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Re: SV: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri

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  • David Hall
    Niels,   I have read Finkelstein about the theory of a late Iron II expansion of Jerusalem after the fall of Hazor and the northern cities to the
    Message 1 of 18 , Oct 1, 2011
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      Niels,
       
      I have read Finkelstein about the theory of a late Iron II expansion of Jerusalem after the fall of Hazor and the northern cities to the Assyrians.  There is a theory northern refugees moved into Jerusalem to avoid the Assyrian armies marching towards them.  There was a broad wall discovered on the slopes of Zion that is dated to pre-exilic times and is evidence of a much larger city than the Iron I Jerusalem of the SE ridge above the Kidron Valley.  This broad wall is a short distance from the Armenian Quarter and modern city wall of Old Jerusalem. 
       
      http://www.gojerusalem.com/discover/item_11470/The-Broad-Wall
       
      The old city was not exceedingly large in the 2nd century BCE.  The city growth was limited to the fact it had one spring at Gihon, cisterns, and at some time a well outside the city walls to the south.  The early first century Jerusalem had not yet expanded to the NE and its first NE wall was likely near the Via Dolorosa of modern times.  The Romans built an aqueduct from the south and Jerusalem expanded again out to the third wall.  Josephus wrote Pilate stole the temple korban (funds) in order to build an aqueduct to Jerusalem.
       
      It may be of interest; the book of Nehemiah and the Elephantine Island community both recorded the name Sanballat. 
       
      David Q. Hall
      Falls Church, Virginia
       
       
       
       


      ________________________________
      From: Niels Peter Lemche <npl@...>
      To: "ANE-2@yahoogroups.com" <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Saturday, October 1, 2011 6:59 AM
      Subject: SV: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri


       

      Before I start: My forgot my glasses in my office in Copenhagen yesterday. It is an 80 miles drive! So if spelling etc is more compromised than usual, that's the reason.

      And to Gardner's mail:

      first, before we get to far from the subject, the Elephantine papyri: This list is not about biblical historicity.

      Second, the argument is wrong: It is nowhere to be proven that the mentioning of the names of Ezra and Nehemiah makes them historical. I could mention Tarzan without making him historical. Gilgamesh was probably in the hoary past a king from Lagash, but that will be the only historical part of the epic, etc etc.

      Third: Jeremias has nothing to say about Elephantine. a) can we date Jeremias? except from conventional beliefs that be belonged where he is said to belong? b) the context of Jer 44 and 46 is N.E Egypt. Migdol, as one of the place names mentioned there could be everywhere (meaning "tower"), the other names is about something in the eastern delta. How long is the distance from, say the present Suez canal to Elephantine?

      Fourth: The geography of Jerusalem in the Persian and Hellenistic periods is definitely a hot subject today. Some leading archaeologists like David Ussishkin would say that there was really nothing here before c. 200 BCE, making this discussion totally redundant

      Fifth: The post-exilic period is a concept, an ideological one, that comes from the Old Testament. We are investigating whether or not the concept is meaningful, as the Jewish society persisted in Iraq until 1951.

      Sixth: the term "Jew" in this connection is ideological and certainly not very precise. Which also means arguing that the Elephantine sociewty was Jewish is already presupposing something that is far from secure.

      Seventh: Bill Dever did not find out that Iron Age Yahweh of Juda/Samaria was a bachelor -- although he would be happy to be reckoned so. Here it would be more precise to quote the specialized literature by Tilde Binger, Paolo Merlo, Wiggins and more.

      But again, this is not the place to discuss the historicity of Ezra and Nehemiah. Such questions really belongs in biblical lists like Biblical studies. A remark like this "Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little critical merit and risks
      seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age" has nothing to do here.

