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Elephantine

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  • Robert Feather
    Dear Elizabeth, and Aren, Of course you can have different definitions of who is or was a Jew. It is the relativity of the beliefs and practices of the Jews
    Message 1 of 9 , Oct 6, 2011
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      Dear Elizabeth, and Aren,

      Of course you can have different definitions of who is or was a Jew. It is the relativity of the beliefs and practices of the 'Jews' in Israel to what was going on at Elephantine Island, that I am referring to. We don't need an agreed definition, only to acknowledge that there were highly significant differences in the forms of religion. This can only be assessed from the evidence we have and for the periods we know something about. You cannot possibly use the same 'Jewish' label for both varieties.



      In the background of Israel was the central monotheistic cult practiced in the Jerusalem Temple by its priests and preached by the Biblical prophets. There is an interesting article in the BAS library by Stephen Pfann on Pagan Yahwisn: the Folk Religion of Ancient Israel which spells out the many strands of Yahwism and a blanket name for all the different versions is quite misleading.



      You can of course define Judaism as you wish, but central to its values is the Ten Commandments. The people at Yeb broke at least two of the basic laws. They worshipped more than one god, and allowed work on the Sabbath. In addition they charged interest, married out, used Akkadian terms, followed the Egyptian legal, fiscal and social precedents - some dating back to 1700 BCE, as well as numerous other anomalous markers.



      You should read E.C.B Maclaurin, Date of the Foundation of the Jewish Colony at Elephantine, Journal of Near Eastern Studies Vol 27, 1968


      You say: They are Judeans, even though they may not have lived in Judah for some 200 years.


      This appears to be saying the Pseudo-Yahwists came to the Island around 600 BCE, although all the evidence says much earlier. Even if that was the case, settlers from Israel prior to 525 BCE would have written in early Hebrew, whereas the Elephantine Community wrote and communicated in Aramaic. You need to quantify when they arrived and why. The gods they worshipped, and their complete lack of any knowledge of Baal is also significant.

      If you want to respect the texts, as I'm sure you do, then you have to take these people at their word.

      So, are they YHWHists or Pseudo-Yahwists, as you style them? They have built and maintained a temple to YHWH from the time of their arrival at the time of Cambyses, according to their own words.

      Fine to respect the texts, but you need to interpret them and not always take them literally. We do not know exactly when they arrived and they themselves, in their texts, say their Temple was built before Cambyses entered Egypt (TAD A4-7). In fact they did not refer to the Temple as that of YHWH but that of YHH. Maclaurin is clear in concluding 'they worshipped (not just took oaths on them) other gods - Yahu, Bethel, and Anath. He says: "the evidence of these names points to the separation of the Yeb community from the rest of the Hebrews and from Canaan at a very early date." The period he assigns, as I do, is at least that of the Patriarchs. (I suppose I shoud amend my appelation to Pseudo-YHHists).

      His final conclusion is : "The evidence is not conclusive, but it seems more compatible with a suggestion that the Yeb colony was descended from a body of Hebrews left behind at the time of the Exodus than any other."

      When I visited Elephantine Island excavations were closing in on the location of the Temple, and I understand this has now been verified.

      Regardless of 'Jewish' definitions the real questions that need to be addressed are how did they get there and when and why did they go there in the first place? There do not seem to be any plausible consensus explanations. Nor do you begin to address the significance of the Temple's design and the layout of the Settlement.

      Robert Feather, Institute of Materials, London






      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Niels Peter Lemche
      It is a sad fact that the moment biblical matters are involved, everything breaks down into a discussion between those who takes the information of the Bible
      Message 2 of 9 , Oct 6, 2011
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        It is a sad fact that the moment biblical matters are involved, everything breaks down into a discussion between those who takes the information of the Bible literarily or are able to see what we have in the Bible as texts reflecting the viewpoint of their authors, whether or not building on a real or an imagined world.

        Thus no doubt Liz, Aren and I will have different opinions about almost everything. But none of us would use this kind of translating biblical information into real world information.

        so:

        1) "Jew" is not a proper term, except if you measure everything according to the biblical standards for being a Jew. The moment you use this term, you have already said too much. Liz' Judeans, i.e., people who are tracing their origins to the landscape of Judah in central Palestine (real or imagined origins), is a proper and neutral term for the people at Elephantine who definitely considered themselves to be Judean. We don't know if people living in the Jehud in the Persian period did also reckon them as Judeans. So the ethnicity of these Judeans is not an established fact as we only have the emic and not the etic idea of their ethnicity. In this way, they can easily understand themselves as Judeans although living in Egypt for 200 years. It is no more astonishing than the modern acceptance of the Falashians as Jews in modern Israel. It is a matter--as defined by Fredrik Barth and his many successors--of ascription and description.

        2) It is relevant to ask for the evidence we have from the Iron Age. As a matter of fact, this evidence is quite confusing and does not allow us to paint an image of "Israelites" and "Judeans" living in Palestine in that period. Thus we may doubt the existence in this period of law-abiding Israelites bound by the ten commandments and worshipping Yahweh alone. It is simply not the impression we get from the findings in the ground, and interesting enough, the Old Testament is in total agreement with this. The fathers were not law-abiding "Jews" following the demands of the law. Au contraire, mon ami, as Poirot would have said: the OT tells us a story about a sinful race unfaithful whenever it was possible to their God. So the parameter to measure the people from Elephantine with might be the Jews of the Old Testament, in which case they were not Jews. But they need not have been essentially different in their ideological world from people living in their homeland.

        3) We really do not know if the cult in Jerusalem was monotheistic. And again, this is not the impression you get from the Old Testament itself. (read about Josiah's reform). Name material, inscriptions etc has a different story to tell. I always remmeber Dever at a conference in Bern 1993 speaking about figurines which abound in Iron Age excavations but were supposed to be absent in stratas from the Persian Period: Dever: But now we have found them! Aren can definitely bring light to this statement Anno Domine 2011! So your pagan Yahwism was simply the current religion in the Iron Age in the landscape which I here calls Palestine (without any political connotation, if possible). This is not a matter of official religion bound on Jerusalem and a popular religion found elsewhere. The cult in Jerusalem was in te Iron Age as "pagan" as it was everywhere else. As to the prophets I can recommend Bernhard Lang's the Uahweh-Alone-Movement: not that I agree, but his thesis is interesting to see the prophets as the real revolutionaries preaching a new religion.

        4) It is clear that the Ten Commandments are central to Judaism, but probably more to protestant Christianity. Besides, are you sure that they knew these commandments at Yeb? Even Abraham in the patriarchal stories seems not quite well versed in them as he marries his half sister, although is definitely not allowed according to the Torah. That you find Akkadian terms and Egyptian legal practices is hardly surprising: You have a plethora of these not least in the Book of Covenant, Exodus 21-23.

        5) The literature you mention is immaterial and has no bearing on the modern discussion about the history of the southern Levant ("Israel"). The idea of the Judeans at Yab as deriving from Israelites left behind by the Exodus is simply ridiculous. It has never been discussed for serious in serious scholarship. Of course you reckon the Exodus as historical, as well as Moses and the Patriarchs. These are subject not gladly discussed here (many other lists available).

