The original impetus in the early 1800s behind the worldwide discipline of archaeology was the exploration of Bible lands in the ancient Near East. Early discoveries began to fill museums in Europe and excite Christian believers. Governments began a vigorous competition and funded major excavations in order to elucidate the Bible, while scholarly societies were founded to carry out this work. But with time, the influence of secular thinking and the philosophical presuppositions of the Enlightenment began having their effect. From the 1940s through the 1970s there was a revival in Protestant America in the discipline of “Biblical Archaeology” led by key thinkers at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University. During that period, over forty-five excavations were sponsored by institutions in the United States and Israel alone. However, today the secularization of the discipline has become nearly ubiquitous, with less than five Christian institutions worldwide offering archaeology degrees, and secular universities struggling with shrinking programs. The very term “biblical archaeology” has undergone vigorous debate. This paper will describe briefly the processes leading to the present situation. It will outline the assumptions and presuppositions that led to this dichotomy.
Hasel, Ph.D., Michael G.
"Biblical Archaeology or Near Eastern Archaeology? Redefining the Discipline from a Biblical Foundation,"
The Journal of Biblical Foundations of Faith and Learning: Vol. 1
, Article 17.
Available at: http://knowledge.e.southern.edu/jbffl/vol1/iss1/17