      Niels Peter Lemche




      -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
      Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af drbrucekgardner@...
      Sendt: den 1 oktober 2011 12:16
      Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri


      Leaving aside the debated Ezra Memorial, Ezra-Nehemiah makes specific
      reference to historical figures that must constitute a kind of historical
      comment, however cautiously they be used. As Schurer's History of the Jewish
      People in the Age of Jesus Christ points out (III; 38-40) Elephantine
      references to the establishment of Passover at an imperial level are consistent
      with the biblical accounts of Nehemiah's mission. A Jewish settlement in the
      6th Cent BCE is mentioned in Jer. 44:1 and 46:13-14, from which literary text
      (Jer 44:1-23), also, we have the condemnation of "the Queen of Heaven",
      which appears to be a reference to a consort of Yhw. See also W. G. Dever Did
      God Have A Wife? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans: 2005). Nehemianic stories of
      Sanballat the Horonite and other local enemies of the land also make the point
      about a stricter Judaism founding itself in post-exilic Jerusalem,
      determined to be the norm in the midst of what may have been wide theological
      variations. All such references point to the same concept of normative,
      monotheistic Jerusalem and, while one may wish to be cautious in their
      application, their relevance as evidence seems undeniable.


      To ignore all biblical testimony, therefore, merely on grounds of uncertain
      dating, seems to be excessively dismissive. Besides, by what standard of
      logic do we deny the probity of biblical writers, while automatically
      ascribing the highest level of probity to non-biblical writers? We know of
      Elephantine what a writer in a highly-politicised climate told someone else. If
      one is going to be consistent one must maintain reserve about the
      reliability of non-biblical witnesses. All reconstructions are tentative, as the
      history of criticism reminds us.



      To favour one source, apparently uncritically and unreservedly, while
      excluding another one in the same way,
      risks prejudice in sources. One accepts the cautious argument, therefore,
      but one must reserve the right to cite biblical sources. And in those
      sources there appears a reason for a distance between the Jerusalemite and
      Elephantine perspectives that should not, be ignored, namely a centralist and
      monotheistic ideology in Jerusalem. By all means let that theory be tested,
      but let it not be shut out of possibility, merely because the sources are
      "literary". What does that mean, in real terms, when writing letters is a
      literary endeavour?


      Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little critical merit and risks
      seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age. Gam
      zeh ya'avor. In the meantime, let us keep a level head on all sources.



      Bruce Gardner
      Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.



      In a message dated 30/09/2011 22:02:16 GMT Daylight Time,
      RUSSELLGMIRKIN@... writes:





      Yes, but at least we know what was known at Elephantine in the fifth
      century. We do _not_ know what was known in Judah in the fifth century,
      unless
      we make unwarranted assumptions about the historical value of undated
      texts
      such as Ezra or Nehemiah or the Prophets. Surely contemporary non-literary
      evidence from Elephantine that is secure in date should be given priority
      over literary texts of unknown date.

      Best regards,
      Russell Gmirkin

      I do not think it possible to generalize from what was known at
      Elephantine to what was known in Judah at the time.

      Liz Fried
      Ann Arbor

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



      ------------------------------------

      Yahoo! Groups Links






      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Niels Peter Lemche
      dear David, Not Hazor, but Samaria. It is, however, contested that this was the reason. After all, it seems that Samarua was not destroyed, but a total of some
      Message 2 of 18 , Oct 1, 2011
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        dear David,

        Not Hazor, but Samaria. It is, however, contested that this was the reason. After all, it seems that Samarua was not destroyed, but a total of some 20.000 persons were taken away. However, in the south the falkl of Lachish in 701, and Sennacherib's destruction of the built-up areas of Judah may have coursed the changes.

        As to Sanballat, it is an Assyrian name: Sinuballit. Which is interesting and should be kept in mind as something remembered.

