Discovery at Jacob’s Altar
This week (Sept 16) on Shabbat Night Live, the story of the Exodus seems straightforward to most people. But to serious students, there are dead ends and gaps in the narrative that leave us with unanswered questions.
Israeli resident and tour operator Aaron Lipkin embarked on a mission to solve the mysteries of the Exodus — but he had no idea where his curiosity would lead him! Hear, in his own words, why this ONE discovery may change archaeology forever!
Watch the episode — included on this blog post.
While you watch, consider the questions below. The timeline for each discussion topic in the video is noted on each question. Post your answers in the comments section and let’s get some discussion going!
- (VIDEO TIMELINE – 16:00) How does the urban settlement of Samaria demonstrate the enduring resonance of the Six Day War of 1967 as a watershed event of the past century? How do the ongoing controversies regarding this decades-old conflict suggest the unfolding of YeHoVaH’s providence regarding the Hebrews and their proprietary rights to this region?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE – 20:00) Why is the utilization of folktale or traditional narrative by biblical scribes to explain events in the Book of Genesis continually weaponized by skeptics as ostensible proof of the Bible as mere fiction? Why is the symbolic use of language in a pre-scientific age, such as allegory or epic similes, usually justified and defended by scholars for every culture but our familiar Judeo-Christian civilization?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE – 24:00) How does the academic notion of objectivity when applied to a non-scientific subject like spirituality serve to undermine the integrity of such immaterial phenomena as family relationships, especially those that are grounded in religious belief and the practice of worship? Why has the notion of Intelligent Design aroused such vehement opposition within the scholarly community, despite its abstraction?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE – 28:00) How does the politicization of education in the United States demonstrate the weakness of academic disbelief with regard to continuing discoveries in the Near East that support biblical narratives? How does this ironic example of “objectivity” indirectly reveal the hypocritical agenda of the academic establishment that is aimed at destabilizing the integrity of Western values?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE – 32:00) Why do the various categorizations of academia – historical period, political dynasty, or narrative genre – tend to collapse upon the discovery of ancient sites such as altars? Why does this verification of sacrificial worship result in a cumulative verification of events and personages that compels a re-evaluation and redefinition of received ideas, to the chagrin of the educational establishment?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE – 38:00) Similarly, how do such findings underscore the contemporary political divisions over Israel’s legitimacy as a sovereign state? How can such a challenge to the entrenched deference among many scholars toward the Palestinian claim serve to threaten not only the academic world, but also the geopolitical dimension involving Israel’s relationships with its Arab neighbors and its alliances with other Western nations?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE – 42:00) How does the particular practice of wet-sifting in archeological excavation serve to illustrate the providential nature of the discovery of ancient biblical sites? How can we discern the revelation of divine truth in the unearthing of even minuscule evidence of the Hebrew presence in the midst of such crude attempts at prevention as restricted access and vandalism?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE – 46:00) Similarly, what is arguably the greatest significance of the discovery of the Mount Ebal Amulet? How is its proto-alphabetic provenance and its pre-paleo Hebraic reference YHW underscored by the almost alarming repetition of “cursed” within its text? Can this be interpreted with justification as an ominous warning to those who would deny the biblical account of its geographical location or profane its sacred purpose?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE – 50:00) Why is the possible vindication of the Hebrew presence in this region, along with its deity, language, and scriptural narrative, greeted with such apprehension and opposition by the academic establishment? Aside from the prospect of a revision of received knowledge, what essential weakness within the intellectual ethos of many scholars is exposed by a discovery such as that upon Mount Ebal?