Biblical archaeology and ancient near eastern history are perhaps some of the most necessarily studied subject matter for the Orthodox Christian intent upon apologetics. The criticism of the Holy Scriptures and the continuous denigration of their authentic and inspired character (both on a theological AND historical basis) has opened the door for the fatal ‘destruction’ of true Christianity in many ill-formed individuals.
Often a person will take a class in New Testament in a college and have their faith torn down. Or, perhaps, run across the so-called ‘Documentary Hypothesis’ (ironically named, as it has no documentation proving its claim of their being 4 sources of the Pentateuch).
It has now been conclusively demonstrated, contrary to what some have said, that the town of Bethlehem existed during the period of the ancient Israelite kingdom. The seal was discovered in excavations of the old city of Jerusalem. Of course, for those of us who are Orthodox Christians this was never a subject in doubt; but, it does not hurt to have the science of archaeology turned to our side.
Furthermore, an 11th century BC stone seal found this year in the Tell Beit Shemesh site in the Judaean hills contains an image of a long haired man fighting a lion. What biblical figure from circa the 11th century BC had long hair and fought lions and other wild beasts? It would have to be a man of incredible strength. Yes, Sampson.
Of course, many would say, “This proves nothing.” Yet, I notice that as time continues and more and more evidence confirms the Biblical accounts, the critics continue to move the bar up and up. For many critics nothing will ever be enough.