Archibald Sayce on the Decipherment of the Hittite Hieroglyphic Texts

Archibald Sayce [1845-1933]Archibald Sayce [1845-1933] was Professor of Assyriology at Oxford University for 28 years. I recently came across offprints of four of his articles from the Royal Asiatic Journal and am pleased to be able to make them available here. They are all in the public domain.

Articles from the Royal Asiatic Journal

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], “The Origin of the Hebrew Alphabet,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society No. 3 (July 1920): 297-303.

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], “Geographical Notes,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society No. 1 (Jan. 1921): 47-55.

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], “The Discipherment of the Hittite Hieroglyphic Texts,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society No. 4 (Oct. 1922): 537-572.

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], “The Libraries of David and Solomon,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society No. 4 (Oct. 1931): 783-790.

I am developing an on-line bibliography of Archibald Sayce’s works on this page, where you find links more of his books and articles.

The Discipherment of the Hittite Hieroglyphic Texts

There are the same recognized rules for the decipherment of an unknown script as there are for that of an ordinary cipher, and if they can be followed the script can be deciphered with as much ease as the cipher. Sometimes they cannot be followed, sufficient materials being absent; in this case, all we can do is to wait patiently until the materials are forthcoming

At one time this was the case with the so-called Hittite hieroglyphic texts. But it has long ceased to be so. The materials for a scientific decipherment of them have been gradually accumulating, and verification has gone hand in hand with the determination of the value and meaning of the characters. We are no longer dependent upon a few fragmentary inscriptions, too often in so imperfect a condition as to make the forms of the characters upon them more or less uncertain. [Continue reading]

Joshua’s Conquest of Jericho and Ai – a Historical Account?

Dwelling foundations unearthed at Tell es-Sultan in Jericho
Dwelling foundations unearthed at Tell es-Sultan in Jericho. Photo source: Wikipedia.

It is often argued that the biblical account of Joshua’s conquest of Jericho and Ai is nothing more than historical fiction. So it is very refreshing to come across a cogent argument for its historicity as John M. Monson does in his controbution to Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith, edited by James K. Hoffmeier and Dennis R. Magary. Monson provides a brief summary of the debate over the archaeology of the area before presenting a plausible explanation which attempts to do justice both to the biblical text and to the available archaeological evidence.

James K. Hoffmeier & Dennis R. Magary, eds., Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith?: A Critical Appraisal of Modern and Postmodern Approaches to Scripture. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2012.

He concludes:

…it is clear that when geographical analysis is added to the study of Israel’s entry into Canaan, and when archaeological data (which remains partial and inconsistent) is prevented from being the final arbiter of all things historical, the most plausible and understandable reconstruction is that the biblical text reflects actual events of the Israelite arrival in Late Bronze Age Canaan. The burden of proof lies with those who would deconstruct these stories or find some alternate explanation for this expansive, geographically focused account. [p.452]

Crossway Books have kindly granted permission for the chapter the chapter to be hosted on this website.

John M. Monson, “Enter Joshua. The “Mother of Current Debates in Biblical Archaeology,” James K. Hoffmeier & Dennis R. Magary, eds., Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith?: A Critical Appraisal of Modern and Postmodern Approaches to Scripture. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2012. Pbk. ISBN: 978-4335-2571-1. pp.427-457. [Click to download the chapter in PDF]

Palestine Exploration Quarterly On-line

Palestine Exploration Quarterly

The Palestine Exploration Quarterly provides a unique record of the early days of archaeology in the Holy land from 1869 onwards. As it is published in the United Kingdom it is covered by the ‘standard life of author + 70 years’ copyright. This means that much of the early material is now in the public domain – though this has to be established by finding out when all the authors died. As this is a time-consuming process and the issues often have pull-out maps, the process of digitisation has been somewhat slower than usual.

I have just added the public domain material from the 1914-1920 issues to the website (click to access the table of contents).

