Talk:History of ancient Israel and Judah

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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)

References

  1. ^ Rendsburg, p.20

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.[1] 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. [2]

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.[3]

--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)

References

  1. ^ Rendsburg, pp.3-5
  2. ^ Rendsburg, pp.6-7
  3. ^ Rendsburg, pp.5-6

"whereas the Bible had depicted them as monotheists from the beginning"[edit]

Really, the Bible presents the Israelites as a committed group of monotheists from the beginning? ROFL The golden calf, the constant rebuking for adopting foreign religions and gods, the threats of destruction... a large portion of the Tanakh is dedicated to addressing the fact that many of the Israelites were practicing pagans/polytheists. Can people not read anymore or what?

"the new thought was that they were polytheists who gave rise to a small and ultimately successful group of monotheistic revolutionaries"

New thought?! (face palm) That's exactly what anyone with any shred of sense reading the Bible would realize the text speaks of! So, the archaeological record provides confirmation of the text... ok. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.88.94.122 (talk) 07:09, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

It's not that straightforward, the emic Bible story is that the Israelites were monotheists since Abraham and that polytheism was an aberration, relapse, dissent, fringe movement, felling into temptation, insanity, you name it. Of course the etic story is different. Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:05, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
Agree. Tried to amend the article accordingly. The subtitle "arcaelogy..etc" is appropriate for part of the paragraph but not all of it. Needs different subtitle IMO. Tried to add polytheistic gods which are mentioned in Genesis. Student7 (talk) 18:22, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
The Tanakh does not present polytheism as a fringe movement, it actually presents the Hebrews as being somewhat of an unstable group as far as religion is concerned but with a small powerful group promoting the "true" monotheism while the "popular" religion of the people was constantly falling into polytheism. "They played the whore in Egypt; they played the whore in their youth; there their breasts were pressed and their virgin bosoms handled." (Ezekiel 23:3 ESV) So, the time in Egypt is characterized here with the strongest possible words. "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:15 ESV) Here the period immediately following the Exodus is characterized as a time of lawlessness where godly men are raised up to restore order, not a period of monotheistic purity. And I don't think it necessary to quote the texts that point to Solomon (the wisest king) falling into idolatry and even building temples to foreign gods. The Tanakh shows the ancient Israelites as a group wherein monotheism was budding against constant attacks from within and without by pagan polytheism.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.88.94.122 (talkcontribs)

Removal of section on sources[edit]

I've removed the section on sources, but because it's such a major edit I'm explaining here to open a discussion. The section is:

The sources for the history of ancient Israel and Judah can be broadly divided into the biblical narrative (the Hebrew Bible, Deuterocanonical and non-biblical works for the later period) and the archaeological record. The latter can again be divided between epigraphy (written inscriptions, both from Israel and other lands including Mesopotamia and Egypt) and the material record (i.e., physical objects from that period).
The Torah contains "sagas, heroic epics, oral traditions, annals, biographies, narrative histories, novellae, belles lettres, proverbs and wisdom-sayings, poetry, prophecy, apocalyptic, and much more ... the whole finally woven into a composite, highly complex literary fabric sometime in the Hellenistic era."[3]
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, he 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 thought was that they were polytheists who gave rise to a small and ultimately successful group of monotheistic revolutionaries.[4] 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.[5]
Though he recognized the Israelites as Canaanites by origin, Albrecht Alt 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.[6] Instead modern studies have revealed that the Israelites emerged from a dramatic social transformation of Canaanite nomads of the central hill country of Canaan around 1200 BCE, with no signs of violent invasion or even of peaceful infiltration of a clearly defined ethnic group from elsewhere.[7]

I removed this because I see many problems with the content. For example, the second para mentions the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament) without actually telling you how useful this is as history, and ignores everything else. The next two paras dwell at great length on Alt, ignore everyone else (though Rendsberg is mentioned), and is hopelessly out of date. Beyond this, the whole subject could be better covered by a link to the Historicity of the Bible article. Anyway, what are the views of other editors? PiCo (talk) 00:05, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

If something is out of date or not balanced, you should improve it, not just delete it. You seem to just be pushing your point of view. tahc chat 00:59, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
There's no point of view at all in deleting the section - my reason is that the subject is potentially huge and that the section doesn't adequately cover it. If you feel it should remain but be re-written, that's fine - though I'd like you to suggest some edits.PiCo (talk) 01:23, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
One problem the old section had was that it dwelt on the history of sources, that is, history of research. While some mention should be made somewhere about differing ideas over time, maybe not here?
The section seemed out of place compared to other like articles. It's one thing to present "External links" or "external references", but discussing them, and not seemingly arriving at any point seems unusual. Student7 (talk) 15:39, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Verification[edit]

This is about [1]. Does Grabbe say that? It is not ok to promote editor's own opinions as if they are claims made by WP:SOURCES. Tgeorgescu (talk) 07:07, 26 December 2016 (UTC)

Here's what he says:
A number of the contributors to the present volume discussed state formation in one context or another, often in relation to when Israel and/or Judah became a state. Finkelstcin, Fantalkin, and Piasetzky argue that the earliest evidence for state formation in Judah all dates to late Iron IIA: Beth-Shemesh Ila, Lachish IV. Arad XI. and Beer-sheba V. With regard to Jerusalem, the following seem to"IV. Arad XI. and Beer-sheba V. With regard lo Jerusalem, the following seem to relate lo an early phase of slate formation: first, the Stepped Slone Structure ean be dated to Iron IIA from the sherds found in it (late 9th or early 8th centuries).9 A second example is the massive building whose foundations have been dug up by Eilat Ma/.ar. In spile of her date (10th century), no floor is associated with the building. The latest pottery' in a fill probably laid in order to prepare for the construction of the building is Iron IIA (9th century).10 Finallv, the bullae found by Reich, Shukron, and Lemau near the Gihon Spring indicate some sort of advanced administration in Jerusalem about 800 B.C.E. These examples all point to the 9th century for the earliest public architecture, administrative apparatus, and significant growth. This is the period when Jerusalem was dominated by the prosperous Omride Dynasty.
Knauf suggests that Israelite state formation started in the Bcnjamin-Jcrusa-lcm area and spread to Shechem only later. Gibcon (and Jerusalem to a lesser degree) flourished while Shechem lay in total eclipse during the late 11th and early 10th centuries. Then general economic recovery began in the 10th century'," Doug Weller talk 09:37, 26 December 2016 (UTC)