Talk:History of ancient Israel and Judah

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File:Asherah.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Article's Default Era[edit]

Currently, within the article, some dates use the christian system, while some use the neutral CE/BCE system. I would suggest going to the BCE/CE system considering it is more neutral, and considering the people to whom this article relates. However, it should be noted that the era first introduced into this article (thus the one that is current considered the default per WP:ERA, unless there was some consensus lost in the archives that I did not see) is the christian system (introduced in the article's initial edit). Can we get a consensus to switch to the CE/BCE system? If not, we need someone to go through and change the dates in the article to conform with each other (I can't do it if remaining with the christian system). Thanks. :) — al-Shimoni (talk) 22:53, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

I would strongly support the neutral BCE/CE system. Ancient Israel and Judah is not just of interest to Christian readers, but is also important for Jews and Muslims, so a neutral dating system that does not recognise Jesus and God is useful.John D. Croft (talk) 12:21, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

Section "The archaeological record"[edit]

I think this section is on the wrong track - it's too much a discussion of various archaeological finds - those should be in the various chronological periods, lower down - what's needed here is a discussion of how archaeology is used to understand history, especially a statement that archaeology isn't neutral, but reflects the biases (often unconscious) of the archaeologists - in other words, that archaeology, like the biblical record, is subject to interpretation, and hence to change. But I don't feel like doing it myself - maybe someone else? PiCo (talk) 09:17, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

PiCo The current form of this section is the result of long standing consensus and administrative recension, as you know it well. This sections was much longer and as a result of administrator revision it was downsized to its current form. Therefore I do not understand why are you keep coming back every few months, to remove its content. Tritomex (talk) 17:21, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

This section has an obvious minimalist bias. The Rendsburg sections cited are only part of the introduction to the author's article. Here's the conclusion he reaches, in his own words:

"If we lay the Bible on top of this evidence, the match is truly remarkable. The only aspect of the Bible's tale that is not clearly recognizable in the picture we have presented is the United Monarchy under David and Solomon. This is not to say that that element of the Bible's narrative is fictional. Quite the contrary: since so much else of the biblical material is confirmed by our exercise, we have every reason to believe that the descriptions of David and Solomon in the books of Samuel and Kings also reflect actual history. In fact, one crucial text from the Bible illustrates this more than any other: 1 Kings 9:15, which informs us that Solomon built the three cities of Gezer, Hazor, and Megiddo. When we recall that it is specifically these three cities whose triple gates match so perfectly, all dated to the tenth century, it becomes nearly impossible to harbor any doubt about the historicity of the biblical material.[1]

Vovochka05 (talk)

Archaeological record revisited[edit]

Guys, I was reading the cited piece by Rendsburg and I do not think this section is faithful to what he wrote. I think Rendsburg says that scholars are split over the historical veracity of the Torah/Old testament -- He explicitly states "I suppose the divide is probably about 50-50" -- However, this section seems to say that scholarly belief has almost universally turned against the thought that the Torah/Old Testament is historically accurate.

Rendsburg gives two detailed descriptions from both points of view -- The Maximalist view that believes archaeological evidence is sufficient to support the biblical narrative and the mininalist view that believes archaeological evidence contradicts the biblical narrative -- He then goes on to support the maximalist view. He claims that the minimalist view is an agenda! You are rather blatantly Breitbarting him if you hold up his attempt to present the minimalist view as if it were his thesis.

In order to be faithful to the cite (and, IMHO, NPOV) I would like to propose the following:


Scholars are split on whether the archaeological record supports the biblical narrative.

In the 1920s, the German scholar Albrecht Alt proposed that an Israelite conquest of Canaan - the story of the book of Joshua - was not supported by the archaeological record. Instead, it was proposed that the main biblical idea was still correct, but that the Israelites entered Canaan peacefully instead of through conquest. Later, this compromise was abandoned, and the Israelites were interpreted to be indigenous Canaanites. The revision of Israelite origins has implications for Israelite religion: whereas the Bible had depicted them as monotheists from the beginning, the new understanding is that they were polytheists that gave rise to a small and ultimately successful group of monotheistic revolutionaries.[2] Gary Rendsburg classifies this point of view as "minimalist," as opposed to a "maximalist" view, which he follows, that sees archaeological evidence as supporting the biblical narrative. [3]

Albrecht Alt's view, even if it recognized the Israelites as Canaanites by origin, still treated the post-Conquest biblical story as real history. But eventually that too was challenged. The most radical reconstruction states that the Jews originated as a "mixed multitude" of settlers sent to Jerusalem by the Persians, where they concocted a past for themselves. There are few scholars who now believe this, but it demonstrates how the paradigm shifts.[4]

--Bertrc (talk) 14:43, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Okay. I will make the change. --Bertrc (talk) 14:56, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
As far as I know, no scholar thinks that the immigrating Israelites, if any, were responsible for the destruction of Jericho. The walls appear to have been brought down during an earthquake which preceded the immigration by several hundred years according to carbon dating. See Timeline_of_Jewish_history#Biblical_period and Chronology_of_the_Bible#Abraham_to_United_Monarchy. If no Joshua at Jericho, where can we start trusting the bible for dates (and facts)? And who exactly is using the bible for history, outside of fundamentalist preachers? It's not that sort of a history. As another editor has noted, it would be like using "The Diary of Anne Frank" as a substitute for "The History of World War II!" They may both be "true", but one cannot be readily substituted for the other for most uses.
It would be a bit of a reach for anybody in those days to leap from paganism/local deity into worldwide monotheism. Neither did the Israelites. See El_(deity)#Hebrew_Bible, Yahweh, and Asherah#In_Israel_and_Judah. This should not be some local "voting" process, whereby one person decides the number of "scholars" on one side or the other! Particularly with only one person voting! Student7 (talk) 23:52, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
I always find it funny when people say exactly the same things as are recorded in the bible while thinking that they are refuting it. The bible says that the Israelite's monotheism emerged out of paganism, that around 1200 BCE the Hebrews were nomads in the land of Canaan, and that they worshiped idols late into their history while sometimes treating god as if he were an idol. Yet people cite these facts as if they are proof the bible is false. The only troublesome thing I have encountered is the walls of Jericho. The rest appears to be agenda-driven speculation. So my contribution to this discussion is LOL.
As a side note I will add that the Bible does have an agenda - teaching morality, wisdom, and belief in god. It criticizes and praises practically everybody, recording sin and righteousness, success and failure of both the great and the small, and not even god is always right. Given that, I always find it strange how people automatically assume the historical records it contains are false and then, after making that assumption, set out to prove it. Shyisc (talk) 02:07, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
    • ^ Rendsburg, p.20
    • ^ Rendsburg, pp.3-5
    • ^ Rendsburg, pp.6-7
    • ^ Rendsburg, pp.5-6