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More Archaeological Evidence Confirms Location of Biblical Sodom: It's Where the Bible Said It Was!

Brian Nixon : Sep 6, 2018  ASSIST News

The finding? Genesis is reliable for geographical profiles, and therefore can be used to locate sites.

(Albuquerque, NM)—[ASSISTNews.net] I revel when Dr. Steven Collins (now Director of the School of Archaeology, Veritas International University) returns each year from the Tall el-Hammam excavation in Jordan. It seems that after thirteen years at the site every trowel and shovel put in the dirt adds to the evidence of Tall el-Hammam as the Biblical site of Sodom. This year was no different. (Photo: via ASSIST News)

But before I provide an update, let me jump back in history for our readers not attuned to Dr. Collins' discovery, as set forth in his #1 bestselling book Discovering the City of Sodom (Simon & Schuster/Howard Books 2013), co-authored with Dr. Latayne Scott.

Several years ago Dr. Collins told me his interest in the location of Sodom began in 1996. Then, he was working on another excavation site but was also leading archeology tours in the Middle East.

It was on one of these trips that Prof. Collins began to question the traditional site of Sodom, what is known as the Southern Theory (attributing the site to the southern region of the Dead Sea).

Collins stated, "I began to read the text in Genesis 13-19, and realized that the traditional site did not align itself with the geographical profile described in the text."

"Now let me say," he continued, "that many scholars don't have a high view of Scripture. Some even frown upon using Biblical texts as a tool for location designation. Yet my philosophy is that the text is generally reliable and can—and should be—used, at bare minimum, as a basic guide for a geographical profile."

"So when I read how the author of Genesis describes the area of Sodom and then looked at the area of the traditional site in the Southern region, I said, 'this cannot be the place. There are too many differences of description.'"

The geographical point at issue, according to Collins, is how the text in Genesis describes the region of the Kikkar, understood as "the disk of the Jordan," usually mistranslated "plain of the Jordan."

Dr. Collins states, "When the Bible uses the term 'the Kikkar', it is only referring to the roughly circular area immediately north of the Dead Sea. Kikkar strictly means 'circle' or 'disk'. This region is the breadbasket of the area, full of freshwater and farmland. All of this is interesting to me because the ancient Semitic word kikkar can also mean 'flat bread', like a tortilla here in New Mexico."

A main contention of Collins' is that the traditional Southern Theory site of Sodom does not have the geographical parallels described in the text. Namely: 1) One can see the whole area from the foothills; 2) it must be a well-watered place (described, "like Egypt"); 3) has a river running through it (the Jordan); and 4) must follow the travel route of Lot (who went east from Bethel and Ai, just above Jericho, to Sodom).

How Dr. Collins arrived at this conclusion involves years of research, excavations, and textual analysis with many colleagues, including Dr. Peter Briggs. Drs. Collins and Briggs developed a means to determine if an ancient text is a "true narrative" through a scientific methodology called "criterial screening." (Photo: via ASSIST News)

The finding? Genesis is reliable for geographical profiles, and therefore can be used to locate sites.

With this bit of knowledge, Dr. Collins set out on a course of discovery.

"When I first had the idea that the traditional site of Sodom (in the southern region of the Dead Sea) was wrong (based upon the geographical indicators), I began to think through the text, coming to conclusion that it was northeast of the Dead Sea."

After hundreds of hours of research—in the U.S., Israel, and Jordan— Collins concluded that the site of Tall el-Hammam was the one.

"I came to this conclusion based upon its geographical location and the Biblical text. In the Bible, Sodom was mentioned first in order; therefore it must have been the largest and most prominent city in the area. We find that Scripture usually orders cities by prominence and size. With that bit of knowledge we choose the largest site."

"As a matter of fact," Collins continued, "Tall el-Hammam was the largest site by a huge margin."

The current excavations reveal that Tall el-Hammam's general area is at least 40 hectares (roughly 100 acres), which is huge by ancient Bronze Age standards.

I then ask Dr. Collins for some evidence.

"Well, to start with, the Tall el-Hammam site has twenty-five geographical indicators that align it with the description in Genesis. Compare this with something well known—like Jerusalem—that has only sixteen. Most other sites have only five or six, or less. So, the site has many more geographical 'signs' than any other Old Testament city. That's truly amazing... Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here.

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