        6) Sorry to say, your approach is "amateurish". You are moving back and to biblical texts as now historical, now mythical. There are so many things you need to study. I should, say, begin with the modern ethnicity discussion. Then some literary theory, especially modern literature's talk about construction and deconstruction, and put some study of cultural memory on top of that (you should like it, as Jan Assmann also believes in a historical Moses). But you simply have to get to what is today said among specialists about these subjects. Only the most evangelical part would subscribe to your ideas of the information of the biblical texts.

        Niels Peter Lemche



        -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
        Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Robert Feather
        Sendt: den 6 oktober 2011 12:16
        Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
        Emne: [ANE-2] Elephantine

        Dear Elizabeth, and Aren,

        Of course you can have different definitions of who is or was a Jew. It is the relativity of the beliefs and practices of the 'Jews' in Israel to what was going on at Elephantine Island, that I am referring to. We don't need an agreed definition, only to acknowledge that there were highly significant differences in the forms of religion. This can only be assessed from the evidence we have and for the periods we know something about. You cannot possibly use the same 'Jewish' label for both varieties.



        In the background of Israel was the central monotheistic cult practiced in the Jerusalem Temple by its priests and preached by the Biblical prophets. There is an interesting article in the BAS library by Stephen Pfann on Pagan Yahwisn: the Folk Religion of Ancient Israel which spells out the many strands of Yahwism and a blanket name for all the different versions is quite misleading.



        You can of course define Judaism as you wish, but central to its values is the Ten Commandments. The people at Yeb broke at least two of the basic laws. They worshipped more than one god, and allowed work on the Sabbath. In addition they charged interest, married out, used Akkadian terms, followed the Egyptian legal, fiscal and social precedents - some dating back to 1700 BCE, as well as numerous other anomalous markers.



        You should read E.C.B Maclaurin, Date of the Foundation of the Jewish Colony at Elephantine, Journal of Near Eastern Studies Vol 27, 1968


        You say: They are Judeans, even though they may not have lived in Judah for some 200 years.


        This appears to be saying the Pseudo-Yahwists came to the Island around 600 BCE, although all the evidence says much earlier. Even if that was the case, settlers from Israel prior to 525 BCE would have written in early Hebrew, whereas the Elephantine Community wrote and communicated in Aramaic. You need to quantify when they arrived and why. The gods they worshipped, and their complete lack of any knowledge of Baal is also significant.

        If you want to respect the texts, as I'm sure you do, then you have to take these people at their word.

        So, are they YHWHists or Pseudo-Yahwists, as you style them? They have built and maintained a temple to YHWH from the time of their arrival at the time of Cambyses, according to their own words.

        Fine to respect the texts, but you need to interpret them and not always take them literally. We do not know exactly when they arrived and they themselves, in their texts, say their Temple was built before Cambyses entered Egypt (TAD A4-7). In fact they did not refer to the Temple as that of YHWH but that of YHH. Maclaurin is clear in concluding 'they worshipped (not just took oaths on them) other gods - Yahu, Bethel, and Anath. He says: "the evidence of these names points to the separation of the Yeb community from the rest of the Hebrews and from Canaan at a very early date." The period he assigns, as I do, is at least that of the Patriarchs. (I suppose I shoud amend my appelation to Pseudo-YHHists).

        His final conclusion is : "The evidence is not conclusive, but it seems more compatible with a suggestion that the Yeb colony was descended from a body of Hebrews left behind at the time of the Exodus than any other."

        When I visited Elephantine Island excavations were closing in on the location of the Temple, and I understand this has now been verified.

        Regardless of 'Jewish' definitions the real questions that need to be addressed are how did they get there and when and why did they go there in the first place? There do not seem to be any plausible consensus explanations. Nor do you begin to address the significance of the Temple's design and the layout of the Settlement.

        Robert Feather, Institute of Materials, London






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



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

        Yahoo! Groups Links
      • Peter T. Daniels
        When did the Ten Commandments become normative? How do you know that the Jews of Jerusalem didn t do all the things you list as practiced by the Yeb folk
        Message 3 of 9 , Oct 6, 2011
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          When did the "Ten Commandments" become normative? How do you know that the "Jews" of Jerusalem didn't do all the things you list as practiced by the Yeb folk (mutatis mutandis for Egyptian precedents, depending on who was in the ascendant at any particular time)?

          --
          Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...


          >________________________________
          >From: Robert Feather <a8oct@...>
          >To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
          >Sent: Thursday, October 6, 2011 6:16 AM
          >Subject: [ANE-2] Elephantine
          >
          >
          >

          >
          >Dear Elizabeth, and Aren,
          >
          ><...>

          >You can of course define Judaism as you wish, but central to its values is the Ten Commandments. The people at Yeb broke at least two of the basic laws. They worshipped more than one god, and allowed work on the Sabbath. In addition they charged interest, married out, used Akkadian terms, followed the Egyptian legal, fiscal and social precedents - some dating back to 1700 BCE, as well as numerous other anomalous markers.

          ><...>
          >

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Lisbeth S. Fried
          Dear Niels Peter, I wonder if their correspondence with the governor of Yehud would suggest that the Yehud community also saw these people as Judeans. At the
          Message 4 of 9 , Oct 6, 2011
          • 0 Attachment
            Dear Niels Peter,



            I wonder if their correspondence with the governor of Yehud would suggest
            that the Yehud community also saw these people as Judeans.



            At the very least, it seems to imply that the Judeans of Elephantine
            expected and assumed that the governor of Yehud and its officials and high
            priest would perceive them as fellow Judeans.



            Liz



            Lisbeth S. Fried, Ph.D.
            Department of Near Eastern Studies
            and the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies
            University of Michigan
            202 S. Thayer -- Room 4111
            Ann Arbor, MI 48104
            www.lizfried.com <http://www.lizfried.com/>

            I sent (too much) rain on one city, and sent no rain on another city;
            and still you did not return to me, says YHWH. (Amos 4:7-8 )



            _____

            From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
            Niels Peter Lemche
            Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2011 7:21 AM
            To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: SV: [ANE-2] Elephantine





            It is a sad fact that the moment biblical matters are involved, everything
            breaks down into a discussion between those who takes the information of the
            Bible literarily or are able to see what we have in the Bible as texts
            reflecting the viewpoint of their authors, whether or not building on a real
            or an imagined world.

            Thus no doubt Liz, Aren and I will have different opinions about almost
            everything. But none of us would use this kind of translating biblical
            information into real world information.

            so:

            1) "Jew" is not a proper term, except if you measure everything according to
            the biblical standards for being a Jew. The moment you use this term, you
            have already said too much. Liz' Judeans, i.e., people who are tracing their
            origins to the landscape of Judah in central Palestine (real or imagined
            origins), is a proper and neutral term for the people at Elephantine who
            definitely considered themselves to be Judean. We don't know if people
            living in the Jehud in the Persian period did also reckon them as Judeans.
            So the ethnicity of these Judeans is not an established fact as we only have
            the emic and not the etic idea of their ethnicity. In this way, they can
            easily understand themselves as Judeans although living in Egypt for 200
            years. It is no more astonishing than the modern acceptance of the
            Falashians as Jews in modern Israel. It is a matter--as defined by Fredrik
            Barth and his many successors--of ascription and description.

