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Proof of Samson and the lion

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  • Yitzhak Sapir
    Since I find no other report about this, a Hebrew language article titled Has proof for Samson the Hero been found? describes find at the Tel Beth Shemesh
    Message 1 of 22 , Jul 29, 2012
      Since I find no other report about this, a Hebrew language article titled
      "Has proof for Samson the Hero been found?" describes find at the Tel Beth
      Shemesh excavations led by Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz and Dr. Zvi Lederman.

      According to the article, a seal 16mm in diameter was found in the
      excavations and shows a man holding a lion. This is apparently the first
      archaeological indication of an Iron Age legend of Samson killing the lion
      as described in Judges 14. The seal was found in excavations of Iron Age I
      strata that also included the discovery of an Iron Age I
      "ritual architectural complex" unlike any known yet from the period in
      Israel. According to Dr. Lederman, the ritual complex included a well
      built hall where ritual works were performed as well as a circular
      structure that served as a raised ritual platform. An investigation of
      20000 animal bones in the area shows an absence of pig bones.

      The seal - http://www.nrg.co.il/images/archive/300x225/1/454/439.jpg
      The article (Hebrew) - http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART2/390/493.html

      Yitzhak Sapir


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Simeon Chavel
      Looks like someone scratching their dog under the chin. ————————————————————— Simeon Chavel Assistant Professor of
      Message 2 of 22 , Jul 29, 2012
        Looks like someone scratching their dog under the chin.
        ���������������������
        Simeon Chavel
        Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible
        The University of Chicago Divinity School
        tel.: +1.773.702.6387
        AIM: simichavel / Skype: sbchavel
        http://divinity.uchicago.edu/faculty/chavel.shtml
        ���������������������

        On Jul 29, 2012, at 6:28 AM, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:

        > Since I find no other report about this, a Hebrew language article titled
        > "Has proof for Samson the Hero been found?" describes find at the Tel Beth
        > Shemesh excavations led by Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz and Dr. Zvi Lederman.
        >
        > According to the article, a seal 16mm in diameter was found in the
        > excavations and shows a man holding a lion. This is apparently the first
        > archaeological indication of an Iron Age legend of Samson killing the lion
        > as described in Judges 14. The seal was found in excavations of Iron Age I
        > strata that also included the discovery of an Iron Age I
        > "ritual architectural complex" unlike any known yet from the period in
        > Israel. According to Dr. Lederman, the ritual complex included a well
        > built hall where ritual works were performed as well as a circular
        > structure that served as a raised ritual platform. An investigation of
        > 20000 animal bones in the area shows an absence of pig bones.
        >
        > The seal - http://www.nrg.co.il/images/archive/300x225/1/454/439.jpg
        > The article (Hebrew) - http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART2/390/493.html
        >
        > Yitzhak Sapir
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • George F Somsel
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Androcles george gfsomsel search for truth, hear truth, learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth, defend the truth
        Message 3 of 22 , Jul 29, 2012
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Androcles


          george
          gfsomsel

          search for truth, hear truth,
          learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
          defend the truth till death.

          - Jan Hus
          _________



          >________________________________
          > From: Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir@...>
          >To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
          >Sent: Sunday, July 29, 2012 4:28 AM
          >Subject: [ANE-2] Proof of Samson and the lion
          >
          >
          >

          >
          >Since I find no other report about this, a Hebrew language article titled
          >"Has proof for Samson the Hero been found?" describes find at the Tel Beth
          >Shemesh excavations led by Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz and Dr. Zvi Lederman.
          >
          >According to the article, a seal 16mm in diameter was found in the
          >excavations and shows a man holding a lion. This is apparently the first
          >archaeological indication of an Iron Age legend of Samson killing the lion
          >as described in Judges 14. The seal was found in excavations of Iron Age I
          >strata that also included the discovery of an Iron Age I
          >"ritual architectural complex" unlike any known yet from the period in
          >Israel. According to Dr. Lederman, the ritual complex included a well
          >built hall where ritual works were performed as well as a circular
          >structure that served as a raised ritual platform. An investigation of
          >20000 animal bones in the area shows an absence of pig bones.
          >
          >The seal - http://www.nrg.co.il/images/archive/300x225/1/454/439.jpg
          >The article (Hebrew) - http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART2/390/493.html
          >
          >Yitzhak Sapir
          >
          >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Yitzhak Sapir
          The story has only so far been carried also by Haaretz and the news1 website. (The Haaretz article may only be available to subscribers). Both carry a bigger
          Message 4 of 22 , Jul 30, 2012
            The story has only so far been carried also by Haaretz and the news1
            website. (The Haaretz article may only
            be available to subscribers). Both carry a bigger image of the seal
            and both have better titles than the more
            sensationalist Maariv/NRG one.

            I suppose, just like Prof. Chavel, most people wonder if this is
            indeed a lion or what since all we see are bare
            stick figure images. I hoped bringing it up on the list might lead to
            discussion of comparable iconography,
            but either way a lion does seem reasonable to me because we do see
            lions and men fighting lions on other
            seals, as opposed to say, men scratching their dogs.

            My attempt to find comparable imagery led me to a book on leonine
            imagery - "What is stronger than a lion?"
            by Dr. Brent Strawn, 2005 -- where some LBA seals are discussed:
            http://books.google.com/books?id=XUayiAqus0MC&pg=PA84 (pg. 84)
            The images of the seals he discusses are here:
            http://books.google.com/books?id=XUayiAqus0MC&pg=PA381 (pg 381)

            He suggests the man is Seth, which in Canaanite terms could mean Baal,
            and perhaps for Beth Shemesh could
            mean the god Shemesh. It appears to me that Samson similarly is not
            much a personal name but is an eponym
            of Beth Shemesh and could represent the city, its king, or the god Shemesh.

            A similar discussion of Iron Age I seals only barely touches on
            fighting the lions but seals 3.72 (Tel el-Ajjul)
            and 3.73 (Akko) are examples of such -
            discussion: http://books.google.co.il/books?id=XUayiAqus0MC&pg=PA93 (pg. 93)
            seal images: http://books.google.co.il/books?id=XUayiAqus0MC&pg=PA396 (pg. 396)

            One difference is perhaps that although these seals (3.72 and 3.73)
            are also close to stick figures, they
            show weapons whereas the Beth Shemesh seal does not.

            Another interesting bit is that the animal's tail on the Beth Shemesh
            seal. To me it just appears broken off.
            However, it could also be interpreted as a separate figure -- a snake
            to the left of the lion. (This is suggested
            by comment #11 on the NRG article). This could recall Seth fighting
            the snake above as well as seal 3.41:
            discussion: http://books.google.co.il/books?id=XUayiAqus0MC&pg=PA90 (pg. 90)
            seal images: http://books.google.co.il/books?id=XUayiAqus0MC&pg=PA390 (pg. 390)

            Dr. Strawn notes the combination of the lion and the snake is present
            in Ps 91:13 as well as perhaps
            Deut 33:22 where the word Bashan could be the related to Ug. b-th-n
            (the comparable Hebrew word is
            generally ptn, though it has irregular correspondences and Bashan
            would match Ugaritic and Akkadian
            better). Deut 33:22 discusses Dan amongst other northern tribes, and
            here Bashan is taken to mean the
            northern geographical area of the Bashan. But Dan is also related to
            the Sorek valley around Beth
            Shemesh. So Deut 33:22 might recall early legends of vanquishing
            lions and snakes as in this seal or in
            the legends of Samson, and which were identified with the inhabitants
            of Beth Shemesh and the Sorek
            valley.

