With Bibles and shovels, a search for the biblical tabernacle gathers pace at Shiloh

Amanda Borschel-Dan

Source: The Times of Israel

Shiloh, West Bank, July 17, 2017


The twisted ram’s horn shofar sounded loudly through the hills at Shiloh, signaling the end to another day’s search for the biblical holy tabernacle. As elusive as the Ark of the Covenant that it housed during the Israelites’ travels from Egypt through their settlement in Canaan, the tabernacle is depicted in the Bible (Exodus 25:8-9) as the earthly home for God — God’s “dwelling place” among his people.

Repeated excavations have attempted to find earthly evidence of the godly home, here at Shiloh and elsewhere. Similarly, many archaeologists have sought artifacts and evidence tying Joshua’s biblical Israelite conquest of Shiloh to this site. None has succeeded.

In recent weeks here at Shiloh, where the Bible says the Ark and tabernacle were venerated for almost 400 years, this new group of American archaeologists and volunteers — Bible in one hand and shovel in the other — have set about proving the Holy Word is a history textbook.

This is no ragtag band of Indiana Jones wannabes. Led by Dr. Scott Stripling, the team leaders for the Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) have apprenticed at Holy Land dig sites and are using the latest archaeological techniques — some of which are not yet in use by their Israeli contemporaries.

More than their metal detectors, digital technology and advanced techniques, however, what sets this team apart from most modern Israeli archaeologists is their religious faith that what they are looking for is indeed there to be found.

The excavation of Shiloh is one in a series of digs by Christian institutions currently taking place in the Holy Land with the goal of proving the historical veracity of the Bible. This was also a cornerstone of early Israeli archaeologists’ ethos. But as a broader evidential picture has crystallized with more sites being dug, modern Israeli academia has slowly abandoned this approach.

Any dig in biblical Israel is now an almost existential archaeological struggle between faith and reason. At the Shiloh site there is an almost impossible quest to marry both.

...Read the rest at The Times of Israel.

Amanda Borschel-Dan


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