Iron and Bronze.

Ian Charles Hutchesson MC2499 at
Wed Sep 4 11:54:03 EDT 2002

> > No, but the point is (forgive me for butting in)
> > that the mention of Iron
> > is neither a proof of the antiquity of iron or of
> > the lateness of the text.
> > Both have to be evaluated independantly, and then
> > combined. But if it could
> > be established that iron was not known (or at least
> > not used) until the 8th
> > century, this would be proof that at least that part
> > of that redaction of
> > that particular text did not reach its present form
> > until the 8th century.

Ian G.:
> Perhaps true.. but it can't, can it.
> So hopefully we are left with the unprovable
> possibility that the text is early... or perhaps
> late.. who knows. What we can say at the moment is
> that we cannot be absolutely certain!
> Kinda of leaves the area open I hope.

Well, no, not really. It's just one of the nails in the coffin.

1) Kittim didn't become kittim until the city was founded around the tenth century BCE and give a bit of time for its importance to build...;

2) References to Philistines already in Southern Levant in Genesis indicate that the writers didn't know that the Philistines were supposed to have arrived on the coast around 1170 BCE, ie there were no traditions about their arrival, so the Jewish traditions must post-date that arrival;

3) References to Nubian kings of Egypt in the table of nations suggests that the table of nations was constructed rather late;

4) Also in the table of nations is Bit Togarmah, which is a post-Hittite state, ie well after the fall of the Philistines;

5) Abraham is said to have been an Aramaean, but the Aramaeans didn't emerge from the Gebel Bishri area until the time of Tiglath-Pileser I;

6) Gomer, which is usually taken as a reference to the *Cimmerians*, puts Genesis late.

These are only off the top of my head, as I'm not at home at the moment, but all the above point to a date that of the *basic* traditions that is in the first millenium BCE. The genre of the Joseph tale has long been likened to Greek literature and normally texts written in a genre reflect floriut of that genre, or is a deliberate return to the genre -- and I don't think anyone will seriously want to propose that the Joseph tale was a precursor of the genre. 

Given I think enough evidence for an earliest date for the writing of Genesis (including the iron discussion), I would like to know what evidence puts the first writing of Genesis traditions before the exile?



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