            2) It is relevant to ask for the evidence we have from the Iron Age. As a
            matter of fact, this evidence is quite confusing and does not allow us to
            paint an image of "Israelites" and "Judeans" living in Palestine in that
            period. Thus we may doubt the existence in this period of law-abiding
            Israelites bound by the ten commandments and worshipping Yahweh alone. It is
            simply not the impression we get from the findings in the ground, and
            interesting enough, the Old Testament is in total agreement with this. The
            fathers were not law-abiding "Jews" following the demands of the law. Au
            contraire, mon ami, as Poirot would have said: the OT tells us a story about
            a sinful race unfaithful whenever it was possible to their God. So the
            parameter to measure the people from Elephantine with might be the Jews of
            the Old Testament, in which case they were not Jews. But they need not have
            been essentially different in their ideological world from people living in
            their homeland.

            3) We really do not know if the cult in Jerusalem was monotheistic. And
            again, this is not the impression you get from the Old Testament itself.
            (read about Josiah's reform). Name material, inscriptions etc has a
            different story to tell. I always remmeber Dever at a conference in Bern
            1993 speaking about figurines which abound in Iron Age excavations but were
            supposed to be absent in stratas from the Persian Period: Dever: But now we
            have found them! Aren can definitely bring light to this statement Anno
            Domine 2011! So your pagan Yahwism was simply the current religion in the
            Iron Age in the landscape which I here calls Palestine (without any
            political connotation, if possible). This is not a matter of official
            religion bound on Jerusalem and a popular religion found elsewhere. The cult
            in Jerusalem was in te Iron Age as "pagan" as it was everywhere else. As to
            the prophets I can recommend Bernhard Lang's the Uahweh-Alone-Movement: not
            that I agree, but his thesis is interesting to see the prophets as the real
            revolutionaries preaching a new religion.

            4) It is clear that the Ten Commandments are central to Judaism, but
            probably more to protestant Christianity. Besides, are you sure that they
            knew these commandments at Yeb? Even Abraham in the patriarchal stories
            seems not quite well versed in them as he marries his half sister, although
            is definitely not allowed according to the Torah. That you find Akkadian
            terms and Egyptian legal practices is hardly surprising: You have a plethora
            of these not least in the Book of Covenant, Exodus 21-23.

            5) The literature you mention is immaterial and has no bearing on the modern
            discussion about the history of the southern Levant ("Israel"). The idea of
            the Judeans at Yab as deriving from Israelites left behind by the Exodus is
            simply ridiculous. It has never been discussed for serious in serious
            scholarship. Of course you reckon the Exodus as historical, as well as Moses
            and the Patriarchs. These are subject not gladly discussed here (many other
            lists available).

            6) Sorry to say, your approach is "amateurish". You are moving back and to
            biblical texts as now historical, now mythical. There are so many things you
            need to study. I should, say, begin with the modern ethnicity discussion.
            Then some literary theory, especially modern literature's talk about
            construction and deconstruction, and put some study of cultural memory on
            top of that (you should like it, as Jan Assmann also believes in a
            historical Moses). But you simply have to get to what is today said among
            specialists about these subjects. Only the most evangelical part would
            subscribe to your ideas of the information of the biblical texts.

            Niels Peter Lemche

            -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
            Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
            [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com> ] På vegne af
            Robert Feather
            Sendt: den 6 oktober 2011 12:16
            Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
            Emne: [ANE-2] Elephantine

            Dear Elizabeth, and Aren,

            Of course you can have different definitions of who is or was a Jew. It is
            the relativity of the beliefs and practices of the 'Jews' in Israel to what
            was going on at Elephantine Island, that I am referring to. We don't need an
            agreed definition, only to acknowledge that there were highly significant
            differences in the forms of religion. This can only be assessed from the
            evidence we have and for the periods we know something about. You cannot
            possibly use the same 'Jewish' label for both varieties.

            In the background of Israel was the central monotheistic cult practiced in
            the Jerusalem Temple by its priests and preached by the Biblical prophets.
            There is an interesting article in the BAS library by Stephen Pfann on Pagan
            Yahwisn: the Folk Religion of Ancient Israel which spells out the many
            strands of Yahwism and a blanket name for all the different versions is
            quite misleading.

            You can of course define Judaism as you wish, but central to its values is
            the Ten Commandments. The people at Yeb broke at least two of the basic
            laws. They worshipped more than one god, and allowed work on the Sabbath. In
            addition they charged interest, married out, used Akkadian terms, followed
            the Egyptian legal, fiscal and social precedents - some dating back to 1700
            BCE, as well as numerous other anomalous markers.

            You should read E.C.B Maclaurin, Date of the Foundation of the Jewish Colony
            at Elephantine, Journal of Near Eastern Studies Vol 27, 1968

            You say: They are Judeans, even though they may not have lived in Judah for
            some 200 years.

            This appears to be saying the Pseudo-Yahwists came to the Island around 600
            BCE, although all the evidence says much earlier. Even if that was the case,
            settlers from Israel prior to 525 BCE would have written in early Hebrew,
            whereas the Elephantine Community wrote and communicated in Aramaic. You
            need to quantify when they arrived and why. The gods they worshipped, and
            their complete lack of any knowledge of Baal is also significant.

            If you want to respect the texts, as I'm sure you do, then you have to take
            these people at their word.

            So, are they YHWHists or Pseudo-Yahwists, as you style them? They have built
            and maintained a temple to YHWH from the time of their arrival at the time
            of Cambyses, according to their own words.

            Fine to respect the texts, but you need to interpret them and not always
            take them literally. We do not know exactly when they arrived and they
            themselves, in their texts, say their Temple was built before Cambyses
            entered Egypt (TAD A4-7). In fact they did not refer to the Temple as that
            of YHWH but that of YHH. Maclaurin is clear in concluding 'they worshipped
            (not just took oaths on them) other gods - Yahu, Bethel, and Anath. He says:
            "the evidence of these names points to the separation of the Yeb community
            from the rest of the Hebrews and from Canaan at a very early date." The
            period he assigns, as I do, is at least that of the Patriarchs. (I suppose I
            shoud amend my appelation to Pseudo-YHHists).

            His final conclusion is : "The evidence is not conclusive, but it seems more
            compatible with a suggestion that the Yeb colony was descended from a body
            of Hebrews left behind at the time of the Exodus than any other."

            When I visited Elephantine Island excavations were closing in on the
            location of the Temple, and I understand this has now been verified.

            Regardless of 'Jewish' definitions the real questions that need to be
            addressed are how did they get there and when and why did they go there in
            the first place? There do not seem to be any plausible consensus
            explanations. Nor do you begin to address the significance of the Temple's
            design and the layout of the Settlement.

            Robert Feather, Institute of Materials, London

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

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

            Yahoo! Groups Links





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Niels Peter Lemche
            Yes, as I said, we have the emic evidence but not the etic. But it was exactly what I had in mind. If only we have had a reply letter. The emic -- descriptive
            Message 5 of 9 , Oct 6, 2011
            • 0 Attachment
              Yes, as I said, we have the emic evidence but not the etic. But it was exactly what I had in mind. If only we have had a reply letter.

