Talk:Book of Joshua

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An old conversation[edit]

KW: I corrected, what I think is a spelling mistake in the Historicity section: hostoical -> historical. I might be wrong but I don't think hostoical is a word and if it is, not many would understand it so if I'm wrong, please correct it with something simpler.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Kwhittingham (talkcontribs) 20:36, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

I added details with regard to the attacks upon Ai and the Israelite losses, the cause for the defeat (from the Book of Joshua's standpoint) and the process (urim and thummim, presumably) used to discover Achan and his wrongdoing. In defense of this, I think it clarified the passage and leads the reader to further learning (examining the ancient urim and thummim process by reading the further article.)

Additionally, I added reference to the viewpoint of God as supposedly unjust in ordering the extermination of the Canaanites. TTWSYF

Much as you tried to be objective in adding this information, it still comes over as POV. Consider the following statement:
Another difficulty arises out of the command given by God to completely exterminate the Canaanites. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" On the other hand, archaeology has discovered that the Canaanites were an extremely depraved society and frequently practised child sacrifice (burning the infant victims alive); from this point of view, the command to exterminate the Canaanites is viewed by some as just.
1. You use "depraved" without any reference to what you consider depraved behavior to be. Are they simply depraved because they are of the wrong religion, eat the wrong kinds of food, or allow their women to walk around half-dressed? If they are depraved because they practiced child sacrifice, then take that clause out of your sentence & let the fact of child sacrifice speak for itself.
2. Actually, it is more accurate to say they allegedly practiced child sacrifice. You claim that "archaeology" has found evidence of this; where was the evidence for this found? Finds of child sacrifice would be sensational, & obviously be reprinted in newspapers & news magazines around the world. I have more than a passing interest in archeology, & I would have remembered reading any report of child sacrifice, especially in what was Canaan, where this practice was alleged. (But if you provide the proof & sources for this allegation, I'll happily concede this point.)
3. You do admit that this practice would justify the extermination of this people; & I doubt many would defend a culture that practices human -- let alone child -- sacrifice. Would you also admit to the possibility that these charges were invented either at the time or later to justify this act of extermination? George W. Bush is hardly the first person in history to fudge the facts to justify a war he wanted to wage.
I hope you see that to make a truly NPOV statement about child sacrifice in ancient Canaan requires more work than you have done. What you have written may have a factual basis; but as it currently reads, what you have added is nothing more than tinder for Yet Another Edit War on Wikipedia. -- llywrch 02:24, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Do you feel that the article was, previous to my modifications, truly NPOV? It was criticizing the Bible, putting forth the typical mamby pamby attitude "oh those poor Canaanites and that wicked, wicked God for ordering the Israelites to kill them..." etc. There are firm archaeological findings supporting the Canaanite's practices of child sacrifice, sex worship, the practice of compulsory male and female temple prostitution, and further behaviors I would term depraved. I will place those references here. The latest iteration is not bad, but I question the need for the entire section. TTWSYF

Ok, here is the reference:

The Bible Handbook, by Henry H. Halley, notes that at Megiddo, archaeologists found the ruins of a temple of Ashtoreth, goddess-wife of Baal. He writes: “Just a few steps from this temple was a cemetery, where many jars were found, containing remains of infants who had been sacrificed in this temple . . . Prophets of Baal and Ashtoreth were official murderers of little children.” “Another horrible practice was [what] they called ‘foundation sacrifices.’ When a house was to be built, a child would be sacrificed, and its body built into the wall.” Halley comments: “The worship of Baal, Ashtoreth, and other Canaanite gods consisted in the most extravagant orgies; their temples were centers of vice. . . . Canaanites worshiped, by immoral indulgence, . . . and then, by murdering their first-born children, as a sacrifice to these same gods. It seems that, in large measure, the land of Canaan had become a sort of Sodom and Gomorrah on a national scale. . . . Did a civilization of such abominable filth and brutality have any right longer to exist? . . . Archaeologists who dig in the ruins of Canaanite cities wonder that God did not destroy them sooner than He did.”

That's one reference; Halley is viewed as an authority in many circles. I have to dust off some other old tomes to pull up further research. Thanks, TTWSYF

Back with some more references.

"Excavations in Palestine have brought to light a multitude of A[starte] figures in all forms; . . . most of them are small, crude figures, an indication that this deity was chiefly used in home worship, perhaps worn by women on their person or placed in an alcove in the house. . . . The sensual nature religions of A[starte] and Baal appealed to the common folk. Of course, serious injury was inevitable; sexual perversions in honor of the deity, voluptuous lust, and impassioned exuberance became a part of worship and later moved into the home."—Calwer Bibellexikon (Calwer Bible Lexicon).

