- Bob Cornuke
Bob Cornuke (born 1951) is an American writer and amateur archaeologist. Cornuke is president of the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute (BASE), of
Colorado Springs, Colorado. He describes himself as a Biblical archaeologist, and is the author of six books on biblical history based on his explorations over the last 20 years. Archaeologists and other critics characterize his approach of using of the Bible as a literal guide for his explorations as pseudoarchaeology.
He has been a
policeofficer in Costa Mesa, California, and holds a Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies and a Ph.D. in Bible and Theology, both from the unaccredited Louisiana Baptist University. [Wilson, Jennifer. [http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,645192466,00.html "Is Noah's Ark on mount in Iran? Man scours the world looking for religious artifacts"] , " Deseret Morning News", August 11, 2006. Accessed December 19, 2007. "Bob Cornuke doesn't have a degree in archaeology; he holds a doctorate in Bible and theology from Louisiana Baptist University."] Cornuke, Bob. [http://www.baseinstitute.org/bob.html Official Bob Cornuke Biography] . BASE Institute, July 1, 2006; not available as of September 2007]
Cornuke's explorations have concerned topics including:
Biblical Mount Sinaiwhich he places in Saudi Arabia
* journeying in
Turkeywith the late American astronaut Jim Irwinin search of Noah's Ark
* looking for evidence of ancient
Assyrian and Babylonianflood accounts in the Zagros Mountainsof Iran
* following the presumed trail of the
Ark of the Covenantthrough Israel, Egypt, and the Ethiopian highlands.
Cornuke also makes a claim of discovering [http://www.khouse.org/articles/2004/503/] "
Koinonia HouseOnline" "All Anchors Accounted For" (Cornuke) 2004 ] the anchors from the Apostle Paul’s ship wreck, as described in the Bible's Book of Acts, chapter 27 — by searching the sea floor off the coast of Malta.
His most recent expeditions were to
Takht-i-Suleimanin Iranin July 2005 and June 2006, where he discovered a rock formation approximately 400 ft long at convert|13120|ft|m|abbr=on elevation. Cornuke's search appeared on " Fox News", [cite interview | last = Cornuke | first = Bob | subjectlink = | interviewer = John Kasich| program = Heartland with John Kasich| callsign = Fox News| date = 2006-06-17] CNN, [cite interview | last = Cornuke | first = Bob | subjectlink = | interviewer = Susan Roesgen | title = Possible Remnants of Noah's Ark | type = | program = CNN LIVE | callsign = CNN| date = 2006-07-02] and Good Morning America[cite interview | last = Cornuke | first = Bob | subjectlink = | interviewer = Chris Cuomo | title = Mysteries of the Bible; Is This Really Noah's Ark? | program = Good Morning America| callsign = ABC News| date = 2006-06-29] as well as others.
Controversy and criticism
Mount Sinai Controversy
Cornuke's book, "In Search of the Mountain of God", claimed he was the original researcher of the biblical match of
Biblical Mount Sinaito " Jabal al-Lawz" in Saudi Arabia. He dated this as happening in 1988, after he learned from someone else about "Jabal al-Lawz"'s similarities to Sinai.Pinkoski, Jim. [http://www.pinkoski.com/files/index.php?id=36 The Rest of the Story] 2000.] Earlier, however, in 1984, Ron Wyatthad already claimed to be the discoverer of the Biblical Mount Sinai at " Jabal al-Lawz" [http://www.arkdiscovery.com/MtSinaiPAX.htm] , and in 2002 Randall Styxnoted that Harry St. John Philbyclaimed such evidence in his 1957 book "The Land of Midian" [www.wlsessays.net/authors/S/StyxExodus/StyxExodus.pdf] Philby, Harry St. John. "The Land of Midian". (London: Ernest Bean Limited) 1957.]
