The Bible Unearthed
by Finkelstein & Silberman
The Bible Unearthed
by Finkelstein & Silberman
Some of the most famous events in the Bible clearly never happened at all - Finkelstein & Silberman
The historical core of the Bible was born in the bustle of the crowded streets of Jerusalem, in the courts of the royal palace of the Davidic dynasty, and in the Temple of the God of Israel.
How tiny their royal city would have appeared to a modern observer!...Its cities and population were minuscule in comparison to those of the neighboring empires of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Likewise, its material culture was poor in comparison to the splendor and extravagance of theirs.
Confessions & Concessions
...it is now evident that many events of biblical history did not take place in either the particular era or the manner described. Some of the most famous events in the Bible clearly never happened at all.
When we speak of the Bible we are referring primarily to the collection of ancient writings long known as the Old Testament - now commonly referred to by scholars as the Hebrew Bible. It is a collection of legend, law, poetry, prophecy, philosophy, and history, written almost entirely in Hebrew (with a few passages in a variant Semitic dialect called Aramaic.
Torah & its Divisions
The Torah - also known as the Five Books of Moses, or the Pentateuch (“ five books” in Greek) - includes Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
The next division, the Prophets, is divided into two main groups of scriptures. The Former Prophets - Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings - tell the story of the people of Israel from their crossing of the river Jordan and conquest of Canaan, through the rise and fall of the Israelite kingdoms, to their defeat and exile at the hands of the Assyrians and Babylonians.
Finally, the Writings are a collection of homilies, poems, prayers, proverbs, and psalms that represent the most memorable and powerful expressions of the devotion of the ordinary Israelite at times of joy, crisis, worship, and personal reflection.
Origins of the Twelve Tribes
Jacob - the third-generation patriarch - who became the father of twelve distinct tribes.
The Bible relates how Jacob’s twelve sons fought among one another, worked together, and eventually left their homeland to seek shelter in Egypt at the time of a great famine.
The Two Kingdoms
For the next two hundred years, the people of Israel lived in two separate kingdoms, reportedly succumbing again and again to the lure of foreign deities.
Kingdom of Israel
The leaders of the northern kingdom are described in the Bible as all irretrievably sinful; some of the kings of Judah are also said to have strayed from the path of total devotion to God.
In time, God sent outside invaders and oppressors to punish the people of Israel for their sins. First the Arameans of Syria harassed the kingdom of Israel.
Then the mighty Assyrian empire brought unprecedented devastation to the cities of the northern kingdom and the bitter fate of destruction and exile in 720 BCE for a significant portion of the ten tribes. The kingdom of Judah survived more than a century longer, but its people could not avert the inevitable judgment of God. In 586 BCE, the rising, brutal Babylonian empire decimated the land of Israel and put Jerusalem and its Temple to the torch.
after the return of some of the exiles to Jerusalem and the reconstruction of the Temple, Israel would no longer be a monarchy but a religious community, guided by divine law and dedicated to the precise fulfillment of the rituals prescribed in the community’s sacred texts.
The whole book of Leviticus is concerned with the clergy's power and control over the nation's worship, and the great material and financial benefits they could derive from such - R. A. Anderson
...the temple in Jerusalem was to be the only legitimate sanctuary of Jahveh and it was to be served only by the Zadokite, or hereditary priests. Thus, by one sudden, shrewd maneuver, the authority of the priests was greatly established. Local shrines were declared illegal, pagan cults and practices were outlawed, a line of social demarcation was drawn between the Jews and their pagan neighbors and the ground was prepared for a sweeping reformation - Ernest Busenbark
Editing & Doctoring
...incongruities soon became apparent: the biblical text was filled with literary asides, explaining the ancient names of certain places and frequently noting that the evidences of famous biblical events were still visible “to this day.” These factors convinced some seventeenth century scholars that the Bible’s first five books, at least, had been shaped, expanded, and embellished by later, anonymous editors and revisers over the centuries.
