by Gordon Franz MA

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


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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