers on Genesis’, II.29, in Yonge, ‘The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged’, p. 824 (1996); Philo however seems to have believed that the flood was anthropologically universal, though not geographically universal.

[13] ‘Hieronymus the Egyptian, also, who wrote the Phoenician Antiquities, and Mnaseas, and a great many more, make mention of the same. Nay, Nicolaus of Damascus, in his ninety-sixth book, hath a particular relation about them, where he speaks thus:— (95)“There is a great mountain in Armenia, over Minyas, called Baris, upon which it is reported that many who fled at the time of the Deluge were saved; and that one who was carried in an ark came on shore upon the top of it; and that the remains of the timber were a great while preserved. This might be the man about whom Moses, the legislator of the Jews wrote.”’, Josephus, ‘Antiquities’, 1.94-95, in Whiston, ‘The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged’ (updated ed. 1987).

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Archaeology 2: Hezekiah’s Tunnel

February 20, 2011

Discovery of the tunnel built by King Hezekiah to provide water to Jerusalem in time of siege (2 Kings 22:20 and 2 Chronicles 32:30), was confirmed by an accompanying inscription which dates to the reign of Hezekiah.[1]

Minimalist scholars[2] John Rogerson and Philip Davies claimed that the inscription does not date to the reign of Hezekiah, but to the Hasmonean era (less than two centuries before the birth of Christ), a claim used to cast doubt on the date of the tunnel itself, and to argue that it was not built by Hezekiah.

Although acknowledging that their view is contradicted by the unanimous consent of palaeographers, [3] Rogerson and Davies claim that palaeography is insufficiently precise to differentiate between 8th century and 2nd century texts.[4] [5]

Ronald Hendel (a professional epigrapher specializing in Semitic languages), has responded strongly to the following claims made by Rogerson and Davies, demonstrating that they are in error. [6] [7] [8] [9]

Frank Cross, (Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages at Harvard University), observed that Rogerson and Davies were unqualified to make judgments on the text.[10] Professional epigraphist P. Kyle McCarter Jr made a similar statement.[11]

André Lemaire (specializing in First Temple period Old Hebrew inscriptions), objected that Rogerson and Davies appeal to outdated scholarship. [12] Esther Eshel (renowned epigraphist), rejected the claim that palaeography was too imprecise to date the inscription reliably. [13]

Professor of Biblical Hebrew and Northwest Semitic epigraphy at Harvard University Jo Hackett made the same argument. [14] Avi Hurvitz (professor of Bible and Hebrew linguistics), observed that the claims of Rogerson and Davies had been rejected by the leading epigraphists,[15] and disproved their linguistic arguments.[16] [17] [18]

Leading palaeographer Ada Yardeni dismissed the claim that the inscription shows evidence of a Hasmonean dating.[19]


[1] ‘Discovered by some boys at play in 1880, the Siloam Inscription commemorates the dramatic meeting of two teams of tunnelers, digging from opposite directions, during the construction of the tunnel in the reign of Hezekiah. The text, written in paleo-Hebrew, offers an unusual contrast to the Biblical account (2 Kings 22:20 and 2 Chronicles 32:30). Like most ancient commemorative texts, the Biblical account gives the royal perspective, whereas the Siloam Inscription features the style and content of a man who witnessed and participated’, Parker, ‘Jerusalem’s Underground Water Systems Siloam Inscription Memorializes Engineering Achievement’, Biblical Archaeology Review (20.04.), 2004.

[2] The ‘minimalist’ view is that archaeology provides little or no support for the Biblical history, the ‘maximalist’ view is that archaeology overwhelmingly supports the Biblical history, and the moderate view is that archaeology substantially supports the Biblical history but that not all of it can be supported directly from archaeology.

[3]They acknowledge that specialists in palaeography unanimously date the inscription to the last quarter of the eighth century BCE, but they maintain that the palaeographers are mistaken, apparently deluded by circular reasoning and professional hubris. This is a remarkable claim and deserves some consideration.’, Hendel, ‘The Date of the Siloam Inscription: A Rejoinder to Rogerson and Davies’, The Biblical Archaeologist (59.4.233), December 1996).

[4]Rogerson and Davies’ chief contention is that palaeographic analysis of ancient Hebrew inscriptions is extremely imprecise. In the case of the Siloam Inscription, they write: “the fact is this: it is frequently not possible to prove on paleographical evidence alone whether a text in paleo-Hebrew dates from, say, the eighth-seventh centuries or is Hasmonean or later”  (1996:146, italics in original).’, ibid., p. 233.

