Tadmor and Dating Chronicles

Greg Jordan jordan at chuma.cas.usf.edu
Fri Oct 5 13:51:22 EDT 2001

On Fri, 5 Oct 2001, Walter Mattfeld wrote:

> Greg, a single tomb is not a city. There's a pretty fancy and substantial
> tomb of the Tobaids in Jordan, with no accompanying city (Arak el-Emir).

Walter, That's true, but such a fine and longstanding tomb on temple
grounds is strongly suggestive of a city. The Tobiad tomb is presumably on
their country estate, not far from Rabbath Ammon.

> Why can't nomads engage in business contracts ?

I didn't say they couldn't, but why would they allude to a bare camp as
their home?

> The nomadic arabs were not without wealth, at times they acted as middlemen,
> and brigands, and could have had loot that the Assyrians seized in a
> surprise attack on their encampments.

But then why would he use a town name? 

> Speculation is endless in biblical studies, but only archaeology confirms.
> There are no structures suggesting a city before the 1st century BCE.

Again, only if you don't consider a vaulted tomb a structure. The "nomadic
encampment" idea is the speculation. There is no evidence of any sort that
anyone there was ever nomadic, or camped.

> possesses any clues to an Iron Age city of Solomon's world.  You speak of
> the Tell mound being cleared for the Hellenistic city. This makes no sense
> to me. Tell mounds are layer after layer of destroyed cities rebuilt upon

In other words, the old raised city center is flattened to built a temple
on it. That makes it real hard on the archaeologist.

> You may be right. I have had "another read" of Chronicles after all the
> objections and note that mention is made of funds raised to create Solomon's
> temple by David. Mention is made of quantities of gold in shekels, followed
> by "10,000 darics" (1 Chron 29:7). Evidently the narrator thought the
> audience would be familiar with darics as a monetary device. They are gold
> coins issued by the Persians, and named after Darius I (522-486 BCE). This
> would suggest Chronicles might be a Persian era creation. I guess it
> wouldn't make any sense for a narrator writing in the 1st century BCE to
> mention "darics" to that audience, they would be more familiar with Greek
> "drachmas."

That would tie in with the genealogical list evidence to indicate a date
very close to the start of the Hellenistic era (shortly after that I
think). Those gold darics may have continued to be famous and circulate
for a while after Alexander's conquests. But then one could wonder if the
genealogies were not simply brought up to date, in which case the bulk of
the text could be older.

Greg Jordan
University of South Florida
jordan at chuma.cas.usf.edu

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