            News1 article - "Samson's deeds on a rare seal from Beth Shemesh?" -
            http://www.news1.co.il/Archive/001-D-305658-00.html (Hebrew)
            News1 seal image - http://www.news1.co.il/uploadimages/NEWS1Y-83309352397919.jpg
            Haaretz article - "Seal found by Israeli archeologists may give
            substance to Samson legend"
            Haaretz seal image - http://bit.ly/QJaOer

            Yitzhak Sapir
          • mssimi
            Yitzhak, you are right to call me to heel. Thank you for doing so gently. I should not have been flippant. To be more sober about it, methodologically
            Message 5 of 22 , Jul 30, 2012
              Yitzhak, you are right to call me to heel. Thank you for doing so gently. I should not have been flippant. To be more sober about it, methodologically speaking, we have come a long way now -- over the course of decades -- from linking any and every ambiguous find to a particular person or event in the Hebrew Bible. If Strawn's work teaches anything applicable to this situation, it is that the motif of slaying or otherwise manhandling a lion is broader than Samson and this kind of linkage is far too narrowly construed in rather kneejerk fashion. First, one needs to ascertain that the image is one of slaying or manhandling, which from the images published online, is not obvious at all. There is no sword or other weapon, the man and beast are not physically engaged, and the beast is standing on all its legs. Compare the many images in Mesopotamia of a man slaying a monster or ferocious animal that have been identified as Gilgamesh and Humbaba/Huwawa. Second, one needs to locate Samson, more specifically the story about him and the lion, in the Iron I period. This cannot be taken for granted. Third, one must then also argue for the absence of other lion-slayers in ancient Israelite lore and for Samson as the most prevalent main character in it. Oh yeah, fourth, is it Israelite? -- Sincerely, Simi Chavel/Assis. Prof. HB/University of Chicago Divinity School

              --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir@...> wrote:
              >
              > The story has only so far been carried also by Haaretz and the news1
              > website. (The Haaretz article may only
              > be available to subscribers). Both carry a bigger image of the seal
              > and both have better titles than the more
              > sensationalist Maariv/NRG one.
              >
              > I suppose, just like Prof. Chavel, most people wonder if this is
              > indeed a lion or what since all we see are bare
              > stick figure images. I hoped bringing it up on the list might lead to
              > discussion of comparable iconography,
              > but either way a lion does seem reasonable to me because we do see
              > lions and men fighting lions on other
              > seals, as opposed to say, men scratching their dogs.
              >
              > My attempt to find comparable imagery led me to a book on leonine
              > imagery - "What is stronger than a lion?"
              > by Dr. Brent Strawn, 2005 -- where some LBA seals are discussed:
              > http://books.google.com/books?id=XUayiAqus0MC&pg=PA84 (pg. 84)
              > The images of the seals he discusses are here:
              > http://books.google.com/books?id=XUayiAqus0MC&pg=PA381 (pg 381)
              >
              > He suggests the man is Seth, which in Canaanite terms could mean Baal,
              > and perhaps for Beth Shemesh could
              > mean the god Shemesh. It appears to me that Samson similarly is not
              > much a personal name but is an eponym
              > of Beth Shemesh and could represent the city, its king, or the god Shemesh.
              >
              > A similar discussion of Iron Age I seals only barely touches on
              > fighting the lions but seals 3.72 (Tel el-Ajjul)
              > and 3.73 (Akko) are examples of such -
              > discussion: http://books.google.co.il/books?id=XUayiAqus0MC&pg=PA93 (pg. 93)
              > seal images: http://books.google.co.il/books?id=XUayiAqus0MC&pg=PA396 (pg. 396)
              >
              > One difference is perhaps that although these seals (3.72 and 3.73)
              > are also close to stick figures, they
              > show weapons whereas the Beth Shemesh seal does not.
              >
              > Another interesting bit is that the animal's tail on the Beth Shemesh
              > seal. To me it just appears broken off.
              > However, it could also be interpreted as a separate figure -- a snake
              > to the left of the lion. (This is suggested
              > by comment #11 on the NRG article). This could recall Seth fighting
              > the snake above as well as seal 3.41:
              > discussion: http://books.google.co.il/books?id=XUayiAqus0MC&pg=PA90 (pg. 90)
              > seal images: http://books.google.co.il/books?id=XUayiAqus0MC&pg=PA390 (pg. 390)
              >
              > Dr. Strawn notes the combination of the lion and the snake is present
              > in Ps 91:13 as well as perhaps
              > Deut 33:22 where the word Bashan could be the related to Ug. b-th-n
              > (the comparable Hebrew word is
              > generally ptn, though it has irregular correspondences and Bashan
              > would match Ugaritic and Akkadian
              > better). Deut 33:22 discusses Dan amongst other northern tribes, and
              > here Bashan is taken to mean the
              > northern geographical area of the Bashan. But Dan is also related to
              > the Sorek valley around Beth
              > Shemesh. So Deut 33:22 might recall early legends of vanquishing
              > lions and snakes as in this seal or in
              > the legends of Samson, and which were identified with the inhabitants
              > of Beth Shemesh and the Sorek
              > valley.
              >
              > News1 article - "Samson's deeds on a rare seal from Beth Shemesh?" -
              > http://www.news1.co.il/Archive/001-D-305658-00.html (Hebrew)
              > News1 seal image - http://www.news1.co.il/uploadimages/NEWS1Y-83309352397919.jpg
              > Haaretz article - "Seal found by Israeli archeologists may give
              > substance to Samson legend"
              > Haaretz seal image - http://bit.ly/QJaOer
              >
              > Yitzhak Sapir
              >
            • eliot braun
              Lions roamed the Levant way back when. At Afridar, a lion skull and a mandible of another were found in an Early Bronze Age I occupation (mid 4t millennium). I
              Message 6 of 22 , Jul 30, 2012
                Lions roamed the Levant way back when. At Afridar, a lion skull and a mandible of another were found in an Early Bronze Age I occupation (mid 4t millennium). I rather think that the lions were not likely to have been supper, but perhaps were hunted or their bones were collected. I should add that there was no question of any ritual or cultic context. A lion skull was associated with a cultic installation a Jaffa in the Middle Bronze Age. There is also the famous seal from Megiddo with a lion image on it. 
                 
                Eliot Braun, Ph D
                Sr. Fellow WF Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem
                Associate Researcher Centre de Recherche Français de Jérusalem
                PO Box 21, Har Adar 90836 Israel
                Tel 972-2-5345687, Cell 972-50-2231096


                ________________________________
                From: Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir@...>
                To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Sunday, July 29, 2012 2:28 PM
                Subject: [ANE-2] Proof of Samson and the lion


                 
                Since I find no other report about this, a Hebrew language article titled
                "Has proof for Samson the Hero been found?" describes find at the Tel Beth
                Shemesh excavations led by Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz and Dr. Zvi Lederman.

                According to the article, a seal 16mm in diameter was found in the
                excavations and shows a man holding a lion. This is apparently the first
                archaeological indication of an Iron Age legend of Samson killing the lion
                as described in Judges 14. The seal was found in excavations of Iron Age I
                strata that also included the discovery of an Iron Age I
                "ritual architectural complex" unlike any known yet from the period in
                Israel. According to Dr. Lederman, the ritual complex included a well
                built hall where ritual works were performed as well as a circular
                structure that served as a raised ritual platform. An investigation of
                20000 animal bones in the area shows an absence of pig bones.

                The seal - http://www.nrg.co.il/images/archive/300x225/1/454/439.jpg
                The article (Hebrew) - http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART2/390/493.html

                Yitzhak Sapir

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




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Jimmy Doyle
                Or, perhaps it is a lion eating or attacking someone. I definitely think it it is an exaggeration to say it depicts a scene as it is represented in Judges.
                Message 7 of 22 , Jul 30, 2012
                  Or, perhaps it is a lion eating or attacking someone. I definitely think it it is an exaggeration to say it depicts a scene as it is represented in Judges.

                  J. K. Doyle
                  MDiv
                  Phillips Theological Seminary

                  Sent from my iPad
                • Jim West
                  It s not just an exaggeration, it s wishful thinking. ... -- +++++++ Jim West, ThD Petros, TN
                  Message 8 of 22 , Jul 30, 2012
                    It's not just an exaggeration, it's wishful thinking.

