[b-hebrew] Josiah's book of the Law

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Aug 3 02:48:43 EDT 2005


Karl Randolph wrote:
> Dora:
> 
> More accurately, you don't believe the evidence that was
> presented.
> 
> Karl W. Randolph.

No, Karl.  The evidence that was presented was: "it was customary in
ancient times
to place documents in the foundations of buildings as is done even to
the present day."
There are several issues in using this as "evidence" for the
suggestion that "the Book
of the Law that Josiah's priests discovered had been placed in the
cornerstone of the
Temple by Solomon."  Firstly, while this is a possible historical
scenario, it is still
not proven that Josiah did indeed find a book.  I think Dr. Fried has
stated before on
this list that she believes that other descriptions of what Josiah did
are not historical.
However, I understand that this is in debate with amongst others Nadav Naaman. 
Secondly, even if Josiah did indeed find a book, it wasn't necessarily
Solomon who
placed it there.  It could be Joash, or it could be someone else. 
Third, even if Josiah
did find a book, and regardless of whether it was Solomon or someone
else, it is not
necessarily the canonical Masoretic Torah.  In fact, it would appear
that the account
refers to only a small part, consisting of Deuteronomic law, even if
the account is not
historical.

Dora stated: "no evidence Solomon built the temple!"  There are
actually a few issues
here: 1) Did the Temple exist before Solomon? 2) Did the Temple exist
after Solomon?
3) Did Solomon do any building work on the Temple? 4) Did Solomon
exist?  I think
there is no independent evidence for the answer to any of those
questions.  However,
in light of the fact that during the Amarna times, there is also no
archaeological
presence attested (so much so that some scholars have suggested looking for the
Amarna Jerusalem elsewhere), it is possible that Jerusalem was for a
very long time
the "capital" of a semi-nomadic population and that whatever early
attestations of it
exist are buried on the Temple Mount where they are today not
accessible.  So it is
not negative evidence, but it is inconclusive.  In any case, the above
assertion (that
kings buried ancient documents in Temple foundations) cannot be used to prove
that Solomon built the Temple.  I mean, I don't see how the two are
related in any
way.

Yitzhak Sapir



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