        Niels Peter Lemche




        -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
        Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af David Hall
        Sendt: den 1 oktober 2011 16:44
        Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
        Emne: Re: SV: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri

        Niels,
         
        I have read Finkelstein about the theory of a late Iron II expansion of Jerusalem after the fall of Hazor and the northern cities to the Assyrians.  There is a theory northern refugees moved into Jerusalem to avoid the Assyrian armies marching towards them.  There was a broad wall discovered on the slopes of Zion that is dated to pre-exilic times and is evidence of a much larger city than the Iron I Jerusalem of the SE ridge above the Kidron Valley.  This broad wall is a short distance from the Armenian Quarter and modern city wall of Old Jerusalem. 
         
        http://www.gojerusalem.com/discover/item_11470/The-Broad-Wall
         
        The old city was not exceedingly large in the 2nd century BCE.  The city growth was limited to the fact it had one spring at Gihon, cisterns, and at some time a well outside the city walls to the south.  The early first century Jerusalem had not yet expanded to the NE and its first NE wall was likely near the Via Dolorosa of modern times.  The Romans built an aqueduct from the south and Jerusalem expanded again out to the third wall.  Josephus wrote Pilate stole the temple korban (funds) in order to build an aqueduct to Jerusalem.
         
        It may be of interest; the book of Nehemiah and the Elephantine Island community both recorded the name Sanballat. 
         
        David Q. Hall
        Falls Church, Virginia
         
         
         
         


        ________________________________
        From: Niels Peter Lemche <npl@...>
        To: "ANE-2@yahoogroups.com" <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Saturday, October 1, 2011 6:59 AM
        Subject: SV: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri


         

        Before I start: My forgot my glasses in my office in Copenhagen yesterday. It is an 80 miles drive! So if spelling etc is more compromised than usual, that's the reason.

        And to Gardner's mail:

        first, before we get to far from the subject, the Elephantine papyri: This list is not about biblical historicity.

        Second, the argument is wrong: It is nowhere to be proven that the mentioning of the names of Ezra and Nehemiah makes them historical. I could mention Tarzan without making him historical. Gilgamesh was probably in the hoary past a king from Lagash, but that will be the only historical part of the epic, etc etc.

        Third: Jeremias has nothing to say about Elephantine. a) can we date Jeremias? except from conventional beliefs that be belonged where he is said to belong? b) the context of Jer 44 and 46 is N.E Egypt. Migdol, as one of the place names mentioned there could be everywhere (meaning "tower"), the other names is about something in the eastern delta. How long is the distance from, say the present Suez canal to Elephantine?

        Fourth: The geography of Jerusalem in the Persian and Hellenistic periods is definitely a hot subject today. Some leading archaeologists like David Ussishkin would say that there was really nothing here before c. 200 BCE, making this discussion totally redundant

        Fifth: The post-exilic period is a concept, an ideological one, that comes from the Old Testament. We are investigating whether or not the concept is meaningful, as the Jewish society persisted in Iraq until 1951.

        Sixth: the term "Jew" in this connection is ideological and certainly not very precise. Which also means arguing that the Elephantine sociewty was Jewish is already presupposing something that is far from secure.

        Seventh: Bill Dever did not find out that Iron Age Yahweh of Juda/Samaria was a bachelor -- although he would be happy to be reckoned so. Here it would be more precise to quote the specialized literature by Tilde Binger, Paolo Merlo, Wiggins and more.

        But again, this is not the place to discuss the historicity of Ezra and Nehemiah. Such questions really belongs in biblical lists like Biblical studies. A remark like this "Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little critical merit and risks
        seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age" has nothing to do here.

        Niels Peter Lemche




        -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
        Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af drbrucekgardner@...
        Sendt: den 1 oktober 2011 12:16
        Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
        Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri


        Leaving aside the debated Ezra Memorial, Ezra-Nehemiah makes specific
        reference to historical figures that must constitute a kind of historical
        comment, however cautiously they be used. As Schurer's History of the Jewish
        People in the Age of Jesus Christ points out (III; 38-40) Elephantine
        references to the establishment of Passover at an imperial level are consistent
        with the biblical accounts of Nehemiah's mission. A Jewish settlement in the
        6th Cent BCE is mentioned in Jer. 44:1 and 46:13-14, from which literary text
        (Jer 44:1-23), also, we have the condemnation of "the Queen of Heaven",
        which appears to be a reference to a consort of Yhw. See also W. G. Dever Did
        God Have A Wife? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans: 2005). Nehemianic stories of
        Sanballat the Horonite and other local enemies of the land also make the point
        about a stricter Judaism founding itself in post-exilic Jerusalem,
        determined to be the norm in the midst of what may have been wide theological
        variations. All such references point to the same concept of normative,
        monotheistic Jerusalem and, while one may wish to be cautious in their
        application, their relevance as evidence seems undeniable.


