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Dr. Garry Owen, M.D. Memorial Academic Lectures

Biblical Archaeology - January 31-February 2, 2022

Monday, January 31st : 7-8 pm

Tuesday, February 1st : 11 am – 12 pm & 2:30 – 3:30 pm

Wednesday, February 2nd: 11 am- 12 pm & 2:30 – 3:30 pm

Can’t make it in person? Click here to watch online via ZOOM.


Are the stories in the Old Testament based on actual historical events or are they stories made up for moral teaching and instruction? Archaeology is one discipline that helps to demonstrate the historicity and nature of biblical history. Popular culture views a biblical archaeologist as an adventurer who fights off demons and bad guys with a wipe while making phenomenal discoveries of relics associated with events in the bible. Unfortunately the church has adopted this Hollywood caricature as sensational finds are published on the internet, discussed in blogs, and find their way into adult and children’s curriculum.

Biblical Archaeology is a unique discipline that uses archaeological data for the reconstruction of the past, particularly the history of Ancient Israel and the Early Church. The first two lectures will introduce the nature of archaeological data and the correct approaches for using this data to reconstruct biblical history. It will also introduce the newly established archaeological research center at Lipscomb University. The last three lectures will be illustrated lectures on the Exodus, the Israelite Settlement and Conquest, and the United Monarchy.

Lecture 1

Introduction to Biblical Archaeology: Sensationalism vs. Sound Research

This unit will discuss the purpose and goals of biblical archaeology. Archaeology has been an excellent discipline to demonstrate the historicity of the bible. Any find that proves or disproves the Bible tends to be highlighted in the media. Unfortunately there are many sensational finds and ‘archaeological proofs’ of events of the Bible. This session will address the topic of what archaeology can and cannot do. It will introduce participants to the role biblical archaeology plays in the 1) authenticity of God’s Word, 2) the historicity of the events, 3) and compare a sound academic and biblical approach to the value of archaeology.

Lecture 2

A New Paradigm for Biblical Archaeology: Developing a Model for Reconstructing History: Archaeology and Biblical Studies

This presentation will propose that archeology and biblical studies are two separate and different disciplines. A discussion of the interplay between incarnation, revelation, and event will be discussed. In addition an overview of the nature of biblical history and the nature of the archaeological record will be presented. An underlying principle will be the introduction of the best model to use to reconstruct the historicity of the biblical text.

The next three sessions will present three case studies on biblical archaeology

Lecture 3

Is There Evidence for the Exodus? The Good the Bad, and the Ugly!

There is no material culture (e.g. archaeological data) that can be associated with the Exodus. It was a short period of time (single generation), and we should not expect any remnants of the wanderings. The cultural memory and ethos of the later biblical writers provide a historical marker of the reality of the Sinai event. The event itself can be placed within a historical and geographical context. This lecture will present the historicity of this event through the geopolitics of Egypt and Israel and the Iron Age I transformation in the hills as well as focus on two issues: the location and date of this event.

Lecture 4

Archaeology of the Israelite Settlement and Conquest

This session will present the evidence for social transformation in the mountains of ancient Palestine, which can be attributed to a new ethnic group. The archaeological data will be compared to the sources and geographical realities in the books of Joshua and Judges. 

Lecture 5

Did David and Solomon Exist? Recent trends in biblical archaeology

This session will present the archaeological evidence for the United Monarchy. Deconstructionist trends within biblical studies and archaeology have dominated reconstructions of the historicity of David and Solomon. Some of these trends even proposed that David did not exist. Recent research on state formation processes and excavations in the foothills of Judah are providing a valuable critique to these deconstructionist trends.

Dr. Steven Ortiz

Dr. Ortiz is the Director of the newly established Lanier Center for Archaeology at Lipscomb University where he is also a professor of archaeology and biblical studies. He was the director of the former Tandy Institute for Archaeology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the principal investigator and co-director, along with Sam Wolff, of the Tel Gezer Excavation Project and is one of the directors of the Ilibalyk Project, Kazakhstan, and is the co-director at Tel Burna (Biblical Libnah). He has over 30 years of archaeological experience in Israel as he has been a senior staff member at a variety of major sites.

Ortiz’s research and publications focus on the archaeology of David and Solomon, Iron Age I and II transition, and the border relations between Judah and Philistia. He has served or currently holds leadership positions in several scholarly and academic associations. He currently serves on the board of the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem. He has served ASOR since 2001 as a board member and on various committees.

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