"Religious festivities became a degraded celebration of the animal side of human nature. Even Greek and Roman writers were shocked by the things the Canaanites did in the name of religion."—The Lion Encyclopedia of the Bible.

"Of Canaanite religious practices, mention will only be made here of the sacrificing of children, for excavations have directly verified this. In Gezer as well as in Megiddo, the way corpses of children are immured . . . speaks conclusively . . . for this practice."—Die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft (Science of the Old Testament).

"In no country has so relatively great a number of figurines of the naked goddess of fertility, some distinctly obscene, been found. Nowhere does the cult of serpents appear so strongly. . . . Sacred courtesans and eunuch priests were excessively common. Human sacrifice was well known . . . The aversion felt by followers of YHWH-God when confronted by Canaanite idolatry, is accordingly, very easy to understand."—Recent Discoveries in Bible Lands.

Hope these will be sufficient; thanks, TTWSYF

... sure, just like Acts[edit]

"The book resembles the Acts of the Apostles in the number and variety of historical incidents it records and in its many references to persons and places." The book also resembles War and Peace in the number and variety of historical incidents it records blah blah blah. This is someone who's been taught that a reference to the New Testament is always appropriate and Raises the General Tone... Fatuous. --Wetman 07:26, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I agree that the reference does not seem fitting in that location. However, the statement is not inaccurate, only somewhat non-sequitur. As an "ignorant religionist" I take seriously what these articles portray about the Bible; I guess I can be impertinent if you can be arrogant. In any event, remove the sentence if you like... TTWSYF

I have taken the liberty of removing this opinion. This may be related to vexing comments that have since appeared on my talk page. Zosodada 22:04, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The Bible Handbook, by Henry H. Halley[edit]

I see HBH is a primary source for this article, however I should mention -- and I hope this doesn't offend anyone -- that Mr. Halley was unabashedly non-neutral in his endeavors with this text. He believed that everyone should read the Bible every day, and his intended readership were liturgical "Bible readers" of the early 20th century. This *is* a source, but is is not a neutral (or current) one. I see that the text I've deleted on non-WP:NPOVgrounds is by TTWSYF, so apologies to TTWSYF in advance. --

THis project has become tedious to the extreme. Anyone attempting to add any information or modifications sees their additions deleted out of hand. What a waste of time.

I've reinstated previous sections on the ethical problem of war in Joshua, but added dissenting views and placed everything in what I hope is NPOV language. If anyone still has problems, feel free to edit or to add additional information to make it more NPOV. However, I don't think it is justifiable to remove the section altogether, as this is a serious issue that people studying the Joshua need to deal with, whatever the conclusions they reach may be. honeydew 10:04, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I think the sections are valuable and well-balanced after your treatment. Have a small pat on the back, honeydew. Dizzley (Peter H) 11:12, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Excavations of Canaanite cities[edit]

I've added some info on the excavations of Canaanite cities and what they show about the Israelite invasion. I'm not sure what to write about the city of Jericho because the evidence is vague. There was a Canaanite city in the late bronze age and it was destroyed the same time as other canaanite cities. However, the city was not very large and no traces of walls from that period were found. It's possible that the rubble of the walls was all taken away to build something else later. Should I even mention it? --Cypherx 05:39, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)


We have a separate article on Joshua most of which is from the 1906 public domain Jewish Encyclopedia. I don't see much point in having a separate article on Joshua, as that article mostly recounts the events of the book anyway. The 1906 article can be added to Wikisource and linked from here. So I suggest a merger of any unique material of the Joshua article into this, and a redirect. Thoughts? Derex 22:44, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

It is known when the Exodus occurred![edit]

Archeologists do NOT know when the Exodus occurred. What is known is that the Israelites settled across the hill country of central Israel around the 12th century. And, Israel is mentioned by name in the 13th century. Moreover the Christian biblical chronology puts the Exodus in the 15th century whereas the Jewish biblical chronology put it in the 13th century. Archeological evidence makes both of these traditional dates difficult. By itself this sentence is wrong: "Excavations of several Canaanite cities have provided contradictory evidence for establishing the historicity of the Book of Joshua." Rather, it's the way religious traditions have timed and reconstructed the events which are untenable. The biblical text itself is complex, for example Joshua with a quick conquest versus Judges with a slow one. Many archeologists believe the biblical Exodus may echo the expulsion of the Hyksos, and if so it refers to an event in the 16th century which would agree with archeological record, even if the recording of it was largely legendary (similar to the legends of about Bronze Age Troy). --Haldrik 02:46, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

This is incorrect. One of the largest arguments among archaeologists researching biblical times and places is when the exodus occurred. There are at least four theories I know of that deal with this issue. One states the exodus never happened and Israelites are just Canaanites (though I am incredibly dubious of this one and have seen little evidence to support it). One theory says the exodus happened in the late bronze age ~1550 B.C. One theory says it happened in the early iron age ~1250 B.C. and a final one says that it happened in the early bronze age just after the fall of the Egyptian Old Kingdom ~2200-2450 B.C.