                    On 7/30/2012 3:21 PM, Jimmy Doyle wrote:
                    > Or, perhaps it is a lion eating or attacking someone. I definitely think it it is an exaggeration to say it depicts a scene as it is represented in Judges.
                    >
                    > J. K. Doyle
                    > MDiv
                    > Phillips Theological Seminary
                    >
                    > Sent from my iPad

                    --
                    +++++++
                    Jim West, ThD
                    Petros, TN
                  • Jascha Kessler
                    Knowing nothing of ME archæology, and arguments, but having seen images for decades, it seems to me that the one thing not mentioned in such a discussion of a
                    Message 9 of 22 , Jul 30, 2012
                      Knowing nothing of ME archæology, and arguments, but having seen images for
                      decades, it seems to me that the one thing not mentioned in such a
                      discussion of a seal as this is...metaphor. Including the narration of
                      Samson as lion strangler, etc. Not to mention his relations with the Lady
                      of the Night, and his magical, or dedicated hair. Consider the metaphor of
                      Menelaus' wife, over whom a war was said to have been fought for many
                      years...a bardic tale of tales..
                      Jascha Kessler

                      --
                      Jascha Kessler
                      Professor Emeritus of Modern English & American Literature, UCLA
                      Telephone: 310.393.7968
                      jkessler@...
                      www.jfkessler.com
                      www.xlibris.com


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Yigal Levin
                      Perhaps. On the other hand, it does help understand the reality that gave rise to the Samson story. That is, assuming that the seal is originally from Beth
                      Message 10 of 22 , Jul 30, 2012
                        Perhaps. On the other hand, it does help understand the reality that gave
                        rise to the Samson story. That is, assuming that the seal is originally from
                        Beth Shemesh and was not brought (in antiquity) from elsewhere, and assuming
                        that it does depict an interaction between a human and a lion, it does show
                        that the reality of the time (Iron I) was that lions were occasionally seen
                        in the area. In general, the author of the Samson story seems to have been
                        very familiar with the geography of the Shephelah. Which brings us to
                        another issue: since I find it unlikely that the similarity between the name
                        of the character Samson (Shimshon) and the name of the main city right in
                        the area in which he grew up, Beth Shemesh, is coincidental, why is the city
                        itself never mentioned in the story. Samson wanders between Zorah, Eshtaol,
                        Timnah, the Sorek Valley and so on, all right around the city, but
                        Beth-Shemesh itself in never mentioned. Even stranger than the non-mention
                        of Sepphoris in the Gospels.



                        Yigal





                        Dr. Yigal Levin

                        The Israel and Golda Koschitzky

                        Department of Jewish History

                        Bar-Ilan University

                        Ramat Gan. 52900

                        ISRAEL

                        <mailto:Yigal.Levin@...> Yigal.Levin@...







                        From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jim
                        West
                        Sent: Monday, July 30, 2012 10:25 PM
                        To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Re: Proof of Samson and the lion





                        It's not just an exaggeration, it's wishful thinking.

                        On 7/30/2012 3:21 PM, Jimmy Doyle wrote:
                        > Or, perhaps it is a lion eating or attacking someone. I definitely think
                        it it is an exaggeration to say it depicts a scene as it is represented in
                        Judges.
                        >
                        > J. K. Doyle
                        > MDiv
                        > Phillips Theological Seminary
                        >
                        > Sent from my iPad

                        --
                        +++++++
                        Jim West, ThD
                        Petros, TN





                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Yitzhak Sapir
                        ... Dear Prof. Chavel Well, actually, Joseph Lauer has pointed out a larger photo from Haaretz:
                        Message 11 of 22 , Jul 31, 2012
                          On Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 6:08 PM, Prof. Simon Chavel wrote:
                          > First, one needs to ascertain that the image is one of slaying or manhandling, which from the images published online,
                          > is not obvious at all. There is no sword or other weapon, the man and beast are not physically engaged, and the beast
                          > is standing on all its legs. .. Second, one needs to locate Samson, more specifically the story about him and the lion,
                          > in the Iron I period. This cannot be taken for granted.

                          Dear Prof. Chavel

                          Well, actually, Joseph Lauer has pointed out a larger photo from Haaretz:
                          http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.454522.1343629444!/image/780498918.jpg

                          I'm not totally sure that the horizontal line in the middle is not the
                          traces of some weapon or axe. (This in turn would
                          be an inconsistency with the Samson story as we currently have it,
                          though it is generally agreed in any case that the
                          book of Judges was compiled centuries later than this artifact). Even
                          without a weapon, my personal feeling would be
                          that if they face each other, that in itself is a hint to some battle.
                          First because other more detailed seals depicting a
                          beast and a man facing each other in this way suggest some battle, but
                          also because the very act of facing each other
                          connotes a battle, even as a phrase: they face off, they oppose each
                          other, and so too in Hebrew, with the root ngd.

                          On the second question, however, this is an interesting issue of the
                          chicken and the egg. The extreme converse
                          position would be that the story of Samson owes some of its specifics
                          to Heracles and this points to an Hellenistic
                          date. This position would seem to be argued by Robert Gnuse,
                          "Abducted Wives" SJOT 21/2 (2007) which according
                          to the abstract "suggests the possibility that Judges 13-16 ... may
                          have been added ... in the late Persian or Hellenistic
                          period, for this literature shows continuity with Greek literature."
                          http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09018320801896575

                          It was actually hard to find such an example, and was easier to find
                          criticisms of such positions as in Gregory Mobley's
                          "Samson and the Liminal Hero in the ANE" (2006), p. 7-12 which
                          concludes that both are perhaps influenced by older
                          traditions such as the Akkadian Gilgamesh epic:
                          http://books.google.com/books?id=oZlYFM4EvTsC&pg=PA12

                          However, were I to argue against the position as described by Gnuse,
                          for example, this artifact might have come
                          in handy. For I could have argued that the lion fighting account of
                          Samson could be explained not just on the
                          similarities to Heracles but could have also been the product of the
                          Iron Age, as we could learn from the the variety
                          of Iron Age seals with lion-fighting scenes. But this would have been
                          a more general argument whereas having such
                          a seal from the area itself as in Beth Shemesh is a much more specific
                          example. It's not just that people in IA Canaan
                          were telling legends about men fighting lions, it is that people in IA
                          Beth Shemesh were telling legends about men
                          fighting lions. It makes the argument slightly stronger.

                          So it is not that first we must locate Samson in this time period to
                          interpret the seal as giving evidence to Samson. It
                          is that to locate Samson in this period, this seal could be used as
                          evidence. Locating Samson is a literary interpretive
                          task, which makes use of archaeological evidence such as this seal.
                          It's hard for me to see how and why this should be
                          the other way around. Moreover, if to interpret this seal, we must
                          first locate Samson, just what type of evidence would
                          be used to locate Samson?

                          Incidentally, not really discussed in the news articles about this,
                          the seal also provides another line of support in terms
                          of transmission. A seal would be indicative of literacy in the area,
                          generally accepted as a necessary precondition
                          for the stories were to be passed on and preserved later on.

                          I suppose Bunimovitz and Lederman would argue it is Israelite on the
                          basis of the bone analysis mentioend but for me
                          these bones are more interesting in their ability to provide a dating
                          for the discoveries. My personal view of the area
                          is of Beth Shemesh as a city state, as it was in the LBA, and seeing
                          it as Israelite in the traditional sense is anachronistic.

                          Yitzhak Sapir
                          Rosh Haayin, Israel
                        • Niels Peter Lemche
                          By a stupid accident, I deleted Raz s own mail, but had his message preserved. so here it is Niels Peter Lemche Dear Yitzhak, I think facts are not in dispute:
                          Message 12 of 22 , Jul 31, 2012
                            By a stupid accident, I deleted Raz's own mail, but had his message preserved.

                            so here it is

                            Niels Peter Lemche



                            Dear Yitzhak,
                            I think facts are not in dispute:
                            1. Lions are documented in Palestine by bones, iconography, etc. in Late Bronze, lron I, Iron II etc.. They are not specifically Iron I nor limited to the Shephelah. So they cannot "date" the Samson story.
                            2. The seal is not exceptional; there are various traditions/legends from various periods and areas about human encounters with lions.
                            3. Those living in the Shephelah, but also in neighboring regions outside (Jerusalem, Ekron), would have known the region well - in every period.
                            So the familiarity is no indication of a specific date.
                            I don't see how this unepigraphic seal indicates literacy; and how it supports a specific "location of Samson".
                            You asked what type of archaeological evidence would "locate" Samson?
                            -I'd say *the same type that would convince you about the "location"
                            of Gilgamesh or Heracles*. For example, if a similar seal would have been found in a Mycenaean level in Troy, would you see it as proof for "locating" Heracles and the Namean lion?
                            Raz Kletter
                            University of Helsinki

