Short Report Instructions

You are required to report about the debate over the northern and southern location of Sodom in a 4–5-page Short Report including the following information:

  • Introduction with thesis statement.
  • Identify the archaeological site each position believes is Sodom.
  • Identify the date each scholar uses for the patriarchs.
  • Describe the archaeological evidence for destruction from both sites.
  • Describe how each site meets the criteria for the biblical location of Sodom.
  • Identify and compare the weaknesses and strengths of their arguments.
  • Conclusion – Provide a personal reflection and opinion for the weight of evidence for each location.

Read these 2 articles by Dr. Wood and Dr. Collins:

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  • Wood, Bryant G. “The Discovery of the Sin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.” Bible and Spade 12, no. 3 (1999): 67–80.
  • Collins, Steven. “If You Thought You Knew the Location of Sodom and Gomorrah…Think Again.” Biblical Research Bulletin 7, no. 4 (2007): 1–6.

You must use your textbooks and other articles by these two authors to support their arguments. They have both written about the others’ arguments in longer articles that you can access at the same sites. Both scholars are evangelical archaeologists and good friends who have dug together at Khirbet el-Maqatir (Ai).

Your paper must be in current Chicago-Turabian Full Note format (including footnotes and bibliography) and include a minimum of 6 sources. For assistance using Turabian visit Liberty School of Divinity Turabian Writing Guide for help. https://www.liberty.edu/divinity/index.cfm?PID=28160

For further instructions, see the Instructions for Written Assignments in the Additional Materials folder in Blackboard.

This assignment is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of Module/Week 3.

Short Report Grading Rubric

CriteriaLevels of Achievement
Content 70%Advanced 90–100%Proficient 70–89%Developing 1–69%Not present
Introduction and thesis statement (min 4–5 pages paper).8 points Exceptional introduction that grabs interest of reader and states background information, provocative questions, topic, thesis and all subtopics in proper order, thesis exceptionally clear, arguable, well developed, and a definitive statement.6 to 7 points Proficient introduction that states background information, provocative question, topic, thesis, and all subtopics in proper order; – thesis is a clear and arguable statement of position.1 to 5 points Adequate introduction that states topic, thesis and some of the subtopics; thesis is somewhat clear and arguable.0 points Not present
Archaeological site each position believes is Sodom.9 to 10 points Identified both sites for the proposed locations of Sodom.7 to 8 points Identified one or the other sites for the proposed locations of Sodom.1 to 6 points Did identify the proposed locations of Sodom but reversed the location of the two sites.0 points Not present
Date each scholar uses for the patriarchs.14 to 15 points Identified the date for each scholar.11 to 13 points Identified the date for only one scholar.1 to 10 points Did identify the date for each scholar but confused the date with the wrong period.0 points Not present
Archaeological evidence for destruction.14 to 15 points Described the evidence in detail for each site. 11 to 13 points Described the evidence in general terms for each site.1 to 10 points Described the evidence for one site but not the other site.0 points Not present
Meets the criteria for the biblical location of Sodom.9 to 10 points Described in detail the correct place, period and pottery for it to be Sodom.7 to 8 points Described two of the three criteria in detail for it to be Sodom.1 to 6 points Described one of the three criteria in detail for it to be Sodom.0 points Not present
Weaknesses and strengths.18 to 20 points Provides a good overview of the strengths and weaknesses for each site to be Sodom.14 to 17 points Provides a general overview of the strengths and weaknesses for both sites to be Sodom but missed several arguments.1 to 13 points Provides a general overview of the strengths and weaknesses for one site to be Sodom but missed several arguments.0 points Not present
Conclusion with personal reflection and opinion for the weight of evidence.7 points Exceptional conclusion that grabs the interest of readers and provides a personal reflection and opinion for the weight of evidence with the choice of one of the sites as a candidate for Sodom.5 to 6 points Proficient conclusion that provides a general reflection and opinion for the weight of evidence for each location.1 to 4 points Provides a conclusion without taking a decision on the weight of evidence.0 points Not present
References18 to 20 points Included minimum of 6 academic sources.14 to 17 points Included 5 academic sources.1 to 13 points Included less than 5 academic sources.0 points Not present
Structure 30%Advanced 90–100%Proficient 70–89%Developing 1–69%Not present
Spelling & grammar5 points No mistakes4 points One mistake1 to 3 points More than one mistake0 points Not present
Sentence Structure5 points Sentences were complete and clear.4 points Sentences were generally complete and clear but with a few mistakes.1 to 3 points Sentences had several mistakes.0 points Not present
Title page9 to 10 points Title page was according to Turabian.7 to 8 points Most of the information was present but was not in Turabian.1 to 6 points Most of the information was not present and was not in Turabian.0 points Not present
Citations and bibliography18 to 20 points Footnotes and bibliography were according to the Turabian (SBL) style.14 to 17 points Footnotes and bibliography were according to Turabian with minor mistakes.1 to 13 points Footnotes and bibliography were not according to Turabian with many formatting minor mistakes.  0 points Not present
Margins and pagination5 points Margins & pagination were according to Turabian.4 points Some margins & pagination were according to Turabian, while some were not.1 to 3 points Margins & Pagination were not according to Turabian.0 points Not present

