Which Site Is Sodom?


by Craig Olson

Two archaeological sites have been proposed for the biblical city of Sodom Bab edh-Dhra and Tall el-Hammam. Both locations have evidence of fiery destruction, both have smaller towns nearby, and both are near the Dead Sea. But there are significant differences between these two sites, and each site has its passionate defenders. This article examines both of these archaeological sites by asking four questions. How does each site fit with the text of Gene- sis? Are there traditions that help locate Sodom? Does the date of the occupation and destruction favor one site? And, what does the archeological evidence reveal? The author concludes that Tall el-Hammam is the best candidate for biblical Sodom. But this conclusion has major ramifications. If Tall el-Hammam is Sodom, then our assumptions about how the ancients used numbers must be reexamined. But it also opens up great new vistas for biblical research into the times of the patriarchs. We will be able to know more about how Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph lived, and we will be able to understand and teach the biblical text with greater accuracy and authority.



The Academic Journal of Trinity Southwest University

ISSN 1938-694X

Volume XIV

Number 1

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