              The emic -- descriptive -- understanding was that they were Judeans.

              When it comes to the status of Jerusalem, we should not forget that high priest who in Maccabean times was thrown out of Jerusalem in order to go to Egypt and build his own at Leontopolis. Presumable he nourished the idea later current among Christians: Jerusalem is in my heart! but again it shows how something believed to be "canonical" was not really that canonical.

              Niels Peter Lemche



              -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
              Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Lisbeth S. Fried
              Sendt: den 6 oktober 2011 16:55
              Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
              Emne: RE: [ANE-2] Elephantine

              Dear Niels Peter,



              I wonder if their correspondence with the governor of Yehud would suggest
              that the Yehud community also saw these people as Judeans.



              At the very least, it seems to imply that the Judeans of Elephantine
              expected and assumed that the governor of Yehud and its officials and high
              priest would perceive them as fellow Judeans.



              Liz



              Lisbeth S. Fried, Ph.D.
              Department of Near Eastern Studies
              and the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies
              University of Michigan
              202 S. Thayer -- Room 4111
              Ann Arbor, MI 48104
              www.lizfried.com <http://www.lizfried.com/>

              I sent (too much) rain on one city, and sent no rain on another city;
              and still you did not return to me, says YHWH. (Amos 4:7-8 )



              _____

              From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
              Niels Peter Lemche
              Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2011 7:21 AM
              To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: SV: [ANE-2] Elephantine





              It is a sad fact that the moment biblical matters are involved, everything
              breaks down into a discussion between those who takes the information of the
              Bible literarily or are able to see what we have in the Bible as texts
              reflecting the viewpoint of their authors, whether or not building on a real
              or an imagined world.

              Thus no doubt Liz, Aren and I will have different opinions about almost
              everything. But none of us would use this kind of translating biblical
              information into real world information.

              so:

              1) "Jew" is not a proper term, except if you measure everything according to
              the biblical standards for being a Jew. The moment you use this term, you
              have already said too much. Liz' Judeans, i.e., people who are tracing their
              origins to the landscape of Judah in central Palestine (real or imagined
              origins), is a proper and neutral term for the people at Elephantine who
              definitely considered themselves to be Judean. We don't know if people
              living in the Jehud in the Persian period did also reckon them as Judeans.
              So the ethnicity of these Judeans is not an established fact as we only have
              the emic and not the etic idea of their ethnicity. In this way, they can
              easily understand themselves as Judeans although living in Egypt for 200
              years. It is no more astonishing than the modern acceptance of the
              Falashians as Jews in modern Israel. It is a matter--as defined by Fredrik
              Barth and his many successors--of ascription and description.

              2) It is relevant to ask for the evidence we have from the Iron Age. As a
              matter of fact, this evidence is quite confusing and does not allow us to
              paint an image of "Israelites" and "Judeans" living in Palestine in that
              period. Thus we may doubt the existence in this period of law-abiding
              Israelites bound by the ten commandments and worshipping Yahweh alone. It is
              simply not the impression we get from the findings in the ground, and
              interesting enough, the Old Testament is in total agreement with this. The
              fathers were not law-abiding "Jews" following the demands of the law. Au
              contraire, mon ami, as Poirot would have said: the OT tells us a story about
              a sinful race unfaithful whenever it was possible to their God. So the
              parameter to measure the people from Elephantine with might be the Jews of
              the Old Testament, in which case they were not Jews. But they need not have
              been essentially different in their ideological world from people living in
              their homeland.

              3) We really do not know if the cult in Jerusalem was monotheistic. And
              again, this is not the impression you get from the Old Testament itself.
              (read about Josiah's reform). Name material, inscriptions etc has a
              different story to tell. I always remmeber Dever at a conference in Bern
              1993 speaking about figurines which abound in Iron Age excavations but were
              supposed to be absent in stratas from the Persian Period: Dever: But now we
              have found them! Aren can definitely bring light to this statement Anno
              Domine 2011! So your pagan Yahwism was simply the current religion in the
              Iron Age in the landscape which I here calls Palestine (without any
              political connotation, if possible). This is not a matter of official
              religion bound on Jerusalem and a popular religion found elsewhere. The cult
              in Jerusalem was in te Iron Age as "pagan" as it was everywhere else. As to
              the prophets I can recommend Bernhard Lang's the Uahweh-Alone-Movement: not
              that I agree, but his thesis is interesting to see the prophets as the real
              revolutionaries preaching a new religion.

              4) It is clear that the Ten Commandments are central to Judaism, but
              probably more to protestant Christianity. Besides, are you sure that they
              knew these commandments at Yeb? Even Abraham in the patriarchal stories
              seems not quite well versed in them as he marries his half sister, although
              is definitely not allowed according to the Torah. That you find Akkadian
              terms and Egyptian legal practices is hardly surprising: You have a plethora
              of these not least in the Book of Covenant, Exodus 21-23.

              5) The literature you mention is immaterial and has no bearing on the modern
              discussion about the history of the southern Levant ("Israel"). The idea of
              the Judeans at Yab as deriving from Israelites left behind by the Exodus is
              simply ridiculous. It has never been discussed for serious in serious
              scholarship. Of course you reckon the Exodus as historical, as well as Moses
              and the Patriarchs. These are subject not gladly discussed here (many other
              lists available).

              6) Sorry to say, your approach is "amateurish". You are moving back and to
              biblical texts as now historical, now mythical. There are so many things you
              need to study. I should, say, begin with the modern ethnicity discussion.
              Then some literary theory, especially modern literature's talk about
              construction and deconstruction, and put some study of cultural memory on
              top of that (you should like it, as Jan Assmann also believes in a
              historical Moses). But you simply have to get to what is today said among
              specialists about these subjects. Only the most evangelical part would
              subscribe to your ideas of the information of the biblical texts.

              Niels Peter Lemche

              -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
              Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
              [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com> ] På vegne af
              Robert Feather
              Sendt: den 6 oktober 2011 12:16
              Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
              Emne: [ANE-2] Elephantine

              Dear Elizabeth, and Aren,

              Of course you can have different definitions of who is or was a Jew. It is
              the relativity of the beliefs and practices of the 'Jews' in Israel to what
              was going on at Elephantine Island, that I am referring to. We don't need an
              agreed definition, only to acknowledge that there were highly significant
              differences in the forms of religion. This can only be assessed from the
              evidence we have and for the periods we know something about. You cannot
              possibly use the same 'Jewish' label for both varieties.

              In the background of Israel was the central monotheistic cult practiced in
              the Jerusalem Temple by its priests and preached by the Biblical prophets.
              There is an interesting article in the BAS library by Stephen Pfann on Pagan
              Yahwisn: the Folk Religion of Ancient Israel which spells out the many
              strands of Yahwism and a blanket name for all the different versions is
              quite misleading.

              You can of course define Judaism as you wish, but central to its values is
              the Ten Commandments. The people at Yeb broke at least two of the basic
              laws. They worshipped more than one god, and allowed work on the Sabbath. In
              addition they charged interest, married out, used Akkadian terms, followed
              the Egyptian legal, fiscal and social precedents - some dating back to 1700
              BCE, as well as numerous other anomalous markers.