                            2012/7/31 Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir@...>

                            > **
                            >
                            >
                            > On Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 6:08 PM, Prof. Simon Chavel wrote:
                            > > First, one needs to ascertain that the image is one of slaying or
                            > manhandling, which from the images published online,
                            > > is not obvious at all. There is no sword or other weapon, the man
                            > > and
                            > beast are not physically engaged, and the beast
                            > > is standing on all its legs. .. Second, one needs to locate Samson,
                            > > more
                            > specifically the story about him and the lion,
                            > > in the Iron I period. This cannot be taken for granted.
                            >
                            > Dear Prof. Chavel
                            >
                            > Well, actually, Joseph Lauer has pointed out a larger photo from Haaretz:
                            > http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.454522.1343629444
                            > !/image/780498918.jpg
                            >
                            > I'm not totally sure that the horizontal line in the middle is not the
                            > traces of some weapon or axe. (This in turn would be an inconsistency
                            > with the Samson story as we currently have it, though it is generally
                            > agreed in any case that the book of Judges was compiled centuries
                            > later than this artifact). Even without a weapon, my personal feeling
                            > would be that if they face each other, that in itself is a hint to
                            > some battle.
                            > First because other more detailed seals depicting a beast and a man
                            > facing each other in this way suggest some battle, but also because
                            > the very act of facing each other connotes a battle, even as a phrase:
                            > they face off, they oppose each other, and so too in Hebrew, with the
                            > root ngd.
                            >
                            > On the second question, however, this is an interesting issue of the
                            > chicken and the egg. The extreme converse position would be that the
                            > story of Samson owes some of its specifics to Heracles and this points
                            > to an Hellenistic date. This position would seem to be argued by
                            > Robert Gnuse, "Abducted Wives" SJOT 21/2 (2007) which according to the
                            > abstract "suggests the possibility that Judges 13-16 ... may have been
                            > added ... in the late Persian or Hellenistic period, for this
                            > literature shows continuity with Greek literature."
                            > http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09018320801896575
                            >
                            > It was actually hard to find such an example, and was easier to find
                            > criticisms of such positions as in Gregory Mobley's "Samson and the
                            > Liminal Hero in the ANE" (2006), p. 7-12 which concludes that both are
                            > perhaps influenced by older traditions such as the Akkadian Gilgamesh
                            > epic:
                            > http://books.google.com/books?id=oZlYFM4EvTsC&pg=PA12
                            >
                            > However, were I to argue against the position as described by Gnuse,
                            > for example, this artifact might have come in handy. For I could have
                            > argued that the lion fighting account of Samson could be explained not
                            > just on the similarities to Heracles but could have also been the
                            > product of the Iron Age, as we could learn from the the variety of
                            > Iron Age seals with lion-fighting scenes. But this would have been a
                            > more general argument whereas having such a seal from the area itself
                            > as in Beth Shemesh is a much more specific example. It's not just that
                            > people in IA Canaan were telling legends about men fighting lions, it
                            > is that people in IA Beth Shemesh were telling legends about men
                            > fighting lions. It makes the argument slightly stronger.
                            >
                            > So it is not that first we must locate Samson in this time period to
                            > interpret the seal as giving evidence to Samson. It is that to locate
                            > Samson in this period, this seal could be used as evidence. Locating
                            > Samson is a literary interpretive task, which makes use of
                            > archaeological evidence such as this seal.
                            > It's hard for me to see how and why this should be the other way
                            > around. Moreover, if to interpret this seal, we must first locate
                            > Samson, just what type of evidence would be used to locate Samson?
                            >
                            > Incidentally, not really discussed in the news articles about this,
                            > the seal also provides another line of support in terms of
                            > transmission. A seal would be indicative of literacy in the area,
                            > generally accepted as a necessary precondition for the stories were to
                            > be passed on and preserved later on.
                            >
                            > I suppose Bunimovitz and Lederman would argue it is Israelite on the
                            > basis of the bone analysis mentioend but for me these bones are more
                            > interesting in their ability to provide a dating for the discoveries.
                            > My personal view of the area is of Beth Shemesh as a city state, as it
                            > was in the LBA, and seeing it as Israelite in the traditional sense is
                            > anachronistic.
                            >
                            > Yitzhak Sapir
                            > Rosh Haayin, Israel
                            >
                            >


                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • R. Lehmann
                            Well said, Raz! regards, Reinhard
                            Message 13 of 22 , Jul 31, 2012
                              Well said, Raz!
                              regards, Reinhard

                              ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
                              Dr. Reinhard G. Lehmann
                              Academic Director
                              Research Unit on Ancient Hebrew & Epigraphy
                              FB 01/ Faculty of Protestant Theology
                              Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz
                              D-55099 Mainz
                              Germany


                              > Dear Yitzhak,
                              > I think facts are not in dispute:
                              > 1. Lions are documented in Palestine by bones, iconography, etc. in Late Bronze, lron I, Iron II etc.. They are not specifically Iron I nor limited to the Shephelah. So they cannot "date" the Samson story.
                              > 2. The seal is not exceptional; there are various traditions/legends from various periods and areas about human encounters with lions.
                              > 3. Those living in the Shephelah, but also in neighboring regions outside (Jerusalem, Ekron), would have known the region well - in every period.
                              > So the familiarity is no indication of a specific date.
                              > I don't see how this unepigraphic seal indicates literacy; and how it supports a specific "location of Samson".
                              > You asked what type of archaeological evidence would "locate" Samson?
                              > -I'd say *the same type that would convince you about the "location"
                              > of Gilgamesh or Heracles*. For example, if a similar seal would have been found in a Mycenaean level in Troy, would you see it as proof for "locating" Heracles and the Namean lion?
                              > Raz Kletter
                              > University of Helsinki
                              >
                              >



                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Raz Kletter
                              Dear Itzhak, I think the facts are not in dispute, namely: lions existed throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages (and later) and cannot date the Samson story;
                              Message 14 of 22 , Jul 31, 2012
                                Dear Itzhak,
                                I think the facts are not in dispute, namely: lions existed throughout
                                the Bronze and Iron Ages (and later) and cannot date the Samson story;
                                people are familiar with their region in every period (so familiarity again
                                offers no date); also people from nearby regions could be familiar with the
                                Shephelah; this seal is not exceptional; there are various traditions in
                                place and time about human-lion encounters, and teh seal shows nothing
                                specific to the Samson legend.
                                I do not see how this unepigraphic seal proves literacy; and how it
                                "locates Samson".
                                You asked (perhaps a rethorical question) what type of evidence would
                                be needed to "locate" Samson. My answer: the same type that would convince
                                you about a specific "location" for Gilgamesh or Heracles.
                                In other owrds, suppose that this seal would have been found in a
                                Mycenaean level at Troy, would you accept it as definite "proof" for
                                Heracles and the Manean lion?
                                Raz Kletter
                                University of Helsinki


