onsdag 24 oktober 2012

Errors in Torah, Exodus, Egypt, Canaan, book of Judges, Joshua

I hope everything is well with you!

I have read through it.

Some of the sources seem to be credible, but it doesn't mean that his conclusions are. His methodology is flawed, e.g. his erroneous assumptions about the world being created in 6 days and a global flood; but some of the references he provides I think are useful to get and to read. [e.g. this book: http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=0300059191 ]
He may still of course make some correct conclusions, one must, however, be very vary of his bias and how this influences what he write.

Anyways, I think that there was some Israelite presence in Egypt and that the 14:th-century b.c.e. dating is more credible. However, e.g. indication of Israelite presence in Egypt and possibly confirmation of other parts of the account, doesn't prove all stories recounted in Exodus and the rest of the Torah to be correct; and it doesn't provide any proof that the Torah is the infallible instruction manual. But, for many years I did that same mistake (10+ years), so I know how you are reasoning.

What do you think about this research?:

This is a very neat picture of the rapid conquest of Canaan, but it's at odds with statements elsewhere in Joshua and in the book of Judges. For example, the victories in Chapters 2 through 10 are confined to a very small area, what would actually be the tribe of Benjamin basically, so just one small area. In Joshua 13:1: Joshua 13 opens with the statement that Joshua was old, advanced in years, and there was much of the land remaining to be possessed. In Joshua 10 (which is in the first part of Joshua — Joshua 10) verses 36-39 report the conquest of several cities in the south, including Hebron and Debir. But in Judges, we read that they had not been captured: they were captured later, after Joshua's death. Joshua 12:10 reports the defeat of the king of Jerusalem. In Judges 1:8 and 21, we read that the people of Judah did this (conquered the king of Jerusalem) and that despite that victory they failed to actually drive out the inhabitants, the Jebusites, who lived there. And it is not until King David, 200 years later that, in fact, we will read about the capture of Jerusalem. Judges 1 gives a long list of the places from which the Canaanites were not expelled.

Also archaeological evidence contradicts the picture in Joshua. In the Ancient Near East, destroyed cities tended to be leveled, and then a new city would just be built on top of the ruins, and you would have these slowly rising mounds — each one of those is called a tell (so you may have heard of Tell Dor?). These are mounds which represent the successive layers of destroyed and rebuilt cities. And excavations will reveal the destruction layers under the floor of new cities. So following the biblical account, we would expect evidence of a thirteenth century destruction of Canaanite cities. And archaeologists for a long time were convinced that they would find these destruction layers. But they were disappointed. They have found really no evidence of extensive conquest and destruction in thirteenth and twelfth century archaeological layers. Some of the sites that are said to be destroyed by Joshua and the Israelites weren't even occupied in this period, the late Bronze Age, beginning of the Iron Age; the Iron Age begins around 1200. Excavations at Jericho and Ai indicate that both of these towns were laid waste at least 200 years before the probable time of Joshua; so there weren't even any walls in Jericho at the time of Joshua. Of 20 identifiable sites that were said to be conquered or captured by Joshua and the next generations, only two show destruction layers for this time, Hazor and Beth-el. And yet interestingly enough, Hazor's capture described in Joshua is contradicted elsewhere in the Bible, because in Judges 4 and 5, it is still a Canaanite city. It is said there that it is still a Canaanite city and Joshua failed to take it.
[Lecture: http://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/rlst-145/lecture-12#transcript ]

Take care my friend!

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