William De Wette contended that the reason certain laws in Deuteronomy contradict laws in other Books of the Pentateuch is because Deuteronomy was written at a later time, to meet conditions which had not existed when the other Books were written. But, in his effort to disprove the Mosaic authorship of Deuteronomy, he failed to observe that there was just as much reason to doubt the authenticity of all the other so-called Books of Moses - Ernest Busenbark
Books of Moses?
By the late eighteenth century and even more so in the nineteenth, many critical biblical scholars had begun to doubt that Moses had any hand in the writing of the Bible whatsoever; they had come to believe that the Bible was the work of later writers exclusively. These scholars pointed to what appeared to be different versions of the same stories within the books of the Pentateuch, suggesting that the biblical text was the product of several recognizable hands.
In the last few decades scholarly opinions about the dates and authorship of these individual sources have varied wildly.
...others insist that they were late compositions, collected and edited by priests and scribes during the Babylonian exile and the restoration.
...all agree that the Pentateuch is not a single, seamless composition but a patchwork of different sources, each written under different historical circumstances to express different religious or political viewpoints.
Some scholars argue that it was compiled during the exile in an attempt to preserve the history, culture, and identity of the vanquished nation after the catastrophe of the destruction of Jerusalem.
it seemed that even if the biblical text was set down in writing long after the events it describes, it must have been based on a substantial body of accurately preserved memories.
But suggesting that the most famous stories of the Bible did not happen as the Bible records them is far from implying that ancient Israel had no genuine history.
Abraham took as his concubine Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian slave. Together they had a child named Ishmael, who would in time become the ancestor of all the Arab peoples of the southern wilderness.
God promised Abraham another child, and his beloved wife, Sarah, miraculously gave birth to a son, Isaac, when Abraham was a hundred years old.
Many the stories connected with Abraham are set in the southern part of the hill country, specifically the region of Hebron in southern Judah.
purchased the Machpelah cave in Hebron in the southern hill country for burying his beloved wife, Sarah. He would also later be buried there.
Jacob & Esau
Jacob soon fled from the wrath of his aggrieved brother and journeyed far to the north to the house of his uncle Laban in Haran, to find a wife for himself. On his way north God confirmed Jacob’s inheritance.
Jacob the Patriarch
Jacob continued northward to Haran and stayed with Laban several years, marrying his two daughters, Leah and Rachel, and fathering eleven sons - Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, and Joseph - from his two wives and from their two maidservants.
the mysterious figure changed Jacob’s name to Israel (literally, “He who struggled with God”), “for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
The children of Israel were at last reunited, and the aged patriarch Jacob came to live with his entire family near his great son, in the land of Goshen.
And after the death of Jacob, his body was taken back to Canaan - to the territory that would someday become Judah’s tribal inheritance - and was buried by his sons in the cave of Machpelah in Hebron.
Among Jacob’s twelve sons, each of whom would become the patriarch of a tribe of Israel, Judah is given the special honor of ruling them all.
...the search for the historical patriarchs was ultimately unsuccessful, since none of the periods around the biblically suggested date provided a completely compatible background to the biblical stories. The assumed westward migration of groups from Mesopotamia toward Canaan - the so-called Amorite migration, in which Albright placed the arrival of Abraham and his family - was later shown to be illusory.
According to Finkelstein and Silberman, the story of Jacob and Esau was not based on actual history, but was a story supposed to commemorate the rivalry between tribes and states. They write:
...the stories of Jacob and Esau - of the delicate son and the mighty hunter - are skillfully fashioned as archaizing legends to reflect the rivalries of late monarchic times.
During the eighth and seventh centuries the lucrative caravan trade in spices and rare incense from southern Arabia, winding through the deserts and the southern frontier of Judah to the ports of the Mediterranean, was a significant factor in the entire region’s economic life. For the people of Judah, a number of peoples of nomadic origins were crucial to this long-range trade system. Several of the genealogies included in the patriarchal stories offer a detailed picture of the peoples of the southern and eastern deserts during late monarchic times and they explain - again through the metaphor of family relationships - what role they played in Judah’s contemporary history.