                                2012/7/31 Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir@...>

                                > **
                                >
                                >
                                > On Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 6:08 PM, Prof. Simon Chavel wrote:
                                > > First, one needs to ascertain that the image is one of slaying or
                                > manhandling, which from the images published online,
                                > > is not obvious at all. There is no sword or other weapon, the man and
                                > beast are not physically engaged, and the beast
                                > > is standing on all its legs. .. Second, one needs to locate Samson, more
                                > specifically the story about him and the lion,
                                > > in the Iron I period. This cannot be taken for granted.
                                >
                                > Dear Prof. Chavel
                                >
                                > Well, actually, Joseph Lauer has pointed out a larger photo from Haaretz:
                                > http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.454522.1343629444
                                > !/image/780498918.jpg
                                >
                                > I'm not totally sure that the horizontal line in the middle is not the
                                > traces of some weapon or axe. (This in turn would
                                > be an inconsistency with the Samson story as we currently have it,
                                > though it is generally agreed in any case that the
                                > book of Judges was compiled centuries later than this artifact). Even
                                > without a weapon, my personal feeling would be
                                > that if they face each other, that in itself is a hint to some battle.
                                > First because other more detailed seals depicting a
                                > beast and a man facing each other in this way suggest some battle, but
                                > also because the very act of facing each other
                                > connotes a battle, even as a phrase: they face off, they oppose each
                                > other, and so too in Hebrew, with the root ngd.
                                >
                                > On the second question, however, this is an interesting issue of the
                                > chicken and the egg. The extreme converse
                                > position would be that the story of Samson owes some of its specifics
                                > to Heracles and this points to an Hellenistic
                                > date. This position would seem to be argued by Robert Gnuse,
                                > "Abducted Wives" SJOT 21/2 (2007) which according
                                > to the abstract "suggests the possibility that Judges 13-16 ... may
                                > have been added ... in the late Persian or Hellenistic
                                > period, for this literature shows continuity with Greek literature."
                                > http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09018320801896575
                                >
                                > It was actually hard to find such an example, and was easier to find
                                > criticisms of such positions as in Gregory Mobley's
                                > "Samson and the Liminal Hero in the ANE" (2006), p. 7-12 which
                                > concludes that both are perhaps influenced by older
                                > traditions such as the Akkadian Gilgamesh epic:
                                > http://books.google.com/books?id=oZlYFM4EvTsC&pg=PA12
                                >
                                > However, were I to argue against the position as described by Gnuse,
                                > for example, this artifact might have come
                                > in handy. For I could have argued that the lion fighting account of
                                > Samson could be explained not just on the
                                > similarities to Heracles but could have also been the product of the
                                > Iron Age, as we could learn from the the variety
                                > of Iron Age seals with lion-fighting scenes. But this would have been
                                > a more general argument whereas having such
                                > a seal from the area itself as in Beth Shemesh is a much more specific
                                > example. It's not just that people in IA Canaan
                                > were telling legends about men fighting lions, it is that people in IA
                                > Beth Shemesh were telling legends about men
                                > fighting lions. It makes the argument slightly stronger.
                                >
                                > So it is not that first we must locate Samson in this time period to
                                > interpret the seal as giving evidence to Samson. It
                                > is that to locate Samson in this period, this seal could be used as
                                > evidence. Locating Samson is a literary interpretive
                                > task, which makes use of archaeological evidence such as this seal.
                                > It's hard for me to see how and why this should be
                                > the other way around. Moreover, if to interpret this seal, we must
                                > first locate Samson, just what type of evidence would
                                > be used to locate Samson?
                                >
                                > Incidentally, not really discussed in the news articles about this,
                                > the seal also provides another line of support in terms
                                > of transmission. A seal would be indicative of literacy in the area,
                                > generally accepted as a necessary precondition
                                > for the stories were to be passed on and preserved later on.
                                >
                                > I suppose Bunimovitz and Lederman would argue it is Israelite on the
                                > basis of the bone analysis mentioend but for me
                                > these bones are more interesting in their ability to provide a dating
                                > for the discoveries. My personal view of the area
                                > is of Beth Shemesh as a city state, as it was in the LBA, and seeing
                                > it as Israelite in the traditional sense is anachronistic.
                                >
                                > Yitzhak Sapir
                                > Rosh Haayin, Israel
                                >
                                >


                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Simeon Chavel
                                High resolution image [available here: http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.454522.1343629444!/image/780498918.jpg] brings up a few things: 1. There seem to be
                                Message 15 of 22 , Jul 31, 2012
                                  High resolution image [available here: http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.454522.1343629444!/image/780498918.jpg] brings up a few things:

                                  1. There seem to be letters across the top, and maybe, just maybe, under the neck of the quadruped (is that a yod?).

                                  2. The large quadruped seems to have something much smaller on its back -- another animal? The long line extending from the rider's back does not seem related to it. It does seem quite straight for a random scratch of some kind.

                                  3. What I did not consider before: Measured from ground to head, the quadruped is the same height as the human -- which makes it quite large, (significantly larger than the norm for lions). They are toe to toe and eye to eye.

                                  4. The thing that looks like the human is holding it is not straight like a sword but squiggly. If the human is holding it, it could look like a snake and he is holding it to the quadruped. Another possibility is it's the tongue of the quadruped.

                                  5. Relatedly, Jim Davila pointed out [http://paleojudaica.blogspot.com] that the human figure is leaning backwards. In his view, the human looks to be on the defensive. This seems a good interpretation if the human figure is holding a snake to the quadruped. If the human figure has got the quadruped by the tongue then he may be pulling it. Is he pulling with both hands? (Imagine pulling your dog by the leash.)

                                  6. Does the human have a beard and/or long hair in the back?
                                  ���������������������
                                  Simeon Chavel
                                  Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible
                                  The University of Chicago Divinity School
                                  tel.: +1.773.702.6387
                                  AIM: simichavel / Skype: sbchavel
                                  http://divinity.uchicago.edu/faculty/chavel.shtml
                                  ���������������������

                                  On Jul 31, 2012, at 7:02 AM, Niels Peter Lemche wrote:

                                  > By a stupid accident, I deleted Raz's own mail, but had his message preserved.
                                  >
                                  > so here it is
                                  >
                                  > Niels Peter Lemche
                                  >
                                  > Dear Yitzhak,
                                  > I think facts are not in dispute:
                                  > 1. Lions are documented in Palestine by bones, iconography, etc. in Late Bronze, lron I, Iron II etc.. They are not specifically Iron I nor limited to the Shephelah. So they cannot "date" the Samson story.
                                  > 2. The seal is not exceptional; there are various traditions/legends from various periods and areas about human encounters with lions.
                                  > 3. Those living in the Shephelah, but also in neighboring regions outside (Jerusalem, Ekron), would have known the region well - in every period.
                                  > So the familiarity is no indication of a specific date.
                                  > I don't see how this unepigraphic seal indicates literacy; and how it supports a specific "location of Samson".
                                  > You asked what type of archaeological evidence would "locate" Samson?
                                  > -I'd say *the same type that would convince you about the "location"
                                  > of Gilgamesh or Heracles*. For example, if a similar seal would have been found in a Mycenaean level in Troy, would you see it as proof for "locating" Heracles and the Namean lion?
                                  > Raz Kletter
                                  > University of Helsinki
                                  >
                                  > 2012/7/31 Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir@...>
                                  >
                                  > > **
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > On Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 6:08 PM, Prof. Simon Chavel wrote:
                                  > > > First, one needs to ascertain that the image is one of slaying or
                                  > > manhandling, which from the images published online,
                                  > > > is not obvious at all. There is no sword or other weapon, the man
                                  > > > and
                                  > > beast are not physically engaged, and the beast
                                  > > > is standing on all its legs. .. Second, one needs to locate Samson,
                                  > > > more
                                  > > specifically the story about him and the lion,
                                  > > > in the Iron I period. This cannot be taken for granted.
                                  > >
                                  > > Dear Prof. Chavel
                                  > >
                                  > > Well, actually, Joseph Lauer has pointed out a larger photo from Haaretz:
                                  > > http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.454522.1343629444
                                  > > !/image/780498918.jpg
                                  > >
                                  > > I'm not totally sure that the horizontal line in the middle is not the
                                  > > traces of some weapon or axe. (This in turn would be an inconsistency
                                  > > with the Samson story as we currently have it, though it is generally
                                  > > agreed in any case that the book of Judges was compiled centuries
                                  > > later than this artifact). Even without a weapon, my personal feeling
                                  > > would be that if they face each other, that in itself is a hint to
                                  > > some battle.
                                  > > First because other more detailed seals depicting a beast and a man
                                  > > facing each other in this way suggest some battle, but also because
                                  > > the very act of facing each other connotes a battle, even as a phrase:
                                  > > they face off, they oppose each other, and so too in Hebrew, with the
                                  > > root ngd.
                                  > >
                                  > > On the second question, however, this is an interesting issue of the
                                  > > chicken and the egg. The extreme converse position would be that the
                                  > > story of Samson owes some of its specifics to Heracles and this points
                                  > > to an Hellenistic date. This position would seem to be argued by
                                  > > Robert Gnuse, "Abducted Wives" SJOT 21/2 (2007) which according to the
                                  > > abstract "suggests the possibility that Judges 13-16 ... may have been
                                  > > added ... in the late Persian or Hellenistic period, for this
                                  > > literature shows continuity with Greek literature."
                                  > > http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09018320801896575
                                  > >
                                  > > It was actually hard to find such an example, and was easier to find
                                  > > criticisms of such positions as in Gregory Mobley's "Samson and the
                                  > > Liminal Hero in the ANE" (2006), p. 7-12 which concludes that both are
                                  > > perhaps influenced by older traditions such as the Akkadian Gilgamesh
                                  > > epic:
                                  > > http://books.google.com/books?id=oZlYFM4EvTsC&pg=PA12
                                  > >
                                  > > However, were I to argue against the position as described by Gnuse,
                                  > > for example, this artifact might have come in handy. For I could have
                                  > > argued that the lion fighting account of Samson could be explained not
                                  > > just on the similarities to Heracles but could have also been the
                                  > > product of the Iron Age, as we could learn from the the variety of
                                  > > Iron Age seals with lion-fighting scenes. But this would have been a
                                  > > more general argument whereas having such a seal from the area itself
                                  > > as in Beth Shemesh is a much more specific example. It's not just that
                                  > > people in IA Canaan were telling legends about men fighting lions, it
                                  > > is that people in IA Beth Shemesh were telling legends about men
                                  > > fighting lions. It makes the argument slightly stronger.
                                  > >
                                  > > So it is not that first we must locate Samson in this time period to
                                  > > interpret the seal as giving evidence to Samson. It is that to locate
                                  > > Samson in this period, this seal could be used as evidence. Locating
                                  > > Samson is a literary interpretive task, which makes use of
                                  > > archaeological evidence such as this seal.
                                  > > It's hard for me to see how and why this should be the other way
                                  > > around. Moreover, if to interpret this seal, we must first locate
                                  > > Samson, just what type of evidence would be used to locate Samson?
                                  > >
                                  > > Incidentally, not really discussed in the news articles about this,
                                  > > the seal also provides another line of support in terms of
                                  > > transmission. A seal would be indicative of literacy in the area,
                                  > > generally accepted as a necessary precondition for the stories were to
                                  > > be passed on and preserved later on.
                                  > >
                                  > > I suppose Bunimovitz and Lederman would argue it is Israelite on the
                                  > > basis of the bone analysis mentioend but for me these bones are more
                                  > > interesting in their ability to provide a dating for the discoveries.
                                  > > My personal view of the area is of Beth Shemesh as a city state, as it
                                  > > was in the LBA, and seeing it as Israelite in the traditional sense is
                                  > > anachronistic.
                                  > >
                                  > > Yitzhak Sapir
                                  > > Rosh Haayin, Israel
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  >
                                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  >
                                  >