              You should read E.C.B Maclaurin, Date of the Foundation of the Jewish Colony
              at Elephantine, Journal of Near Eastern Studies Vol 27, 1968

              You say: They are Judeans, even though they may not have lived in Judah for
              some 200 years.

              This appears to be saying the Pseudo-Yahwists came to the Island around 600
              BCE, although all the evidence says much earlier. Even if that was the case,
              settlers from Israel prior to 525 BCE would have written in early Hebrew,
              whereas the Elephantine Community wrote and communicated in Aramaic. You
              need to quantify when they arrived and why. The gods they worshipped, and
              their complete lack of any knowledge of Baal is also significant.

              If you want to respect the texts, as I'm sure you do, then you have to take
              these people at their word.

              So, are they YHWHists or Pseudo-Yahwists, as you style them? They have built
              and maintained a temple to YHWH from the time of their arrival at the time
              of Cambyses, according to their own words.

              Fine to respect the texts, but you need to interpret them and not always
              take them literally. We do not know exactly when they arrived and they
              themselves, in their texts, say their Temple was built before Cambyses
              entered Egypt (TAD A4-7). In fact they did not refer to the Temple as that
              of YHWH but that of YHH. Maclaurin is clear in concluding 'they worshipped
              (not just took oaths on them) other gods - Yahu, Bethel, and Anath. He says:
              "the evidence of these names points to the separation of the Yeb community
              from the rest of the Hebrews and from Canaan at a very early date." The
              period he assigns, as I do, is at least that of the Patriarchs. (I suppose I
              shoud amend my appelation to Pseudo-YHHists).

              His final conclusion is : "The evidence is not conclusive, but it seems more
              compatible with a suggestion that the Yeb colony was descended from a body
              of Hebrews left behind at the time of the Exodus than any other."

              When I visited Elephantine Island excavations were closing in on the
              location of the Temple, and I understand this has now been verified.

              Regardless of 'Jewish' definitions the real questions that need to be
              addressed are how did they get there and when and why did they go there in
              the first place? There do not seem to be any plausible consensus
              explanations. Nor do you begin to address the significance of the Temple's
              design and the layout of the Settlement.

              Robert Feather, Institute of Materials, London

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

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

              Yahoo! Groups Links





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



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

              Yahoo! Groups Links
            • Lisbeth S. Fried
              Does not Jedenaiah’s memorandum of a conversation or of a letter or something indicate the view in Yehud towards the Elephantine community. Is that not
              Message 6 of 9 , Oct 6, 2011
              • 0 Attachment
                Does not Jedenaiah’s memorandum of a conversation or of a letter or
                something indicate the view in Yehud towards the Elephantine community. Is
                that not “etic” or are you considering the view in Yehud towards the
                Elephantine community as “emic”?



                Liz

                Lisbeth S. Fried, Ph.D.





                _____

                From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                Niels Peter Lemche
                Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2011 11:01 AM
                To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: SV: [ANE-2] Elephantine





                Yes, as I said, we have the emic evidence but not the etic. But it was
                exactly what I had in mind. If only we have had a reply letter.

                The emic -- descriptive -- understanding was that they were Judeans.

                When it comes to the status of Jerusalem, we should not forget that high
                priest who in Maccabean times was thrown out of Jerusalem in order to go to
                Egypt and build his own at Leontopolis. Presumable he nourished the idea
                later current among Christians: Jerusalem is in my heart! but again it shows
                how something believed to be "canonical" was not really that canonical.

                Niels Peter Lemche

                -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
                Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com> ] På vegne af
                Lisbeth S. Fried
                Sendt: den 6 oktober 2011 16:55
                Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                Emne: RE: [ANE-2] Elephantine

                Dear Niels Peter,

                I wonder if their correspondence with the governor of Yehud would suggest
                that the Yehud community also saw these people as Judeans.

                At the very least, it seems to imply that the Judeans of Elephantine
                expected and assumed that the governor of Yehud and its officials and high
                priest would perceive them as fellow Judeans.

                Liz

                Lisbeth S. Fried, Ph.D.
                Department of Near Eastern Studies
                and the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies
                University of Michigan
                202 S. Thayer -- Room 4111
                Ann Arbor, MI 48104
                www.lizfried.com <http://www.lizfried.com/>

                I sent (too much) rain on one city, and sent no rain on another city;
                and still you did not return to me, says YHWH. (Amos 4:7-8 )

                _____

                From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf
                Of
                Niels Peter Lemche
                Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2011 7:21 AM
                To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                Subject: SV: [ANE-2] Elephantine

                It is a sad fact that the moment biblical matters are involved, everything
                breaks down into a discussion between those who takes the information of the
                Bible literarily or are able to see what we have in the Bible as texts
                reflecting the viewpoint of their authors, whether or not building on a real
                or an imagined world.

                Thus no doubt Liz, Aren and I will have different opinions about almost
                everything. But none of us would use this kind of translating biblical
                information into real world information.

                so:

                1) "Jew" is not a proper term, except if you measure everything according to
                the biblical standards for being a Jew. The moment you use this term, you
                have already said too much. Liz' Judeans, i.e., people who are tracing their
                origins to the landscape of Judah in central Palestine (real or imagined
                origins), is a proper and neutral term for the people at Elephantine who
                definitely considered themselves to be Judean. We don't know if people
                living in the Jehud in the Persian period did also reckon them as Judeans.
                So the ethnicity of these Judeans is not an established fact as we only have
                the emic and not the etic idea of their ethnicity. In this way, they can
                easily understand themselves as Judeans although living in Egypt for 200
                years. It is no more astonishing than the modern acceptance of the
                Falashians as Jews in modern Israel. It is a matter--as defined by Fredrik
                Barth and his many successors--of ascription and description.

                2) It is relevant to ask for the evidence we have from the Iron Age. As a
                matter of fact, this evidence is quite confusing and does not allow us to
                paint an image of "Israelites" and "Judeans" living in Palestine in that
                period. Thus we may doubt the existence in this period of law-abiding
                Israelites bound by the ten commandments and worshipping Yahweh alone. It is
                simply not the impression we get from the findings in the ground, and
                interesting enough, the Old Testament is in total agreement with this. The
                fathers were not law-abiding "Jews" following the demands of the law. Au
                contraire, mon ami, as Poirot would have said: the OT tells us a story about
                a sinful race unfaithful whenever it was possible to their God. So the
                parameter to measure the people from Elephantine with might be the Jews of
                the Old Testament, in which case they were not Jews. But they need not have
                been essentially different in their ideological world from people living in
                their homeland.

                3) We really do not know if the cult in Jerusalem was monotheistic. And
                again, this is not the impression you get from the Old Testament itself.
                (read about Josiah's reform). Name material, inscriptions etc has a
                different story to tell. I always remmeber Dever at a conference in Bern
                1993 speaking about figurines which abound in Iron Age excavations but were
                supposed to be absent in stratas from the Persian Period: Dever: But now we
                have found them! Aren can definitely bring light to this statement Anno
                Domine 2011! So your pagan Yahwism was simply the current religion in the
                Iron Age in the landscape which I here calls Palestine (without any
                political connotation, if possible). This is not a matter of official
                religion bound on Jerusalem and a popular religion found elsewhere. The cult
                in Jerusalem was in te Iron Age as "pagan" as it was everywhere else. As to
                the prophets I can recommend Bernhard Lang's the Uahweh-Alone-Movement: not
                that I agree, but his thesis is interesting to see the prophets as the real
                revolutionaries preaching a new religion.

