The Bible in Political Debate
The Upper Room and Tomb of David

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The Art of Negotiation in Ezra–Nehemiah

By Donna J. Laird

Ezra–Nehemiah are not impartial historical records. Rather, the authors use the stories of early returnees make a case for later social practices. The retuning exiles and their leaders are shown in a positive light: prayerful, persistent, and successful in their efforts to rebuild Jerusalem and its temple. This depiction invites readers to admire the actions or claims of main characters and overlook violent or unsavory aspects of the text. See complete essay

What Do Old, Dirty, Broken Pieces Of Pottery Have To Do With The Bible?

By David A. Fiensy

Archaeology! The very word sounds exciting. If you grew up watching the Indiana Jones films, you picture him in his dashing outfit (inexplicably carrying a bullwhip!), robbing tombs of priceless museum pieces and enduring threats to his life in the process. How exciting! Many of us dream of such a career.

If, on the other hand, you did not watch those films, chances are you find archaeology rather boring and arcane. You may be like some of my students when I pass around potsherds from the Middle East and invite them to take a piece as a keep-sake: “But these are just dirty, old pieces of pottery! Who would want one of them?” What does this ugly relic have to do with studying the Bible? See complete essay

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