Sunday, November 30, 2014

Archeology and the Book of Mormon: Some Notes

Anthony J. Frendo is a professor at the University of Malta in Near Eastern Archaeology and the Hebrew Bible, and former department head of both the Classics and Archaeology (1996–1999) and Oriental Studies (1999–2011) departments at the university, both of which he helped found. He’s been a visiting scholar at both the University of Beersheba and University of Oxford. He has been on numerous excavations in both the ancient Near East and the Mediterranean (including Malta itself), including some where he served as a director. He has lectured/presented on archaeology at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, and the Oriental Institute at Oxford University. To go along with all of that, he has a handful of legitimate, peer-reviewed publications on archaeology and history/text published between 1988–2011. In short, while he is not one of the “big names” that tends to come up when discussing the nature of the relationship between archaeology and (biblical) texts, he is not someone that should be taken lightly on the subject, either.

I recently picked-up his much neglected 2011 study, Pre-Exilic Israel, the Hebrew Bible, and Archaeology: Integrating Text and Artefact (New York: Bloomsburg/T&T Clark, 2011). It is not a long study (105 pages, not counting indices, bibliography, and front matter). I am through about the first 40 pages and already I’ve taken several notes, most of which are pertinent to the question of archaeology and the Book of Mormon. A few observations from just a couple will illustrate just how relevant this book is.