Iron and Bronze.

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Thu Sep 12 21:47:11 EDT 2002


>This seems to be turning into a debate between your very minimalist views
>on biblical historiography and my moderate views, which could of course go
>on forever.

When people usually use the term "minimalist" it is almost 
certainly as disapprobation. I don't really know what the 
term means beside that and the dislike of historical 
methodology applied in certain fields. To do history one's 
first duty is to deal with the contemporary data. Not to 
do so means failing the job.

While it could be argued that Herodotus had some conception 
of historiography, and Polybius had a much clearer view on 
the matter, it's hard to see the term being used of the 
writers of biblical texts, who were after all preservers of 
traditions and creators of new ones.

>At 08:04 AM 9/11/2002 +0200, Ian Hutchesson wrote:
>>>>> >This seems to be hard to fathom, but the HB/OT knows 
>>>>> >nothing about the arrival of the Philistines in the twelfth
>>>>> >century.
>>>>> That's not quite true. Gen. 10:14 and Deut. 2:23 . And Amos 9:7 
>>The basic mention of Caphtor is a red herring to the 
>>original idea that there was no knowledge of the 
>>arrival of the Philistines on the coast.
>>The conquest model of the Hebrews gaining control of 
>>inland Southern Levant, seems to have bit the dust at 
>>the archaeological evidence which says that there are 
>>no signs of intrusive culture in the highlands, but 
>>that the same culture that was there at the beginning 
>>of Iron IA was the source of the culture which was 
>>there later, ie the same culture that faced the onslaught 
>>of the Philistines et al. (probably including Dan whose 
>>original territory coincidentally coincided with that 
>>of Ekron and who still lived in ships according to Jgs 
>>-- I wonder why --, ie the Dnnym/Denyen), 
>That's another theory which has so far found no proof.

Sadly, while there is no contemporary evidence to support 
the contrary view, there is some evidence in favour, along 
with the etymologically accepted root for the name Dan, in 
Gen 30:6, ie dnnym given in the form dnny. (That Gen 
gives an alternative explanation is only to be expected.)

Even Genesis seems dimly aware of Dan's position. See 
Gen 49:16, which says, "Dan shall judge his people as if 
one of the tribes of Israel." -- k'xd $b+y y$r'l --, ie 
Dan was not a tribe of Israel, but shall perform like 

(If you're interested, one scholar who has put forward a 
fullish argument on the Dan matter is Yoel Arbeitman. I 
can chase up a bibliographical pointer, if you need it.)

>yet that 
>>culture leaves no written traces of the events which 
>>led to the ejection of the Egyptians 
>What "ejection"? They left because they had their own problems at home, and
>after the Hittites, Babylonians and so on had fallen appart, keeping
>control of Canaan just wasn't worth the effort.

As I explained in the previous post, there is a destruction 
level between the Egyptian holding and the layer with 
Philistine wares. This was not a strategic withdrawal for 
internal Egyptian reasons, they were kicked out, just as 
they were kicked off the coast -- more destruction levels to 
demonstrate this. Egypt lost its connections with Asia, 
including its valuable mine at Timna in the Negeb. Just 
wasn't worth it, eh? The evidence says that it was worth 
keeping, and that they left at the time of a destruction 
layer or was it just a coincidence that Meggido, Beth-Shean 
and Ta'anach were destroyed at the time that the Egyptians 
decided that it wasn't worth staying?

>and saw the 
>>destruction of innumerable cities including Lachish, 
>>Megiddo, Hazor, Gezer, Ta'anach, Beth-Shean, etc. From 
>>1140 onward, ie after the settling in of the Philistines, 
>>they pushed inland, even into the Jordan valley. 
>There is actually not a whole lot of evidence for that. Sure, "Philistine"
>shards have been found at various inland sites, but is that evidence of
>control, trade or what?

It depends on which sites. Some they obviously decided 
were not worth keeping, such as Gezer. Beth-Shean is 
famous for its Philistine cemetery with its egyptianizing 

The Jordan connection would only have been trade I 
believe, but I think it shows that there were no 
"objections" to that trade at the time.

And the Judean highlands were extremely sparsely 
inhabited at the end of the Late Bronze/Early Iron 
age. It offered little for would-be inhabitants and 
little in the way of resources to attract the 

>>What we have in the biblical tradition is not any 
>>knowledge of the Philistine arrival, but stories of the 
>>Israelites coming into contact with the Philistines 
>>who were already in their lands. Joshua 13:3 acknowledges 
>>the five srnym of the Philistines. 
>No argument there - by the time the Israelites had developed an awareness
>of their own identity, probably around 1000, the Philistines were already

There was an Israel at the time of Merneptah, approximately 
where the later northern kingdom was if the Merneptah stele 
lists a partial itinerary, though this Israel was a tribal 
formation -- Merneptah destroyed "his seed" (and he is 
without PN-determinative).

>Many other cities were 
>>inhabited by the Philistines for a while, but the five 
>>obviously became the de facto state of power in the 
>>Philistine lands It reflects a later status quo.
>Later than what?

Later than the undetermined conglomeration of Philistine 
possessions on the coast and into the Shephelah. I'd 
guess a few hundred years for the situation to settle 
into five important centres each with its own hegemony 
and for it to become widely clear to the outside world.

