Hittites, Philistines, Patriarchs
ronning at ilink.nis.za
Thu Jan 7 07:47:30 EST 1999
Ian Hutchesson wrote:
Regarding the suggestion that there are two disinct groups of "Hittites"
in the Bible:
> This is making it a coincidence that the two groups had basically the same
> self name. So by this logic, one could argue that the Elam referred to in
> Gen14 wasn't the Elam in south west Iran, but some Elam we hadn't heard of
> before much closer to the Dead Sea. Likewise with Shinar.
Since Chedorlaomer is an Elamite name I don't think anyone would. The
suggestion that there are two unrelated Hittite groups (local and
foreign) is not an ad hoc argument but is based on the Scriptural data
and has been made by at least one Hittitologist that I know of. I think
you are a bit incautious in stating that the events described in Genesis
14 could not have happened, since to make such a statement your
knowledge of the ANE world circa 2000 BC must be the complete opposite
of the knowledge you ascribe to the Hebrews (i.e. you are omniscient,
they know nothing). Similarly with your statement about writing. You
cannot possibly know enough to say
that families in the 2nd millenium BC could not possibly imagine writing
down traditions to pass on to their children.
More on the Philistines:
> If the Philistines, as all evidence shows, were Indo-Europeans, they weren't
IF they came from Indo-Europe, that wouldn't settle the question of
their common ancestry with Egyptians, any more than the fact that Hebrew
is a Canaanite language makes Israelites Canaanites (or Canaanites
Semites). I am (now) South African, so would you guess that I am
related to Rolf Furuli (if I am right in assuming he is Norwegian)?
> They arrived at a very precise time in history from the Aegean, via Cilicia, > where some stayed, via Cyprus, causing destruction, as they did in Ugarit.
> That precise time, shown by archaeology, coincides with Ramses III's report > of his stopping the Sea-Peoples, some of whose names I've supplied above
> from the Hieroglyphic, and that was in the twelfth century -- about 800
> years after the time they were supposed to have been in Gerar.
I don't dispute that Ramses III had great battles with the sea peoples,
the archaeological evidence of the trail of destruction left by them on
their way to Egypt, or that Ramses after the battle gave them
permission to settle in areas in which we find the Iron Age
Philistines. That simply does not settle the question of whether there
were already Philistines in that area. Your interpretation of the
evidence (all of the sea peoples whom Ramses III confronted came from
distant lands) does not necessarily follow from these data. "The
Peleset are never specifically associated with the islands or the sea,
as some other Sea Peoples are. . . . There is evidence that some of the
Sea Peoples may not have come from distant lands at all" (Peoples of the
OT World, Baker, 1994, referencing John Brug, A Literary and
Archaeological Study of the Philstines, British Archaeological Reports,
International Series 265 [Oxford, 1985], 18-20). I haven't checked this
last reference (like I say
I'm not an archaeologist), but I think it bears repeating that an
interpretation of the evidence that excludes the possibility that
biblical statements regarding pre-Iron Age Philistines are correct seems
to presume an omniscience on your part that is not justifiable.
> There is no doubt about the location of Ai.
> The name actually says it all: (heap of) ruins. It doesn't augur well for a
> report written about a functioning city.
There is no doubt about the location of et-Tell, but the name doesn't
"say it all." At times there were two cities called Jericho, side by
side. et-Tell was in ruin for centuries and a well-know landmark, so if
a small city was begun near et-Tell it could have easily been called by
the name of the well known landmark. Such happenings are not uncommon
(and to dispute the possibility you again have to be omniscient).
Concerning Jericho, and my point that the date of construction of the
walls is not as relevant as the date of destruction:
> Sorry, but it's irrelevant. The walls were uncovered last year. The main
> gate this year. They are the latest walls at that site and they are from the
> middle bronze period. It was an Italian team from the University of Rome "La
> Sapienza" that uncovered the walls. The evidence is quite plain. The pottery
> around the walls dates them precisely.
Are you sure you want to say that it is impossible for walls built in
the Middle Bronze Age to have survived until the Late Bronze Age?
Concerning the course of the Pishon River, discovered buried under sand
since the 3rd millenium BC, described in Genesis 2 (BAR July '96):
> I haven't read the BAR article, but I guess it is Rohl stuff.
The author is James Sauer, no relation to Rohl that I know. If Sauer's
article is quackery, then it should be easily refutable. Since the
editor of BAR loves controversy (sells magazines), I'm sure he would
eagerly print a rebuttal, but none has appeared (nor to Wood's article
on Jericho more than 8 years ago [except for a weak rebuttal by
Bienkowski which was refuted point by point by Wood]). I think in this
case the "argument from silence" makes sense.
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