The tribe of Dan

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Mon Sep 16 10:44:24 EDT 2002

>We already had an argument, Ian, about the benediction of Moses, Deut.33:1-29. 

I'm sorry, Michael but it's not improved the second 
time round: it still has the same methodological 
difficulties it had the first time. You cannot 
extract history from tradition, despite the fact 
that it may contain history, unless you have some 
external yardstick, some way of sustaining you 
substantive claims, but you've got nothing up your 
sleave. You cannot assume what the general status 
quo of a tradition is if you cannot date it, so 
talking about Benjamin's "canonical" position in 
the twelve can only reflect that undated period in 
which the twelve tradition has currency.

Then one has to ask, expecting some evidence to back 
the answers up:

1) What amphictiony? (You can't assume it.)

2) What is the period of Gideon? (And how do you know?)

3) What connection is there between the word play on 
   shoulder [$km] in Gen 48:22 and the mention of 
   shoulder [ktp] in Deut 33:12? (Perhaps the similarity 
   between $km and $kn ["dwell"] in Deut? Surely not 
   that trivial!?)

Here's an interesting piece of logic:

>The place Benjamin occurs in Deut. 33 is not its canonical one, prevailing 
>in cases where there is no other reason, geographic or else to override it. 
>We may conclude that Benjamin is a later pious insertion as the sanctuary 
>moved to Jerusalem. 

If it were a pious insertion, then you'd expect that the 
"canonical" position was well known and Benjamin could 
have been placed in the correct position, but, as it 
wasn't, the contrary is suggested, ie this is a direct 
negation of your claim in this matter.

There are many other problems that come to mind from 
these thoughts of yours, but I usually find going into 
them merely leads to more.


The Philistine problem is an essential one. Despite the 
fact that the sea peoples had such an enormous impact 
on Southern Levant, their having taken complete control 
of the coasts and destroyed all the major cities, 
including those under the aegis of Egypt, and having 
spread a new material culture throughout the lowlands, 
the Hebrew literature is blithely unaware of this big 
entry on the scene. It is also unaware that Egypt had 
held sway in the land for centuries before that time, 
so I think it's reasonable to presume that the Hebrew 
cultural self-awareness was not in operation until 
after the Philistines had settled into their 
traditional territories and evolved the five major 
centres. If this is correct, it puts the bulk of the 
creation of Hebrew traditions sufficiently after 
1140 BCE -- perhaps all. 

However, the Philistine problem is more profound: the 
tribes of Zebulun and Asher are related to sea peoples 
in the Onomasticon of Amenemope. Garbini in a book on 
the Philistines has related Issachar to the Tjekker, 
showing that in Indo-European languages there is an 
alternation between t and s, eg glott- and gloss-. And 
I can add that the sea peoples had infiltrated the 
Jezreel Valley leaving a cemetery at Beth-Shean, so 
the proposition is reasonable. With Dan there could be 
four of the twelve tribes which were in fact sea 
peoples. This also would make the twelve tribes post-
date the Philistine arrival.


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