Early Israel's Origins ?

Walter Mattfeld mattfeld at mail.pjsnet.com
Wed Dec 26 00:37:37 EST 2001

According to mainstream Secular Humanist scholars Israel's settlement of the
Hill Country as portrayed in the Book of Joshua, appears to be confirmed in
the sudden rise of hundreds of settlements in the Early Iron I period.

The problem heatedly discussed in the Professional Literature is where did
these settlers come from ? Finkelstein argues that they are "Pastoralists",
NOT Sedentary peoples from the lowlands to the West. He argues that Late
Bronze Age Canaan did not have the manpower to settle the nearly empty Hill
Country in Early Iron I. He furthermore notes that a similar phenomena is
mirrored in Transjordan- a sparse occupation in the Late Bronze Age, then
the appearance of Early Iron I settlements nearly identical to the ones in
the Hill Country of Canaan.

Burton MacDonald, a professional archaeologist who has worked in
Transjordan, also noted the sparse settlements in Transjordan during the
Late Bronze and Early Iron I.

What disturbs me is that if these scholars are correct about a sparse
settlement in Late Bronze Canaan and Transjordan, where did the early Iron I
settlers come from, "enmasse" ?

The bible suggests that the Hebrews are from Haran of Northern Syria (modern
Mesopotamia). Could there have been a settlement of the Hill Country and
Transjordan in Early Iron I by a large group of migrating Syrians ?

The only way this theory could be confirmed is if spectrographic anaylsis
tests could be done on the origins of the clays used in the earliest pottery
examplars found in the Early Iron I sites of the Hill Country and
Transjordan. If the clays are of local origin, the peoples are natives of
these regions. If the clays are predominately of Syrian origins- then the
biblical presentation of Hebrews originating in Northern Syrian might be a
"relic" of a Syrian invasion in Early Iron I.

Has anyone read any spectrographic reports on the Early Iron I clays ? I
would be most interested in the results of such reports.

All the best, Walter

Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld
Walldorf by Heidelberg
Baden-Wurttemburg, Germany

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