Archaeological Studies Institute
Leading the Associates of Biblical Research consortium excavating at Ancient Shiloh
Joshua, Judges, and Jesus Museum Exhibit at The Bible Seminary
Joshua, Judges, and Jesus Museum Exhibit Opening
Welcome to the Joshua, Judges, and Jesus: A Walk Through Biblical History (JJJ) exhibit at The Bible Seminary. As you explore the exhibit, you will be walking through biblical history. The signage explains what life was like in Israel from the period of the conquest to the Byzantine era when Christianity flourished in the Holy Land. This booklet and your tour guide will amplify those basic descriptions, adding frequent faith applications. We present almost 200 artifacts. A few of them are replicas, but more than 90% are authentic. The core of the exhibit derives from Khirbet el-Maqatir (KeM), a small site situated ten miles north of Jerusalem. Following Bryant Wood, I served as the Director of Excavations there from June 2013 to January 2017. Dr. Wood and I have published numerous articles on KeM, the likely location of Ai (Joshua 7–8) in the Old Testament and Ephraim (John 11:54) in the New Testament. Our final volumes will be published this year (2022). Dr. Wood wrote Volume I, and I wrote Volume II. Volume II will be available here at TBS soon after JJJ opens. In addition to the KeM artifacts, which are on loan from the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria (KAMAT), the Horn Museum, the Dorsey Museum, and the University of Pikeville have generously loaned us items to enhance the exhibit. Likewise, the impressive artifacts on loan from the Hoefling and Chamberlin collections improve the exhibit. I am grateful for each of these partners.
The entire TBS team has invested time and talent to produce an excellent exhibit which we hope will impact many lives, with the overarching truths that the Bible is a reliable historical document, and that God loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. Clayton Van Huss, JJJ Assistant Director, traveled to North Carolina and Kentucky to retrieve artifacts, and Dan Lawless traveled to Minnesota (in late January!) to retrieve the large storage jar, that we affectionately call “Ben.” Gary Urie is responsible for the excellent photography in this booklet, and Allison Taylor marketed the exhibit with skill and zeal. Clayton, Dan, Gary, and Allison are all TBS students. Jordan and Angela McClinton and Blake Quimby also played critical roles. Jordan, a TBS student, is JJJ co-director and has invested countless hours and expertise to ensure a high-quality exhibit. Angela, TBS Director of Development, contributed in myriad ways. Blake, TBS Director of Communications, expertly oversaw the JJJ media and messaging. Angela and Blake are both TBS graduates. Carousel Pieterse coordinated, scheduled, cleaned, and did many other things behind the scenes. It is her smiling face that greets guests when they arrive. Her husband Dawid helped with logistics. Yami Soto, TBS Business Manager, kept our records with great efficiency, among other things. Dr. Lynn Lewis, TBS president, threw the full weight of his office behind JJJ. Without his unwavering support, none of this would have happened. My colleagues at the Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) and my dig staff also helped. Notably, Scott Lanser, ABR Director, donated advertising in Bible and Spade, Abigail Leavitt (TBS graduate) assisted in research, and TBS student Tommy Chamberlin served as a liaison and consultant. Tommy generously loaned many items to us from the World of Jesus exhibit which he curates. The excellent lamp display is part of Brent Hoefling’s TBS Capstone project. I am very grateful for an anonymous donor who provided the seed money to launch the exhibit and for the other donors who will contribute financially throughout 2022.
We designed the exhibit for you to experience chronologically, beginning with the time of Joshua in the 15th and 14th centuries BC. The socket stones from the Ai gate and the scarab of Amenhotep II (excavated by TBS graduate Destry Jackson) stand out in this section. Leaving the time of Joshua, you will encounter the period of the Judges. Big “Ben,” a large collared-rim pithos (storage jar), awaits you there, along with pottery and artifacts from KeM and Shiloh, where I currently serve as the Director of Excavations. Next, you will learn about the impact of Alexander the Great and the transition from the Old Testament to the New Testament. After experiencing the Hellenistic period, you will move into the world of Jesus. An ancient map, stone vessels, and many other artifacts illuminate the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. These artifacts directly connect to a series of faith lessons. Finally, you will learn about the growth and spread of Christianity through the Byzantine period church we excavated at KeM. The exhibit concludes with two enigmatic magical bowls. In this booklet, you will find descriptions and object photos, along with an article that Mark Hassler and I published on “The Problem of Ai.” I have included a glossary of terms at the end.
Archaeology does not change the inspired biblical text; it merely illuminates it so that we can understand it “here and now” the way that they did “then and there.” I pray that the JJJ exhibit reminds you that the Bible is a reliable historical document that describes real people, real places, and real events.
Digging the Bible!
Dr. Scott Stripling, TBS Provost and JJJ Museum Director