                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • R. Lehmann
                                  Never ever are there letters. And what ever the whole thing is - won t you all stop speculating about a seal that does definitely NOT depict what you expect
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Jul 31, 2012
                                    Never ever are there letters.
                                    And what ever the whole thing is - won't you all stop speculating about a seal that does definitely NOT depict what you expect but a quadruped and maybe a human and nothing else.

                                    Or maybe the next suggestion will be that that the beast is a dinosaur. On top riding a saint with a gloriole (look, it's really there) and a long javelin under his right arm - most probably a prefiguaration of Saint Georges ...? (scnr - difficile est satiram non scribere)


                                    ������������������������������������������������������������������������
                                    Dr. Reinhard G. Lehmann
                                    Academic Director
                                    Research Unit on Ancient Hebrew & Epigraphy
                                    FB 01/ Faculty of Protestant Theology
                                    Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz
                                    D-55099 Mainz
                                    Germany
                                    lehmann@...
                                    http://www.hebraistik.uni-mainz.de/116.php
                                    http://www.ev.theologie.uni-mainz.de/297.php
                                    KUSATU:
                                    http://www.hebraistik.uni-mainz.de/155.php
                                    Subsidia et Instrumenta Linguarum Orientis (SILO):
                                    http://www.hebraistik.uni-mainz.de/182.php






                                    Am 31.07.2012 um 17:17 schrieb Simeon Chavel:

                                    > High resolution image [available here: http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.454522.1343629444!/image/780498918.jpg] brings up a few things:
                                    >
                                    > 1. There seem to be letters across the top, and maybe, just maybe, under the neck of the quadruped (is that a yod?).
                                    >
                                    > 2. The large quadruped seems to have something much smaller on its back -- another animal? The long line extending from the rider's back does not seem related to it. It does seem quite straight for a random scratch of some kind.
                                    >
                                    > 3. What I did not consider before: Measured from ground to head, the quadruped is the same height as the human -- which makes it quite large, (significantly larger than the norm for lions). They are toe to toe and eye to eye.
                                    >
                                    > 4. The thing that looks like the human is holding it is not straight like a sword but squiggly. If the human is holding it, it could look like a snake and he is holding it to the quadruped. Another possibility is it's the tongue of the quadruped.
                                    >
                                    > 5. Relatedly, Jim Davila pointed out [http://paleojudaica.blogspot.com] that the human figure is leaning backwards. In his view, the human looks to be on the defensive. This seems a good interpretation if the human figure is holding a snake to the quadruped. If the human figure has got the quadruped by the tongue then he may be pulling it. Is he pulling with both hands? (Imagine pulling your dog by the leash.)
                                    >
                                    > 6. Does the human have a beard and/or long hair in the back?
                                    > ���������������������
                                    > Simeon Chavel
                                    > Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible
                                    > The University of Chicago Divinity School
                                    > tel.: +1.773.702.6387
                                    > AIM: simichavel / Skype: sbchavel
                                    > http://divinity.uchicago.edu/faculty/chavel.shtml
                                    > ���������������������



                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • RUSSELLGMIRKIN@aol.com
                                    Why does everyone appear obsessed with lions? The ancient Levant had leopards as well as lions, and the leopard appears in ancient literature of the ANE,
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Jul 31, 2012
                                      Why does everyone appear obsessed with lions? The ancient Levant had
                                      leopards as well as lions, and the leopard appears in ancient literature
                                      of the
                                      ANE, including the Epic of Gilgamesh, as I recall. The quadruped on the
                                      seal
                                      appears to me to possess the head shape and lean body build of a leopard,
                                      and the leopard more typically has the pronounced upwardly curled tail,
                                      much like the image in the seal, especially in the attitude of attack.
                                      Would
                                      it not be wise to consult an expert on big cats before leaping to
                                      conclusions?

                                      Best regards,
                                      Russell Gmirkin
                                      Portland, Oregon

                                      Never ever are there letters.
                                      And what ever the whole thing is - won't you all stop speculating about a
                                      seal that does definitely NOT depict what you expect but a quadruped and
                                      maybe a human and nothing else.

                                      Or maybe the next suggestion will be that that the beast is a dinosaur. On
                                      top riding a saint with a gloriole (look, it's really there) and a long
                                      javelin under his right arm - most probably a prefiguaration of Saint Georges
                                      ...? (scnr - difficile est satiram non scribere)


                                      ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
                                      Dr. Reinhard G. Lehmann
                                      Academic Director





                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • Graham Hagens
                                      ________________________________ From: Yigal Levin To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com Sent: Monday, July 30, 2012 3:49 PM Subject: RE: [ANE-2]
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Jul 31, 2012
                                        ________________________________
                                        From: Yigal Levin <yigal.levin@...>
                                        To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                                        Sent: Monday, July 30, 2012 3:49 PM
                                        Subject: RE: [ANE-2] Re: Proof of Samson and the lion


                                          ... the area in which he grew up, Beth Shemesh, is coincidental, why is the city
                                        itself never mentioned in the story. Samson wanders between Zorah, Eshtaol,
                                        Timnah, the Sorek Valley and so on, all right around the city, but
                                        Beth-Shemesh itself in never mentioned. Even stranger than the non-mention
                                        of Sepphoris in the Gospels. 
                                         
                                         
                                        why are either strange?
                                        why publicise a Shamash centre in a Yahwist tradition? Or mention a Roman economic hub at a time when the focus of the Judean church involved Jewish proselytization?
                                         
                                        Graham Hagens
                                        Hamilton
                                        .



                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      • Yitzhak Sapir
                                        ... Hello Raz, Reading your message, I get the feeling that you see my position as slightly different than it really is. I do not see Samson as a historical
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Aug 1 5:22 AM
                                          On Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 3:25 PM, Raz Kletter wrote:
                                          > Dear Itzhak,
                                          > I think the facts are not in dispute, namely: lions existed throughout
                                          > the Bronze and Iron Ages (and later) and cannot date the Samson story;
                                          > people are familiar with their region in every period (so familiarity again
                                          > offers no date); also people from nearby regions could be familiar with the
                                          > Shephelah; this seal is not exceptional; there are various traditions in
                                          > place and time about human-lion encounters, and teh seal shows nothing
                                          > specific to the Samson legend.
                                          > I do not see how this unepigraphic seal proves literacy; and how it
                                          > "locates Samson".
                                          > You asked (perhaps a rethorical question) what type of evidence would
                                          > be needed to "locate" Samson. My answer: the same type that would convince
                                          > you about a specific "location" for Gilgamesh or Heracles.
                                          > In other owrds, suppose that this seal would have been found in a
                                          > Mycenaean level at Troy, would you accept it as definite "proof" for
                                          > Heracles and the Manean lion?
                                          > Raz Kletter
                                          > University of Helsinki

                                          Hello Raz,

                                          Reading your message, I get the feeling that you see my position as slightly
                                          different than it really is. I do not see Samson as a historical
                                          figure -- in fact,
                                          I said quite clearly that I see him as an eponym of Beth Shemesh, representing
                                          the city state or its king or the god that was presumably worshipped
                                          there. Also
                                          I do not see this seal as "'definite' proof for Samson" (or its
                                          legend). And while
                                          there are a few other seals showing men with lions in IA I, they all
                                          wield weapons
                                          whereas this does not.

