New Discoveries in Babylonia About Genesis – P.J. Wiseman

P.J. Wiseman [1888-1948], New Discoveries in Babylonia About Genesis, 5th ed, 1949

This is the second of Air Commodore Wiseman’s books that entered the public domain this year. My thanks to Book Aid for providing a copy for digitisation.

P.J. Wiseman [1888-1948], New Discoveries in Babylonia About Genesis, 5th ed, 1949. London & Edinburgh: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1936. Hbk. pp.143. [Click to visit the download page for this title]

Table of Contents

  • Preface to the Second Edition
  1. Introduction
  2. Excavations in the Land of Genesis
  3. Rapid Developments in Early History
  4. Methods of Writing 5000 Years Ago
  5. The Key That Unlocks the Book
  6. Evidences of the Antiquity of Genesis
  7. Who Wrote The Original Tablets?
  8. How Moses Compiled Genesis
  9. A Critic’s History of the Higher Criticism
  10. The Critical Theories Now Obsolete
  11. Genesis Defends Itself Against Attack
  12. The Use of the Name and Title For God in Genesis
  13. The Trend of Higher Criticism
  14. Bible and Babylonian Creation Tablets
  15. The New Testament Use of Genesis
  16. The Attitude of the Lord Jesus Christ to Genesis
  17. Conclusion
  • Index

Chapter 1: Introduction

This book is the outcome of studies in archaeology and Genesis, while working in the land of Genesis – Babylonia. The investigation of the literary problems of the book in its ancient environment, and in the light of the mass of new facts regarding ancient literary methods, throws an entirely new light on the problem of its authorship.

My aim is to state as simply as possible the evidence which the Book of Genesis has to give concerning its own origin and composition. To many it will appear surprising that Genesis has anything whatever to say for itself regarding the method by which it was originally written, for scholars have discussed this very question for the last two centuries, without even suggesting that it contains the slightest direct statement concerning its own authorship…

Page 9

Creation Revealed in Six Days by P.J. Wiseman

P.J. Wiseman [1888-1948], Creation Revealed in Six Days. The evidence of Scripture confirmed by Archaeology

The works of Air Commodore P.J. Wiseman [1888-1948] enter the public domain this year. This is the first of two of his books that I will be placing online. Air Commodore Wiseman was the father of the biblical archaeologist Professor Donald J. Wiseman.

P.J. Wiseman [1888-1948], Creation Revealed in Six Days. The evidence of Scripture confirmed by Archaeology. London & Edinburgh: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, Ltd., 1948. Hbk. pp.144. [Click to visit the download page]


  1. The Problem Stated
  2. Why This Unusual Structure?
  3. Current Theories and The Fourth Commandment
  4. Towards a Solution
  5. The Colophon
  6. The Bible and Babylonian Creation Tablets
  7. The Testimony of Archaeology
  8. Evidences of Antiquity
  9. Creation in Genesis-Gradual or Instantaneous?
  10. Science and The Narrative of Creation
  11. Translation and Commentary
  12. Conclusion


  1. Scripture References to Creation
  2. The ‘Wisdom’ And ‘Word’ of God at Creation
  3. Other Ancient Accounts of Creation

The Problem Stated

A new endeavour is made in the following pages to trace the Biblical creation narrative back to its source and to ascertain why it is divided by six “evenings and mornings”.

Many will doubt whether it is possible-after centuries of discussion-to write anything new about this first page of the Bible. I take however the same view as Butler did when he wrote (Analogy II, iii), “Nor is it at all incredible that a book, which has been so long in the possession of mankind, should contain many truths as yet undiscovered”.

There are several undiscovered truths regarding this first narrative of creation which hitherto have remained unnoticed. One of these is so important, yet so simple and unquestionable, that our failure to recognise it is all the more surprising, seeing that this oversight has created considerable difficulties resulting in continued misinterpretation, causing the narrative to be rejected by so many.

Page 7.

Patriarchal Palestine by Archibald H. Sayce

Map: The Chief Places mentioned in the Books of Genesis and ExodusProfessor Archibald Sayce’s Patriarchal Palestine applies the (then) recent archaeological discoveries in Babylonia and Assyria to illustrate the biblical accounts of Genesis. The frontispiece map is particularly helpful, so I have extracted this and made is available as a separate download at various resolutions. This title, kindly provided by Book Aid, is in the public domain.

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], Patriarchal Palestine. London: SPCK, 1895. Hbk. pp.227.[Click to visit the main download page for this title]

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • List of Dynasties
  1. The land
  2. The People
  3. The Babylonians in Canaan, and the Egyptian Conquest
  4. The Patriarchs
  5. Egyptian Travellers in Canaan
  6. Canaanitish Culure and Religion
  • Index


A few years ago the subject-matter of the present volume might have been condensed into a few pages. Beyond what we would gather from the Old Testament, we knew but little about the history and geography of Canaan before the age of its conquest by the Israelites. Thanks, however, to the discovery and decipherment of the ancient monuments of Babylonia and Assyria, of Egypt and of Palestine, all this is now changed. A flood of light has been poured upon the earlier history of the country and its inhabitants, and though we are still only at the beginning of our discoveries we can already sketch the outlines of Canaanitish history, and even fill them in here and there.

Throughout I have assumed that in the narrative of the Pentateuch we have history and not fiction. Indeed the archaeologist cannot do otherwise. Monumental research is making it clearer every day that the scepticism of the so-called “higher criticism ” is not justified in fact. Those who would examine the proofs of this must turn to my book on The Higher Criticism and the Verdict of the Monuments.

Life and Times of Isaiah by Archibald H. Sayce

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], The Life and Times of Isaiah. As Illustrated by Contemporary Monuments, 2nd ednProfessor Sayce provides a helpful summary of the archaeological background on the Isaiah and his writings. In so doing he seeks to place the prophet in the wider context of the Ancient Near East. This title is in the public domain.

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], The Life and Times of Isaiah. As Illustrated by Contemporary Monuments, 2nd edn., 1890. London: Religious Tract Society, 1889. Hbk. pp.96. [Click to visit the main download page]

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Chronology
  1. The Life of Isaiah
  2. Egypt in the Age of Isaiah
  3. Assyria
  4. Syria and Israel
  5. Political {arties in Judah


  1. Translations from the fragments of Tiglath-Pileser’s Annals
  2. Translations from the Inscriptions of Sragon
  3. Translation of Sennacherib’s accoiunt of the his Campaign Against Judah


In the following pages an attempt has been made to bring before the modern reader a picture of the external and internal politics of the Jewish kingdom in the age of Isaiah, one of the most important epochs and turning-points in the religious history and training of the Chosen Race. The materials for drawing such a picture are derived partly from the Old Testament, partly from the monuments of Egypt and Assyria, which in these our days have thrown so vivid and unexpected a light upon the earlier history of the Bible. Without them, indeed, the present book could never have been written. It is with their assistance that the pages of the sacred record have been supplemented and illustrated, and the course of events which seemed such a puzzle to the scholars of a former generation has been traced in its broad outlines.

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

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

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

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