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Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Topic: Watchers and Giants

Recently, I read a series of blog entries from the site Remnant of Giants containing analysis of another article on the mythology of the Watchers.  This article, "Turning to the Angels to save Jewish Mythology" is a summary of recent research by Dr. Jonathan Ben-Dov, senior lecturer in Bible at the University of Haifa.  The full article may be read by clicking here.  The general claim of the article and subject of subsequent blog entries is that the Jewish tradition of the Watchers drew on other mythologies of the ancient Near East.

On one level--for the sake of argument--this is possible.  The academic stance has long been at least a version of this thesis.  There is certainly a long-established body of evidence demonstrating the influences of cultures from Mesopotamia and Egypt on Hebrew culture.  However, most scholars contend that the idea of the Watcher angel (or at least the books that expound upon them) is a relatively late ideological construct (Second Temple Period), having been based on much older deities from the above-mentioned societies and their beliefs.

However, if we subscribe to a supernatural worldview--and moreso, a Biblical worldview--references and depictions of celestial beings such as the Watchers, giants, and indeed the flood, in ancient cultures are in actuality separate descriptions of the same events and personalities.  Yes there are definitely going to be similarities in these depictions, the authors and artists are working from the same source material.

What the apocryphal material, such as Enoch, Jubilees, Jasher, and the lke, represent is the record of memory much older than the Hebrew language as a written system.  Of course one will find similarities between Mesopotamian and Hebrew accounts.  Not only were they geographically proximate, but this situation allowed for diffusion.  These stories circulated.

Very interesting article with interesting points.


Posted by Professorburton at 2:50 AM CST
Friday, 21 February 2014
Camel Gate
Topic: Archaeology


O.K., I likely should have blogged about this when the article first came out, but as I understand it, Camel Gate continues.  Well, that may not be what the scholarly community calls it but it's fitting considering the topic.  In the article below (to which I have provided a link), the archaeologists contend tha the Bible is in error about Abraham and other earlier patriarchs owning camels, and that according to their research, camels were not domesticated until the 10th (maybe the 11th) century B.C.  I would advise reading the brief article, but here is my rebuttal.


Alright, let's say camels weren't domesticated in he Levant until the 1oth century B.C.  My response is......SO WHAT, actually a BIG FAT SO WHAT.  How does that prove that the Biblical narrative about Abraham is in error?  The only caveat/counter I would offer my colleagues is that just because there may not have been domesticated camels before the 11th c. BC, doesn't mean that desert peoples didn't use tame ones.  Domestication implies captive breeding, where taming relies on existing wild populations.  Consider the use of elephants in India as pack animals.  They are tame but decidedly not domesticated.  Handbal's war elephants likewise.  Ancient Egyptians tamed cheetahs and hiyenas for assistance in hunting (we know this from iconography). The onager was wild ass used by ancient Sumerians and Levantines, and modern Asians as draft animals, but is by no means domesticated.  They are temperamental and like to bite.....kind of like some camels.  Jared Diamond has the best explanation of the difference between domesticated and time I've ever read.  See GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL.  The work in question is valuable, but doesn't really disprove the use of camels by Levantines in the Old Testament before c. 900 BC.

Here is another link that sheds light on Camel Gate, an interview sound cip and transcript with one of the ascholars working on the data from the sites in question.  OH, THE HUMANITY.  This is what happens when scholars become too myopic in their focus on a particular--in this case archaeological and chronological--problem.


Posted by Professorburton at 8:29 PM CST
Updated: Friday, 21 February 2014 8:45 PM CST
Topic: News

Greetings to all you IBA followers and dedicated students of the Bible.  This post is one part notice of blog resumption, one part musings on the sorts of topics I cover here at the Institute.  In short, I'm back after a long break on the blog.  Unfortunately, sometimes the nature of this blog is that it's intermittent.  Such is the life of a professor, and I have to alot time to other projects sometimes.  However, I have felt that this blog has been neglected for too long.

What is different about the IBA?  How is it different than other Biblical institutes?  These are questions that I get from time to time, so I thought this entry in particular would be uniquely suited toward illustrating how the IBA is distinctive.  If I were to draw attention to anything first it would be the orientation of the institute, that is to say, the assumption on faith that we live in a supernatural world.  Further, that this supernatural world is worthy of study using the rigors of good scholarship.  I've emphasized before that it is a marriage of the study of conventional and unorthodox Biblical topics and approaches.  The IBA is as interested in giants as it is in the way a first century A.D. olive farmer lived in the Levant.