[5] ‘The inconclusiveness of the paleography is crucial to their larger argument that the Siloam Tunnel dates to the Hasmonean era.’, ibid., p. 233.

[6] ‘A review of the relevant evidence, however, shows that Rogerson and Davies’ paleographic arguments are deeply flawed. It is in fact quite easy to tell that the script of the Siloam Inscription belongs to the eighth-seventh century sequence and not to the paleo-Hebrew sequence of the Hasmonean era and later.’, ibid., p. 233.

[7] He rejects the clam that some of the letters in the text have no parallels in Iron Age inscriptions, casting doubt on the idea that they were written during the Iron Age; ‘The problem with this statement is that there are plenty of parallels to these four letters in Hebrew inscriptions from the late Iron Age, a number of which are datable by their archaeological context’, ibid., pp. 233-235.

[8] He rejects the claim that the script of the Siloam Inscription is closest to 4QpaleoExodm, one of the Dead Sea Scroll texts, dating to the first century; ‘In addition to the differences in zwaw, yod, kap, and qop, there are noticeable differences in dalet, lamed, mem, ‘ayin, and pe. Several other letters have more subtle differences in length, proportion, or stance. The reason for these differences in script is easy to ascertain: the letters in 4QpaleoExodm belong to a different (and later) stage in the historical development of Hebrew script than the letters in the Siloam Inscription. The paleo-Hebrew scripts of the Hasmonean era and later have undergone noticeable development in comparison to the scripts of the eighth-seventh century BCE.’, ibid., pp. 235-236, ‘I have gathered five instances of this sequence from inscriptions from the eighth-seventh century 3CE and one instance from 4QpaleoExodm (see chart on facing page). It is quite easy to see that the 4Q script is the odd one out and clearly differs from the eighth-seventh century BCE scripts. In contrast, the Siloam Inscription clearly belongs in the company of the other eighth-seventh century BCE inscriptions.’, ibid., p. 236.

[9] He rejects the claim that some linguistic features of the text are incongruous with an Iron Age date; ‘It is worth noting that Rogerson and Davies’ linguistic comments on Siloam inscriptions are also unwarranted. They state that “some of the linguistic features of the Siloam Inscription become problematic if it is early” (1996:146). These features are the apparent internal matres in lilwd and int’s.’ and the pronominal suffix of til, (where one would expect a final he). These forms are easily comprehended by the following observations. 1) lblwd and niiw’s may be consonantal spellings with the dipthong Iwl (so Cross and Freedman 1952:50-51), or they may be early examples of internal matres in the Siloam inscription, as found sporadically in other eighth century BCE inscriptions (Royal Steward, some Ihlk seals, etc.; see Sarfatti 1982:58-63).’, ibid., p. 236.

[10] ‘The list of significant features differentiating Old Hebrew from paleo-Hebrew can be extended to most, if not all, letters of the alphabet. To identify them requires an eye and memory for form, gifts that make the paleographer. Without such gifts, a scholar is in the same straits as the tone-deaf musician who wishes to conduct an orchestra.’, Cross, ‘Because They Can’t See a Difference, They Assert No One Can’, Biblical Archaeology Review (23.02.), 1997.

[11]No epigraphist trained in the scripts of these periods would confuse second-century B.C.E. paleo-Hebrew with sixth-century B.C.E. Hebrew, much less with eighth-century B.C.E. Hebrew.’, McCarter Jr, ‘No Trained Epigraphist Would Confuse the Two’, Biblical Archaeology Review (23.02.), 1997.

[12] ‘Because all Hebrew epigraphers now date the Siloam Inscription to the eighth century B.C.E., Rogerson and Davies are obliged to go back nearly a century for authority.† Of course, this earlier generation of scholars could not have been aware of the numerous Hebrew inscriptions from the First Temple period discovered since then.’, Lemaire, ‘Are We Prepared to Raze the Edifice?’, Biblical Archaeology Review (23.02.), 1997.

[13] ‘These examples, as well as many others, show that paleography stands on a strong and stable foundation. Today paleography can date documents to within half a century. It is true that paleography alone can only tell us that the Siloam Inscription may have been written at the end of the eighth century or in the seventh century B.C.E.,† but paleography can tell us with certainty that the inscription was not written in the second century B.C.E., as Rogerson and Davies “strongly suggest.”.’, Eshel, ‘Some Paleographic Success Stories’, Biblical Archaeology Review (23.02.), 1997.

