8625Re: SV: SV: [ANE-2] Re: Kings or chiefs. Empires or tribal camps.
- Jul 2, 2008
----- Original Message -----
From: "Frank Polak" <frankha@...>
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2008 12:41 AM
Subject: Re: SV: SV: [ANE-2] Re: Was Dan "in ships", or "complacent"?
> Dear Niels Peter,
> Happy those able to calculate populations. My experience, but again ,
> I am just an
> Israeli linguist and literary person, is that even simply counting
> existing data, is not
> easy. By the way, according to archeological method, different
> settlement patterns
> entail different proportions of population.
> The world of David as narrated is not very fairy, and as you seem to
> partly concede,
> entirely unimperial. But the truth (the literary truth, that is, the
> represented narrative world) is worse. The Absalom narrative implies
> that D had
> n o g a r r i s o n s . And worse than worse, when threatened, he
> l e a v e s t h e r o y a l r e s i d e n c e ,
> to make to Mahanayim with a few centurions (sit venium in cauda;
> would he have had a garrison over there, in view of the eastern
> front, or some loyal remainder?).
> We indeed are down to the EA numbers.
> Thus the implied picture of the narrative world is not only unlike a
> great empire,
> but it is plainly contrary to that picture.
> We can look at Ps 72, and some sundry texts in praise of Solomon, but
> these texts
> (a) cannot erase the picture arising from other texts, (b) should not
> function as corner stone
> for a historical discussion.
> As far as I can judge, but again , I am just an
> Israeli linguist and literary person, the represented narrative world of
> D and S is quite in agreement with many of the findings of the new
> archeology. Only
> if we would just find it in their heart to pay some attention to the
> texts they are
> Sorry to bother you, and best regards,
> Frank Polak
Let me state what my position is, albeit always changeable. In some ways I
think the "history of Israel" begins with Josiah whose 30 year reign as the
king of Judah ended just 20 years or so before the invasion by
Nebuchadnezzar and the exile. One of Josiah's reform tactics was
centralizing sacrifice at the sanctuary in Jerusalem (in whatever
architectural form) as a unifying measure to bring the disparate squabbling
tribes together in one seat of central power. The result was a
confederation which, IMO, was the closest Israel-Judah came to being an
"empire" with expanded tribal territories.
The glue that Josiah appears to use to cement these tribes together is the
Deuteronomic scroll, either discovered or planted in the sanctuary and its
use for the institution of the celebration of Passover. Is it possible that
the Exodus and exploits of Joshua were fleshed, drawn from various tribal
stories and legends, exaggerated and embellished to give a unifying history
behind the Passover celebration? The Exodus could have been a literary/oral
tool to give historical substance to this religious celebration...either a
greatly embellished account of an actual historical event or a total
I don't doubt that these various tribal groups (when they acquired names,
I'm not sure) each had histories of attacks and massacres of Canaanite
villages and towns. This is how wandering pastoral groups gained wealth,
more herds and women...they stole them.
Is it also possible that Joshua is a literary hero designed to unify these
disparate attacks and land grabs all approved by YHWH?
I think the writing of the narrative histories/texts of the Tanakh were
began supplementary to this Deuteronomic history (DtrH) under Josiah and
finished after the return from exile when a "national history" was
desparately needed as a new sanctuary was being built. This would place
Deuteronomy, Exodus, Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings (except for
last 2 chapters) around 620 BCE (give or take). That these writings are in
the style of Jeremiah and he was there with Josiah makes me wonder whether
Jeremiah wrote these histories whether than just collate and edit them.
Genesis, Leviticus, Numbers, the Prophets and Writings beginning after the
return in the 539 BCE and continued for various texts up until the 2nd
century BCE (Daniel, Enoch).
Of course this leaves the central question regarding the historicity of
Moses. I am inclined to believe that Moses and the Exodus was not a
complete invention but a real person and event of much smaller magnitude.
Now I am not completely clear on what the "minimalist" and
"maximum..uh..alist" positions are and where this conjecture may lie.
Obviously many of the narratives and traditions woven into these writings,
perhaps gleaned from various tribal accounts, are much more ancient than the
7th and 6th centuries.
It must be admitted by opponents of the "Copenhagen School" that it forces
you to really examine this issue critically and involved in both the
epigraphy and archaeology as well as the Biblical texts.
Well, that's my confused thinking for now...subject to constant
San Antonio, TX
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