The earthquake in eastern Turkey prompts Gordon Govier to look at the country’s relationship with foreign archaeological expeditions in Christianity Today. Sites mentioned include Antioch of Pisidia, Colossae, Hierapolis, Laodicea, and Tel Tayinat. He also provides some statistics.

[Mark] Wilson said that in 1990, the total number of excavations was 38. Last year more than 200 excavations took place, according to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.
However, Hurriyet reports that the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry has begun cancelling excavation permits for some foreign archaeologists and turning the permits over to Turkish archaeologists. Ministry head Ertuğrul Günay said many foreigners simply weren’t in the country enough. “If they don’t work on it, they should hand it over.”
“The government’s goal is to have universities in each of Turkey’s provinces, and an archaeology department in each of these universities,” said Wilson. This means the number of archaeologists is expanding rapidly. Foreign archeologists now run less than 25 percent of Turkey’s 200 current digs.

One statistic that I doubt is Wilson’s claim that “two-thirds of the New Testament was written either in Turkey or to churches or people in Turkey.” I count 1 long (Revelation) and 7 short books written primarily to people in Turkey (Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1-2 Timothy, Philemon, 1-2 Peter). I count 1 book likely written from Turkey (1 Corinthians). If one includes John’s other four books (the gospel and 1-3 John), that boosts the word count considerably. But without the three longest books in the NT (Matthew, Luke, Acts), as well as the longer letters of Romans and 2 Corinthians, I think the truth may be closer to one-third.

Read the whole article here.

UPDATE: Using word counts from the Greek New Testament (NA27) compiled here, I’ve determined that using the most generous collection listed above (13 books), 34.1% of the NT was written to/from a site in Turkey.

HT: A.D. Riddle