[14] ‘Rogerson and Davies’s argument assumes that paleographers (neither Rogerson nor Davies is known as a paleographer) cannot tell the difference between pre-Exilic Old Hebrew and post-Exilic archaizing paleo-Hebrew. But they are wrong—very wrong. The science of paleography—the dating of scripts by the shape, form, stance, stroke order, and direction, as well as by other telltale diagnostic indications—can now date these scripts within a century and sometimes even closer. Contrary to Rogerson and Davies, paleographers can distinguish between pre-Exilic Old Hebrew and post-Exilic paleo-Hebrew. Rogerson and Davies admit, in fact, that the Siloam Inscription’s waw, yod, kap and qop do not fit well into a second-century B.C.E. script chart, and this should have been enough to tip them off to the problem with their argument.’, Hackett, ‘Spelling Differences and Letter Shapes Are Telltale Signs’, Biblical Archaeology Review (23.02.), 1997.

[15] ‘I am not surprised that some of the leading paleographical authorities in our field have so severely criticized the effort of Rogerson and Davies to place the Siloam Inscription in the Hasmonean period.’, Hurvitz, ‘Philology Recapitulates Paleography’, Biblical Archaeology Review (23.02.), 1997.

[16]The Hebrew of the Siloam Inscription is worlds apart from the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Hebrew of the apocryphal book known as Ben Sira (also known as Ecclesiasticus or “The Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sira”). To anyone versed in Hebrew linguistics, the Siloam Inscription clearly does fall under the heading of classical Hebrew, as manifested in classical Biblical literature.† It is true that the linguistic tools at our disposal cannot tell us whether the Siloam Inscription specifically reflects the time of Hezekiah’s rule (727–698 B.C.E.). On the basis of both the Biblical and post-Biblical evidence, however, we can conclude that—linguistically—the inscription must be dated to the classical phase of ancient Hebrew, that is, to the pre-Exilic period (before 586 B.C.E.).’, ibid.

[17] ‘Secondly, they argue that “the Chronicler’s Hebrew can mean that Hezekiah closed off the pool formed by the spring” (italics added). This is, indeed, a surprising suggestion. It cannot be admitted in a serious philological discussion. It is simply not what the Hebrew text says. To use Rogerson and Davies’s own wording, this suggestion is at best a “paraphrastic translation.” Worse, their suggestion violates a basic methodological ground-rule of any philological analysis: that the outcome of that analysis should not be inferred from—let alone dictated by—considerations lying outside the domain of philology.’, ibid.

[18] ‘In sum, it is the Biblical and inscriptional evidence adduced by Rogerson and Davies in support of their claim that undermines it. I would strongly suggest, therefore, that if they insist on their theory regarding the late dating of the Siloam tunnel, they should drop the linguistic argumentation from their discussion—which for them is unfamiliar territory.’, ibid.

[19] ‘If the Siloam Inscription were inscribed in the Hasmonean period, its script would reveal a late stage of evolution (like the paleo-Hebrew scrolls) or artificial archaized characteristics (like the Hasmonean coins). It displays neither.’, Yardeni, ‘They Would Change the Dates of Clearly Stratified Inscriptions—Impossible!’, Biblical Archaeology Review (23.02.), 1997.

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Sexualized media & sex education

February 8, 2011

Christians have objected for decades to the sexualized imagery of secular media, [1] [2] [3] [4] citing Biblical principles [5] [6] and arguing that such content is damaging, [7] especially to young people. [8] Though such objections are derided by popular opinion as ‘old fashioned’, numerous professional studies confirm they are factually based. [9] [10]

Children are highly affected by sexual content on TV,[11] resulting in a range of negative outcomes.[12] [13] [14] [15] Girls are highly vulnerable;[16] [17] [18] [19] [20] objectification of girls is related to many destructive behaviours.[21]

Reliance on abstinence advice alone is unrealistic, as this can be, and often is, displaced by over sexualised media content. Comprehensive sex education in which the benefits of abstinence are emphasized[22] [23] and appropriate information on contraception is provided, reduces both the age of sexual initiation, and teen pregnancy rates.[24] [25]


[1] ‘Papers that cater for the evil in men and women should be shunned by all who are concerned for clean and healthy thinking and living.’, Carter, ‘Sunday Reading’, The Christadelphian (90.1072.309), 1953.

[2] ‘Worse even than the violence and the ridicule of all the kindly virtues is the preoccupation with sex. The reviewer says it is enough to glance through half a dozen “comics” to see that they are “thinly disguised pornography”.’, Sargent, ‘The Social Sign: “Horror Comics”’, The Christadelphian (92.1090.144), 1955.

