Scientists found geological evidence of the Biblical destruction of Sodom

Minor attack of pedantry: It was not a city in a desert, cities do not stand alone in deserts, definitely not in the Bronze Age. It was the Fertile Crescent, it was a city surrounded by farms, villages and forests, just like every other premodern city.

Lonely medieval and Ancient cities are trope that would have been impossible in reality.


So, they found archaeological evidence that a city was destroyed. Which has happened constantly, over the millennia. How is this in any way useful?

This is as useful as when they “discovered” the parting of the Red Sea-- and “explained” it, saying that a rip tide combined with solar/lunar tidal forces could at times could cause weird tidal effects, exposing land near the sea.

Or when they “discovered” what “mana from Heaven” was-- gusts of wind lifting edible moss/lichen into the air, depositing it elsewhere.

Not to mention that, any historical settlement felled by an earthquake is “obviously” the true site of the ancient Jericho.

In short, it’s a myth searching for something, anything, that might justify it. One can justify a lot if the evidence required is so scant.

Trying not to be “too atheist” (you buzzkills!) but all this stuff is just… so annoying. (The Resurrection is bad enough: 'Twas was a great stone tablet, rolled into place! Only a supernatural force could have… rolled it back.)

Well, what is the saline content around the area? Any pillars? Of salt?


Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy


well, from all the scientific evidence it sounds pretty certain that god sent the asteroid to cover up his murderous ways. can’t have people proving he exists after all.

little known fact: before “csi: vegas” they pitched “csi: sumeria.” rumour is it got axed by someone at the very top


Why so salty? :wink:


(Probably excessively) deep dive into the chronology and correlation (or lack thereof) with Biblical timeline


Come On Reaction GIF by NBA

ANYWAY… Enjoy your likely short stay here, I guess…

I love that story! A perfect encapsulation of what I was talking about…


I don’t know. God getting his rocks off over Sodom? Is that irony? These days I never know anymore.


So much religion can be explained by heavenly asteroids. But soon, the argument will be about who’s hurling them at us, and we all know who that is: Bjesus.

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I mean, assuming anything in the Bible is even close to any kind of actual historical record. An assumption for which there is little reason to accept. It’s been transcribed, retranslated, and manipulated by crooked kings so many times over the millennia, that why would anyone believe it’s anything beyond a bunch of kinda wacky stories? The earliest books were written at best decades (probably centuries) after the events they describe and we can’t know the motivations of the people who wrote them.


Well, as detailed in the Book of Genesis , Sodom and Gomorrah were two cities that were chock full of sin, which has been largely interpreted as a euphemism for homosexuality, unless it’s not. Whatever the case, Old Testament God got pissed and destroyed these two “cities of the plain” as punishment for doin’ butt stuff, I guess.

Yeah pretty much God is against rape and the city and their culture very much endorsed it. Compound that with how the people there wanted to rape the visiting angels and you can see why God was pissed at the city.


What counts as useful to you? I doubt it well help you in the stock market or on the golf course, if that’s what you mean. That’s not why I read history though.

To me, discovering an ancient city that was destroyed by an airburst would be interesting in itself if confirmed. Likewise finding a site that inspired ancient myths, like when it turned out Troy and Mycenae were real places…something which led to a lot more understanding of how some of the cultures that influenced our own developed.

Philistines in the bible are all but empty villains, but archaeology has revealed there was a lot more to them, even connections to Aegean cultures. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say the same for some of the other names everyone remembers?


Yes, but as I argued above, there is little textual work from that period of history and that region of the world. And how people wrote was very different from how we write now. They are not “useless” in determining historical events, but can be useful in giving archeologists and historians signposts on where to do the hard work of uncovering physical sites for excavation.

We do, actually. It’s a text of the history, beliefs and stories of the Jewish people. We think of it as a “universal” text because of how Christians have appropriated the “old testament” but it’s not. It’s a specific account of a specific people. The Christian version of the old testament is not the entire Torah, nor is it the accompanied by the centuries long engagement with the Torah, the Talmud, which is essentially a discussion about the Torah, it’s meaning, and various means of interpreting the bible. And all of that would have been in ancient Hebrew, with the original Christian versions being in Greek (and probably aramaic?).

You are right that the Christian bible, especially the protestant version, has been translated and reinterpreted, but not always with ill intent.

TLDR, historians of this time period and region do take religious texts seriously, in part because it’s some of the ONLY texts available from a time period that is more than just business.


It really depends on what you mean my that. Something like Palmyra had a small farming hinterland, but relied on trade over a pretty substantial distance from pretty shockingly early.


Gomorrahry is so awful nobody even knows what it is anymore!


There’s already a lot of people calling the data in question in this study.


Scientists found geological evidence of the Biblical destruction of Sodom

Biblical destruction, so it was destroyed by the Bible? God must have really thrown the book at them!


So, nobody gonna talk about how it’s “the SECOND oldest” to be destroyed in that way.

Like, what are the odds?


I disagree. I find it fascinating.

I think we atheists have a gut instinct to reject any “biblical archeology,” as it’s usually led by unqualified hucksters trying to prove the bible was real.

But if we step back a moment, we’re all members of the same human race that have told stories for thousands of years, from long before there were written records. Your ancestors and mine were telling stories and passing them down the generations. Some of these stories, very few of them, remain even now. Isn’t it fascinating to find some of the millennia-old events that created them, and how our ancestors tried to make sense of them?

It reminds me of a much more recent example: when calculating the time of the Pacific Northwest’s last “really big” earthquake, which was around 1700, before written records in North America:

Once scientists had reconstructed the 1700 earthquake, certain previously overlooked accounts also came to seem like clues.

Chief Louis Nookmis, of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation, in British Columbia, told a story, passed down through seven generations, about the eradication of Vancouver Island’s Pachena Bay people. “I think it was at nighttime that the land shook,” Nookmis recalled. According to another tribal history, “They sank at once, were all drowned; not one survived.”

Sure, only 300 years, not 3000 or more, and without turning it into a supernatural event (although I wonder if there weren’t any supernatural tellings of it by other tribes). But still an example of finding the root of a several-century-old human story.


The interesting part, is that they’ve found evidence that this city was destroyed by a meteor strike, which I’m pretty sure is unique*. The only other meteor of comparable size that has hit the earth since humans were around was Tunguska, so this is an incredible opportunity for astrophysicists (and probably a whole bunch of other disciplines too, but I’m a space geek so this is what I’m focussing on). Possibly now we know where to look it might be possible to find fragments of the impactor.
Unless you’re asking the more general question of “why do any science that’s not directly useful?”, and I don’t know what to say to that mate. Some of us just like learning things I guess.

The primary motivation for this paper was trying to work out what happened to Tall el-Hammam. The whole “was this the inspiration for the stories about Sodom?” question is an afterthought, although one which has got them a lot of publicity. Indeed, if you read the abstract there’s a single sentence talking about oral histories, which doesn’t even mention Sodom by name.

This is true of a lot of news stories about scientific research. Scientists will publish a paper about something, and the press will seize on one small segment of it and ignore the rest (eg, every Daily Mail story about cancer). This is often helped along by university PR departments who put out press releases about research done at their institution, and are more interested in getting press than explaining every nuance of a bit of research (which tbf, usually only a few other scientists in that field care about).

*The abstract mentions another city/town destroyed by a meteor, so I clearly need to go read up more. Hooray!