A peek at the long term goals of the Institute will further clarify its uniqeness.  Eventually, a brick-and-mortar operation is planned, which would include the following: 1) Academic quality research library, 2) Museum 3) Expiditionary department 4) reproductions of Holy Land sites 5) a school teaching conventional and unorthodox Biblical studies courses.  ANYONE with the interest to pursue these topics would have access to these features.

In the recent months, I have had several people talk to me about the Institute and its future, with intimations of land donation for IBA use.  I feel blessed to even hear the suggestion, and am very excited at the prospect.  SO, there are some exciting things happening at the Institute. 

 I hope this post finds you well.  Stay tuned and will be in touch.

Posted by Professorburton at 1:43 AM CST
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
Excavation of Pella
Topic: Early Christianity

According to Eusebius, after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 the surviving Christians fled to Pella, in Jordan.  The great historian of the church relates the following in his History of the Church 5.3:

But the people of the church in Jerusalem had been commanded by a revelation, vouchsafed to approved men there before the war, to leave the city and to dwell in a certain town of Perea called Pella. And when those that believed in Christ had come there from Jerusalem, then, as if the royal city of the Jews and the whole land of Judea were entirely destitute of holy men, the judgment of God at length overtook those who had committed such outrages against Christ and his apostles, and totally destroyed that generation of impious men.

Below is a link to an excellent article on the recent excavations at Pella.


Posted by Professorburton at 2:11 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, 1 May 2013 2:19 AM CDT
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Bones of 10-feet men found in Kalar historical sites
Topic: Giants

Thought-provoking article from last summer about a potential giant find in Kalar, Iraq.  The newspaper is a legitimate periodical and the story does raise an eyebrow.  Being a scholar, I'd certainly like to see some notes or paperwork, but for all it is, you can read it here:


Posted by Professorburton at 4:55 PM CDT
Tuesday, 23 April 2013
Evdences of Giants from Ohio
Topic: Giants

Some interesting reading about giants from the Ohio Rver Valley, a place that has proven to be an enclave of proofs for giants.  The Bureau of Ethnology produced such evidence in the late 19th century.  Read by clicking the link below:


Posted by Professorburton at 7:34 PM CDT
Sunday, 21 April 2013
Expose on fraud Erik von Daniken
Topic: Ancient Alienators

The following review of Erik von Daniken and his erroneous interpretations of ancient evidences is worth the read.  It reveals von Daniken as a pathological liar and embezzler.  Click below to read:


 For further reading here is a link to an article which further reveals his absolute lunacy and moral defecit:


Posted by Professorburton at 6:31 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, 21 April 2013 6:32 PM CDT
Friday, 19 April 2013
Topic: Giants

Whatever side of the argument on which you may fall,this documentary ANCIENT GIANTS EXISTED is very informative.  It is a nice mix of textual facts and oral tradition, and some decent speculative analysis.  The only caveat I would offer is on the setions with Von Daniken and Sitchin, and that you remember these have been proven to be frauds. Both immediately embarks on the ancient astronaut speel.  Sitchin never produced any credentials or proof of training in Mesopotamian languages, and his "translations" of those texts are highly dubious.  Otherwise, not a bad job.  Watch it by clicking below:


Posted by Professorburton at 3:57 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, 19 April 2013 4:12 AM CDT
The Joseph Coin Cache
Topic: Archaeology

Inevitably, when we reach the period in question (Egyptian antiquity), my students want to know if the Hebrews were really in Egypt.  I routinely reference this story first.  Although the find of these "coins" in Egypt bearing a supposed name of Joseph is several years old, it is is still a very fascinating topic.  I still have some problems with the interpretation of the finds (such as when coins were actually used in Egypt), but it is still strangely compelling.  Not a smoking gun, but compelling.  Were they in Egypt?  Well, the Bible says so, and hence I'm inclined to think yes.  Is this the complete proof?  Not quite.


Posted by Professorburton at 3:18 AM CDT
Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Topic: Watchers and Giants

Many of you will be familar with the Ancient Aliens series on the History Channel.  If you know me or follow my work, you'll know that I disagree with it, or at last the interpretation of the evidence they have.  This documentary is called ANCIENT ALIENS DEBUNKED by documentarian Christ White, and it is excellent.  It features the work of a friend and colleague of mine, Semitic scholar Dr. Michael Heiser.  In a word, this film is tremendous in its import and lays out a lot of the problems with Anciet Aliens.  I highly recommend that you take some time to view it--very well done.  You can watch the entier three hour documentary for free by clicking on the link below.


Posted by Professorburton at 8:50 PM CDT

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