                4) It is clear that the Ten Commandments are central to Judaism, but
                probably more to protestant Christianity. Besides, are you sure that they
                knew these commandments at Yeb? Even Abraham in the patriarchal stories
                seems not quite well versed in them as he marries his half sister, although
                is definitely not allowed according to the Torah. That you find Akkadian
                terms and Egyptian legal practices is hardly surprising: You have a plethora
                of these not least in the Book of Covenant, Exodus 21-23.

                5) The literature you mention is immaterial and has no bearing on the modern
                discussion about the history of the southern Levant ("Israel"). The idea of
                the Judeans at Yab as deriving from Israelites left behind by the Exodus is
                simply ridiculous. It has never been discussed for serious in serious
                scholarship. Of course you reckon the Exodus as historical, as well as Moses
                and the Patriarchs. These are subject not gladly discussed here (many other
                lists available).

                6) Sorry to say, your approach is "amateurish". You are moving back and to
                biblical texts as now historical, now mythical. There are so many things you
                need to study. I should, say, begin with the modern ethnicity discussion.
                Then some literary theory, especially modern literature's talk about
                construction and deconstruction, and put some study of cultural memory on
                top of that (you should like it, as Jan Assmann also believes in a
                historical Moses). But you simply have to get to what is today said among
                specialists about these subjects. Only the most evangelical part would
                subscribe to your ideas of the information of the biblical texts.

                Niels Peter Lemche

                -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
                Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com> ] På vegne af
                Robert Feather
                Sendt: den 6 oktober 2011 12:16
                Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                Emne: [ANE-2] Elephantine

                Dear Elizabeth, and Aren,

                Of course you can have different definitions of who is or was a Jew. It is
                the relativity of the beliefs and practices of the 'Jews' in Israel to what
                was going on at Elephantine Island, that I am referring to. We don't need an
                agreed definition, only to acknowledge that there were highly significant
                differences in the forms of religion. This can only be assessed from the
                evidence we have and for the periods we know something about. You cannot
                possibly use the same 'Jewish' label for both varieties.

                In the background of Israel was the central monotheistic cult practiced in
                the Jerusalem Temple by its priests and preached by the Biblical prophets.
                There is an interesting article in the BAS library by Stephen Pfann on Pagan
                Yahwisn: the Folk Religion of Ancient Israel which spells out the many
                strands of Yahwism and a blanket name for all the different versions is
                quite misleading.

                You can of course define Judaism as you wish, but central to its values is
                the Ten Commandments. The people at Yeb broke at least two of the basic
                laws. They worshipped more than one god, and allowed work on the Sabbath. In
                addition they charged interest, married out, used Akkadian terms, followed
                the Egyptian legal, fiscal and social precedents - some dating back to 1700
                BCE, as well as numerous other anomalous markers.

                You should read E.C.B Maclaurin, Date of the Foundation of the Jewish Colony
                at Elephantine, Journal of Near Eastern Studies Vol 27, 1968

                You say: They are Judeans, even though they may not have lived in Judah for
                some 200 years.

                This appears to be saying the Pseudo-Yahwists came to the Island around 600
                BCE, although all the evidence says much earlier. Even if that was the case,
                settlers from Israel prior to 525 BCE would have written in early Hebrew,
                whereas the Elephantine Community wrote and communicated in Aramaic. You
                need to quantify when they arrived and why. The gods they worshipped, and
                their complete lack of any knowledge of Baal is also significant.

                If you want to respect the texts, as I'm sure you do, then you have to take
                these people at their word.

                So, are they YHWHists or Pseudo-Yahwists, as you style them? They have built
                and maintained a temple to YHWH from the time of their arrival at the time
                of Cambyses, according to their own words.

                Fine to respect the texts, but you need to interpret them and not always
                take them literally. We do not know exactly when they arrived and they
                themselves, in their texts, say their Temple was built before Cambyses
                entered Egypt (TAD A4-7). In fact they did not refer to the Temple as that
                of YHWH but that of YHH. Maclaurin is clear in concluding 'they worshipped
                (not just took oaths on them) other gods - Yahu, Bethel, and Anath. He says:
                "the evidence of these names points to the separation of the Yeb community
                from the rest of the Hebrews and from Canaan at a very early date." The
                period he assigns, as I do, is at least that of the Patriarchs. (I suppose I
                shoud amend my appelation to Pseudo-YHHists).

                His final conclusion is : "The evidence is not conclusive, but it seems more
                compatible with a suggestion that the Yeb colony was descended from a body
                of Hebrews left behind at the time of the Exodus than any other."

                When I visited Elephantine Island excavations were closing in on the
                location of the Temple, and I understand this has now been verified.

                Regardless of 'Jewish' definitions the real questions that need to be
                addressed are how did they get there and when and why did they go there in
                the first place? There do not seem to be any plausible consensus
                explanations. Nor do you begin to address the significance of the Temple's
                design and the layout of the Settlement.

                Robert Feather, Institute of Materials, London

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

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

                Yahoo! Groups Links

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

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

                Yahoo! Groups Links





                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Niels Peter Lemche
                well, I suppose that you talk about Cowley no. 32. It could be taken to mean this but it is not expressly stated, It is a little ambiguous, as the petition
                Message 7 of 9 , Oct 6, 2011
                • 0 Attachment
                  well, I suppose that you talk about Cowley no. 32. It could be taken to mean this but it is not expressly stated, It is a little ambiguous, as the petition talks about the temple of Yau, 'gwr' zy jhv 'lh' zy byb, and the memo about byt mdbt' zy 'lh smy', the alter house (thus Cowley) of the god of heaven. Could be taken as a reprimand to the petitioner that there temple was not a temple for Yau but a building devoted to the God of Heaven (and then we would soon get into a discussion about the enigmatic Greek version of Deuteronomy 32,8-9, where El Elyon is considered the father of Yahweh--corrected in the Hebrew version, identifying Yahweh with El Elyon). You may certainly be right, and then it would be an etic ascription, although the memo does not refer to the people at Yeb as Judeans neither to their god as Yau.

                  I would say that the evidence is not conclusive although the matter may be as you describe it.

                  Niels Peter Lemche



                  -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
                  Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Lisbeth S. Fried
                  Sendt: den 6 oktober 2011 17:04
                  Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                  Emne: RE: [ANE-2] Elephantine

                  Does not Jedenaiah's memorandum of a conversation or of a letter or
                  something indicate the view in Yehud towards the Elephantine community. Is
                  that not "etic" or are you considering the view in Yehud towards the
                  Elephantine community as "emic"?



                  Liz

                  Lisbeth S. Fried, Ph.D.