Gordon Franzclaimed that Cornuke, "had forged a letter from the King of Saudi Arabiain order to obtain a visa into the Kingdom," Franz, Gordon. [http://www.ldolphin.org/franz-sinai.html Is Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia?] July 1 2006] and wanted to debunk Wyatt's, Cornuke's and Williams' claim that the Biblical Mt. Sinai was in Saudi Arabia. [http://abr.christiananswers.net/scoop.html Franz argued] that the "biggest problem with the identification of Mt. Sinai at Jebel Al-Lawz is that it does not meet the Biblical criteria for the site. These claims are based on three challenged assumptions and a supposed misunderstanding of the archaeological remains that they observed." The three assumptions were: 1) the Sinai Peninsula was within the territorial borders of the Land of Egypt, 2) "that Mt. Sinai is located in the Land of Midian, which is identified as part of the Saudi Arabian peninsula," and 3) "Apostle Paul says in Gal. 4:25 that Mt. Sinai was in Saudi Arabia."
Cornuke responded to Franz's accusations by calling him to "honestly examine and evaluate the ["credible"] historical, geographical, archeological and Biblical evidence that Jabal al-Lawz might be the real Mount Sinai" [ [http://www.baseinstitute.org/franz.pdf] "Reply to G. Franz" by Bob Cornuke ] . Allen Kerkselager, Ph.D. Professor of Theology
St. Joseph's Universitystated "Jabal al Lawz may also be the most convincing option for identifying the Mt. Sinai of biblical tradition" and should be researched. [ [http://www.bibleprobe.com/sinai1.htm] "Where is Mount Sinai? St Catherine's or Jabal al Lawz?" ] Meanwhile Roy Knuteson former Professor of New Testament and Greek and Bible Archaeology at Northwestern College explained, "None of the suggested sites in the Sinai Peninsula fit the biblical requirements. [ [http://www.arkdiscovery.com/MtSinaiPAX.htm] "Jewish Pilgrimage and Jewish Identity" By Allen Kerkeslager]
According to Cornuke, the scholar
Frank Moore Crossof Harvard Divinity School[http://www.baseinstitute.org/franz.pdf] supports his Mt. Sinai claims, but according to Franz, "Frank Moore Cross, retired professor of Hebrew at Harvard University opines that the mountain of God was located in the Land of Midian. When asked if he had a guess what mountain might be Mt. Sinai, he responded, 'I really don't'" and Moore "later put the "Midian Hypothesis" in print, but did not endorse any mountains for the location of Mt. Sinai (Cross 1998: 60-68)." Another critic noted the "BASE institute site had some quotes from respected archaeologists which seemed to support the idea that Jebel al-Lawz was a good candidate for Mount Sinai," but, "when I contacted some of these individuals, they assured me they never made such statements, neither did they feel Jebel al-Lawz was the real Mount Sinai." [http://www.tentmaker.org/articles/cornuke-mt-sinai.html Is Jebel al-Lawz the Mount Sinai of the Bible as Bob Cornuke of BASE Institute Asserts?] Tentmaker Ministries. July 1, 2006] Thus, "it became quickly obvious that some of the information on the BASE Institute site was not legitimate."
In 2002 Cornuke claimed to have found anchors from the Biblical shipwreck of St. Paul. This claim has been disputed, however, with Cornuke being labelled by some as a "con artist" who was claimed "to have found the wreck of Paul's ship from Acts - and then got sued for breaking 'all aspects' of an oral contract with a former US ambassador to Malta." [http://www.cults.co.nz/c.php#cornuker Cornuke, Robert] . New Zealand Cults & Religious Groups List] This case was unsuccessful with the judge ruling that the book was already released and could not be prevented from being sold.Olsen, Ted. [http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/119/42.0.html Apostle Paul's Shipwreck Makes Headlines] . "
Christianity Today." May 15, 2003] His critics believe he is "more interested in the money to be gained from their claims than in providing genuine evidence for anything." Cornuke says that these anchors were actually discovered by fishermen years before he went in search of them and had already been recovered.