[3] ‘Our eyes, ears, and minds are assaulted by magazine, poster, radio and television advertisements which set out to stimulate the wrong kind of emotions by making sex, drink and the different ways of having “a good time” seem attractive and proper.’, Marshall, ‘The New Life 6: A Dangerous World’, The Christadelphian (105.1250.350), 1968.

[4] ‘—the increased problem of drugs taken by the young, the addiction of both young and old alike to the T.V. set, and the new morality—which I am sure should be called the “old immorality”—where sex is pushed at every opportunity by every conceivable method’, Billington, ‘Life in the Arctic’, The Christadelphian (108.1284.249), 1971.

[5] ‘Or is there an altogether too easy tendency to lustful thoughts? Then let the conning of certain modern magazines be utterly banned, and let the modern sex-ridden novel—one of the curses of this generation—be wisely consigned to the dustbin. “If thine eye cause thee to stumble, pluck it out.”’, Whittaker, ‘Sunday Morning: No. 924 Temptation’, The Christadelphian (93.1109.402), 1956.

[6]The way of Cain is still very much with us. It glorifies man, it boastfully glorifies debased sex, brutality and violence in print, on screen and in reality.’, Eyre, ‘The Way of Cain’, The Christadelphian (103.1221.101), 1966.

[7] ‘In attempting a definition, the committee says that “pornography tends to see sexual practices as divorced from any tender considerations for one’s partner . . . (It) exploits and dehumanises sex so that human beings are treated as things and women in particular as sex objects”. There is plenty of evidence that it sometimes does harm.’, Nichols, ‘Signs of the Times: The Longford Report’, The Christadelphian (109.1301.512), 1972.

[8] ‘He continued: “What is true is that from this age onwards the adolescent is subjected to a barrage from every medium of communication and entertainment of stimuli which leads to a premature and excessive awareness and preoccupation with sex.”’, Sargent, ‘A Wholesome Voice’, The Christadelphian (100.1193.512), 1963.

[9] ‘There is increasing evidence that youth exposure to sexual content on television shapes sexual attitudes and behavior in a manner that may influence reproductive health outcomes.’, Chandra et al., ‘Does Watching Sex on Television Predict Teen Pregnancy? Findings From a National Longitudinal Survey of Youth’, Pediatrics (122.4.1047), 2008.

[10]‘Several studies 16,111,112,114,121,134 have demonstrated clearly that sexual content is pervasive in TV programming, movies, music videos, and magazines; however, much less is known about sexual content on the radio (including remarks by disc jockeys) and the sexual content of video and computer games.’, Escobar-Chaves, et al., ‘Impact of the Media on Adolescent Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors’, Pediatrics (116.1.320), 2005.

[11] ‘”I was surprised at how much 18- to 20-year-olds are still affected by media’s messages about sex” Ward says. “When we first started our research, we assumed that 15-year-olds who largely hadn’t started dating yet would have much of their reality shaped by the media. They don’t know the difference sometimes [between media reality and real life] and don’t have the maturity to make informed choices about sex. But 18- to 20-year-olds are at the pinnacle, so to speak, when it comes to dating and relationships. They’re older, more mature, less naive. And they’re still affected.”’, Stewart, ‘Sex-Saturated Culture Sends Message to Kids’, Insight on the News (May 22, 2000).

[12]This is the first study to demonstrate a prospective link between exposure to sexual content on television and the experience of a pregnancy before the age of 20. Limiting adolescent exposure to the sexual content on television and balancing portrayals of sex in the media with information about possible negative consequences might reduce the risk of teen pregnancy. Parents may be able to mitigate the influence of this sexual content by viewing with their children and discussing these depictions of sex.’, Chandra et al., ‘Does Watching Sex on Television Predict Teen Pregnancy? Findings From a National Longitudinal Survey of Youth’, Pediatrics (122.4.1047), 2008..

[13] ‘Adolescents in the United States are engaging in sexual activity at early ages and with multiple partners. The mass media have been shown to affect a broad range of adolescent health-related attitudes and behaviors including violence, eating disorders, and tobacco and alcohol use. One largely unexplored factor that may contribute to adolescents’ sexual activity is their exposure to mass media.’, Escobar-Chaves, et al., ‘Impact of the Media on Adolescent Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors’, Pediatrics (116.1.303), 2005.