Wikipedia is about what can be sourced, not about what traditions you yourself may have determined to be 'untenable'. If you would only include your source for these ideas, it's all a very simple matter - especially if you are contradicting what previous editors have written. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 02:56, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Emmanuel Anati - undue weight[edit]

I deleted this section (a single paragraph) about Emmanuel Anati:

A theory suggested by Emmanuel Anati states that the settlement of Canaan by the Israelites actually occurred prior to the Late Bronze Age as commonly held. Anati says he has found evidence to support Joshua’s conquest occurring in the Early Bronze Age circa 2200–2500 BC. Anati says that both a settlement bearing topographical similarity to the Biblical cities of Ai and Jericho were destroyed in this time frame, in a period when both sites had defensive walls. He also found that Ai was burned to the ground at this time, which fits the events in the Book of Joshua, and that the previous inhabitants of the areas around these cities gave way to a more nomadic people with different types of pottery than the original inhabitants and which developed into a pastoral society dominated by small villages. All of this would more accurately reflect what was recorded in the Biblical accounts of Joshua’s invasion, but it also conflicts with some of the Bible’s Old Testament chronology.

I had a look on Google and it seems Anati is primarily involved in prehistory - he's "Founder and Executive Director of the Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici in Capo di Ponte, Italy". He does have a background in the history of ancient Palestine, in that he has degrees in archaeology and historical geography, and he's done some work identifying "the real Mt Sinai" (one of many such). So he's not entirely non-notable (I gave the wrong impression in my edit summary). I do wonder, however, whether his theory of a Conquest in the Early Bronze is notable. This means, how much support does he have among his peers? Not much I think - the 2500-2200 period is far earlier than what I'm used to seeing. So I think it should be excluded from the article as representing undue weight to a fringe theory. PiCo (talk) 09:36, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Lack of neutrality of "Historicity" section[edit]

Yesterday I attempted an edit to the opening statement of the "Historicity" section, which states, "Archaeological evidence has largely disproved the historical nature of the Israelite conquest of Canaan." The problem as I see it is the phrase "largely disproved," which shows a clear bias on the part of the author. My edit was undone, the reason being given was that "largely disproved" was correct since there was a referenced source to back it up.

In fact, it is with the source - not my fellow Wikipedia editor - that I have a problem. The author of the referenced source, William Dever, is certainly a respected scholar of ancient Near East history, but hardly unbiased. He has said, "My view all along... is first that the biblical narratives are indeed 'stories,' often fictional and almost always propagandistic..." It is not surprising that a man whose starting point is a rejection of the Bible as an accurate source would reach conclusions that support his pre-conceived notions; and while many scholars agree with him, a good many do not. (The problem is, of course, that all scholars bring some bias to their work, but Dever doesn't go out of his way to temper his.)

I propose two changes to improve the neutrality of this section of the article: 1st) Insert verbiage in front of the aforementioned statement that reduces it from a hard statement of fact to one that shows that it is a consensus opinion. I propose something like, "The majority of scholars of Near East history believe that archaeological evidence has largely disproved..." 2nd) Add a second paragraph that mentions the viewpoint of scholars who believe that a people group "Israel" did migrate into Canaan from an external location, giving brief mention of the evidence these scholars cite.

Rather that entering into an edit war at this point, I will wait a few days to allow other members of the Wikipedia community to comment before deciding upon what and whether to add/change. DoctorEric (talk) 04:58, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