Redating the Exodus and Conquest by John J. Bimson

Both my wife and I remember reading John Bimson’s groundbreaking book Redating the Exodus and Conquest when we were studying theology. So I was delighted when Dr Bimson granted me permission to make his book freely available on-line. I hope that a new generation of Bible students will find it as helpful as we did.

John J. Bimson, Redating the Exodus and Conquest, 2nd edn. Sheffield: The Almond Press, 1981. Pbk. ISBN: 0907459048. pp.288. Download in PDF.

John J. Bimson, Redating the Exodus and Conquest

“The Bible points to a date for the Exodus in the 15th Century B.C. and the archaeological evidence, as interpreted by Bimson, corresponds very closely to, the biblical chronology. Dr. Bimson argues forcefully and with great clarity (as well as in considerable detail) for his theory which runs counter to current scholarly opinion.”

– Journal of Jewish Studies

“By advancing a plausible alternative hypothesis, the book demonstrates that those who hold to a thirteenth century exodus-conquest have no monopoly on the archaeological evidence.” – Journal of Biblical Literature

“The author includes a full chapter on Jericho as an index of Conquest chronological data and correctly concludes that its evidence is now ambiguous. Most enlightening is a long chapter on bi<;hrome ware and ceramic chronology in which he asserts convincingly that ceramics shatters the case for a late
Conquest… A fine piece of work.” – Bibliotheca Sacra

“The section on Bichrome Ware should be mandatory reading for anyone dealing in pottery.”  -Orientalia

“Both the problem it addresses and the style it follows make the book of interest to a wider audience. Bimson calls for a reevaluation of the archaeological shift from middle to late Bronze Age in Palestine … In a day when the traditional archaeological support for a thirteenth century unified invasion of Canaan is increasingly under fire, Bimson offers a fresh look at an old and often ignored alternative.” – Christianity Today

Tent Work in Palestine by Claude R. Conder

Claude R. Conder’s classic 2 volume work Tent Work in Palestine is now available for download in PDF.

Claude Reignier Conder, R.E. [1848-1910], Tent Work in Palestine
Claude Reignier Conder, R.E. [1848-1910], Tent Work in Palestine, 2 Vols.

Claude Reignier Conder, R.E. [1848-1910], Tent Work in Palestine. A Record of Discovery and Adventure, new edn., 2 Vols. London: Richard Bentley & Son, 1879, 1908. Hbk. pp.381 + 382.

Click here to download Volume 1

Click here to download Volume 2

Contents Volume 1

Introduction
I. The Road to Jerusalem
II. Shechem and the Samaritans
III. The Survey of Samaria
IV. The Great Plain of Esdraelon
V. The Nazareth Hills
VI. Carmel and Acre
VII. Sharon
VIII. Damascus, Baalbek, and Hebron
IX. Samson’s Country
X. Bethlehem and Mar Saba
XL Jerusalem
XII. The Temple and Calvary

Contents Volume 2

I. Jericho
II. The Jordan Valley
III. Hebron and Beersheba
IV. The Land of Benjamin
V. The Desert of Judah
VI. The Shephelah and Philistia
VII. Galilee
VIII. The Origin of the Fellahin
IX. Life and Habits of the Fellahin
X. The Bedawin
XI. Jews, Russians, and Germans
XII. The Fertility of Palestine

George Adam Smith’s “Jerusalem” (2 Vols) online

George Adam Smith's "Jerusalem"

George Adam Smith’s 2 Volume work Jerusalem. The Topography, Economics and History From The Earliest Times to A.D. 70 is now available in PDF. Both volumes contain some superb photographs and maps dating from the early 1900s.

George Adam Smith [1848-1910]Jerusalem. The Topography, Economics and History From The Earliest Times to A.D. 70, Vol. 1. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1907. Hbk. pp.334. Visit the Download page.

George Adam Smith [1848-1910]Jerusalem. The Topography, Economics and History From The Earliest Times to A.D. 70, Vol. 2. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1907. Hbk. pp.631. Visit the Download page.

General Plan of Jerusalem - in pouch at end of bookParticularly useful is the General Plan of Jerusalem which is in pouch at end of Volume 1 produced by the Palestine Exploration Fund. You will find a 600dpi version along with the files from Volume 1.