                  _____

                  From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                  Niels Peter Lemche
                  Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2011 11:01 AM
                  To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: SV: [ANE-2] Elephantine





                  Yes, as I said, we have the emic evidence but not the etic. But it was
                  exactly what I had in mind. If only we have had a reply letter.

                  The emic -- descriptive -- understanding was that they were Judeans.

                  When it comes to the status of Jerusalem, we should not forget that high
                  priest who in Maccabean times was thrown out of Jerusalem in order to go to
                  Egypt and build his own at Leontopolis. Presumable he nourished the idea
                  later current among Christians: Jerusalem is in my heart! but again it shows
                  how something believed to be "canonical" was not really that canonical.

                  Niels Peter Lemche

                  -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
                  Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                  [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com> ] På vegne af
                  Lisbeth S. Fried
                  Sendt: den 6 oktober 2011 16:55
                  Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                  Emne: RE: [ANE-2] Elephantine

                  Dear Niels Peter,

                  I wonder if their correspondence with the governor of Yehud would suggest
                  that the Yehud community also saw these people as Judeans.

                  At the very least, it seems to imply that the Judeans of Elephantine
                  expected and assumed that the governor of Yehud and its officials and high
                  priest would perceive them as fellow Judeans.

                  Liz

                  Lisbeth S. Fried, Ph.D.
                  Department of Near Eastern Studies
                  and the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies
                  University of Michigan
                  202 S. Thayer -- Room 4111
                  Ann Arbor, MI 48104
                  www.lizfried.com <http://www.lizfried.com/>

                  I sent (too much) rain on one city, and sent no rain on another city;
                  and still you did not return to me, says YHWH. (Amos 4:7-8 )

                  _____

                  From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                  [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf
                  Of
                  Niels Peter Lemche
                  Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2011 7:21 AM
                  To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                  Subject: SV: [ANE-2] Elephantine

                  It is a sad fact that the moment biblical matters are involved, everything
                  breaks down into a discussion between those who takes the information of the
                  Bible literarily or are able to see what we have in the Bible as texts
                  reflecting the viewpoint of their authors, whether or not building on a real
                  or an imagined world.

                  Thus no doubt Liz, Aren and I will have different opinions about almost
                  everything. But none of us would use this kind of translating biblical
                  information into real world information.

                  so:

                  1) "Jew" is not a proper term, except if you measure everything according to
                  the biblical standards for being a Jew. The moment you use this term, you
                  have already said too much. Liz' Judeans, i.e., people who are tracing their
                  origins to the landscape of Judah in central Palestine (real or imagined
                  origins), is a proper and neutral term for the people at Elephantine who
                  definitely considered themselves to be Judean. We don't know if people
                  living in the Jehud in the Persian period did also reckon them as Judeans.
                  So the ethnicity of these Judeans is not an established fact as we only have
                  the emic and not the etic idea of their ethnicity. In this way, they can
                  easily understand themselves as Judeans although living in Egypt for 200
                  years. It is no more astonishing than the modern acceptance of the
                  Falashians as Jews in modern Israel. It is a matter--as defined by Fredrik
                  Barth and his many successors--of ascription and description.

                  2) It is relevant to ask for the evidence we have from the Iron Age. As a
                  matter of fact, this evidence is quite confusing and does not allow us to
                  paint an image of "Israelites" and "Judeans" living in Palestine in that
                  period. Thus we may doubt the existence in this period of law-abiding
                  Israelites bound by the ten commandments and worshipping Yahweh alone. It is
                  simply not the impression we get from the findings in the ground, and
                  interesting enough, the Old Testament is in total agreement with this. The
                  fathers were not law-abiding "Jews" following the demands of the law. Au
                  contraire, mon ami, as Poirot would have said: the OT tells us a story about
                  a sinful race unfaithful whenever it was possible to their God. So the
                  parameter to measure the people from Elephantine with might be the Jews of
                  the Old Testament, in which case they were not Jews. But they need not have
                  been essentially different in their ideological world from people living in
                  their homeland.

                  3) We really do not know if the cult in Jerusalem was monotheistic. And
                  again, this is not the impression you get from the Old Testament itself.
                  (read about Josiah's reform). Name material, inscriptions etc has a
                  different story to tell. I always remmeber Dever at a conference in Bern
                  1993 speaking about figurines which abound in Iron Age excavations but were
                  supposed to be absent in stratas from the Persian Period: Dever: But now we
                  have found them! Aren can definitely bring light to this statement Anno
                  Domine 2011! So your pagan Yahwism was simply the current religion in the
                  Iron Age in the landscape which I here calls Palestine (without any
                  political connotation, if possible). This is not a matter of official
                  religion bound on Jerusalem and a popular religion found elsewhere. The cult
                  in Jerusalem was in te Iron Age as "pagan" as it was everywhere else. As to
                  the prophets I can recommend Bernhard Lang's the Uahweh-Alone-Movement: not
                  that I agree, but his thesis is interesting to see the prophets as the real
                  revolutionaries preaching a new religion.

                  4) It is clear that the Ten Commandments are central to Judaism, but
                  probably more to protestant Christianity. Besides, are you sure that they
                  knew these commandments at Yeb? Even Abraham in the patriarchal stories
                  seems not quite well versed in them as he marries his half sister, although
                  is definitely not allowed according to the Torah. That you find Akkadian
                  terms and Egyptian legal practices is hardly surprising: You have a plethora
                  of these not least in the Book of Covenant, Exodus 21-23.

                  5) The literature you mention is immaterial and has no bearing on the modern
                  discussion about the history of the southern Levant ("Israel"). The idea of
                  the Judeans at Yab as deriving from Israelites left behind by the Exodus is
                  simply ridiculous. It has never been discussed for serious in serious
                  scholarship. Of course you reckon the Exodus as historical, as well as Moses
                  and the Patriarchs. These are subject not gladly discussed here (many other
                  lists available).

                  6) Sorry to say, your approach is "amateurish". You are moving back and to
                  biblical texts as now historical, now mythical. There are so many things you
                  need to study. I should, say, begin with the modern ethnicity discussion.
                  Then some literary theory, especially modern literature's talk about
                  construction and deconstruction, and put some study of cultural memory on
                  top of that (you should like it, as Jan Assmann also believes in a
                  historical Moses). But you simply have to get to what is today said among
                  specialists about these subjects. Only the most evangelical part would
                  subscribe to your ideas of the information of the biblical texts.

                  Niels Peter Lemche

                  -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
                  Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                  <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                  [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                  <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com> ] På vegne af
                  Robert Feather
                  Sendt: den 6 oktober 2011 12:16
                  Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                  <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                  Emne: [ANE-2] Elephantine

                  Dear Elizabeth, and Aren,

                  Of course you can have different definitions of who is or was a Jew. It is
                  the relativity of the beliefs and practices of the 'Jews' in Israel to what
                  was going on at Elephantine Island, that I am referring to. We don't need an
                  agreed definition, only to acknowledge that there were highly significant
                  differences in the forms of religion. This can only be assessed from the
                  evidence we have and for the periods we know something about. You cannot
                  possibly use the same 'Jewish' label for both varieties.

