This article looks at the impact of ancient Near Eastern studies on biblical scholarship. Before 1800, no accurate first-hand knowledge of Egypt's ancient remains was available to compare with biblical mentions of that land and its ancient civilization. During the nineteenth century, detailed pioneering exploration of Egypt and Nubia led to extensive recording and major publications of the visible monuments and inscriptions, while decipherment of ancient Egypt's hieroglyphic and other scripts, along with their language, finally opened the way towards recovering three millennia of history, literature, and social organization, including religious belief and practice.
W. G. Lambert
This article discusses the impact of ancient Near Eastern studies on biblical scholarship, focusing on written remains of all kinds. Ancient Mesopotamia has yielded tens of thousands of clay tablets with cuneiform inscriptions, apart from monumental stone inscriptions and inscriptions on other media. Palestine and Syria, by contrast, have yielded comparatively little inscriptional material, partly because much was written on papyrus and leather, which has not survived, partly because they were less rich than their Mesopotamian neighbours and so produced less written material.
This article examines the impact of Graeco-Roman world studies on biblical scholarship. Classical language, rhetoric, philosophy, and culture have had a continuing impact on study of the Bible since antiquity. The rise of formal biblical scholarship during the Renaissance set the study of the Bible firmly and naturally within the humanist and intellectual context of the study of the Graeco-Roman world. The development of critical biblical studies in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries triggered another major leap in the importance of classical study upon biblical studies, for virtually all scholars of theology and biblical studies then had deep classical roots. Greek and Roman languages, literatures, and histories directly and indirectly informed the study of the Bible.