Faculty - Gordon Matties

NOVA: The Bible’s Buried Secrets

Every tour group to the Holy Land, unless it is a short ten day tour, runs the risk of experiencing archaeological site fatigue. My guide, Khalil, happens to love ancient water systems. After the sixth or so water system some of us began to tease Khalil. Over the days, however, we discovered, in spite of ourselves, that we had gained an insight into life in ancient Israel/Canaan. Water is a precious resource that must be protected. I am tempted to digress by mentioning why water continues to be a contested resource in Israel Palestine. But more on that in another blog.

For now, let me say that archaeological site fatigue can be remedied in two ways. One depends on the guide, who should be able to bring the site to life by telling stories that link the site to the biblical and historical record. A second depends on the tour participant. I suggest prospective tour participants do some reading and viewing to discover what archaeology contributes to our understanding of the ancient world, and of the biblical text.

For a very fine exploration of that topic, one can hardly do better than to watch NOVA’s (PBS television) “The Bible’s Buried Secrets.” That web page offers a variety of interactive pieces, including short articles, timelines, and videos on interesting topics like “Moses and the Exodus,” “The Palace of David,” “Archaeology of the Hebrew Bible,” and more. Every one of the links on this page is worth having a look at.

NOVA’s must-see two hour television program has been divided into 13 chapters, each of which can be viewed separately. If that link doesn’t allow you to view the videos, you can watch it by CLICKING HERE. When one episode is done, click “next” at the top left of the screen.

Becoming informed about archaeology will provide you with a few resources that allow you to be able to ask the right kinds of questions on the site, and to understand better why the “ancient stones” are relevant to a tour like this.