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SHORT REPORT: LOCATION OF SODOM

            The location of Sodom city has remained unclear for most people due to the conflicting arguments by various archeologists such as Steven Collins and Bryant Wood. While both scholars claim to know where the city was located, they present different evidences and hence, one of them would be right and the other wrong. They both believe Sodom was located along the Dead Sea but differ on which side of the sea. Collins believes the location of Sodom was in the northern side of the sea while Wood holds that it was on the southern side of the sea. In contrast to some biblical evidences, there is strong persuasion that Wood is right regarding the location of Sodom. This paper presents a comparative analysis of the two arguments by establishing the archaeological site each author holds, identifying the date each author uses, describing the archeological evidence for destruction provided by each author, discussing how each site meets the biblical criteria,  and identifying the weaknesses and strengths of each argument.    

Short Report on the Location of Sodom: The archaeological site each position believes is Sodom

There are two conflicting opinions regarding the side of Sodom alongside the Dead Sea. Wood starts by pointing out that Sodom was located near the Dead Sea[1]. He also ascertains that the city was either north or south of the sea because of the ending ranges of the mountains nearing the shores on the eastern and western sides. Wood supports his argument by the scripture text about the “bitumen pits” to show that the city was on the southern location. On the other hand, Collins supports his argument by the biblical texts in Genesis chapter 13 which highlights that the Sodom was among the five cities the scripture refers to as the “plain of the valley”[2]. The text states that cities in the “plain of the valley” were located on the eastern sides of Jordan (Kikkar) and on the northern location of the Dead Sea. The Collins’ argument is further supported by the archeological evidences available the excavation sites in Tall Nimrin and Tall el-Hammam[3].

Short Report: Location of Sodom: The date each scholar uses for the patriarchs

Wood says that there is no certain method for establishing the archeological date for the end of the Early Bronze III period. He argues that the dating is related to the synchronisms of the Early Bronze and there are no such synchronisms to date. However, Wood suggests that it was somehow contemporary with the archaic era in Egypt 3100-2700 BC.  Wood supports his argument with the existence of patriarch Abraham who lived approximately 2300 BC, the Early Bronze period III[4]. This period is the same as the period when the city of Bab edh-Dihra was destructed.  On the other hand, Collins take a different opinion regarding the dating of the patriarchs and dates them back to later time during the Middle Bronze age ( 1950-1550 BC). This evidence contradicts the possibility of Sodom being located on the south side of the Dead Sea.  

Short Report on the Location of Sodom: The archaeological evidence for destruction from both sites

            Since this debate is on a historical city, the best way to ascertain the proposed truths would be examine how the city was destroyed and learn something about its ruins. Collins presents a better proof for the destruction of the northern side cities of the Dead Sea.  Collins provides the evidence of mud brick and city wall destruction to support his argument for the existence of the city in that area of the sea. On the other hand, Wood support his argument for the destruction of the city by evidence of human bones and ash discovered on the southern sites. Wood criticizes Collins’ argument that Sodom was located on the northern sites because Collins does not prove the existence of human life in the site. Although the bible states that the place was left desolate for about 700 years, Wood affirms his evidence of the human bones as stronger proof of life destruction from the southern site[5].

Short Report on the Location of Sodom: How each site meets the criteria for the biblical location of Sodom

            Collins draws up the point on fertility to support his argument that Sodom was located on the northern side of the Dead Sea[6]. His argument meets the criteria by the bible (Genesis 13), which states that Kikkar was well watered-place was fed by numerous streams. This location is the eastward that Lot decided to occupy. The scripture (Genesis 12-50) narrates the existence of the patriarchs accurately by giving information on when and where they lived. The scripture identifies the patriarchal period to be Middle Bronze age between 2166 and 1805 BC. This period coincides with the date that Collins approximates for the city’s destruction. Wood’s argument concurs with the bible’s (Genesis 19) text that Bab edh-Dhra was the gate into the “plain of the valley” cities. His evidence of ash ruins confirms the severity of the destruction described in the bible.    