        To ignore all biblical testimony, therefore, merely on grounds of uncertain
        dating, seems to be excessively dismissive. Besides, by what standard of
        logic do we deny the probity of biblical writers, while automatically
        ascribing the highest level of probity to non-biblical writers? We know of
        Elephantine what a writer in a highly-politicised climate told someone else. If
        one is going to be consistent one must maintain reserve about the
        reliability of non-biblical witnesses. All reconstructions are tentative, as the
        history of criticism reminds us.



        To favour one source, apparently uncritically and unreservedly, while
        excluding another one in the same way,
        risks prejudice in sources. One accepts the cautious argument, therefore,
        but one must reserve the right to cite biblical sources. And in those
        sources there appears a reason for a distance between the Jerusalemite and
        Elephantine perspectives that should not, be ignored, namely a centralist and
        monotheistic ideology in Jerusalem. By all means let that theory be tested,
        but let it not be shut out of possibility, merely because the sources are
        "literary". What does that mean, in real terms, when writing letters is a
        literary endeavour?


        Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little critical merit and risks
        seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age. Gam
        zeh ya'avor. In the meantime, let us keep a level head on all sources.



        Bruce Gardner
        Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.



        In a message dated 30/09/2011 22:02:16 GMT Daylight Time,
        RUSSELLGMIRKIN@... writes:





        Yes, but at least we know what was known at Elephantine in the fifth
        century. We do _not_ know what was known in Judah in the fifth century,
        unless
        we make unwarranted assumptions about the historical value of undated
        texts
        such as Ezra or Nehemiah or the Prophets. Surely contemporary non-literary
        evidence from Elephantine that is secure in date should be given priority
        over literary texts of unknown date.

        Best regards,
        Russell Gmirkin

        I do not think it possible to generalize from what was known at
        Elephantine to what was known in Judah at the time.

        Liz Fried
        Ann Arbor

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



        ------------------------------------

        Yahoo! Groups Links






        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



        ------------------------------------

        Yahoo! Groups Links
      • RUSSELLGMIRKIN@aol.com
        In light of NPL s comments below, I will refrain from engaging in Bruce Gardener s comments on biblical historicity other to state that he misunderstands my
        Message 3 of 18 , Oct 1, 2011
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          In light of NPL's comments below, I will refrain from engaging in Bruce
          Gardener's comments on biblical historicity other to state that he
          misunderstands my position and that I welcome historical data from any literary
          source that has been subjected to proper historical criticism, which, I hasten
          to add, Dr. Gardner appears to attempt to perform.

          With respect to the archaeological debate on Jerusalem that NPL mentions in
          point 4 below, I would invoke the Elephantine Papyri no. 30 [Cowley],
          which is addressed to "Johanan the high priest and his colleagues the priests
          who are in Jerusalem" along with a body of "nobles" as contemporary evidence
          in 408 BCE of the importance of Jerusalem in religious matters and some of
          the social institutions present there. As an indisputably contemporary
          document, IMO this constitutes the best available evidence at present for
          Persian period Jerusalem (the archaeological remains remaining relatively mute
          at present date).

          Best regards,
          Russell Gmirkin




          Before I start: My forgot my glasses in my office in Copenhagen yesterday.
          It is an 80 miles drive! So if spelling etc is more compromised than usual,
          that's the reason.

          And to Gardner's mail:

          first, before we get to far from the subject, the Elephantine papyri: This
          list is not about biblical historicity.

