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January 8, 2011

The Most Significant Archeological Finds Corroborating the New Testament

In many aspects, the study of Jesus’ time on earth has always been controversial.  The different narratives of the gospels present varying interpretations of Jesus and his teachings that we are left to reconcile.  He is portrayed as a sage, messiah, and teacher.  While religion relies on faith above all else, increasingly more of us are seeking to find comfort in facts to support our beliefs.  Interestingly enough, where the gospels have presented opportunity for scientific, archeological corroboration, they have been proven extremely accurate. The importance of these findings is not that they confirm all biblical claims, after all, much of this evidence was not material in nature in the first place.  Rather, archeological findings present a strong case regarding whether the gospels are trustworthy.  The following is a list of some of the most significant finds.
  1. The Pontius Pilate inscription.  In 1961 a stone inscription was discovered in Caesara.  While part of the inscription is missing, the stone is a dedication of a stone from Pilate to the Emperor Tiberias in 26-36 AD.  The inscription provides proof of both the Pilate’s existence as well as his position as prefect during the time of Christ.  The inscription reads “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judaea, made and dedicated the Tiberieum to the Divine Augustus."
  2. The corroboration of the roman style of crucifixion.  The bible makes many mentions of crucifixion as a means of excecution, in terms of Christ's punishment and others.  Previously, some skeptics thought the Romans used ropes to affix legs upon a cross. The discovery of bones of a crucified man from first-century Palestine cleared up this misconcention.  The bones suggest nails were driven through the ankles and his leg bones were broken.  The remains of this man, named Johanan confirm the gospel accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion.
  3. The corroboration of biblical places mentioned in the Gospel of John.  Archeologists have unearthed several places mentioned specifically by the gospel of John.  This includes:
    • The pool of Siloam (John 9:1-7)
    • Solomon’s porch at the temple precincts (John 10:22-23)
    • The five porticoes of the poll of Bethesda by the sheep gate (John 5:2)
    • Jacob’s well at Sychar (John 4:5)
    • The “pavement” where Pilate tried Jesus (John 19:13)
References: "Discoveries from Bible Times", by Professor Alan Millard; "Jesus Under Fire", by Michael J. Wilkins and J.P. Moreland

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