The Origins of the United Monarchy
Peter_Kirk at SIL.ORG
Peter_Kirk at SIL.ORG
Thu Feb 4 11:44:25 EST 1999
Just for clarification: My point here is that there is no
contradiction between the situation described in the Biblical texts
and the Elephantine letters, and thus no argument here against (or
for) the reliability of those texts as a historical record.
The reign of Josiah and the governorship of Nehemiah are clearly dated
in the Biblical texts (with reference to known Babylonian and Persian
chronologies), and the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah even more
so, to the precise day. Of course you can argue that these dates are
forgeries, or perhaps more plausibly that the dates are original but
the surrounding material has been edited extensively. The Biblical
texts clearly present Josiah and Nehemiah as champions of a very
exclusive form of religion, and suggest similar views for Haggai and
Zechariah. If this picture is anything like accurate, I would not
expect this party to reply positively for help from the syncretistic
temple (by which I mean one in which Yahweh and other gods were
worshipped) at Elephantine. It is perhaps significant (especially to
those who are prepared to argue from archaeological silence) that they
are known to have received a reply from their fellow syncretists at
Samaria but not from Jerusalem.
What is your opinion concerning the emergence (e.g. its dating) of an
exclusivist party in Judah, i.e. a group which rejected the worship of
other gods alongside Yahweh?
______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: The Origins of the United Monarchy
Author: mc2499 at mclink.it at internet
Date: 03/02/1999 18:06
At 12.47 03/02/99 -0500, Peter_Kirk at SIL.ORG wrote:
>Well, indeed, the biblical narrative makes it clear that not all Jews
>accepted the exclusivist position of Deuteronomy, Josiah, Jeremiah etc
>before the exile, and of Nehemiah etc afterwards.
The problem I have with this statement, Peter, is that there is no way I
know of to date the texts you are using as absolute references. The only
absolute reference we have are the Elephantine letters which were written
in the fifth century in southern Egypt by people who were exilic or
pre-exilic Hebrews. These people were writing to a post-exilic Jerusalem
without any indication that their non-monotheistic was not the norm.
(As TLT has indicated in another post today, the evidence from within the
OT/HB texts can only be construed to supply a relative dating of their
progressive production, based on linguistic changes. What historically
fixed scale can this relative chronology be seriously applied to?)
>So the Elephantine
>Jews were from one of these less exclusive or syncretistic groups.
This is only hypothesis for there are no contemporary indications of the
real state of affairs in Jerusalem. The little evidence we have is in the
letter you are branding "exclusive or syncretistic". The writer then wrote
to Samaria with more success. The two centres were evident then.
>I doubt if they got a positive answer from the Jerusalem establishment
>of Haggai and Zechariah's time.
What exactly makes you think that?
You are currently subscribed to b-hebrew as: Peter_Kirk at sil.org
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send an email to join-b-hebrew at franklin.oit.unc.edu.
More information about the b-hebrew