I have completely redone this section. This was one of the most one-sided sections I have seen on Wikipedia. THAT is impressive. It was not just badly one-sided, but full of weasel words and thinly-veiled suggestions. I have used scholarly sources and separated this by saying it is a debate that can never be truly resolved. I have created sections listing the views of liberal scholars and those of conservative scholars. I believe I have represented both sides about as well as I can. Hopefully this won't be undone by people with obvious theological tendencies...RomanHistorian (talk) 05:51, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
Liberal and conservative are words that describe theological postions, not historical ones. I hope there are more than these two sides to the debate, otherwise it is going to be a very biased one. Historicity of the events in question is a matter of history, not theology. Martijn Meijering (talk) 11:25, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
There are no "liberal" scholars. There are, however, conservative ones - the ones cited by RomanHistorian. These scholars are very much a minority, and a tiny one at that. They're motivated by religious preconceptions - the bible must be true because it's the word of God - and are impervious to arguments that go against their prejudices. They are not, by and large, published in mainstream journals. They complain of being ignored by the mainstream - see, for example, this quote from Raymond Dillard and Tremper Longman whom RomanHistorian is so fond of: "nonconservative scholars quietly ignore those who still defend a traditional viewpoint." The complaint is evidence in itself that their views are not accepted. Nor should they be given space in Wikipedia - Conservapedia, maybe. PiCo (talk) 12:06, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I think we agree, but I would put it slightly differently. There probably really are liberal scholars, but the opposition between conservative and liberal scholars is a false one. I would contrast scientific, historical research with religiously inspired (biased if you prefer) and therefore less historical research. Liberal and conservative would represent subdivisions of the latter category. It would be a mistake to present the debate as between liberal and conservative scholars.
Your point about undue weight is a good one, but I disagree such views should not be part of Wikipedia. The subject of this article is the Book of Joshua, which is a religious text and therefore religious opinions are on topic for this article and they should be described from a neutral point of view. Whether or not the biblical account is historically accurate is very important to some believers and it is a good thing for Wikipedia to state that fact. Knowing which denominations believe the biblical account is historically accurate and which ones believe that is an important matter sheds light on those denominations. At the same time, agnostic, dispassionate and scientific historical inquiry also provides an important point of view. It is perfectly proper to note that there is a small group of scholars who present themselves as doing historical research who hold that the biblical accounts are in fact historical, as long as we point out they are a small majority that is largely ignored by mainstream historical scholarship. This speaks to the debate between religious and scientific opinion, which is on topic. Martijn Meijering (talk) 12:20, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
On reflection, this means I'm backing off a bit from my earlier statement that historicity is a matter of history, not theology. Both points of view are notable, even if you consider one of the two as invalid. Martijn Meijering (talk) 12:32, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I welcome the inclusion of theologically-driven views, just so long as they are clearly identified and are notable by virtue of not being entirely fringe. My concern is that, while there may well be scholars who lean towards liberal or conservative views, there are also those who, quite simply, are not scholars at all. These are people who do not see religion and science as complimentary, and therefore favor the former over the latter, which is why they are (as Pico explained) quietly ignored. Let us continue to ignore them, whether quietly or not. Dylan Flaherty (talk) 15:45, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
I share your concern and agree viewpoints should be clearly differentiated and covert apologetics should not be presented as historical research. Scholarship is a very broad term however, I would count fundamentalist Muslim Ulema under that term as well. Perhaps you had a more restrictive interpretation in mind, like scientist, though not restricted to the natural sciences. For me, as an agnostic, such religious points of view are mainly interesting because they shed light on various religions, not because they shed light on what really happened. Since we are dealing with a religious text, that seems on topic. Similarly I could be interested in how the teachings of Zen Buddhism differ from other forms of Buddhism, without necessarily being interested in which version if any is the most "correct", or in how Japanese imperialist politicians viewed their nation's history and to what degree this differs from modern views. Martijn Meijering (talk) 16:24, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
I have to admit that this entire discussion has helped me understand myself a bit better, so as to calibrate for my biases. I'm Catholic, which means that I don't accept the Protestant notion of sola scriptura; I accept the Bible, but also tradition and the church. I find sola scriptura inexplicable because it is the church, informed by tradition, that has canonized the Bible, so if those sources of authority are unreliable, then so is the book. I also see no conflict between rigorous, scholarly research and faith, so I am in no way afraid that history and science could ever undermine the truths I live by. In short, I see this as a conflict between true Christianity and mere Bible worship. A Bible worshiper feels threatened by archeological evidence for the relative youth or authorial complexity of these books, while I have faith that we would not have canonized them if they were not truth.
In short, I agree with the statement that there is "no real disagreement can exist between the theologian and the scientist provided each keeps within his own limits. . . . If nevertheless there is a disagreement . . . it should be remembered that the sacred writers, or more truly ‘the Spirit of God who spoke through them, did not wish to teach men such truths (as the inner structure of visible objects) which do not help anyone to salvation’; and that, for this reason, rather than trying to provide a scientific exposition of nature, they sometimes describe and treat these matters either in a somewhat figurative language or as the common manner of speech those times required, and indeed still requires nowadays in everyday life, even amongst most learned people" (Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus 18).
Again, I explain all this so that you know where I'm coming from. I'm not proselytizing and I do remember that this is not a debate forum. Dylan Flaherty (talk) 17:08, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Reversions in historicity of conquest section[edit]

I've had to revert some extensive edits to the historicity section. I'll paste the reverted text here and explain what's wrong with it (the reverted text indented, explanations for reversion in italics):

The book of Joshua is largely an account of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites dated by James Ussher to the mid-fifteenth century BC.[2] However, "the collapse of Late Bronze Age Canaanite culture [c. 1200 BC] was a gradual process" as the Iron Age began.[3]
Archbishop Ussher? Since when was he an authority on dates? And the statement that the collapse of the LBA canaanite city-culture was gradual "as the Iron Age began" reads oddly - what does it mean? The phrase is perfectly comprehensible if it ends without that addition.