Gordon Franz noted Charles Grech (a retired restaurant owner) found a third anchor in front of the same underwater cave that might have been found off the Munxar Reef, but this was not certain. Franz, Gordon. [http://www.ldolphin.org/maltashipwreck.html The Sinking of The Lost Shipwreck of Paul]
July 1, 2006] Only one anchor was examined by Anthony Bonanno [ [http://www.um.edu.mt/pub/abonanno.html] "University of Malta" "Professor Anthony Bonanno Department of Classics and Archaeology "] and it was only examined in Mr. Grech's home. Bonanno believes that anchor appears to be "consistent" with the "era of the shipwreck of St. Paul, in 60 A.D." and "a Roman/Alexandrian grain freighter," [Cornuke, Bob. "The Lost Shipwreck of St. Paul" Global Publishing Services, 2003. ISBN 0-9714100-3-8 (Pg 129)] but he did not directly link the anchors with St. Paul.
Franz unilaterally dismisses every Maltese claim Cornuke has made. Franz has noted "had no tangible proof of the anchor stocks to show the world. The first of the anchor stocks was melted down; the second, third and fourth were in private collections; and the fifth and six had been sold." So Cornuke, with "the aid of the US ambassador to Malta, Kathy Proffitt, was enlisted to convince the President and Prime Minister of Malta to offer an amnesty to anyone who would turn over antiquities found off the Munxar Reef" and the pardons were issued on September 23, 2002." As a result, "two anchor stocks" were "turned over to the authorities."
Franz questions Cornuke's research in that "Mr. Cornuke does not interact with, or mention, some very important works on the subject of Paul's shipwreck; nor are they listed in his bibliography.". All these scholars have claimed different sites where St. Paul may have been shipwrecked. Gordon also has criticized Cornuke's understanding of the biblical story and description. On August 15, 2005, James Mulholland, a life-long member of the Maltese community and a member of the Pauline Association in Malta, stated that Franz made four errors in his refutation of Cornuke and that Cornuke's evidence was not compelling. Mulholland pointed out three problems with Franz's arguments: 1) That
Marsaxxlokk baywas visible from Munxar Reef, 2) That Franz misidentified the Munxar reef referred to by Cornuke, 3) That Franz only dismisses, but does not refute Cornuke's identification of the real Munxar Reef as the location, and 4) while "Mr. Franz makes a compelling argument," but "these ancient sites would have been well-known by experienced sailors." Mullholland concluded, "we could pick each element of Mr. Cornuke's overall theory and propose other locations that could possibly match that single element. However, that's not the appropriate exercise here. The compelling nature of Mr. Cornuke's theory rests in the fact that ALL of the elements come together in one location. I could show you a place on the western side of the island where they possibly meet."
In 2003 "
Christianity Today" reported that the then U.S. ambassador Kathryn Proffittsued Cornuke to stop the sale of his book after she arranged for the "Maltese government to pardon the fisherman." (Cornuke would claim these "were from the apostle's ship.") Proffitt contended that as part of the pardon arrangement and several other issues, Cornuke agreed to remain silent about the pardon and "to allow Proffitt and the Maltese government to edit the book. He would also be required to encourage tourists to visit ancient temples." According to some he did not keep his part of the agreement.
A federal judge denied the request to hold up publication of the book since it was already released at the time. Even still, "what the Maltese government is apparently upset about, however, isn't that Cornuke's book was published without its permission, but that it claims that the shipwreck never happened in the traditional site on the northeastern tip of the island, now known as
St. Paul's Bay."
audi Arabia Controversy
Cornuke and his partner "snuck" into
Saudi Arabiaillegally.Herrold, Leanne. [http://www.goshennews.com/news/files/2001/7/7-20-2001/news3.html Adventurer tells of search for Mount Sinai] "Goshen News." July 20, 2001. ] Later on Cornuke and his partner falsely told "guards" they were medical doctors after being captured so the Saudi Arabianguards did not consider them Jewishspies. However, "Cornuke found himself in a sticky situation when one by one each guard came to him complaining of various ailments."