          Second, the argument is wrong: It is nowhere to be proven that the
          mentioning of the names of Ezra and Nehemiah makes them historical. I could
          mention Tarzan without making him historical. Gilgamesh was probably in the hoary
          past a king from Lagash, but that will be the only historical part of the
          epic, etc etc.

          Third: Jeremias has nothing to say about Elephantine. a) can we date
          Jeremias? except from conventional beliefs that be belonged where he is said to
          belong? b) the context of Jer 44 and 46 is N.E Egypt. Migdol, as one of the
          place names mentioned there could be everywhere (meaning "tower"), the
          other names is about something in the eastern delta. How long is the distance
          from, say the present Suez canal to Elephantine?

          Fourth: The geography of Jerusalem in the Persian and Hellenistic periods
          is definitely a hot subject today. Some leading archaeologists like David
          Ussishkin would say that there was really nothing here before c. 200 BCE,
          making this discussion totally redundant

          Fifth: The post-exilic period is a concept, an ideological one, that comes
          from the Old Testament. We are investigating whether or not the concept is
          meaningful, as the Jewish society persisted in Iraq until 1951.

          Sixth: the term "Jew" in this connection is ideological and certainly not
          very precise. Which also means arguing that the Elephantine sociewty was
          Jewish is already presupposing something that is far from secure.

          Seventh: Bill Dever did not find out that Iron Age Yahweh of Juda/Samaria
          was a bachelor -- although he would be happy to be reckoned so. Here it
          would be more precise to quote the specialized literature by Tilde Binger,
          Paolo Merlo, Wiggins and more.

          But again, this is not the place to discuss the historicity of Ezra and
          Nehemiah. Such questions really belongs in biblical lists like Biblical
          studies. A remark like this "Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little
          critical merit and risks
          seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age" has
          nothing to do here.

          Niels Peter Lemche




          -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
          Fra: _ANE-2@yahoogroups.com_ (mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com)
          [mailto:_ANE-2@yahoogroups.com_ (mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com) ] På vegne af
          _drbrucekgardner@..._ (mailto:drbrucekgardner@...)
          Sendt: den 1 oktober 2011 12:16
          Til: _ANE-2@yahoogroups.com_ (mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com)
          Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri


          Leaving aside the debated Ezra Memorial, Ezra-Nehemiah makes specific
          reference to historical figures that must constitute a kind of historical
          comment, however cautiously they be used. As Schurer's History of the
          Jewish
          People in the Age of Jesus Christ points out (III; 38-40) Elephantine
          references to the establishment of Passover at an imperial level are
          consistent
          with the biblical accounts of Nehemiah's mission. A Jewish settlement in
          the
          6th Cent BCE is mentioned in Jer. 44:1 and 46:13-14, from which literary
          text
          (Jer 44:1-23), also, we have the condemnation of "the Queen of Heaven",
          which appears to be a reference to a consort of Yhw. See also W. G. Dever
          Did
          God Have A Wife? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans: 2005). Nehemianic stories of
          Sanballat the Horonite and other local enemies of the land also make the
          point
          about a stricter Judaism founding itself in post-exilic Jerusalem,
          determined to be the norm in the midst of what may have been wide
          theological
          variations. All such references point to the same concept of normative,
          monotheistic Jerusalem and, while one may wish to be cautious in their
          application, their relevance as evidence seems undeniable.


          To ignore all biblical testimony, therefore, merely on grounds of
          uncertain
          dating, seems to be excessively dismissive. Besides, by what standard of
          logic do we deny the probity of biblical writers, while automatically
          ascribing the highest level of probity to non-biblical writers? We know of
          Elephantine what a writer in a highly-politicised climate told someone
          else. If
          one is going to be consistent one must maintain reserve about the
          reliability of non-biblical witnesses. All reconstructions are tentative,
          as the
          history of criticism reminds us.

          To favour one source, apparently uncritically and unreservedly, while
          excluding another one in the same way,
          risks prejudice in sources. One accepts the cautious argument, therefore,
          but one must reserve the right to cite biblical sources. And in those
          sources there appears a reason for a distance between the Jerusalemite and
          Elephantine perspectives that should not, be ignored, namely a centralist
          and
          monotheistic ideology in Jerusalem. By all means let that theory be
          tested,
          but let it not be shut out of possibility, merely because the sources are
          "literary". What does that mean, in real terms, when writing letters is a
          literary endeavour?

          Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little critical merit and risks
          seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age. Gam
          zeh ya'avor. In the meantime, let us keep a level head on all sources.



          Bruce Gardner
          Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.








          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Niels Peter Lemche
          Dear Russell, Jerusalem is a most elusive place, It is never there when you need it the most. We have a series of letters from Jerusalem in the Amarna period,
          Message 4 of 18 , Oct 1, 2011
          • 0 Attachment
            Dear Russell,

            Jerusalem is a most elusive place, It is never there when you need it the most. We have a series of letters from Jerusalem in the Amarna period, but so far nothing that looks like a city has been found dating to the LB period. Then the 10th century BCE ? An area of conflict, and I stay with my Tell Aviv friends and Margreet Steiner saying that it is not there, in spite of the traditions said to belong to this century. Then we have the Persian period and early Hellenistic period which is now also getting into trouble.

            I have aired the possibility that it is not the city that is important but its religious tradition. There need not be a city in order that a kahan rab should be there. A temple would do fine even a sanctuary of some sort (think also of recent downdating of the second temple of Jerusalem to the second half of the 5th century [Edelman]).

            The place's religious prestige is difficult to doubt. It But there is a kind of cultural memory to the idea that David opened for the religious tradition by pkacing the ark of the Lord at Araunah's treashing ground and in the discussion in connection with the plans of building a temple, if this God really needs a temple.

            Te argument that not enough diggings have taken place in Jerusalem is rubbish although often heard. I suppose that it would be impossible to find another place on earth as extensively digged as Jerusalem (maybe Rome can compete). As to an administrative centre in the Persian Period, other candidates have been aired, such as Ramat Rahel.

            Niels Peter Lemche




            -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
            Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af RUSSELLGMIRKIN@...
            Sendt: den 1 oktober 2011 17:35
            Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            Emne: Re: SV: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri


            In light of NPL's comments below, I will refrain from engaging in Bruce
            Gardener's comments on biblical historicity other to state that he
            misunderstands my position and that I welcome historical data from any literary
            source that has been subjected to proper historical criticism, which, I hasten
            to add, Dr. Gardner appears to attempt to perform.

            With respect to the archaeological debate on Jerusalem that NPL mentions in
            point 4 below, I would invoke the Elephantine Papyri no. 30 [Cowley],
            which is addressed to "Johanan the high priest and his colleagues the priests
            who are in Jerusalem" along with a body of "nobles" as contemporary evidence
            in 408 BCE of the importance of Jerusalem in religious matters and some of
            the social institutions present there. As an indisputably contemporary
            document, IMO this constitutes the best available evidence at present for
            Persian period Jerusalem (the archaeological remains remaining relatively mute
            at present date).

            Best regards,
            Russell Gmirkin




            Before I start: My forgot my glasses in my office in Copenhagen yesterday.
            It is an 80 miles drive! So if spelling etc is more compromised than usual,
            that's the reason.

            And to Gardner's mail:

            first, before we get to far from the subject, the Elephantine papyri: This
            list is not about biblical historicity.

            Second, the argument is wrong: It is nowhere to be proven that the
            mentioning of the names of Ezra and Nehemiah makes them historical. I could
            mention Tarzan without making him historical. Gilgamesh was probably in the hoary
            past a king from Lagash, but that will be the only historical part of the
            epic, etc etc.

            Third: Jeremias has nothing to say about Elephantine. a) can we date
            Jeremias? except from conventional beliefs that be belonged where he is said to
            belong? b) the context of Jer 44 and 46 is N.E Egypt. Migdol, as one of the
            place names mentioned there could be everywhere (meaning "tower"), the
            other names is about something in the eastern delta. How long is the distance
            from, say the present Suez canal to Elephantine?

