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Correspondence: Bryant Wood's Critique

March 05, 2013

Hello Dr. Aardsma,

I know you have seen this before, but, in my quest for the truth, I was wondering if you could comment on the attachment: Bryant Wood's analysis of your missing millennium theory [Bryant Wood. "One thousand years missing from biblical history? A review of a new theory." Bible and Spade, 6(4):97–114, 1993.].


1. Refutation of his archaeological arguments against yours,


2. If there have been any new developments in the field of archaeology since his and your article have been written that support one side or the other (please be honest).

Thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to respond.

In Christ,

Hello Jack,

I drafted a response to Dr. Wood's critique when it first appeared, but was denied publication of it in their journal. See attached copy.

Have you read what is posted on the BC website? https://www.biblicalchronologist.org/answers/bryantwood.php

I personally regard the matter as long-ago closed. Dr. Wood's view is simply false.

Trust this helps.

Dr. Aardsma

March 06, 2013

Thank you Dr. Aardsma,

To be honest, I had forgotten about what you posted on your website regarding Dr. Wood's response. I had read it when I first stumbled upon your research, but I did not have a frame of reference at the time to understand it was your response to him.

I have thoroughly read your defense to Dr. Wood and can't seem to find any flaws in your argument against his. There is one area Dr. Wood did mention, however, that still has me puzzled. It was not addressed in your response to him. It's in regard to the following statement relating to the archaeological find at Et Tell:

"A heap of stones was found at Et Tell (pp. 31-32; Jos 8:29). Here again, the author has not read the Biblical text carefully. Joshua 8:29 states that the Israelites hung the king of Ai on a tree, then threw his body down at the entrance of the city gate and raised a large pile of stones over it. The excavators of Et Tell did indeed find a large pile of stones in the EB III city, but they were in a temple, not in the city gate! The pile of stones found at Et Tell has nothing to do with the pile of stones in Joshua 8:29."

Just for my own clarification, you both are talking about the same Et Tell correct?

Thank you again for your work and dedication to the truth over tradition.

Best Regards,

Hello Jack,

Yes, we are talking about the same et-Tell.

There is textual uncertainty with the "entrance of the city gate" of Joshua 8:29. The Septuagint [Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton, "The Septuagint Version: Greek and English", Zondervan, 1970, 290.] reads "And he hanged the king of Gai on a gallows; and he remained on the tree until evening: and when the sun went down, Joshua gave charge, and they took down his body from the tree, and cast it into a pit [footnote: Gr. the pit or trench], and they set over him a heap of stones until this day."

Thus the placement of the heap of stones cannot be used to falsify its identification with the heap of stones erected at Ai by Joshua and his men.

The citadel included a massive stone parapet backing the temple (see attachment [rotate this 90 degrees counterclockwise or print it to view it in proper orientation]). Behind this ran a more normal stone city wall (see attachment [the handwritten words on this are by me]). There was what might reasonably be called a trench running between these two structures, which seems to have had no practical function whatsoever, as I recall. (I read the excavator's original reports a few decades back, so the details are no longer fresh in my memory, so I hope I am remembering this right.) I have wondered whether this is the spot the text meant to identify, and whether this spot's highly unusual architecture is the cause of the textual difficulties which we have inherited today. That is, it seems that whatever noun was used to signify such a structure in its day might have had a good chance of going out of the language subsequently for want of everyday use.

It is, of course, disturbing to be charged with sloppy biblical scholarship by an assertion exhibiting sloppy biblical scholarship. But let us let that go.

More disturbing is how it is possible for any scholar to miss the cogency of this heap of stones for the missing millennium hypothesis. The heap of stones was not found "in" a temple; it was a massive heap of stones --- it was six meters high, and it took 80 to 100 men an entire month to clear it off of the ruins of the temple and the citadel which it covered. Thus its size agrees both with the biblical description: "a great heap of stones" [NASB], and quantitatively with the 30,000+ soldiers Joshua had available for the task of erecting it that evening of long ago. Furthermore, its location at what nearly all scholars agree must be the biblical Ai (topography alone seems to demand this choice) at just the time required by the missing millennium thesis, is surely a mighty staggering coincidence demanding of some reasonable explanation if it is indeed true that "The pile of stones found at Et Tell has nothing to do with the pile of stones in Joshua 8:29". ... What peculiar blindness is this?

Trust this all helps with your quest once again.
Dr. Aardsma

Dr. Aardsma,

Thank you for taking the time to explain this. Peculiar blindness indeed!


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