Israel was not mentioned extra-Biblically until the Merneptah Stele, erected in 1209 BC,[4] identifying a people in the central highlands of the region.[5] Although only villagers have left sufficient remains, over 300 central settlements and more fringe settlements (representing 40,000 villagers) date to Iron Age I.[6] Israelite sites are identified by being notably absent of pig bones, sometimes interpreted as indicating distinct ethnic identity, and via differing ceramics and more agrarian settlement plans.[7] Ann Killebrew sees recent research indicating unequivocally to Biblical Israel's roots lying in Late Bronze Age Canaan.[8]

Israel was not mentioned extra-biblically until the Merneptah stele? It wasn't mentioned at all![citation needed] Only villagers have left sufficient remains? Villagers are the only ones who have left any remains at all![citation needed] 2.3 million invading Israelites would leave something,[citation needed] but there's nothing. The statement that the absence of pig bones is used to identify sites as Israelite is simply wrong - what archaeologists actually do is call all villages in the highlands at this time Israelite, simply because they're in the highlands. Differing ceramics? There are no differing ceramics.[citation needed] More agrarian settlement plans? What exactly is a "more agrarian settlement plan"? I know, this is a reference to the fact that early village sites are built to a semi-=circular plan, which archaeologists identify with herders who started to settle down, but it's very badly expressed. "Recent research indicating unequivocally to..." That's dreadful English. Also, although Killibrew is our source, she's basing this on normative archaeological research and thinking,[citation needed] a point which is perhaps obscured if we suggest that it's hers alone.
The Book of Joshua explicitly says that Canaan was not completely conquered during Joshua's time.[9] The question of the degrees of conquest and/or assimilation may not be answered with certainty, as both sides cite a large body of archaeological and other evidence.[10]
Not quite true. The book of Joshua contradicts itself,[citation needed] first describing the conquest of the land, and finally saying that the land remains unconquered. This is usually taken as evidence of the various editing processes that the book went through. Incidentally, it's usually seen as a product of the court of Josiah - that needs to be mentioned. PiCo (talk) 09:29, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
These are reasonable and informed arguments. Dylan Flaherty (talk) 15:38, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Hi PiCo, these are edits that you largely accepted without further adjustment at Joshua, but I'll grant that each article should be decided on its merits. 1. Ussher is preferred to no source; the fact that the Bible's chronology, as agreed generally by all literal interpreters since at least Josephus, puts Joshua about 250 years before the Iron Age means that all this Bronze-Iron transition talk is largely off-point and a potential WP:COATRACK. But I'll endure the coatracking so long as the internal textual dating of Joshua/Judges is mentioned. "As the Iron Age began" was merely for transition to the next paragraph in case people don't know that chronology; it can be cut. 2. Actually, <deleting digression about mention of Israel>. But the point is that a significant POV believes the Biblical records are older and the source uses a helpful word ("nonbiblical") to finesse that whole debate, while the phrase "not at all" needlessly excludes a POV without reliance on sources. 3. The word "sufficient" and most of that sentence is almost exactly what McNutt says p. 69, emphasizing the fact that nomads and shepherds do not leave "sufficient" remains but must still be accounted for. But again, the words "not at all" are not sourced. 4. I see that Killebrew p. 176 did not use the word "Israelite" in that context, so we can change it to "highland", with the POV that this indicates ethnicity obviously implying Israelite. The ceramics and agrarian plans are a gloss of Killebrew p. 13 and are expanded later in the text; if you want to change her phrasing for another of her phrasings, that's fine. 5. Thought I changed "indicating" to "pointing", but sometimes in complex edits I don't get to read every final sentence, sorry. But this is her POV about recent research, whereas a "normative POV" would be illustrated by a majority of "recent research" sources instead, and that naturally would omit historical or theological source POVs, which then need accounting in such an article as this to avoid a recentism tag. Under WP:BRD I will proceed with the next "bold" and enter the text with my concessions; but on each of these five points where you are not relying on sources, additional citations would be welcome. I will also add the book origins graf that you have let stand for several days to address the textual issues; the fact that Joshua's authorship was not seriously questioned by the scholars of the day for some two millennia is significant and yet you had me shorten the one sentence about it. But, in short, the idea that the former version was more accurate when it can't even spell Killebrew's name or quote its sources accurately would not stand without the citation requests being handled. JJB 19:40, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Reversions in historicity of conquest section - -part II[edit]

I've reverted your new version as well. I know it must be frustrating, and I do thank you for engaging in a serious effort to take my earlier objections into account, but I'll set out my problems with the 2nd version:

