What is Biblical Archaeology? by Owen Jarus

While the definition of biblical archaeology varies from scholar to scholar, it generally includes some combination of archaeology and biblical studies.

The magazine “Biblical Archaeology Review” defines biblical archaeology as “A branch of archaeology dealing with the archaeology of biblical lands that informs our understanding of the bible and/or the historicity of biblical events.”

Other definitions include the specific geographical areas that are studied. For example, “Biblical archaeology is a subset of the larger field of Syro-Palestinian archaeology—which is conducted throughout the region encompassed by modern Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria,” wrote Eric Cline.

“Specifically, it is archaeology that sheds light on the stories, descriptions, and discussions in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament from the early second millennium [B.C.], the time of Abraham and the Patriarchs, through the Roman period in the early first millennium [A.D.],” Cline wrote.

Most scholars also note how the discipline combines elements of archaeology with biblical studies. It is “a complex fascinating inquiry between two disciplines—archaeology and biblical studies,” wrote William Dever.