Daily Archives: February 26, 2010

Older than the pyramids

Newsweek, March 1, 2010, has an article here about a temple complex in Turkey that is said to predate the pyramids.
Göbekli tepe in southeastern Turkey. The site is southeast of Sanliurfa, the Moslem traditional birthplace of Abraham. It is east of Haran, the home of Abraham according to Genesis 12:4, and north of the Syrian border.

German archaeologist Prof. Klaus Schmidt is directing the dig at the site said to have a temple built 11,500 years ago — 7,000 years before the pyramids.

Ben Witherington has a good post about this temple and some of the biblical implications at his Bible and Culture blog here. Among other good things he says,

The importance of this find for Biblical thinking is this— the Bible says that from the outset, human beings were created in God’s image.  Human beings were religious creatures from Day One.  Archaeologists and sociologists have long dismissed this theory saying organized religion comes much later in the game than the beginning of civilization and city building.  As  Ian Holder director of Stanford’s prestigious archaeology program says— this is a game changer. Indeed, it changes everything experts in the Neolithic era have been thinking.   Schmidt is saying that religion is the cause of civilization, not the result of it. Towns were built to be near the Temple complex. Agriculture was undertaken to feed those living there and supply the temple complex, and so on. The first instincts of humans were to put religion first. Maybe there is more to that Genesis story than some have been willing to think or admit. Maybe human beings are inherently homo religiosis.

This short video features Prof. Schmidt at Göbekli tepe.

HT: Ben Witherington