Table of Contents Volume I

Preface
Introduction
The Essential City

Book I – The Topography-Sites and Names

I. The Site of the City
II. Facts and Questions in the Ancient Topography
Ill. The Geology
IV. Earthquakes, Springs and Dragons
V. The Waters of Jerusalem

The Rainfall and other Natural Conditions
The Springs-Real and Reputed
The Identification of the Springs
The Reservoirs and Aqueducts
VI. Sion, Ophel and ‘The City Of David’

  1. The Arguments from Topography and Archaeology
  2. The Biblical Evidence as to Sion
  3. History of the Name The ‘Ophel
  4. History of the Name David’s-Burgh or ‘City of David’
  5. The Tradition from Josephus onwards that the ‘City of David’ lay on the South-West Hill
  6. The Return to the East Hill

VII. The Valley of Hinnom
VIII. The Walls of Jerusalem

  1. The Present City Walls
  2. Proofs of the Ancient Walls up to Titus and their Limits
  3. The Historical Evidence
  4. The Evidence of the Excavations
  5. The Three North Walls

IX. The Name Jerusalem and Its History 250
X. Other Names for the City

Book II – The Economics and Politics

I. A General Statement of the Economic Problems
II. The Ethnic and Economic Origins of Jerusalem
III. The City Lands
IV. The Natural Resources of Jerusalem
V. Commerce and Imports
VI. The Royal Revenues: Estates, Tribute, Tithes, Taxation
VII. The Temple Revenues, Properties and Finance
VIII. Trades, Crafts and Industries
IX. Government and Police

  1. Before the Exile
  2. After the Return, 536-444 B.C.
  3. Under Nehemiah, 444-432 B.C.
  4. From Nehemiah to the Maccabees, 431-168 B.C.
  5. The Reconstitution of Israel, 168-142 B.C.
  6. The Hasmonean Dynasty, 142-63 B.C.
  7. Under the Romans from B.C. 63 onwards

X. ‘The Multitude’

General Index to Volume I.
Special Index I.-The Bible and Apocrypha
Special Index II.-Josephus
Special Index III.-Talmudic Literature
List of Abbreviations Used in the Notes

Table of Contents Volume 2

Prefatory Note
Table of the Principal Stages in the History

Book III – The History

I. The Prelude-Abd-Khiba, c. 1400 B.C.
II. The Conquest by David, c. 1000 B.C.
III. Solomon and the Temple, c. 970-933 B.C.
IV. From Rehoboam to Ahaz, c. 933-720 B.C.

  1. Rehoboam, c. 933-917
  2. Abiyah, c. 916-914
  3. Asa, c. 913-873
  4. Jehoshaphat, c. 873-850
  5. Jehoram and Ahaziah, c. 850-842
  6. Jehoram and Ahaziah, c. 850-842
  7. Athaliah, c. 842-836
  8. Joash, c. 836-798
  9. Amaziah, c. 797-789 or 779
  10. Uzziah or Azariah, c. 789 or 779-740
  11. Jotham, Regent from 755 or 750; King 740-735
  12. Ahaz, c. 735-720 (?)

V. Isaiah’s Jerusalem, from 740 Onwards
VI. Hezekiah and Sennacherib, c. 720-685
VII. Jerusalem Under Manasseh, c. 685-640
VIII. Josiah: Jerusalem and Deuteronomy, c. 638-608
IX. Jeremiah’s Jerusalem, c. 625-586
X. The Desolate City, 586-537
XI. The Ideal City and the Real
XII. The Second Temple, From Zechariah to ‘Malachi,’ 516-460
XIII. Ezra and Nehemiah, 458 (?)-431 B.C.
XIV. The Rest of the Persian Period, 431-332 B.C.
XV. The Jew and the Greek, 332-168 B.C.

