This Could Get Interesting

Whenever there is an early announcement of a “major discovery” that demonstrates “missing links” in evolution, or that “disprove Biblical accounts”, I always am skeptical. Why? every time this happens, the “discovery” either (a) turns out to be more sizzle than steak, or (b) turns out to be fraudulent, or (c) turns out to be more nebulous than advertised and therefore subject to the bias of the interpreter of the “evidence”.

Sometimes, even the “discoveries” that either “prove” or “give weight” to Scripture, ought to be regarded cautiously. The latest case–the announcement of ancient Egyptian coins that contain references to Joseph, and his interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream–is no exception.

Still, while the validity of the Biblical account does not hinge on the validity of the discovery, if the coins are genuine it would certainly give substantial merit to the Biblical account. After all, we are talking about a very significant portion of the very first book of the Bible. A portion that is absolutely critical to the unfolding of God’s providence to Man.

6 thoughts on “This Could Get Interesting

  1. i always find this stuff fascinating and intriguing … i mean, how does God decide what and when we will discover something that He knows good and well what and where? pretty cool to think about, i think.

  2. Amir,

    I have a feeling that this story leaked before it should have. You see, finds like this have got to be scrutinized by the academic community before it goes to press so that one can get the pros and cons for taking it as referring to a Biblical or some other character. We can say that 1. it would be way to big a coincidence if the find did not refer to a Biblical character [such as seals that mention a Biblical king with the phrase “king of Judah”] and thus can clearly be linked to a Biblical character, 2. it is possible for the find to be linked to a Biblical character, but there is too little evidence to be conclusive, or 3. the piece itself is a fraud.

    The thing that makes me think that this story has not undergone scrutiny is the fact that the first time I am aware that coins were used in Egypt was during the Persian period. Also, I traced the story back to an Egyptian source, which specifically mentions the Koran. Hence, it is likely that this was published by Muslim scholars in an effort to defend the idea that Joseph used coins in Egypt.

    One blog I frequent on discoveries like this is Dr. Jim West’s blog. Here is the link to his blog, and his section on this find:

    Jim West has strong minimalist tendencies, and hence, he is sceptical of almost everything [except for his own existence]. If I turn over there, and he is having to do a lot of irrational dancing to get around the evidence of the find, I know that the find is pretty significant. However, if he is comfortably holding his position, I know that the find probably does not have much veracity.

    Also, I like to take a look at the comments section, since there are many scholars who comment on his blog. There have been several comments that have noted that these are probably not coins but scarabs. The other difficulty is that no one has published a picture that would allow us to look at the text to see what it really says. The best attitude to have at this point is “wait and see.” We will have to wait and see what will happen when Egyptologists and Afrio-Asiatic philologists get their hands on it. However, clearly, this story leaked way too early.

    God Bless,

  3. There is a series of magazines that specialize in this kind of thing. Biblical Archaeology being one.

    Ame, It is not as if God is withholding the information. The fact that a coin exists is proof that humans made and used that coin and then forgot all about it. The lack of coins in North America is used as one of the proofs that the Book of Mormon is a fiction. The older coins get, the less recognizable detail remains on them. Coins of that antiquity are exceptionally rare because they would have been reminted several times along the centuries by more modern cultures.

  4. @Professor Hale
    I believe you meant Biblical Archaeology Review. BAR is a good publication, but I’d have to agree with Adam: it appears that this was leaked prematurely.

    The coins could turn out to be legitimate. If they do, then it would certainly be the mother of all shock waves in Biblical archaeology terms. An extra-Biblical reference–outside of Israel–to (a) the last of the Patriarchs, and (b) the event that catapulted Joseph from the corridors of prison to the #2 man in Egypt, would certainly be huge.

    Or they could turn out to be fake.

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