                                          Just because there are various traditions about lion and men encounters in
                                          ancient times does not mean that Beth Shemesh had such a local tradition. I
                                          mean, why Beth Shemesh and not Megiddo? I could not make an argument
                                          for the antiquity of the Samson legend based on the general remark that there
                                          are various traditions in time and place about lion-men encounters.

                                          I agree that people are familiar with their regions, but they are not
                                          familiar with
                                          their regions in every period. This is true even today when we have much better
                                          documentation. A hellenistic author may have known that there was a place
                                          called Beth Shemesh which was destroyed by Assyria or he may have not. Maybe
                                          he knew Timnah survived longer and maybe he wouldn't care. To restate Yigal
                                          Levin's question, if the author (Hellenistic or otherwise) did know
                                          that there was a
                                          city called Beth Shemesh in the area in the Judges period, why didn't
                                          he mention it?

                                          While the seal may be unepigraphic, but the seal's function would have been used
                                          to stamp letters, especially as Beth Shemesh is one of the few places
                                          for which we
                                          have inscribed material from Iron Age I. But I agree that it does not
                                          say much in
                                          itself and bullae would have been much better.

                                          As for your very interesting Nimean analogy, I didn't think of it this
                                          way but now that
                                          you bring it up, it is a very nice one. First, I want to point out
                                          that I did not say this
                                          was "definite proof for Samson and the lion." Nevertheless, the Nemean lion is
                                          described in Hesiod's Theogony, traditionally dated to c. 700 BCE but the first
                                          witness appears to be a small papyrus labeled Rylands N54 which is from the 1st
                                          cent BCE-1st cent CE. Other witnesses are even later. Now, the Nemean lion
                                          served as background to explain the Nemean games which began in 573 BCE.
                                          This brings up a question: Even if the Theogony is to be dated to 700
                                          BCE, did it
                                          really mention the Nemean lion?

                                          You mention Troy, but I have something even better from the excavators of Nemea:

                                          "The only archaeological evidence of the myth discovered at Nemea consists
                                          of small bronze lions head attachments and a gold foil relief representation of
                                          Herakles' face with the lions skin tied under his chin (BR 1040 and GJ
                                          26; ...).
                                          The paucity of evidence is not surprising, however, for the connection between
                                          Herakles' victory over the lion and the founding of the Nemean Games was not
                                          mentioned in ancient literature until the 1st century after Christ."
                                          Miller, Stephen G., editor Nemea: A Guide to the Site and Museum. Berkeley:
                                          University of California Press, c1990, p. 25 - http://bit.ly/Q9H8tY

                                          Both mentioned artifacts are apparently found in c. 5th-6th CE
                                          disturbances of much
                                          earlier layers. We also find that the association of the Nemean lion
                                          and the foundation
                                          of the games is quite late, and this might be used to suggest that the
                                          legend about the
                                          Nemean lion itself is quite late. Yet, the point is not the dating
                                          but the terminology.
                                          A small bronze lions head is called by the excavators "archaeological
                                          evidence of the
                                          myth."

                                          Yitzhak Sapir
                                          Rosh Haayin, Israel
                                        • Raz Kletter
                                          Thanks Iztick, I am not trying to portray wrongly, I am just not sure where you are heading. If you want to make an argument about the antiquity of the Samson
                                          Message 20 of 22 , Aug 1 11:11 AM
                                            Thanks Iztick,
                                            I am not trying to portray wrongly, I am just not sure where you are
                                            heading. If you want to make an argument about the antiquity of the Samson
                                            legend, I doubt that this seal helps much, and I think it deserves healthy
                                            skepticism, like the Nemean myth.
                                            Mind that the lion-head you mentioned is late; the excavator did not
                                            try to push back a myth hundred of years earlier than its documentation,
                                            based on one find. Actually, he suggested that Nemea was related to a
                                            different origin-myth, while the lion-Heracles myth was associated with it
                                            very late.
                                            The Beth Shemesh seal alone does not prove literacy, as it could be an
                                            amulet, or used to mark ownership eg for pottery vessels. So a bullae of it
                                            would not be "better", unless if you can show that it was attached to
                                            writing material.
                                            What I meant about familiarity: it existed in all the periods we have
                                            mentioned; in each people could create such legend. Plus such legend could
                                            be transmitted with changes between periods, so "familiary" is not good for
                                            dating.
                                            Most of all, if one first reads this seal as "Samson related" (whether
                                            legend or flesh and blood), because of a wish to date Samson/Judges
                                            early; and then uses the same seal to interpret the Samson stories, we are
                                            in a circle.
                                            Eg Samson as eponym, king, or god of Beth Shemesh is assumed from the
                                            seal, since it was found at Beth Shemesh. But (if I recall right) biblical
                                            Samson came from Zor'ah? He was a hero, never mentioned in any context that
                                            can be seen as King/God/"Eponym".
                                            Best,
                                            Raz Kletter
                                            Helsinki university


                                            2012/8/1 Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir@...>

                                            > **
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > On Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 3:25 PM, Raz Kletter wrote:
                                            > > Dear Itzhak,
                                            > > I think the facts are not in dispute, namely: lions existed throughout
                                            > > the Bronze and Iron Ages (and later) and cannot date the Samson story;
                                            > > people are familiar with their region in every period (so familiarity
                                            > again
                                            > > offers no date); also people from nearby regions could be familiar with
                                            > the
                                            > > Shephelah; this seal is not exceptional; there are various traditions in
                                            > > place and time about human-lion encounters, and teh seal shows nothing
                                            > > specific to the Samson legend.
                                            > > I do not see how this unepigraphic seal proves literacy; and how it
                                            > > "locates Samson".
                                            > > You asked (perhaps a rethorical question) what type of evidence would
                                            > > be needed to "locate" Samson. My answer: the same type that would
                                            > convince
                                            > > you about a specific "location" for Gilgamesh or Heracles.
                                            > > In other owrds, suppose that this seal would have been found in a
                                            > > Mycenaean level at Troy, would you accept it as definite "proof" for
                                            > > Heracles and the Manean lion?
                                            > > Raz Kletter
                                            > > University of Helsinki
                                            >
                                            > Hello Raz,
                                            >
                                            > Reading your message, I get the feeling that you see my position as
                                            > slightly
                                            > different than it really is. I do not see Samson as a historical
                                            > figure -- in fact,
                                            > I said quite clearly that I see him as an eponym of Beth Shemesh,
                                            > representing
                                            > the city state or its king or the god that was presumably worshipped
                                            > there. Also
                                            > I do not see this seal as "'definite' proof for Samson" (or its
                                            > legend). And while
                                            > there are a few other seals showing men with lions in IA I, they all
                                            > wield weapons
                                            > whereas this does not.
                                            >
                                            > Just because there are various traditions about lion and men encounters in
                                            > ancient times does not mean that Beth Shemesh had such a local tradition. I
                                            > mean, why Beth Shemesh and not Megiddo? I could not make an argument
                                            > for the antiquity of the Samson legend based on the general remark that
                                            > there
                                            > are various traditions in time and place about lion-men encounters.
                                            >
                                            > I agree that people are familiar with their regions, but they are not
                                            > familiar with
                                            > their regions in every period. This is true even today when we have much
                                            > better
                                            > documentation. A hellenistic author may have known that there was a place
                                            > called Beth Shemesh which was destroyed by Assyria or he may have not.
                                            > Maybe
                                            > he knew Timnah survived longer and maybe he wouldn't care. To restate Yigal
                                            > Levin's question, if the author (Hellenistic or otherwise) did know
                                            > that there was a
                                            > city called Beth Shemesh in the area in the Judges period, why didn't
                                            > he mention it?
                                            >
                                            > While the seal may be unepigraphic, but the seal's function would have
                                            > been used
                                            > to stamp letters, especially as Beth Shemesh is one of the few places
                                            > for which we
                                            > have inscribed material from Iron Age I. But I agree that it does not
                                            > say much in
                                            > itself and bullae would have been much better.
                                            >
                                            > As for your very interesting Nimean analogy, I didn't think of it this
                                            > way but now that
                                            > you bring it up, it is a very nice one. First, I want to point out
                                            > that I did not say this
                                            > was "definite proof for Samson and the lion." Nevertheless, the Nemean
                                            > lion is
                                            > described in Hesiod's Theogony, traditionally dated to c. 700 BCE but the
                                            > first
                                            > witness appears to be a small papyrus labeled Rylands N54 which is from
                                            > the 1st
                                            > cent BCE-1st cent CE. Other witnesses are even later. Now, the Nemean lion
                                            > served as background to explain the Nemean games which began in 573 BCE.
                                            > This brings up a question: Even if the Theogony is to be dated to 700
                                            > BCE, did it
                                            > really mention the Nemean lion?
                                            >
                                            > You mention Troy, but I have something even better from the excavators of
                                            > Nemea:
                                            >
                                            > "The only archaeological evidence of the myth discovered at Nemea consists
                                            > of small bronze lions head attachments and a gold foil relief
                                            > representation of
                                            > Herakles' face with the lions skin tied under his chin (BR 1040 and GJ
                                            > 26; ...).
                                            > The paucity of evidence is not surprising, however, for the connection
                                            > between
                                            > Herakles' victory over the lion and the founding of the Nemean Games was
                                            > not
                                            > mentioned in ancient literature until the 1st century after Christ."
                                            > Miller, Stephen G., editor Nemea: A Guide to the Site and Museum. Berkeley:
                                            > University of California Press, c1990, p. 25 - http://bit.ly/Q9H8tY
                                            >
                                            > Both mentioned artifacts are apparently found in c. 5th-6th CE
                                            > disturbances of much
                                            > earlier layers. We also find that the association of the Nemean lion
                                            > and the foundation
                                            > of the games is quite late, and this might be used to suggest that the
                                            > legend about the
                                            > Nemean lion itself is quite late. Yet, the point is not the dating
                                            > but the terminology.
                                            > A small bronze lions head is called by the excavators "archaeological
                                            > evidence of the
                                            > myth."
                                            >
                                            > Yitzhak Sapir
                                            > Rosh Haayin, Israel
                                            >
                                            >