Joshua's narrative is ascribed to Joshua himself by Bava Batra 15a (Talmud) and early church fathers.
I feel especially guilty about this one, because you were obviously taking up my earlier point about the need to talk about the origin of the text of Joshua. I still hold that this is indeed essential - we can't talk about the historicity of the conquest without talking about the reliability of the sole text for it - but I've just realised that the textual question has a whole section to itself up near the top of the article. That's my fault for not noticing the first time, and I apologise for that. Feel free to put a sentence about the traditional origins of Joshua in there (maybe add a note, very bried, explaining what the Talmud is and also the Bava Batra).  Done
In 1943 Martin Noth published an argument that behind Joshua and other books was a unified "Deuteronomistic history", composed in the early part of the Babylonian captivity (not long after 606 BCE)
Again, this belongs in the other section. This is perhaps going into too much detail - enough to state that today scholars accept the DtrH as a reasonable theory on the origins of that group of books, although there are many differences of opinion over detail (but we shouldn't go into those differences - they belong in the DtrH article).  Done
Noth's speculative practice of conjecturing the nonextant tradition has the weakness that "no two scholars ever propose the same tradition history for the stories of the Pentateuch".[2]
You're confusing the Deuteronomistic history (DtrH) and the documentary hypothesis (DH). The DH "conjours a nonextant tradition" (i.e., four narratives that have never been seen by modern man), but the DtrH does not - the DtrH takes the existing text of Deuteronomy to Kings as it is, and suggests that those books were composed as a single history - like the different volumes in an encyclopedia, to make an analogy. PiCo — continues after insertion below
That's not what Deuteronomistic history says. It says he presented the persona of D as the source of the unity of Deut – 2 Kin. It seems Noth split hairs between "Deuteronomic" and "Deuteronomistic", which obscures whether the text D is the same as the text DtrH (or Dtr1). But you seem to be saying that DtrH has no reliance on D at all. Whatever "historical work" "just behind the books" Noth believed in, it is nonextant, and how could it avoid including D? But what would you want the article to say about the hypothetical text behind the Book of Joshua? JJB 01:09, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
I suggest the article on Deuteronomistic history in the Oxford bible commentary (p.199 and following) - more authoritative than Wikipedia. Don't get too hung up about Noth - he started the iea, but it's gone a long way since then. PiCo (talk) 10:59, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Most scholars who follow the documentary hypothesis today believe in some such composite, containing the epic history of the premonarchical period...
As I said, this is confusing the DH with the DtrH - it shouldn't be in there.  Done
...which William Dever calls "largely 'propaganda,' designed to give theological legitimacy to a party of nationalist ultra-orthodox reformers."[3]
Dever is hardly the only one to hold this opinion, it's pretty standard. It doesn't need to be mentioned at all. Anyway, Dever is an archaeologist, not a biblical scholar - he's hardly an authority to quote on textual issues.  Done
Gerhard von Rad, another developer of the hypothesis, adds that "comparison of the ancient Near Eastern treaties, especially ... in the 14th and 13th centuries BC, with passages in the OT has revealed so many things in common between the two, particularly in the matter of form, that there must be some connection between these suzerainty treaties and the [OT]."[4] Kenneth Kitchen states that nearly all treaties in this period follow the pattern of Deuteronomy closely, while first-millennium treaties contrarily but consistently place "witnesses" earlier and omit prologue and blessing sections, requiring classification of the Sinai covenant and its renewals in Joshua with the fourteenth or thirteenth century rather than the sixth.[5]
Again, this relates to the question of the literary source (the book of Joshua), not to the archaeological evidence, which is what this section is about. And it's not terribly relevant - I've never seen anyone suggesting that the book of Joshua is in the form of a treaty. PiCo — continues after insertion below
Nobody says Josh rather than Deut is the treaty form. But Kitchen's point is that significant evidence indicates the covenant renewed by Joshua was linked only to Bronze Age suzerainty treaties and no others. E.g. Josh 8:30-5 describes the same event as Deut 27:11-28:68, which is a suzerainty blessing-and-cursing form: not a first-millennium form, which would omit the blessings. These are archaeological tablets (the subhead is "historicity", after all) and they are properly placed in tension with the ceramic evidence, which is where I've moved them. JJB 01:09, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