Noah's Ark Controversy
Cornuke's surrogates claimed in June 2006 that Cornuke has discovered Noah's Ark in a pile of dark-colored rocks on the Iranian Takht-e Suleiman ("Throne of Solomon") or Mount Suleiman in the Alborz (Elborz) Mountains
Brannon Howse, [http://www.arkfever.com Noah's Ark? For Real] , "Christian Worldview Network", June 16, 2006.] . Cornuke makes no mistakes in his research and relies heavily on one very legitimate eyewitness of Noah's Ark, Ed Davis, in which there are problems with him being in Iran let alone at this site when he claimed to see Noah's Ark in 1943 [http://noahsarksearch.com/iran.htm Ed Davis Eyewitness Location] , "NoahsArkSearch.com".] . Even creationist geologists doubt whether the rocks viewed by Cornuke are petrified and are urging cautionTas Walker, [http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/4471 Caution about 'Ark' discovery] , "CreationOnTheWeb.com", July 5, 2006.] . The research team included Arch Bonnema, film producer of The Genius Cluband other well-known Christian businessmen.The oldest creationist organization does not believe the rocks viewed by Cornuke are petrified or Noah's ArkJohn Morris, Ph.D., [http://icr.org/news/70/ Ark is rock not petrified wood] , "icr.org", July 21, 2006.] . Associates for Biblical Research also produced a 7,800-word paper about problems with the Cornuke siteRick Lanser, M.Div, [http://abr.christiananswers.net/articles/article49.html Noah's Ark in Iran?] , "abr.christiananswers.net", July 20, 2006.] .National Geographic critiqued the rocks at the siteKate Ravilious, [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/07/060705-noahs-ark.html Noah's Ark Discovered in Iran?] , "National Geographic", July 5, 2006.] .
* "In Search of the Mountain of God: The Discovery of the Real Mt. Sinai, Part 1",
Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000. ISBN 0-8054-2052-5 (Co-written with David Halbrook)
* "In Search of the Lost Mountains of Noah: The Discovery of the Real Mt. Ararat, Part 2",
Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001. ISBN 0-8054-2054-1 (Co-written with David Halbrook)
* "In Search of the Lost Ark of the Covenant, Part 3",
Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002. ISBN 0-8054-2053-3 (Co-written with David Halbrook)
* "The Lost Shipwreck of St. Paul",
Global Publishing Services, 2003. ISBN 0-9714100-3-8
* "Ark Fever:Legend Chaser",
Tyndale House Publishers, 2005. ISBN 1-4143-0296-7
* "Relic Quest: Legend Chaser",
Tyndale House Publishers, 2005. ISBN 1-4143-0297-5
* "The Bell Messenger: A Novel", (with
Alton Gansky), Howard Books, 2008, ISBN 978-1416549819
*Cornuke has appeared on
CBS's "Ancient Secrets of the Bible" on May 15, 1992, November 13, 2000 he was on MSNBC's " Dateline", July 7, 1998 The " 700 Club", and on Fox Television’s " Ripley's Believe It or Not" February 9, 2000 (episode 105).
*Bob Cornuke's Ph.D. in
Biblical Studieswas received in 2005 from Louisiana Baptist University, [http://www.khouse.org/articles/2005/587/ LBU Graduates Five KI Students] . "Koinonia House Online" 2005. This source notes some of Cornuke's credits came from the unaccredited Koinonia Institute ran by his tour guide partner Chuck Missler. [http://www.travelmgmt.com/ark/default.htm] ] an unaccredited Baptist school, where he also serves as an adjunct speaker. There is no record or claim made by Cornuke for having any undergraduate degree.
*Cornuke is travel guide/business partners with
Chuck Missler. [http://www.travelmgmt.com/ark/default.htm] Cornuke received credits at Missler's unaccredited Koinonia Institute, which were transferable to the unaccredited Louisiana Baptist University. Missler is a 1999 graduate of Louisiana Baptist University, and currently Cornuke in Colorado, a 2005 graduate, and Missler in Idaho are professors at the "school."
* [http://www.bobcornuke.com/ Bob Cornuke Homepage]
* [http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/feedback/dec03.html comments by geologist Paul Heinrich on Cornuke's geological claims]
* [http://www.cults.co.nz/c.php#cornuker NZ Cult List - a dictionary of cults & religious groups: C: Bob Cornuke]
* [http://www.pinkoski.com/files/index.php?id=36 A Critique of Bob Cornuke with a timeline]
* [http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2008/06/Is-Mount-Sinai-in-Saudi-Arabia.aspx Is Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia? by Gordon Franz]
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