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Researcher confirms historical existence of 53 Biblical figures

(Wikimedia Commons/Britchi Mirela)King David's tomb in Mount Zion, Jerusalem.

A professor at Purdue University has recently confirmed in a recent study that 53 figures "mentioned in a Bible have been identified in the archaeological record."

Lawrence Mykytiuk, an associate professor of library science at Purdue University, has developed a unique system to compare the names of the Biblical figures with inscriptions discovered on archaeological digs.

In order to determine the historicity of a Biblical figure, the Biblical name must match the name on an authentic inscription, with no possibility of a forgery. The names on the Bible and on the inscription must match in terms of setting and time period. Additionally, the Biblical figure must also have at least three specific details identifying an individual, such as name, father's name and title.

"If it matches the same three mentions in Scripture, it's a virtual certainty," said Mykytiuk, according to Times of Israel.

"There might be a few people with the same name, father's name, but same title? That's stretching it. I consider it a virtual certainty, either a dead ringer or virtual certainty," he continued.

Mykytiuk, who describes his system as "a way to develop historicity," was able to verify kings, pharaohs, high priests and scribes by studying 94 inscriptions.

He noted that all the names are male, but he said he is "hoping to identify a woman from an inscription."

The professor, however, cautioned that the verifications of Biblical names do not necessarily verify the Biblical events involving these individuals.

One of the names verified by the professor was King David himself, from 1,000 B.C. He was able to match the protagonist of Samuel I and the "House of David" wall inscription found at the Tel Dan excavations in northern Israel.

"King of Israel' was in one line," Mykytiuk said. "The next line read 'Melech Beit David.' It was in Aramaic, by the enemies, the Arameans, who conquered Tel Dan and indicated a victory monument, a stele, a big sign in stone. The Israelites reconquered it, and smashed [the stele] to pieces that they used to make a wall," he said.

Another Biblical figure on Mykytiuk's list was King Hezekiah, who was mentioned in the Book of Kings. Hezekiah's reign in the eighth century B.C. was confirmed when a seal bearing his name was discovered in Jerusalem in December 2015.

So far, Mykytiuk has verified eight kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and six from the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The professor is continuing his verifications involving figures from the New Testament, and his next article will include verifications of 23 political figures from the second major part of the Bible. He said that the New Testament verifications, unlike the ones in the Old Testament, will include both men and women.

Mykytiuk, who became interested in Biblical verifications in 1992, is hoping to finish his article about New Testament religious figures, such as John the Baptist, Gamaliel and the high priests, in 2017.

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