historiography

Niels Peter Lemche npl at teol.ku.dk
Thu Dec 30 16:26:55 EST 1999


Peter, I am here again with proposals for furtherreading. Read Finkelstein,
as much as you can get at. especially about the 10th century and Jerusalem,
and forget what you find in the BAR. If anything a kind of village at the
site of Jerusalem with hardly more than 1500 persons inclusive women and
children, i.e. about 400 adults (with an average size of the family around
5-6--a number comparable to the household size at Alalakh and probably also
Ugarit in the LBA). The temple mount was by all means much smaller than the
area we know today (without the extension to the north), and if anything a
thinly inhabitated acropolis with official quarters, not residential
quarters except from the ruling family and its retainers. The biblical
scenario for this century is way removed from reality, even in Mazar's
reconstruction. The history of Judah as described in the HB is way out in
comparison to what we now see. It began ten years ago with Jamieson-Drake,
and now Finkelstein has repeatedly confirmed Jamieson-Drake's idea that
there wa no organized state in Judah before the 8th century, i.e ..when
Isaiah was a boy. the scenarion for 701 BCE seems likely, at least in part,
the rest is one-sided information that does not pay attention to
Sennacherib's claim that he destroyed all of Judah. As a matter of fact
there is evidence of a much reduced economy in Judah in the 7th century
after Sennacherib's destructions. Something with the evidence about royal
economy. Jerusalem probably grew extensively after the destruction of the
then biggest city in the area, Lachish. You can put up a scenario for parts
of the Deuteronomistic History that goes well with a 7th century date, but
the redaction presupposes the destruction of Jerusalem, in 597 and/or 587
BCE. 

NPL

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	peter_kirk at sil.org [SMTP:peter_kirk at sil.org]
> Sent:	Friday, 31 December, 1999 04:46
> To:	Biblical Hebrew
> Subject:	Re[2]: historiography
> 
> Thanks for bringing in this idea of a network of information. Yes, no 
> doubt we have networks for Caesar, Cicero etc including various 
> documents (not datable in themselves as the MSS are later), 
> inscriptions (more likely to be datable, but could be forgeries or 
> interpretable otherwise like Tel Dan), other archaeological evidence 
> etc. These build up consistent pictures into which we can fit the 
> historical figures and events. But if for such a network (probably not 
> one of these two) the archaeological evidence were weak, someone might 
> be able to make a case that the documents are much later, the 
> characters in them may not actually have existed and that the events 
> recorded in them may not have happened.
> 
> Surely exactly the same applies to the history of ancient Israel - 
> focusing for now on the First Temple period. A network has been put 
> together based on the biblical documents, other documents and 
> inscriptions from the ancient Near East, and archaeological evidence 
> including a few inscriptions from Judea and Samaria. From this network 
> a reasonably consistent picture has been put forward - there are some 
> inconsistencies indeed, but it would be suspicious if there were none! 
> To be more specific, I would refer to the version of that network 
> described e.g. by John Bright "A History of Israel" (3rd edition, SCM 
> 1981). I am far from claiming that this picture is perfect, but I 
> would say that it is in the right general area.
> 
> Now some people who have looked at the archaeological evidence keeping 
> this network in place have concluded that this evidence is 
> insufficient. Are they also contending that the network is 
> inconsistent or otherwise unbelievable? I'm not sure, and I believe 
> that most such allegedly unbelievable points can be attributed to a 
> lack of archaeological evidence because the evidence has been 
> destroyed, or has not yet been found. (For example claims that 
> Jerusalem was only a small village - when much of the evidence which 
> could disprove this has been eroded and a large amount may still be 
> buried under the Temple Mount). But I will for the time being accept 
> that "not proved" is a sensible claim, and seek the additional proof 
> which might help.
> 
> Peter Kirk
> 
> 
> ______________________________ Reply Separator
> _________________________________
> Subject: Re: historiography
> Author:  <npl at teol.ku.dk> at Internet
> Date:    30/12/1999 14:55
> 
> 
> True, but a case can be made for Cicero's place in the first century BCE, 
> because there are simply so many different sources that go together to
> form 
> what I have already called a network of information. We have other cases,
> of 
> cause, texts from the Old Babylonian dynasty, Ramesside inscriptions
> contra 
> Hittite sources, etc.
> 
> But apart for the silver plates with 50 and 75 % of Num 6:24-26, nothing 
> from Palestine/Israel to help us with the HB.
> 
> NPL
> 
> 
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From:     Jonathan D. Safren [SMTP:yonsaf at beitberl.beitberl.ac.il] 
> > Sent:     Thursday, 30 December, 1999 14:18
> > To:     Biblical Hebrew
> > Subject:     Re: historiography
> >
> > Dear Jim,
> > I think he's got you there. You are evading the point.
> > As for Cicero, we ARE talking about Cicero and any other ancient 
> > writer/ing for
> > whom/which the earliest manuscript is hundreds of years after the 
> > autograph.
> > You MUST apply the same standards of judgment to Cicero, or the
> Rig-Veda, 
> > or to ANY
> > written document that you apply to the Bible. And vice versa. 
> > Yours,
> > Jonathan
> > --
> > Jonathan D. Safren
> >
> >
> 
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