Short Report on the Location of Sodom: The weaknesses and strengths of their arguments

            The two scholars provide strong arguments for their positions on where the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are located. While Collin makes stronger argument concerning the destruction of the northern site, Wood fails to do so by not providing concrete reason for the destruction of the southern site. Wood only confirms the location of Sodom and Gomorrah to be southern side of the Dead Sea after the discovery of W.F. Albright. His dependence on another person’s discovery is his weakness. However, his argument is strong when he says that the discovered human bones and ash are an evidence of people’s existence and destruction on the southern side of the Dead Sea.  Other authors have argued that the excavation sites are far to the east than to the south of the Dead Sea[7].  On the other hand, Collins is sure about the mud brick and city wall ruins to confirm the city’s destruction and this is his strength[8].  

Conclusion

            Indeed, the location of Sodom is uncertain and it is only from a comparative analysis that someone can decide to take a position. From the analysis on the evidences provided by Collins and Wood, I believe Collin’s argument is more persuasive than Wood’s. Collins present a stronger evidence for the destruction of the city in the north side of the Dead Sea than Wood. Also, his arguments have a strong correlation with the scripture’s history and description of the people that lived in Sodom and other “plain of the valley” cities. I strongly agree with Collins that the scripture inhabitants would have lived in the northern side of the Dead Sea because it was more fertile and habitable than the southern side. Although Collins’ argument is not perfect and has some weaknesses, so far, it is more persuasive than Wood’s due to its consistence with the scriptural texts and archeological evidences discussed.  

Bibliography

Collins, Steven, and Latayne C. Scott. Discovering the City of Sodom: The Fascinating, True Account of the Discovery of the Old Testament’s Most Infamous City. Simon and Schuster, 2016.

Collins, Steven. “If You Thought You Knew the Location of Sodom and Gomorrah…Think Again.” Biblical Research Bulletin 7, no. 4 (2007): 1–6.

Graves, and Lemche, Niels P., Thomas L. Thompson, William G. Dever, and Kyle P. McCarter, Jr: Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology by Price & House, Biblical Archeology: Second Edition Vol 1: “Face to Face: Biblical Minimalists Meet Their Challenge,” Biblical Archaeology Review 23, no. 1 (July–Aug 1997).

Habermehl, Anne. “Sodom—part 2.” Journal of Creation 31 (2017): 53-60.

Neev, David, and Kenneth Orris Emery. The destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, and Jericho: geological, climatological, and archaeological background. Oxford University Press, 1995.

 Wood, Bryant G. “The Discovery of the Sin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.” Bible and Spade 12, no. 3 (1999): 67–80.


[1] Wood, Bryant G. “The Discovery of the Sin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.” Bible and Spade 12, no. 3 (1999): 67–80

[2] Collins, Steven, and Latayne C. Scott. Discovering the City of Sodom: The Fascinating, True Account of the Discovery of the Old Testament’s Most Infamous City. Simon and Schuster, 2016.

[3] Habermehl, Anne. “Sodom—part 2.” Journal of Creation 31 (2017): 53-60.

[4] Wood, Bryant G. “The Discovery of the Sin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.” Bible and Spade 12, no. 3 (1999): 67–80

[5] Habermehl, Anne. “Sodom—part 2.” Journal of Creation 31 (2017): 53-60.

McCormick, Matthew. “Discovering Sodom.” (2016).

[6] Collins, Steven. “If You Thought You Knew the Location of Sodom and Gomorrah…Think Again.” Biblical Research Bulletin 7, no. 4 (2007

[7] Graves, and Lemche, Niels P., Thomas L. Thompson, William G. Dever, and Kyle P. McCarter, Jr: Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology by Price & House, Biblical Archeology: Second Edition Vol 1: “Face to Face: Biblical Minimalists Meet Their Challenge,” Biblical Archaeology Review 23, no. 1 (July–Aug 1997).

[8] Collins, Steven. “If You Thought You Knew the Location of Sodom and Gomorrah…Think Again.” Biblical Research Bulletin 7, no. 4 (2007