[b-hebrew] The islands

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Tue Jun 8 15:11:11 EDT 2004


>From the perspective of today where most of our surviving ancient records come from non-seagoing peoples, isn‘t it a bit presumptuous for us to assume ancient ignorance of distant lands? How do we know that America was not known in the second millinnium BC?

For example, in China, there was the record of the eastern mountains. Already two millennia ago, Chinese scholars questioned if the then ancient records were fiction, because no such mountain ranges are found in East Asia. But those mountain ranges can be recognized in western North America, east from China.

It is known (though not widely) that when Columbus went westward, he knew that there was land to the west, from a (now lost) book telling about it, and that book was written by someone who in the 1300s followed the Vikings, and Erik the Red followed the Irish, and who before them? Within America, both North and South, there are numerous artifacts that don‘t make sense unless they are evidences of regular contact as ”inhabited lands over the sea“. For example, the richest copper mines in the world in terms of the size of pure copper nuggets and percentage of copper, are found around the Great Lakes, though today‘s technology is largely stymied by the ruggedness of the area. Those mines were extensively worked in ancient times. By whom? Where did the copper go? The number of copper artifacts found are a tiny fraction of what is expected to be found had it been for local consumption. Did that copper fuel at least part of the bronze age Europe and elsewhere? The same questions wi
 th Bolivian tin, richer than Cornwall mines.

How much did Isaiah and other Biblical authors know? Can we rule out beyond the eastern Mediterrenean in view of the fact that the ships of that time were capable of trans-Atlantic travel?

With the lack of surviving written records, we can only speculate: but to insist that those lands were known, or that they were not known, is presumptuous.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>

> I had always assumed that the far-away Iyyim are the Greek islands in
> general, though in some cases the reference may be to a coastline. The Greek
> islands were certainly on the periphery of first millennium ANE geography,
> and were very important to the Persians.
> Yigal
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