                                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          • Yigal Levin
                                            Because, Graham, the same Yahwistic tradition in 1 Sam. 6 assumes Beth-Shemesh to be an Israelite city with Levites residing in it, just as Josh. 21 says it
                                            Message 21 of 22 , Aug 1 11:18 AM
                                              Because, Graham, the same Yahwistic tradition in 1 Sam. 6 assumes
                                              Beth-Shemesh to be an Israelite city with Levites residing in it, just as
                                              Josh. 21 says it is. And if the Yahwistic author was so concerned about
                                              Beth-Shemesh having been a center of Shamash worship, why ever mention it at
                                              all? And why name his character "Samson", which so clearly points to
                                              "Shamashism"? I don't think that that's the whole story. By the way, while
                                              Gaza, Ashkelon and Ashdod are mentioned in the Samson stories, the two major
                                              Philistine centers that are closest to Samson's home territory, Ekron and
                                              Gath, are also not mentioned.



                                              Another BTW; besides its name, which is recorded only in the Bible, there is
                                              absolutely no evidence that Beth Shemesh was specifically a center of
                                              Shamash worship. None of the handful of Late Bronze or Iron Age inscriptions
                                              found there hint at a Shamash cult, nor does anything else found at the site
                                              (so far: I recently read that some sort of cult room or "temple" from the
                                              Iron I was found there, but saw no mention of anything that looked like a
                                              Sun cult).



                                              Best,



                                              Yigal Levin



                                              Bar-Ilan University



                                              From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                                              Graham Hagens
                                              Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 3:43 AM
                                              To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                                              Subject: [ANE-2] Re: Proof of Samson and the lion







                                              ________________________________
                                              From: Yigal Levin <yigal.levin@... <mailto:yigal.levin%40biu.ac.il> >
                                              To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                                              Sent: Monday, July 30, 2012 3:49 PM
                                              Subject: RE: [ANE-2] Re: Proof of Samson and the lion

                                              ... the area in which he grew up, Beth Shemesh, is coincidental, why is
                                              the city
                                              itself never mentioned in the story. Samson wanders between Zorah, Eshtaol,
                                              Timnah, the Sorek Valley and so on, all right around the city, but
                                              Beth-Shemesh itself in never mentioned. Even stranger than the non-mention
                                              of Sepphoris in the Gospels.


                                              why are either strange?
                                              why publicise a Shamash centre in a Yahwist tradition? Or mention a Roman
                                              economic hub at a time when the focus of the Judean church involved Jewish
                                              proselytization?

                                              Graham Hagens
                                              Hamilton
                                              .

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





                                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                            • Graham Hagens
                                              Dear Yigal   You seem to assume the existence of a single Yahwistic tradition   The Samson passage is a version of universal story of a talented young
                                              Message 22 of 22 , Aug 3 9:37 AM
                                                Dear Yigal
                                                 
                                                You seem to assume the existence of a single Yahwistic tradition
                                                 
                                                The Samson passage is a version of universal story of a talented young man led astray by a pretty girl
                                                 
                                                No one knows how old this story was when the Yahwists absorbed it into their complex weave of pseudo-historical morality tales.
                                                 
                                                Because of the Samson/Shemesh/Shamash similarities it is possible to imagine the existence of an early Shamash cult at Beth Shemesh  at one time linked to an earlier  Samson story, which was later Yahwised and tranposed to a Philistine context.
                                                 
                                                Unprovable of course, but that's beside the point, as is the absence of evidence of such a Shamash cult.
                                                 
                                                If  a reasonable explanation for any event can be conjectured, then that event need no longer to be thought of as surprising
                                                 
                                                Graham Hagens
                                                Hamilton, Ontario
                                                 
                                                 


                                                ________________________________
                                                From: Yigal Levin <yigal.levin@...>
                                                To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                                                Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 2:18 PM
                                                Subject: RE: [ANE-2] Re: Proof of Samson and the lion


                                                 
                                                Because, Graham, the same Yahwistic tradition in 1 Sam. 6 assumes
                                                Beth-Shemesh to be an Israelite city with Levites residing in it, just as
                                                Josh. 21 says it is. And if the Yahwistic author was so concerned about
                                                Beth-Shemesh having been a center of Shamash worship, why ever mention it at
                                                all? And why name his character "Samson", which so clearly points to
                                                "Shamashism"? I don't think that that's the whole story. By the way, while
                                                Gaza, Ashkelon and Ashdod are mentioned in the Samson stories, the two major
                                                Philistine centers that are closest to Samson's home territory, Ekron and
                                                Gath, are also not mentioned.

                                                Another BTW; besides its name, which is recorded only in the Bible, there is
                                                absolutely no evidence that Beth Shemesh was specifically a center of
                                                Shamash worship. None of the handful of Late Bronze or Iron Age inscriptions
                                                found there hint at a Shamash cult, nor does anything else found at the site
                                                (so far: I recently read that some sort of cult room or "temple" from the
                                                Iron I was found there, but saw no mention of anything that looked like a
                                                Sun cult).

                                                Best,

                                                Yigal Levin

                                                Bar-Ilan University

                                                From: mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com [mailto:mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                                                Graham Hagens
                                                Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 3:43 AM
                                                To: mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com
                                                Subject: [ANE-2] Re: Proof of Samson and the lion

                                                ________________________________
                                                From: Yigal Levin <mailto:yigal.levin%40biu.ac.il <mailto:yigal.levin%40biu.ac.il> >
                                                To: mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                                                Sent: Monday, July 30, 2012 3:49 PM
                                                Subject: RE: [ANE-2] Re: Proof of Samson and the lion

                                                ... the area in which he grew up, Beth Shemesh, is coincidental, why is
                                                the city
                                                itself never mentioned in the story. Samson wanders between Zorah, Eshtaol,
                                                Timnah, the Sorek Valley and so on, all right around the city, but
                                                Beth-Shemesh itself in never mentioned. Even stranger than the non-mention
                                                of Sepphoris in the Gospels.


                                                why are either strange?
                                                why publicise a Shamash centre in a Yahwist tradition? Or mention a Roman
                                                economic hub at a time when the focus of the Judean church involved Jewish
                                                proselytization?

                                                Graham Hagens
                                                Hamilton
                                                .

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

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




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