Tuesday, June 17, 2014

TransJordan's Israelite Presence

A new book out deals with the question of "can archaeology recover anything that speaks to identities during the Late Bronze and early Iron I periods of early Israel in the area of southern Levant"?

His answer:

there were indeed early Israelites present, on the basis of long term cyclical settlement patterns in central Transjordan...relatively little attention has been given to the region east of the river Jordan...[but]...the available documentary sources (both biblical and Moabite, such as the Mesha Stele) suggest that vigorous tribal interaction existed there. 

And his assertion:

The settlement data from Umayri and Madaba along with surveys conducted in the area reveals a material cultural landscape with strong affinities with its counterpart highland culture west of the Jordan. Nevertheless, local micro-variations, such as potter’s marks on the collared rim storejars, among others, could be interpreted as signals of “ethnic” variations.

...As coveted agricultural land, the Madaba plateau region (the region of North Moab, cf. Numbers 21:13) is described in both Israelite and Moabite sources as contested territory which changed hands several times among varying tribal groups. As interpreted in my study, data from Numbers 21, the Mesha Inscription, as well as the Jephthah story (Judges 11) acknowledge a long history of conflict and reflect remarkable candor in acknowledging that, in spite of their claims to the contrary, no one group could really hold the land permanently.


No comments: