Monday, January 30, 2012

"If It Weren't for Those Jews, Then...."

That "if it weren't for..." bit there was for these two gentlemen who have been promoting a thesis that over the past few years has become, basically, untenable:

For the first time, the true history of ancient Israel as revealed...and a controversial new take on when, why and how the Bible was written...Here, at last, two of archaeology’s leading scholars shed new light [but the article quoted there proves the Biblical chronology as regards Shiloh - YM] on how the Bible came into existence. They assert, for example, that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob never existed, that David and Solomon were not great kings but obscure chieftains and that the Exodus never happened.  They offer instead a new historical truth: the Bible was created by the people of the small, southern nation of Judah in a heroic last-ditch attempt to keep their faith alive after the demise of the larger, wealthier nation of Israel to the north. It is in this truth, not in the myths of the past, that the real value of the Bible is evident.

They can, oddly enough, still be criticised by those from the otheerside who find their criticisim not adequate:-

Two archaeologists, one Israeli (Israel Finkelstein) and one American (Neil Asher Silberman), have bizarrely managed to repackage a Taliban-like ancient biblical legal code into a modern enlightened expression of human rights, human liberation and social equality.

Presumably this is done in order to preserve some (mythical) legitimacy for traditional claims among certain Jewish quarters that it is Jewish heritage that has been the harbinger of humanity’s modern spiritual values. One wonders if there is also a need to legitimize the claims of modern Jews to the land of Israel by appealing to a historic presence that must be justified in spiritual as well as mere ‘genetic’ terms.

Finkelstein can be critical of presumptuous cklaims about Israel's archaeological worj and its personnel,. as here, for example:-

for the record, it must be said that the most devastating damage inflicted on antiquities in Jerusalem was the bulldozing of (mainly Islamic) antiquities from the Temple Mount by the Waqf – the Islamic religious authority which controls the Temple Mount. This was done in the course of consructing a mosque under the el-Aqsa mosque. Work there was carried out savagely, with no inspection by archaeologists.

Finskelstein has revised his data at times, to ther chagrin of the critics of Zionism:

During his presentation, Israel Finkelstein revised his dating, and stated that he was now dating the transition from Iron Age I to IIA to about 950 BC. This was momentous. Based on their experiences in the Philistine areas and sites such as Lachish, Ussishkin and Finkelstein have been dating the start of Iron Age II to 920–900 BC and they, along with many others, have used this dating to argue that David and Solomon did not exist...This report is illuminating. Dr. Finkelstein is well-known for his skepticism towards the Bible, so this backtracking is rather surprising. Let us see if he remains consistent, or if he recognizes that he dropped the ball for his fellow skeptics everywhere. In either case, his bias against the ancient text of the Bible should be recognized by anyone who wants to be remotely fair minded and intellectually honest.



pithom said...

Finkelstein's main thesis has hardly become untenable. While some of his ideas have been proven untenable, as documented on my "Bible Unearthed" page, others, such as ascribing the numerous conflagrations in the Galilee, Philistia, and the Jezreel Valley at the latter part of the Iron IIa to Hazael instead of Shoshenq I, have been proven correct by means of chronology of Greek pottery and radiocarbon dating. His idea that the accounts of Solomon in Kings reflect an 8th-7th century BC reality has also gained strong support in light of the radiocarbon dating of sites like 'Atar Haroa and by means of the Shoshenq I list. The latter has been instrumental to proposing a date c. 940-30 BC, as opposed to c. 1000 or c. 920 for the beginning of Iron IIa, by the fact of Shoshenq I's Megiddo stela, suggesting a non-destructive campaign by Shoshenq I, the mention of Benjaminite sites in the list, correlating with their destruction and abandonment toward the beginning of the Iron IIa, and by the mention of numerous Negevite sites, suggesting an early Iron IIa, not late Iron I or late Iron IIa date for Shoshenq's Palestinian campaigns.

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