[b-hebrew] Thera quote

Michael Banyai Banyai at t-online.de
Tue Aug 24 15:41:00 EDT 2004

Hallo Dave,

here is my answer. I hope it is expressed clearly enogh to serve as a refutal of Z.Z. objections.

Concerning to the first argument:

> The Thera hypothesis (a 16th-century B.C.E. event) renders irrelevant 
> archaeological and topographical data from the Late Bronze Age (14th-early 
> 12th centuries B.C.E.) presented early in the show as demonstrating authentic 
> background. The Thera eruption is chronologically incompatible with the Late 
> Bronze Age materials.

Here there is nothing to say. Should be anyone on the list seeing indubitable signs for an Exodus during the LB age, I wonder why he hasn´t till now shown to those of the minimalistic crew, thus beending the debate concerning the historicity of early biblic stories. There exists NO relevant evidence during the LB age, or one could say, there as many relevant arguments against it during the same period.

>  Moreover, it is highly unlikely that the Thera cloud 
> ever reached Egypt--given the counter-clockwise direction of winds around the 
> Mediterranean--and that anyone in Egypt would have been able to see the ash 
> cloud hundreds of miles away no matter how high (the earth is round).

This is bogus. First of all have Stanley and Cheng discovered volcanic ashes in the delta, which could be C214-dated by the  overlaying layers, to the period of the Theran eruption. We have the testimony of the Balaam inscription (chronologically dependent on the Exodus dating) for an independent observation of an eruption-like event. But also the Ipuwer papyrus (datable into the 2nd intermediate period - the eruption of Thera thus) describes with plenty of detail probably the same.

The argument concerning the eruption being unobservable because hiding behind the horizon assumes of us to be idiots. It is a typical "Taschenspielertrick". Who says that the object observed was the lava igniting 1000 miles away at Thera, at its source? It is the eruptional cloud falling into the Mediteranean on the Levantine coast, which one could have been able to see. 
And the descriptions are perfectly accurate in its timing:

first are the volcanic clouds droping into the Nile behind the observer in the Delta, with sulfuric and feric components, giving the Nile its red die. The drop falls later shorter over the observers in the Delta, to become more and more shorter, so as they get from under its dark umbrella to see it like a fountain falling into the mediteranean, black at day, burning at  night. This description appears in all three documents, and the presence of volcanic ash is attested in the Delta. I doubt one could find a volcano any closer in the region to explain the ashes.

What pertains the direction of winds over the mediteranean this is once more an irelevant argument. Since volcanic cloud can be ejected in far bigger heights, even into the stratosphere, it is not under the influence of the air circulation in lower heights. I quote here some data:

Globally, large explosive eruptions that inject a tremendous volume of sulfur aerosols into the stratosphere can lead to lower surface temperatures and promote depletion of the Earth's ozone layer.
The sulfur aerosols resulted in a 0.5-0.6°C cooling of the Earth's surface in the Northern Hemisphere. The sulfate aerosols also accelerated chemical reactions that, together with the increased stratospheric chlorine levels from human-made chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) pollution, destroyed ozone and led to some of the lowest ozone levels ever observed in the atmosphere.
At Kilauea Volcano, the recent effusive eruption of about 0.0005 km3/day (500,000 m3) of basalt magma releases about 2,000 tonnes of SO2 into the lower troposphere. 
Sulfur dioxide gas reacts chemically with sunlight, oxygen, dust particles, and water to form volcanic smog known as vog. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a colorless, flammable gas with a strong offensive odor. It is sometimes referred to as sewer gas. At low concentrations it can irritate the eyes and acts as a depressant; at high concentrations it can cause irritation of the upper respiratory tract and, during long exposure, pulmonary edema.  Fluorine (another eruption material) is a pale yellow gas that attaches to fine ash particles, coats grass, and pollutes streams and lakes. Exposure to this powerful caustic irritant can cause conjunctivitis, skin irritation, bone degeneration and mottling of teeth. 

The arguments of Z.Z. pertain rather to popular wisdom. The Theran eruption surpasses by its magnitude any eruption event observed in the historical period of mankind. So it is hard to make any predictions about its behaviour. But since there were apparently several independent eye-wittnesses of such an event during roughly this period, and hardly any other volcano could have been observed in the Levante ( which is the next active volcano in the region?), ought the Theran link preserve its plausibility. BTW, there is tradited  also an antique Greek eye-witness report of the eruption of Thera.

Best regards,

Bányai Michael

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