[14] ‘Using the sexual-media–diet measure, these researchers report that among adolescents, heavier exposure to sexual content is associated with increased sexual activity and intentions to become sexually active’, ibid., p. 320.

[15]Our results indicate that frequent exposure to sexual content on television predicts early pregnancy, even after accounting for the influence of a variety of other known correlates of each.’, Chandra et al., ‘Does Watching Sex on Television Predict Teen Pregnancy? Findings From a National Longitudinal Survey of Youth’, Pediatrics (122.4.1052), 2008.

[16] ‘Narrative accounts of court-involved girls lives uncovered three social forces that combined to contribute to high rates of system involvement. I have discussed two: the emotional factor of familes’ not protecting their girl children or meeting young women’s needs and the economic factor of material need. In this section I dissect the cultural factor of an increased sexualization of young women caused by the global, burgeoning, multi-billion-dollar youth-sex-beauty industrial complex.’, Schaffner, ‘Girls in Trouble with the Law’, p. 98 (2006).

[17] ‘I mean oversexualized in the sense that young women are viewed primarily as sex objects by many male adults in their worlds, view their own place in the world as mostly providing sexual titillation for males, and see sex as their best – or only – resource for problem solving.’, ibid., p. 99.

[18] ‘Young women, bombarded with the cultural imperative to be sexy, reproduce the message as if they had thought of it themselves, thus falling into a dialectical, reflexive loop.’, ibid., p. 102

[19] ‘Journalists, child advocacy organizations, parents, and psychologists have become alarmed, arguing that the sexualization of girls is a broad and increasing problem and is harmful to girls (Bloom, 2004;“Buying Into Sexy,” 2005; Dalton, 2005; Lamb & Brown, 2006; Levin, 2005; Levy, 2005a; Linn, 2004; Pollet & Hurwitz, 2004; Schor, 2004).’, American Psychological Association,Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls, ‘Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.Washington’, (2007).

[20] ‘This includes both short- and long-term effects of viewing or buying into a sexualizing objectifying image, how these effects influence girls’ development, self-esteem, friendships, and intimate relationships, ideas about femininity, body image, physical, mental, and sexual health, sexual satisfaction, desire for plastic surgery, risk factors for early pregnancy, abortion, and sexually transmitted infections, attitudes toward women, other girls, boys, and men, as well as educational aspirations and future career success.’, ibid., p. 43.

[21]Numerous studies have shown a connection between stereotypical attitudes about women’s sexuality and aggressive sexual behavior. Several have shown that women and men exposed to sexually objectifying images from mainstream media were significantly more accepting of rape myths, sexual harassment, sex role stereotypes, interpersonal violence, and adversarial sexual beliefs about relationships.’, Bailey, ‘Consequences Of the Sexualization of Girls: American Psychological Association Report Part IV’, From Now On: The Newsletter of the Montgomery County Chapter of the National Organization for Women (2007).

[22] ‘APHA further recognizes that abstinence from sexual intercourse is an important behavioral strategy for preventing HIV, STIs, and unintended pregnancy.’, American Public Health Association, ‘Testimony of the American Public Health Association “Domestic Abstinence-Only Programs: Assessing the Evidence” House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’, (April 23, 2008).

[23] ‘The Society of Adolescent Medicine summarized its expert review of sexuality education with the following: Abstinence from sexual intercourse represents a healthy choice for teenagers, as teenagers face considerable risk to their reproductive health from unintended pregnancies and STIs including infection with HIV. Remaining abstinent, at least through high school, is strongly supported by parents and even by adolescents themselves. However, few Americans remain abstinent until marriage, many do not or cannot marry, and most initiate sexual intercourse and other sexual behaviors as adolescents. Abstinence as a behavioral goal is not the same as abstinence-only education programs.’, Blythe, ‘Testimony before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’, p. 7 (April 23, 2008).

[24] ‘By contrast, credible research clearly demonstrates that some comprehensive sex education, or “abstinence-plus,” programs can achieve positive behavioral changes among young people and reduce STIs, and that these programs do not encourage young people to initiate sexual activity earlier or have more sexual partners.’, Collins, et al., ‘Abstinence only vs. comprehensive sex education: What are the arguments? What is the evidence?’, p. 2 (March 2002).

[25] ‘Comprehensive sex education, which emphasizes the benefits of abstinence while also teaching about contraception and disease-prevention methods, has been proven to reduce rates of teen pregnancy and STD infection.’, Starkman & Rajani, ‘The Case for Comprehensive Sex Education’, AIDS Patient Care and STDs (16.7.313),  July 1, 2002.