                  In the background of Israel was the central monotheistic cult practiced in
                  the Jerusalem Temple by its priests and preached by the Biblical prophets.
                  There is an interesting article in the BAS library by Stephen Pfann on Pagan
                  Yahwisn: the Folk Religion of Ancient Israel which spells out the many
                  strands of Yahwism and a blanket name for all the different versions is
                  quite misleading.

                  You can of course define Judaism as you wish, but central to its values is
                  the Ten Commandments. The people at Yeb broke at least two of the basic
                  laws. They worshipped more than one god, and allowed work on the Sabbath. In
                  addition they charged interest, married out, used Akkadian terms, followed
                  the Egyptian legal, fiscal and social precedents - some dating back to 1700
                  BCE, as well as numerous other anomalous markers.

                  You should read E.C.B Maclaurin, Date of the Foundation of the Jewish Colony
                  at Elephantine, Journal of Near Eastern Studies Vol 27, 1968

                  You say: They are Judeans, even though they may not have lived in Judah for
                  some 200 years.

                  This appears to be saying the Pseudo-Yahwists came to the Island around 600
                  BCE, although all the evidence says much earlier. Even if that was the case,
                  settlers from Israel prior to 525 BCE would have written in early Hebrew,
                  whereas the Elephantine Community wrote and communicated in Aramaic. You
                  need to quantify when they arrived and why. The gods they worshipped, and
                  their complete lack of any knowledge of Baal is also significant.

                  If you want to respect the texts, as I'm sure you do, then you have to take
                  these people at their word.

                  So, are they YHWHists or Pseudo-Yahwists, as you style them? They have built
                  and maintained a temple to YHWH from the time of their arrival at the time
                  of Cambyses, according to their own words.

                  Fine to respect the texts, but you need to interpret them and not always
                  take them literally. We do not know exactly when they arrived and they
                  themselves, in their texts, say their Temple was built before Cambyses
                  entered Egypt (TAD A4-7). In fact they did not refer to the Temple as that
                  of YHWH but that of YHH. Maclaurin is clear in concluding 'they worshipped
                  (not just took oaths on them) other gods - Yahu, Bethel, and Anath. He says:
                  "the evidence of these names points to the separation of the Yeb community
                  from the rest of the Hebrews and from Canaan at a very early date." The
                  period he assigns, as I do, is at least that of the Patriarchs. (I suppose I
                  shoud amend my appelation to Pseudo-YHHists).

                  His final conclusion is : "The evidence is not conclusive, but it seems more
                  compatible with a suggestion that the Yeb colony was descended from a body
                  of Hebrews left behind at the time of the Exodus than any other."

                  When I visited Elephantine Island excavations were closing in on the
                  location of the Temple, and I understand this has now been verified.

                  Regardless of 'Jewish' definitions the real questions that need to be
                  addressed are how did they get there and when and why did they go there in
                  the first place? There do not seem to be any plausible consensus
                  explanations. Nor do you begin to address the significance of the Temple's
                  design and the layout of the Settlement.

                  Robert Feather, Institute of Materials, London

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                • RUSSELLGMIRKIN@aol.com
                  Perhaps, but one should also take into account their appeal in the same letter to Delaiah and Shelemiah, sons of Sanballat, suggesting that the Elephantine
                  Message 8 of 9 , Oct 6, 2011
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                    Perhaps, but one should also take into account their appeal in the same
                    letter to Delaiah and Shelemiah, sons of Sanballat, suggesting that the
                    Elephantine Judeans may have also had a significant Samarian component. Were
                    Samarian and Judean mutually exclusive terms in this period? Were the sons of
                    Sanballat involved in a purely political context, or was their consultation
                    also important in the religious sphere? The ethnic / religious / political
                    interrelationships appear complex.

                    Best regards,
                    Russell Gmirkin
                    Portland, OR


                    Dear Niels Peter,

                    I wonder if their correspondence with the governor of Yehud would suggest
                    that the Yehud community also saw these people as Judeans.

                    At the very least, it seems to imply that the Judeans of Elephantine
                    expected and assumed that the governor of Yehud and its officials and high
                    priest would perceive them as fellow Judeans.

                    Liz






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                  • featherrobert
                    Interesting that Niels Peter Lemche broadens the discussion into biblical standards and `modern discussion about the history of the southern Levant and talks
                    Message 9 of 9 , Oct 9, 2011
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                      Interesting that Niels Peter Lemche broadens the discussion into biblical standards and `modern discussion about the history of the southern Levant' and talks about the validity of the Hebrew Testaments. I think the origins and beliefs of the Colony at Yeb can help resolve some of these issues.

                      Niels Peter Lemche says: "We don't know if people living in the Jehud in the Persian period did also reckon them as Judeans. So the ethnicity of these Judeans is not an established fact as we only have the emic and not the etic idea of their ethnicity. In this way, they can easily understand themselves as Judeans although living in Egypt for 200 years. It is no more astonishing than the modern acceptance of the Falashians as Jews in modern Israel. It is a matter--as defined by Fredrik Barth and his many successors--of ascription and description."

                      How do we know they understood themselves as Judaeans, when we don't know if the Jehud knew who they were? I have reiterated that the Elephantine papyri texts show that when the Greeks first arrived in southern Egypt, the Colony wrote that they had built their temple in the time of the Egyptian kings. Incidentally the Falasha prefer to be called Beta Israel. We know from DNA analysis approximately where they came from and there ethnicity. What we do not know is that the Elephantines 'definitely considered themselves to be Judaean?'

                      Niels Peter Lemche says "The idea of the Judeans at Yab (should be Yeb))as deriving from Israelites left behind by the Exodus is simply ridiculous. It has never been discussed for serious in serious scholarship."

                      In fact a number of scholars cite this as a possibility, including E Maclaurin of Sydney University, and there is little consensus as to how they arrived there. Isaiah 11.11 refers to the redeeming of some of the Lord's people from an area called Pathros. Professor Bezazel Porten, discussed the possibiity in a lecture given at Limmud Conference 2005 on Elephantine, and said the finding of the Elephantine papyri and ostraca confirmed that The Elephantine colony was the remnant being referred to in the Bible.

                      Niels Peter Lemche says "We really do not know if the cult in Jerusalem was monotheistic."

                      I do not say all the Jews living in the Israel of the time were law-abiding diligently observant monotheists. I simply said that the Bible indicates the measures they tried to live up to, which at its core was belief in one God.

                      We cannot be sure the Elephantines knew the Commandments, but we do know they were happy to break two central tenets, so the logic is they meant little to them, or they just didn't know them.

                      Peter Daniels asks:
                      When did the "Ten Commandments" become normative? How do you know that the "Jews" of Jerusalem didn't do all the things you list as practiced by the Yeb folk (mutatis mutandis for Egyptian precedents, depending on who was in the ascendant at any particular time)?"

                      I don't know, all I have quoted is evidence for what happened at Elephantine. Certainly the Commandments were extant quite early on in Israel's history, as Dwight D. Swanson and Philip R. Davies conclude from evidence in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Behind the Essenes - History and Ideology in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Program in Judaic Studies, No. 94, Scholars Press, 1987).

                      So far, no one has commented on the known design of the Temple and town layout at Elepahantine and I wonder if anyone has any information on this subject?
                      Robert Feather, Institute of Materials, London
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