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SV: [ANE-2] Re: Origins of the Book of Kings

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  • Niels Peter Lemche
    This long discussion suffers from the usual thing about biblically based historical studies: there is so little we know, and so many assumptions. What kind of
    Message 1 of 67 , Jul 2, 2009
      This long discussion suffers from the usual thing about biblically based
      historical studies: there is so little we know, and so many assumptions.

      What kind of facts do we really have -- including the presence of the
      first manuscripts of Kings? A nice catalogue would be a good starter.

      Then an explanation must be sought that covers all factual evidence in
      our possession, biblical as well as Mesopotamian and Egyptian and
      information relating to other quarters.

      When Berossos gets in, we have another problem: we have so very little
      of Hellenistic historiography preserved that it is rather difficult to
      get a proper impression of it. Fragments here and there, quotes, etc.
      but no history like Herodotus, nothing really from the third century.
      (That's why I sometimes have said that the biblical historical narrative
      has more in common with Titus Livius than with Herodotus, Livius having
      read those lost Greek historiographers).

      This means that it is quite a hard job to access the way a person like
      Berossos worked.

      Preservation of tradition is another matter. Whose memories? The
      Assyrians began this habit (relating to Palestine and the rest of the
      Levant) in the 8th century, meaning that there were people of western
      origins in Mesopotamia before 700. Again we know very little about them,
      and little about how they assimilated, about their memories of the past
      and lost "Heimat." And very little about their receptions of new groups
      of deported people. We do not know about relations with the homeland, if
      there were any.

      However, when we turn to Palestine itself, and look at the consequences
      of the Babylonian conquest, the country was simply devastated, and
      especially the Jerusalem area lay forsaken. However, north of Jerusalem
      much was left intact. A tradition about "Israel" may have survived there
      because the population there remained quite untouched by the events
      following 597 (587 if we also accept that date as historical).

      I could continue in this way for a long time, but the point is that we
      know so little. It would be especially nice to know more about relations
      between people living in Palestine in the Persian Period, and people
      living in Mesopotamia and Egypt. There are definitely remembrance of
      Mesopotamia included in biblical literature, but also of Palestine, and
      Egypt. The problems is_ when did such traditions merge into one
      consistent narrative as found in Kings, or better the DtrH and the
      Pentateuch -- if not the Enneateuch as becoming a more and more popular
      expression of the historical narrative from Genesis to 2 Kings. I object
      to any simplistic solution being related to Mesopotamia or to Jerusalem.

      Niels Peter Lemche
    • RUSSELLGMIRKIN@aol.com
      The episodes you mention predate the Babylonian Chronicles and do not involve the Mesopotamian empires. Russell Gmirkin There may be historical material in
      Message 67 of 67 , Jul 17, 2009
        The episodes you mention predate the Babylonian Chronicles and do not
        involve the Mesopotamian empires.

        Russell Gmirkin

        There may be historical material in Kings not derived from the Babylonian
        chronicles.

        Ahab was described as going to fight the King of Aram in Ramath Gilead
        east of the Jordan River (Ramath Gilead was supposed to be the birthplace of
        Elijah the Tishbite). This would have been near the land of the Moabites.
        Ahab was killed in the battle.

        The Moabite stela claimed Mesha killed the son of Omri and took land from
        Israel. Mesha of Moab may have sided with Aram at Ramath Gilead and used
        the Aramaen victory to temporarily displace Israel as claimed in his stela.

        2Kings 1:1 After Ahab's death, Moab rebelled against Israel.

        In Kings 3 Israel claimed Mesha and Moab who used to be subservient had
        rebelled and afterward Israel entered Moab with a large force attacking from
        the direction of Edom to the south instead of Aram to the north put down
        the rebellion.

        Was this history in Kings II not from Berossus?

        David Q. Hall




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