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Why the Shipwreck of Paul Was Not on the Munxar Reef on Malta

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by Gordon Franz MA

EXCERPT Reasons Why the Apostle Paul and Dr. Luke Were Not Shipwrecked on the Munxar Reef off Malta…

Introduction

An article on the BASE website (accessed on May 30, 2012) described the reasons Robert Cornuke concluded that the Apostle Paul and Dr. Luke were shipwrecked on the Munxar Reef on the eastern end of the island of Malta and the people on the ship swam to the beach of St. Thomas Bay. Unfortunately this article contains factual errors and his theory remains disproved.

Would a Roman Sea Captain Recognize St. Thomas Bay as Cornuke’s Claims?

The most glaring error Cornuke made in this article was claiming that the sea captain and sailors would not have recognized the Munxar Reef and St. Thomas Bay when the dawn broke (cf. Acts 27: 39).

Diodorus Siculus, a Greek historian who lived in the First Century BC, stated that the island of Malta had many harbors for safety in bad weather (Library of History 5:12:1-2; LCL 3: 129). Today, maritime archaeologists might sub-divide Diodorus’ “harbors” into harbors and anchorages. Recent scholarly archaeological research has shown that there were 32 anchorages and 7 harbors on the island of Malta (Gambin 2005:259-284).

Cornuke claims that only the Valletta Bay is the “only bay suitable for large ships” on the eastern end of the island. However, recent research has shown that there are four Roman harbor/ports: Marsaxlokk, Marsascala, Marsamxett (Lazaretto Creek), and Marsa (within the Grand Harbor Complex of Valletta Bay), all able to accommodate large ships on the eastern end of the island. It is known that at least the latter port had facilities for storing grain during the winter and also transshipment (Gambin 2005:122-132; cf. Acts 28:1-11).

The Roman harbor in Marsaslokk Bay is located south of the Munxar Reef, and the harbor that was in the inner reaches of the Marsascala Bay is located just to the north of St. Thomas Bay. Thus, the south-eastern part of the island, between Marsaslokk Bay and the entrance to the Grand Harbor of Valletta would be the best known part of the island for any sea captain and seasoned sailors of an Alexandrian grain ship. This point alone completely disproves Cornuke’s ideas….

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  • Paul427

    The only problem is that four first century anchors were found at the correct bathymetry and in close proximity to the actual “place where two seas meet.” In addition there is a reef which seems to be a convenient coincidence for why another first century Alexandrian freighter might just meet its demise. I know, I know it just happens to be another first century Alexandrian freighter that had four anchors cut loose at the right depth and then was wrecked on Malta on a sandy beach just close enough to the place where two seas meet!!! What a coinkydink!!! The odds of that must be astronomical! It’s funny how the Maltese use of the coast guard navigational program designed to track ships in distress based upon known current information (that they apparently got from the United States Coast Guard) also put the ship’s “final projected destination” to about 100 feet geographic distance from where the anchors were ultimately found. What’s next Franz, that wasn’t the real computer program outcome either???
    Gordon Franz has had it out for Cornuke going back to the discovery of the artifacts at Jabal Al Lawz, a very likely candidate for the real Mount Sinai. (and in case you’re reading Franz, it’s not the traditional Mount Sinai!) He seems to be an armchair archaeologist only and cannot suffer a single claim by Cornuke, though he apparently doesn’t field check any of his own ideas and doesn’t possess a PhD (which Cornuke has by the way). If Cornuke went to visit his own brother, I wouldn’t be surprised if Franz would write another piece claiming it wasn’t really his brother. I especially loved it when I heard that this supposed Christian brother (of whom I heard a rumor by the way, is a “universalist” – If it is true, how’s that for believing the Bible?!!!) GOT AT LEAST THREE KNOWN SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS cancelled for Cornuke by calling up places where he was to speak and doing an anti-Cornuke diatribe. I love Christian brotherhood!!! SO WHERE’S THE LOVE FRANZ?
    I don’t want to see any more trash on Cornuke via Franz published on this website until Franz is checked out solidly on his own Biblical foundation and until he gets his doctorate. Enough is enough! This article wasn’t worth the space.

    • http://creationrevolution.com R.L. David Jolly

      The author wished to respond to this post so we are posting his response here:

      by Gordon Franz

      Introduction

      On August 16, 2012, the Creationrevolution website posted an article concerning the shipwreck of Paul on Malta that I had written for which I am very grateful. There was a response to that article by a blogger who identified himself as “Paul 427.” I tried to post a response correcting some, but not all, of the statements made by Paul427. For some unknown reason the Creationrevolution webmaster did not clear my blog and post it to the site.

