[b-hebrew] Kitchen part I:

Thomas L. Thompson tlt at teol.ku.dk
Tue Mar 22 05:53:18 EST 2005


Dear Yigal and Uri,
I do apologize for mixing your letters up. I have trouble in my old age following and counting the arrows and all. I have decided to give some response to Kitchen as requested but fear my difficulty in understanding some of his criticisms of my work will make my response unsatisfactory to some.
 
I have not responded to Kitchen earlier primarily because I have not felt that his objections and criticisms to what I have written express much understanding of the issues I have addressed and I did not want to be part of a long drawn out quarrel signifying nothing. I feel that his book avoids the actual debates that occurred in the 70s and 90s and is largely judging a debate that is over.
 
Kitchen addresses my work directly in two sections: my work of 1992 on pages 450ff. and the debates of the 1970s on pp. 475-484 as he identifies these as two discussions "more than a generation apart". He does have his way of making me seem older that he is! I had always judged the period of the 80s as most decisive for the debate on historicity, but that is not the issue for today.
 
In his discussion of the golden-oldies of the 70s he takes up Redford, Van Seters and me without always clearly distinguishing between us. I do remember these works and the discussion well, so I believe I recognize when he is referring to my work. Page 475f (alsp. 342), he discusses patriarchal names and draws conclusions that are essentially compatible with what I wrote in my Historicity of 1974. This is also the case in his treatment of the "Amorites" (476f.) and about the Nuzi tablets (480f): the most important  three issues of my work. In this respect, I suspect he would agree with me against Van Seters (see my JAOS 1978 article), especially in regard to the chronological distribution of such names. I do wish Kitchen had written something just as scathing in the 1970s, but he didn't.
 
There are, of course, some issues of disagreement. He prefers--with Dever in his 1977 article in Miller-Hayes!--the MB II period as the time of the patriarchs, but he has missed my response to Deveer in JSOT 9(1978), 2-43, though Dever at that time was still clinging to the Amorite hypothesis, which I had emptied.
 
On the issue of the direction of migration, Kitchen's proposal that Abraham's family was transhumant nomadic is beside the point, as the direction of migration was an argument of Buccellatti/ Kupper and especially Dever that there was evidence for a migration westwards, which there was not.

Unfortunately, he does not really understand the argument of Irvin (not Irwin) and folktale studies. She did not argue that the use of folktale motifs  and structures in the Joseph and Moses stories, made these figures unhistorical, only--as Kitchen himself does--that these elements of their stories are.
 
I also wonder at his association of me with the documentary hypothesis and that tradition of scholarship. Most--including myself--have understood my work as substantially opposed to that kind of "historical criticism" (Again,see my JÁOS 1978 article). 
 
Finally, on this early period. It does not pertain that Kitchen thinks there may be other treaties more relevant than Mendenhall used, I was writing my article in 1977.
 
I will continue these comments with Kitchen's more interesting discussion of my work from 1992.
 
Thomas
 
Thomas L. Thompson
Professor, University of Copenhagen

	Dear Yigal,
	I don't really have a "position" about a temple in Jerusalem, destroyed by the neo-Babylonians. I expect that it was built and destroyed. When it would have been built, I cannot say. I see Jerusalem becoming a significant regional power between the mid-8th and mid 7th centuries and so certainly think of this period, but I have no compelling reason. In Jerusalem, one would expect the temple deity would be Yahweh, but Ba'al and Asherah might also be included.
	
	I fail to understand your rhetoric concerning "one of the inventions made up in Hellenistic times." It is not quite my own.
	
	I will take a look at Kitchen's remarks, as it has been some time since I read his piece.
	
	I am familiar with some of the literature on Beth Shemesh, but I am uncertain about what it supports.
	Thomas
	
	        -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
	        Fra: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org på vegne af Uri Hurwitz
	        Sendt: ma 21-03-2005 18:25
	        Til: Thomas L. Thompson; b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
	        Cc: ihj at hum.ku.dk
	        Emne: Re: SV: [b-hebrew] Samaritans
	       
	       
	
	            Dear Thomas,
	       
	             It is not clear from your reponse below  what your position is about a temple in Jeruslem that according to HB was detroyed by the neo-Babylonians. Do you accept that such a temple existed,or do you consider it also one the inventions made up in Hellensitic times? If ,on the other hand, you accept the existence of such a temple, do you have an appreciation as to when it was built,   to what deity it was dedicated, and by whom?
	         
	          Have you responded to the very specific criticisms of K. A. Kitchen in pp. 450 - 458 of his On the Reliability of the Old Testament? Surely these highly specific comments by a major scholar deserve an answer.
	       
	          If you're interested, I'll forward you offline an overview of an on going major archaeological site in Israel  -- Beth Shemesh --the findings of which support the existence of a stong central political body in the late 10th - 9th century.
	       
	          Finally, I'm sure everybody would join me in wishing your wife a speedy recovery.
	       
	           Uri
	       
	           
	       
	        "Thomas L. Thompson" <tlt at teol.ku.dk> wrote:
	        Dear Yigal,
	        Well the Samaritans and their relationship to Judaism is not directly my own field, and it has only been a relatively short time that this question has taken up much of my time, but I will try to address your two questions, as both of them seem to me to be quite important.
	       
	        2) This is an intriguing question. I think quite possibly that Gerizim is original to the Pentateuch. How early that is is another question that is partially dependent on a satisfactory description of its composition. I suspect, for instance that Genesis--or much of it--is later than, for example Exodus-Numbers. Whether the torah is common to Palestinian literature or whether it is adopted by Judaism is an important consideration. If it is common in its origin to both Judaism and Samaritanism, this might suggest a Persian period + chronology.
	        As for the status of Gerizim, the excavations strengthen the idea that this may be very early indeed. How early is something we will have to wait for patiently as--insofar as I have understood--they have not gotten down to bedrock yet, but 6th century is early indeed--far earlier than Jerusalem's temple.
	       
	        1) I argued already in my Early History of 1992 that the populations of the regions of Judea and Samaria should be dealt with in separate but related histories from the Iron Age. Judaism seems to be the relatively latecomer, when one begins to consider identification and self-identity as Jews and Samaritans (that is, Shomronim)--a relationship of the older tradition of the Samaritans and the younger Judaism, which has many confirmations in the biblical traditions (see here my new book, The Messiah Myth, Basic, New York, April, 2005). Ingrid's 2000 book on the Samaritans deals extensively--and I think essentially correctly--with Josephus' treatment of the Samaritans as both tendentious and distorting.
	       
	        Sincerely,
	        Thomas
	       
	        Thomas L. Thompson
	        Professor, University of Copenhagen
	       
	       
	       
	        Yigal Levin wrote:
	       
	        Dear Thomas,
	       
	        If you are willing to share them, I would be interested to hear your views
	        on the following two issues:
	        1. The role that the political division between Samaria and Jerusalem,
	        especially during the Persian Period but perhaps also during the Iron Age,
	        had on the development of Judaism and Samaritanism into two distinct groups.
	       
	        2. As far as it is possible to tell from the archaeological and textual
	        evidence, when do you think that Mt. Gerizim attained its status as the
	        Samaritans' cultic center? Was it not only after the sack of Samaria by
	        Alexander and its conversion into a Greek city? Or is there evidence of it
	        having occurred earlier? Would this not then give us a date for at least the
	        inclusion of Mt. Geranium into the Samaritan Pentateuch?
	       
	        Thank you,
	       
	        Yigal
	       
	       
	       
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