  1. Before Alexander the Great
  2. Alexander and the Jews
  3. Wars of the Ptolemies and Seleucids for Palestine
  4. Jerusalem and J udah under the Greeks
  5. The New Jewish Diaspora
  6. Spiritual Intercourse of Jews and Greeks
  7. The Reaction against Hellenism
  8. The Jewish Factions and Antiochus Epiphanes

XVI. Jerusalem Under the Maccabees and the Hasmoneans, 168-38 B.C.
XVII. Herod, the Romans and Jerusalem, 37-4 B.C.
XVIII. Herod’s Castle and Temple
XIX. The Temple and the Lord
XX. Jerusalem of the Gospels

Appendix
General Index
Special Index I. – The Bible and Apocrypha
Special Index II. – Josephus
Special Index III – Talmudic Literature

Sayce’s Archaeology & the Cuneiform Inscriptions

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], The Archaeology of the Cuneiform Inscriptions

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], The Archaeology of the Cuneiform Inscriptions
Reverse of a Tablet in the Hittite Language from Boghaz Keui [frontispiece]
The following book by noted archaeologist Archibald H. Sayce is now available for free download in PDF:

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], The Archaeology of the Cuneiform Inscriptions, 2nd edn. London: Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, 1908. Hbk. pp.220. Download Complete book [4.22MB]

The book contains many excellent illustrations, which I have made available at various resolutions.

Contents

Preface

1. The Decipherment of the Cuneiform Inscriptions

2. The Archaeological Materials; The Excavations at Susa and the Origin of Bronze

3. The Sumerians

4. The Relation of Babylonian to Egyptian Civilisation

5. Babylonia and Palestine

6. Asia Minor

7. Canaan in the Century Before the Exodus

Index

“Fresh Light” by A.H. Sayce on-line

The following public domain book is now available on-line for free download in PDF.

A.H. Sayce, Fresh Light From the Ancient Monuments

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], Fresh Light From the Ancient Monuments, 5th edn. London: The Religious Tract Society, 1890. Hbk. pp.160. Click to download.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: The Book of Genesis

Chapter 3: The Exodus Out of Egypt

Chapter 4: The Moabite Stone and the Incription at Siloam

Chapter 5: The Empire of the Hittites

Chapter VI: The Assyrian Invasions

Chapter VII: Nebuchadnezzar

Appendix I. The Text of the treaty between the Hittites and the Ramses II (Dr. Brugsch’s translation)

Appendix II. List of months of the Assyrian Year

Appendix III. Translation of a cylinder of Nabonidos, King of Babylonia, containing the name of Belshazzar.

Sayce’s Higher Criticism & the Monuments

Archibald Sayce [1845-1933] made significant contributions in the field of Biblical Archaeology, not least for his pioneering work on the Empire of the Hittites. Many of his books are still being reprinted today, which is probably as good an endorsement of their enduring value as you can get. Sayce also contributed a biblical archaeology column in the Expository Times which I am  in the process of scanning.

Archibald Sayce’s The ‘Higher Criticism’ and the Verdict of the Monuments

This title is now available for free download in PDF:

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], The ‘Higher Criticism’ and the Verdict of the Monuments. London: SPCK / New York: E. & J.B. Young & Co., 1894. Hbk. pp.575.

I will be digitising more of Sayce’s titles as hard copies become available to me. I am also in the process of compiling a bibliography of his extensive works.

14 Years of Theology on the Web!

14 Years of Theology on the Web
14 Years of Theology on the Web!

Theology on the Web was launched 14 years ago this month. It is exciting to note that this anniversary coincides with three other major milestones in the development of the ministry.

  • There are now over 25,000 free-to-download theological articles hosted on Theology on the Web.
  • 2.3 terabytes of data was downloaded worldwide over the last 12 months. If, like me, you have no idea what that means, it is the data equivalent of downloading 2,300 sets of the Encyclopaedia Britannica!
  • Theology on the Web has now moved to its own Virtual Webserver with greatly increasing speed and capacity as the visitor numbers climb to around 2 million in 2015.

To mark these events, I have prepared a Press Release which I am sending to Christian News services in the UK and posting online. Please feel free to download and share this document as widely as possible.

Finally, thank you all for making this possible by your ongoing support and encouragement!