      There is one statement that needs to be addressed before it is repeated further on the Internet. I have decided to post my response to Paul427 on my website, followed by the unedited blog of Paul427 that appeared on the Creationrevolution website. If the Creationrevolution webmaster would be so kind as to post my response to Paul427 on their website, I would be most appreciative.

      My unposted response to Paul427:

      To Paul 427

      It is a pleasure to take this opportunity to respond to your comments on my article regarding the shipwreck of Paul on Malta. These issues raise great passion, and I appreciate your search for the truth. Let me take just a moment to clarify a few issues if I may.

      First off, I am not a Universalist. That statement was given by Mr. Robert Cornuke on the Frank Pastore Show on KKLA on Dec. 13, 2011. I wrote to the host, Frank Pastore, correcting this point, and I appreciate the opportunity to once again make my view plain in this regard. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).

      Concerning my background, I have been doing field archaeology in Israel and Malta for over 30 years, and have taught classes for accredited colleges and graduate schools; but enough about me.

      My purpose in dealing with these questionable claims is based upon the pain and suffering I see caused by people such as Ron Wyatt and Mr. Cornuke. When innocent believers hear the unsupported and sensationalist claims made by these people, and then later see that the claims are not supported by the proper interpretation of the evidence, it can dash their faith altogether. Such a tragedy breaks my heart, and many of my colleagues have expressed similar pain. As a result, we feel a deep, and I would hope, God given responsibility to educate, and even protect, our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is especially true when there is so much good evidence supporting the Bible. In fact, I would invite you to join us in this work of exposing false theories and showing the true, please. For the risen and only Savior, Jesus Christ, we can do no less.

      I believe I have sufficiently responded to all of Paul427’s other objections on my website, so I invite the reader to visit the site and read the articles there for more information about the Malta claims and the accuracy of Cornuke’s other claims:

      How Accurate are Bob Cornuke’s Claims?

      Again, thank you for the opportunity to dialogue on this issue.

      – Best regards, Gordon Franz

      Gordon Franz is an archaeologist on the staff of the Associates for Biblical Research in Pennsylvania and has worked on numerous archaeological excavations in Israel since 1979, including Ketef Hinnom and the Temple Mount Sifting Project in Jerusalem, Ramat Rachel, Lachish, Jezreel, Kh Nisya (Ai), Hazor, and Tel Zayit. He has also visited Malta on a number of occasions doing research on the history, geography, and archaeology of the island, as well as the location of Paul’s shipwreck. He holds an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Columbia Biblical Seminary in SC.

    • djolly

      To Paul 427
      It is a pleasure to take this opportunity to respond to your comments on my article regarding the shipwreck of Paul on Malta. These issues raise great passion, and I appreciate your search for the truth. Let me take just a moment to clarify a few issues if I may.
      First off, I am not a Universalist. That statement was given by Mr. Robert Cornuke on the Frank Pastore Show on KKLA on Dec. 13, 2011. I wrote to the host, Frank Pastore, correcting this point, and I appreciate the opportunity to once again make my view plain in this regard. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).
      Concerning my background, I have been doing field archaeology in Israel and Malta for over 30 years, and have taught classes for accredited colleges and graduate schools; but enough about me.
      My purpose in dealing with these questionable claims is based upon the pain and suffering I see caused by people such as Ron Wyatt and Mr. Cornuke. When innocent believers hear the unsupported and sensationalist claims made by these people, and then later see that the claims are not supported by the proper interpretation of the evidence, it can dash their faith altogether. Such a tragedy breaks my heart, and many of my colleagues have expressed similar pain. As a result, we feel a deep, and I would hope, God given responsibility to educate, and even protect, our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is especially true when there is so much good evidence supporting the Bible. In fact, I would invite you to join us in this work of exposing false theories and showing the true, please. For the risen and only Savior, Jesus Christ, we can do no less.
      I believe I have sufficiently responded to all of Paul427’s other objections on my website, so I invite the reader to visit the site and read the articles there for more information about the Malta claims and the accuracy of Cornuke’s other claims:
      How Accurate are Bob Cornuke’s Claims?
      Again, thank you for the opportunity to dialogue on this issue.

      – Best regards, Gordon Franz

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