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Jericho

11/2/2005 raalynth wrote: Article regarding Jericho,
There seems to be some flawed logic in the thinking that Jericho is “proven to have never existed” simply because we can not see it today. This was the same thinking the led to the belief that Machu-Pichu in the Andes was non-existent, and that there was no real location represted as “Troy” in Homerʼs epics. Both of these have been “discovered” (or the “likely location” of the site used for inspiration) relatively recently.
Jericho

Edward T. Babinski: You appear to be referring to this comment by an eminent Biblical Archeologist, William Dever, and in context he is NOT saying what you think he is.

‘The later of archaeologist Kathleen Kenyonʼs dates removed the destruction of Jericho from the world of the biblical Joshua by several centuries…For Bill Denver…widely regarded as one of the leading figures in the field, Jericho still makes him shake his head…‘I always say to people - ‘if you want a miracle, hereʼs your miracle - Joshua destroyed a city that didnʼt even exist’. ‘The almost total absence of direct archaeological evidence for Joshuaʼs battle is too suggestive to be passed over. And if direct evidence is lacking, so too is indirect corroboration’. (pp.46,47,52)

Please read Biblical Archeology Review where Dr. Dever is regularly published. Heʼs not a minimalist, nor a total denier of Biblical history. William G. Dever was the son of a fundamentalist preacher. After starting his education at a small Christian liberal arts college in Tennessee (Bob Jones Univ. presumably) he went to a Protestant theological seminary that exposed him to critical study of the Bible, a study that at first he resisted. In 1960 it was on to Harvard and a doctorate in Biblical theology. For thirty-five years he worked as an archaeologist, excavating in the Near East, and he is now professor of Near Eastern archaeology and anthropology at the University of Arizona. In his book, What Did the Bible Writers Know and When Did They Know It?, he writes, “While the Hebrew Bible in its present, heavily edited form cannot be taken at face value as history in the modern sense, it nevertheless contains much history.” He adds: “After a century of exhaustive investigation, all respectable archaeologists have given up hope of recovering any context that would make Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob credible ‘historical figures.’” He writes of archaeological investigations of Moses and the Exodus as having been “discarded as a fruitless pursuit.” He says what really undercuts the biblical story of the Exodus is the lack of evidence to support what is called “the conquest theory,” that the Israelites took the land of Canaan by force. “There just isnʼt any evidence of widespread destructions of Canaanite cities at the end of the Bronze Age around 1200. And it now appears that most of the early Israelite villages that we have, some 300 or so, are in the central hill country, which had been sparsely occupied before. And these new sites are not established on the ruins of old Canaanite towns, but are established on bedrock or virgin soil. So most mainstream scholars and all archaeologists today would regard these hill country settlers, or Israelites probably, as coming from somewhere within Canaan itself.” He is not saying that the Biblical Moses was entirely mythical, though he does admit that “.the overwhelming archaeological evidence today of largely indigenous origins for early Israel leaves no room for an exodus from Egypt or a 40-year pilgrimage through the Sinai wilderness. A Moses-like figure may have existed somewhere in southern Transjordan in the mid-late13th century B.C., where many scholars think the Biblical traditions concerning the god Yahweh arose. But archaeology can do nothing to confirm such a figure as a historical personage, much less prove that he was the founder of later Israelite region.”

About Leviticus and Numbers he writes that these are “clearly additions to the ‘pre-history’ by very late Priestly editorial hands, preoccupied with notions of ritual purity, themes of the ‘promised land,’ and other literary motifs that most modern readers will scarcely find edifying much less historical.” Dever writes that “the whole ‘Exodus-Conquest’ cycle of stories must now be set aside as largely mythical, but in the proper sense of the term ‘myth’: perhaps ‘historical fiction,’ but tales told primarily to validate religious beliefs.”

Deverʼs conclusions about what archaeology tells us about the Bible are not very pleasing to fundamentalists or conservative Evangelicals, and I gather that Dever and his colleagues of high standing likewise dismiss fundamentalists and hard-core conservative Evangelicals who want to consider themselves scholars without accepting that which good scholars must do: engage in extensive critical analysis. Those testifying for Deverʼs book (on the back cover) are: Paul D. Hanson, Professor of Divinity and Old Testament at Harvard University; David Noel Freedman, Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the University of Michigan; Philip M. King, Professor at Boston College and author of Jeremiah; William W. Hallo, Professor of Assyriology and Babylonian Literature at Yale University; and Bernhard W. Anderson, Professor of Old Testament, Boston University and Professor Emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary. Like Dever, these are not a bunch of radical revisionists, but moderates in the field of Christian archeology.

Deverʼs latest book is, Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From? Conservative and fundamentalist Christians who interpret the Bible literally will gain no encouragement after reading it. Bart D. Ehrman apparently started out as a conservative Christian, graduating magna cum laude with a B.A. from Wheaton College, Illinois (a major Evangelical Christian institution from which Billy Graham had also graduated) before attending Princeton Seminary and obtaining his doctorate. His highly successful introduction to the New Testament, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (Oxford Univ. Press) is now in its third edition—“It approaches the New Testament from a consistently historical and comparative perspective, emphasizing the rich diversity of the earliest Christian literature. Rather than shying away from the critical problems presented by these books, Ehrman addresses the historical and literary challenges they pose and shows why scholars continue to argue over such significant issues as how the books of the New Testament came into being, what they mean, how they relate to contemporary Christian and non-Christian literature, and how they came to be collected into a canon of Scripture.” Dr. Ehrmanʼs university lectures are also sold by The Teaching Company that features tapes and CDs


Jericho

The First Farmers 10,000-4,000 B.C

The earliest farmers settled nearly 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East… they kept goats, sheep, pigs, and cattle that they used for meat, milk, hides, wool, and to carry things. The improvement in the design of simple tools allowed people to clear land more effectively, build villages, and stay in fertile areas in China, northwest India, Iran, Egypt, southern Europe, and Mexico.

Domestication

The first animal to be domesticated was the dog, as early as 10,000 B.C. Dogs were used for herding and as night guards. The horse, goat, and sheep were also domesticated. Farmers learned how to breed animals in order to change their characteristics. Meanwhile, some animals, such as aurochs, were hunted to extinction.
-Kingfisher Encyclopedia of World History

Jericho

Near the modern city of Jericho lie the remains of one of the oldest towns in the world. Archaeologists have found some other very old sites in the Middle East, but there are only villages. Some time after 10,000 BC a group of hunters, attracted by a good supply of food and water, settled on the site which was to become the town of Jericho. By about 8000 BC, they were living in a village and had probably begun to farm, though they had not learned how to make pottery. They buried their dead under their houses. As wealth increased, the village grew into a town. To protect themselves, they built a stone wall with towers… Despite the defences, Jericho must have been captured. By about 7000 BC, new people, who built rectangular houses instead of round ones, were living there.

Of all the ancient settlements found so far, the largest is Çatal Hüyük (pronounced Chatal Hooyuk). Excavations show that it flourished between 6500 BC and 5650 BC.
-Usborne World History

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