I hate to criticise your hero, but Kitchen isn't very mainstream. Most scholars would say that the treaties in question (i.e., the ones in Deuteronomy) follow 7th century Assyrian patterns. Sorry, no source to refer you to for that, I'm too tired, but maybe the Mercer Bible Dictionary has something. Or the Oxford commentary, or Eerdmans. (Kitchen's great achievement was to sort out Egyptian chronology - he was once THE authority. Quite justifiably he was very proud of it. Then people started questioning his chronology. His reaction was to retreat further and further into defensive positions, refusing to even address the arguments of anyone who disagreed with him.) PiCo (talk) 10:59, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
The book of Joshua is largely an account of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites dated by James Ussher to the mid-fifteenth century BC.[6] However, "the collapse of Late Bronze Age Canaanite culture [c. 1200 BC] was a gradual process."[7]
As I said above, Ussher is not an authority on dates, and the fact that the collapse of LBA Canaan was gradual is an argument against the historicity of Joshua, not for it. (Joshua would have had to have lived for well over the 110 years the bible grants him to have conquered the cities it credits him with). PiCo — continues after insertion below
I don't understand you to be saying anything is wrong with the sourced text. Maybe you could source your concerns? JJB 01:09, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm saying Ussher's dates aren't accepted by mainstream scholars these days, and Ussher isn't regarded as an authority. Barr has some interesting things to say - see if you get a result by googling James+Barr+Ussher+Creation. The usually accepted date for any possible Israelite invasion of Canaan today is slightly before 1200 - has to be before, because the Merneptah Stele has them there at that dayte, but can't be too far before.PiCo (talk) 10:59, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Israel was not mentioned extra-Biblically until the Merneptah Stele,...
Your point (implied) is that the bible text is contemporaneous with the events described, which would put the mentions of Israel in Genesis well before 1200 BCE. This is not the general view among scholars. They see Genesis being composed around 950 BCE at the very earliest (the classic documentary hypothesis as developed by Wellhausen, although it has fewer and fewer followers these days), and more probably around 550 BCE (the common consensus today, although not universal), with further revisions down to the 2nd century (the biblical chronology that Ussher relied on can't have been finished before 164 BCE, because it has that year as its end date, 4,000 years after Creation).
The source uses the word "nonbiblical", so I'll put that in. I don't understand you to be saying anything about how to fix the inferences you draw from that concept. Maybe you could source your concerns? JJB 01:09, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
The problem is with Biblical dates - when were the texts written? Once it was thought they were by Moses, so about 1440 BCE, but now nobody thinks Moses wrote anything. The usual dates for the Pentateuch now are around 550 BCE, with Deuteronomy somewhat earlier, maybe as early as Hezekiah, maybe only from Josiah. In either case, not before Merneptah. PiCo (talk) 10:59, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Although only villagers have left sufficient remains, over 300 central settlements and more fringe settlements (representing 40,000 villagers) date to Iron Age I.[10]
Yes, but the prose is clumsy.  Done
By the way, the word "central" shouldn't be there - the earliest settlement patterns lack primacy (i.e., no big villages central to clusters of smaller ones - that came later). PiCo (talk) 10:59, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Highland sites are identified by being notably absent of pig bones, sometimes interpreted as indicating distinct ethnic identity (i.e., Israelites), and via differing ceramics and more agrarian settlement plans.[11]
No, highland sites are identified by being in the highlands. I think what you mean to say is that highland sites are distinguished (i.e., from non-highland sites) by the absence of pig bones. It's not generally held that this absence means a different ethnicity - more general is the view that it results from different ecologies, pigs being unsuited to the highlands. The different settlement plans is correct, but the different ceramics is wrong (the collar-rimmed jars aren't specific to the highland sites).  Done
Ann Killebrew sees recent research pointing unequivocally to Biblical Israel's roots lying in Late Bronze Age Canaan.[12]
Not only Anne Killebrew - this quasi-quote comes at the end of a long discussion in which she sums up all the evidence; it's the current consensus. Not done
You need extra sources? Tomorrow. PiCo (talk) 10:59, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
The Book of Joshua explicitly says that Canaan was not completely conquered during Joshua's time.[13] The question of the degrees of conquest and/or assimilation may not be answered with certainty, as both sides cite a large body of archaeological and other evidence.[14]
Again, this is an argument based on the text of Joshua - this paragraph is about archaeological evidence, which quite unequivocally points to Israelite culture emerging gradually from Canaanite culture,with no break in the cultural tradition.  Done