>>>>But if I remember correctly the Hebrews believed that Caphtor was
>>>>located south of Egypt, given its position in the table of nations.
>>>How could you know that?
>>Straight from Gen 10:13-14. Caphtor was a son of Mizraim. 
>>Are any of the other sons from outside Africa? Though 
>>perhaps this may be academic when the text actually says 
>>that the Philistines came from Casluhim, another son of 
>>Mizraim. But again, Casluhim, Caphtorim, sons of Egypt 
>>are from the south.
>First of all, Canaan is obviously NOT south of Egypt. 

Canaan was not a son of Egypt. I was referring to the 
position of the Philistines with reference to Egypt in 
the table, not simply to Ham. 

>There are several
>suggestions for "Phut" besides "Punt". 

Put was not a son of Egypt.

>Some of the "sons" of Cush seem to
>be in Arabia, not Africa, and no-one knows where any of Egypts "sons" are
>supposed to be located. 

Cush was not a son of Egypt.

If the Philistines came from somewhere according to the 
writers of the table of nations, then what are the 
options according to you, given the literary context?

>>>>> >there is no awareness that there were no
>>>>> >Philistines at the time of attributed to Abraham or Isaac.
>>>>> I think that, at least on some level, they knew full well that the Semitic
>>>>> named "Philistines" of patriarchal-period Gerar were not the same as the
>>>>> later Kaphtorian Philistines of Gaza etc. 
>>>>Why on earth do you think that? There is no evidence for it. 
>>>Just look at the geography. The Philistines and their "pentapolis" are not
>>>mentioned among the "nations of Canaan" in the Pentateuch. While the
>>>territory involved is clearly a part of Cannan, they are not "Canaanite".
>>They are apparently viewed as Hamitic, as the Canaanites were. 
>>I don't think the Hebrews could have confused the two groups, 
>>so one couldn't make the Philistines depend on the Canaanites. 
>>>The Philistines of Abimelech live in the western Negeb, while the
>>>Philistines of Joshua and later live along the coastal plain and the
>>The Gerar area suffered from the Philistines like most of the 
>>rest and it's only about 15 kilometres from Gaza. I don't 
>>understand your point.
>15 kilometres seems like a short distance to us, but it's actually a whole
>differnt region. 

It's less than a day's stroll and the same distance 
from Gaza to Ashkelon.

>Our argument is not whether the were "really" Philistines
>in the western Negeb in the time of Abraham (whenever that was). 

I would have thought Gerar, which is between the southern 
part of the Shephelah and Gaza, was not in the Negeb at 
all. Is there something I'm missing here?

>As far as we know, there were not. 

As far as we know regarding the *Philistine era*, there 
were -- check out Tell Sera` and Tell el-Farah [south]. 
I think Gerar should be considered under Philistine 
sway, and it was probably conceived thus in ancient 

>Our question is, did the 7-5th century (or later)
>Judahite author, who conceved of Abraham as living in long-ago
>pre-Israelite Canaan, really think that Abimelech and co. were the
>ancestors (more or less) of Goliath and Achish (of David or of the Ekron
>inscription), or of the Philistines/Ashdodites etc. of his own day?  I
>think not. Just as the Ekron inscription would seem to indicate that the
>7th century Philistines preserved a momory of their Aegean past, there is
>no reason not to assume that the Judahites were aware of that tradition.

The connection of the Philistines with the two Gerar incidents 
contradict you -- and they is clearly part of the Isaac version.

>The fact that the author of Genesis used an anchronistic name to describe
>the Gerar area is no more surprising than his using the name Dan in Gen.

You are calling assumptions facts. 

>The biblical authors simply did not care. They had other things on
>their mind.


>The same is true about "Moses's" use of Dan, Naphtali, Ephraim, Manasseh
>and Judah in Deut. 34:1-2. Didn't the author, whoever he was, "know" that
>these areas were supposed to be named after the tribes that supposedly
>conquered them after Moses's death? Of course he did! 

The problem you face is not knowing how the texts were 
compiled. We simply have anachronisms we note today and 
the knowledge that there were many sources to the texts.

The twelve tribes seem to be an artificial contruction 
whose alternatives are also found in the tnk. If Dan 
was not a son of Israel at all early on then there's no 
problem. If Merneptah's Israel was the direct source 
for Ephraim and Manasseh then that would explain the 
alternative tradition. Asher and Zebulon seem to be 
named as Sea People's (Sherden and Tjeker) territories 
according to the Onomasticon of Amenemope (circa 1100 
BCE). Add to this the extreme age of the Bani-Yamini 
and it would seem that we have a knitting together of 
a number of disparate elements into the twelve tribes. 
Do you think the number twelve, the number of months, 
the number of zodiacal houses, was merely coincidental?
Deborah's tribal configuration seems to appeal to a 
northern audience with no Judah or Simeon, but with 
Machir and Gilead. Moses' farewell speech seems 
unaware of the existence of Simeon.

You need to establish some chronological fixed points 
before you can talk about anachronisms. This is where 
the primary data is most useful. It usually relates to 
a fixed point in time. There are few fixed points in 
the biblical literature. 


>But by using the
>names known to readers in his own day, he insured that they got his message
>- and that's what was important.

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