            Fourth: The geography of Jerusalem in the Persian and Hellenistic periods
            is definitely a hot subject today. Some leading archaeologists like David
            Ussishkin would say that there was really nothing here before c. 200 BCE,
            making this discussion totally redundant

            Fifth: The post-exilic period is a concept, an ideological one, that comes
            from the Old Testament. We are investigating whether or not the concept is
            meaningful, as the Jewish society persisted in Iraq until 1951.

            Sixth: the term "Jew" in this connection is ideological and certainly not
            very precise. Which also means arguing that the Elephantine sociewty was
            Jewish is already presupposing something that is far from secure.

            Seventh: Bill Dever did not find out that Iron Age Yahweh of Juda/Samaria
            was a bachelor -- although he would be happy to be reckoned so. Here it
            would be more precise to quote the specialized literature by Tilde Binger,
            Paolo Merlo, Wiggins and more.

            But again, this is not the place to discuss the historicity of Ezra and
            Nehemiah. Such questions really belongs in biblical lists like Biblical
            studies. A remark like this "Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little
            critical merit and risks
            seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age" has
            nothing to do here.

            Niels Peter Lemche




            -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
            Fra: _ANE-2@yahoogroups.com_ (mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com)
            [mailto:_ANE-2@yahoogroups.com_ (mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com) ] På vegne af
            _drbrucekgardner@..._ (mailto:drbrucekgardner@...)
            Sendt: den 1 oktober 2011 12:16
            Til: _ANE-2@yahoogroups.com_ (mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com)
            Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Elephantine Aramaic papyri


            Leaving aside the debated Ezra Memorial, Ezra-Nehemiah makes specific
            reference to historical figures that must constitute a kind of historical
            comment, however cautiously they be used. As Schurer's History of the
            Jewish
            People in the Age of Jesus Christ points out (III; 38-40) Elephantine
            references to the establishment of Passover at an imperial level are
            consistent
            with the biblical accounts of Nehemiah's mission. A Jewish settlement in
            the
            6th Cent BCE is mentioned in Jer. 44:1 and 46:13-14, from which literary
            text
            (Jer 44:1-23), also, we have the condemnation of "the Queen of Heaven",
            which appears to be a reference to a consort of Yhw. See also W. G. Dever
            Did
            God Have A Wife? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans: 2005). Nehemianic stories of
            Sanballat the Horonite and other local enemies of the land also make the
            point
            about a stricter Judaism founding itself in post-exilic Jerusalem,
            determined to be the norm in the midst of what may have been wide
            theological
            variations. All such references point to the same concept of normative,
            monotheistic Jerusalem and, while one may wish to be cautious in their
            application, their relevance as evidence seems undeniable.


            To ignore all biblical testimony, therefore, merely on grounds of
            uncertain
            dating, seems to be excessively dismissive. Besides, by what standard of
            logic do we deny the probity of biblical writers, while automatically
            ascribing the highest level of probity to non-biblical writers? We know of
            Elephantine what a writer in a highly-politicised climate told someone
            else. If
            one is going to be consistent one must maintain reserve about the
            reliability of non-biblical witnesses. All reconstructions are tentative,
            as the
            history of criticism reminds us.

            To favour one source, apparently uncritically and unreservedly, while
            excluding another one in the same way,
            risks prejudice in sources. One accepts the cautious argument, therefore,
            but one must reserve the right to cite biblical sources. And in those
            sources there appears a reason for a distance between the Jerusalemite and
            Elephantine perspectives that should not, be ignored, namely a centralist
            and
            monotheistic ideology in Jerusalem. By all means let that theory be
            tested,
            but let it not be shut out of possibility, merely because the sources are
            "literary". What does that mean, in real terms, when writing letters is a
            literary endeavour?

            Rejection of biblical testimony per se has little critical merit and risks
            seeming ideologically-driven, perhaps after the minimalism of the age. Gam
            zeh ya'avor. In the meantime, let us keep a level head on all sources.



            Bruce Gardner
            Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.








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