PiCo (talk) 23:41, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Many scholars are led to attribute widespread Late Bronze city destructions west of the Jordan to invading Hebrews.
The source says they are "tempted" to attribute this. The wording needs changing. (talk) 19:22, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Fixed. Dylan Flaherty (talk) 19:49, 1 October 2010 (UTC)


The text behind this section has been long debated and discussed at Talk:History of ancient Israel and Judah and a consensus version had stood for about a week, so I copied it here. To Dylan's cold-reversion to less specific text, I state the following points, sentence-by-sentence.

  1. Compromise was to delete Killebrew's overview of Israel's roots in favor of Dever's. I can happily let this sentence remain as an offering to Dylan unless PiCo also comes here wishing to delete it.
  2. Deletion of backup source McDermott re Merneptah seems like nothing for Dylan to quibble over, but an artifact of his cold-revert style.
  3. Replacing Lemche's generic statement with Dever's specific statement about highland Israel also seems a clear improvement.
  4. Expanding on McNutt's statements and citing specific page numbers rather than ranges (and adding Miller) also seems a clear improvement.
  5. Expanding on the highland distinctives from two sources to three also seems a clear improvement.
  6. Before the next sentence in Dylan's edit, I inserted a move of the Bava Batra cite, a balancing cite from Coogan, and three sentences from editor Nws apropos to the subject; but none of this is strictly necessary, and it can be left out as a compormise, with the Bava Batra returning to where Dylan reverted it.
  7. The edit expanding on the phrase "invading Hebrews" is also from Nws, and I have no strong opinion about it either way.
  8. The shrinking of the sentence about Miller and Hayes seems like less than a quibble as well.
  9. I deleted Killebrew's summary because it was better represented by Nws's sentences, but since they are not easily accessible, I could go either way on that one also.

Review of the diff shows nothing worth preserving in "Dylan's" text that has not been retained, except for a couple points I may compromise on. Accordingly, Dylan should state, specifically and point-by-point, why he prefers the old version as not being a consensus on this page, or whether he agrees with the compromise position on points where it is offered. JJB 06:09, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Yes, it was discussed there, and it's being discussed there right now. Forum shopping is disruptive. Dylan Flaherty (talk) 07:14, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Nobody is discussing there but me, just like here. Repeating accusations (of shopping) when asked to quit is disruptive. Neither of you are providing any rationales in your summaries or talk, and the only statement above that has been challenged by your edits has been the pig statement (the highland distinctives), so I take it I may revert everything but that sentence? By failing to respond in any way to any other sentence, you two imply so. JJB 07:32, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Dylan claims nonconsensus on this page, but it is just us two. Since Dylan is not providing any reasons for his revert, I will restore the improvements. I will be happy to consider other phrasings on the pigs if he actually lodges an objection on any page. JJB 02:47, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

The fact that I do not accept your edits as productive and I am part of a discussion about the same material on the talk page that it originated from should be sufficient to show that there is no consensus behind you. It's not so much that it's just the two of us as it's just you all alone with nothing and nobody supporting you. Given these circumstances, if you revert, I reserve the option of countering it. Dylan Flaherty (talk) 02:51, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Except that you can't point to a single diff that proves you are presently discussing any material on that or any talk page, which is again defaulting on defending your reverts. If you think I'm unproductive, say why. Two people continuing to revert on a page should find a policy they can use to resolve their differences; the one I used was "bold again". If you revert again and fail to discuss again, you are violating policy. JJB 03:01, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

The diff I posted as my edit comment corrects your misconception. I accept your tacit retraction. Dylan Flaherty (talk) 03:02, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

That diff is not a consensus, as answered at the ancient history talk page; nor does it have anything to do with the edits to this article, which are wholly different than the two new sentences of PiCo the diff is referring to. So even if it were consensus, since it is wholly inapplicable to this article, you have not provided any reasons responsive to the numbered sentences above. JJB 03:11, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

John, I realise you're trying to be a good Wiki-citizen by putting only sourced statements in the article, but the end result is unreadable - you can't produce a good piece of narrative prose by simply placing quotations end to end. I honestly think we need to start aggain. PiCo (talk) 04:47, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Funny, several sentences in a row are identical to your last edit to the ancient history article, so I don't know who you're accusing of poor prose. It would be a bit disruptive to "start aggain" when you have agreed to all of the sentences here except for the pigs (and on that one you gave me a week of silent consensus), just because you don't like how the sentences fit together that you accepted. Please cite specific improvements or specific statements or implications that need to appear. JJB 05:25, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

John, he's right about the damage you've done to the readability of this section. It would be the opposite of disruptive to fix this damage. Rather than demanding imaginary citations, you need to sit back and allow PiCo to exercise his editing and writing skills here. You've done enough damage for now. Dylan Flaherty (talk) 05:58, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
I'll be delighted to give it a look. John, you are, of course, very welcome to contribute as well - I don't pretend to be infallible. PiCo (talk) 06:21, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Conquest >> colonialism[edit]

I first came to this article looking for where WP talks about the nachlaben of the conquest in western colonialism including US manifest destiny and intending to add well sourced content about that... got all side tracked. will try to get to this over the next week or so. Thanks Dimadick for your work integrating the merged content better and the other improvements!!

but the only stuff that is here is about zionism and that is just one wrinkle in the much bigger story... Jytdog (talk) 08:09, 15 August 2017 (UTC)