Monday, October 15, 2012

Was Israel 'In' History?

Found at the Huffington Post, by Richard Elliott Friedman, discussing an aspect of my "inventivity theory of Palestinianism".


On Sept. 24, the president of Iran informed reporters that Israel has "no roots there in history"...the Bible pictures an Israelite-Jewish population and government there starting in the 12th century B.C.E. and continuing until the end of the Bible's history about 800 years later. But how do we know if this is true?

...In the first place, the land is filled with Hebrew inscriptions...[that] refer to their kings. They include stamps and seals from official documents. They come from tombs where that land's people were buried. They name people who are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. They include wording that also appears in the Hebrew Bible...The basic fact: everybody knew that Israel was there: the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Arameans, the Moabites, the Persians...

...Material culture (in other words: stuff) fills out this picture...we know that there was a populous society with a central government from this early stage of the biblical period...We can now add more: central planning of the architecture and layout of towns, a distinctive alphabet, standard weights and measures. And we can add that the Israelite sites lack pork bones. The archaeologist Elizabeth Bloch-Smith seconds the point, that the material culture is clearly Israelite starting from the Iron II period (950-600 B.C.E.) at the latest.

We can also see the changes in the Hebrew scripts on the inscriptions developing through time, and we can actually date texts based on this...And then there is the literature itself...the mass of the [archaeological]  evidence remains available to all. We can see and continually refine a picture of ancient Israel...what we cannot deny is the existence of the world that produced [the Bible]...

 ...let no one repeat this nonsense about Israel not having its historical roots there. One cannot understand the Jews or Israel if one displaces the first 1,000 years of their history.


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