Judah and Israel
...Judah was a rather isolated and sparsely populated kingdom until the eighth century BCE. It was hardly comparable in territory, wealth, and military might to the kingdom of Israel in the north. Literacy was very limited and its capital, Jerusalem, was a small, remote hill country town.
Yet after the northern kingdom of Israel was liquidated by the Assyrian empire in 720 BCE, Judah grew enormously in population, developed complex state institutions, and emerged as a meaningful power in the region. It was ruled by an ancient dynasty and possessed the most important surviving Temple to the God of Israel...It saw its very survival as evidence of God’s intention, from the time of the patriarchs, that Judah should rule over all the land of Israel.
More Subtle Concessions
In the admittedly fragmentary evidence of the E version of the patriarchal stories, presumably compiled in the northern kingdom of Israel before its destruction in 720 BCE, the tribe of Judah plays almost no role. But by the late eighth and certainly seventh century BCE, Judah was the center of what was left of the Israelite nation. In that light, we should regard the J version of the patriarchal narratives primarily as a literary attempt to redefine the unity of the people of Israel - rather than as an accurate record of the lives of historical characters living more than a millennium before.
The landscape of the patriarchal stories is a dreamlike romantic vision of the pastoral past, especially appropriate to the pastoral background of a large proportion of the Judahite population. It was stitched together from memory, snatches of ancient customs, legends of the birth of peoples, and the concerns aroused by contemporary conflicts.
Unlike other ancient Near Eastern mythologies, such as the Egyptian tales of Osiris, Isis, and Horus or the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh epic, the Bible is grounded firmly in earthly history.
Strange how many images of the patriarchs, and other characters of the Bible, depict them as distinctly Caucasian. Noah’s cheeks were whiter than snow and redder than a rose; his eyes like rays of the morning sun; his hair long and curly; his face aglow with light - (Hebrew Bible)
The great genius of the seventh century creators of this national epic was the way in which they wove the earlier stories together without stripping them of their humanity or individual distinctiveness. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob remain at the same time vivid spiritual portraits and the metaphorical ancestors of the people of Israel.
A Subtle Hint
In the artistry of the biblical narrative, the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were indeed made into a single family. It was the power of legend that united them - in a manner far more powerful and timeless than the fleeting adventures of a few historical individuals herding sheep in the highlands of Canaan could ever have done.
So important is this story of the Israelites’ liberation from bondage that the biblical books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy - a full four-fifths of the central scriptures of Israel - are devoted to the momentous events experienced by a single generation in slightly more than forty years.
But is it history? Can archaeology help us pinpoint the era when a leader named Moses mobilized his people for the great act of liberation?
“...the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied” - (Exodus 1:12).
Fearing a population explosion of these dangerous immigrant workers, the pharaoh ordered that all Hebrew male infants be drowned in the Nile. Yet from this desperate measure came the instrument of the Hebrews’ liberation. A child from the tribe of Levi - set adrift in a basket of bulrushes - was found and adopted by one of the pharaoh’s daughters. He was given the name Moses (from the Hebrew root “to draw out” of the water) and raised in the royal court. Years later, when Moses had grown to adulthood, he saw an Egyptian taskmaster flaying a Hebrew slave and his deepest feelings rose to the surface. He slew the taskmaster and “hid his body in the sand.”
...it was in the course of his wandering as a solitary shepherd near Horeb, “the mountain of God,” that he received the revelation that would change the world.
From the brilliant, flickering flames of a bush in the desert, which was burning yet was not consumed, the God of Israel revealed himself to Moses as the deliverer of the people of Israel. He proclaimed that he would free them of their taskmasters and bring them to a life of freedom and security in the Promised Land. God identified himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - and now also revealed to Moses his mysterious, mystical name, YHWH, “I am who I am.” And he solemnly commissioned Moses, with the assistance of his brother Aaron, to return to Egypt to confront the pharaoh with a demonstration of miracles and to demand freedom for the house of Israel.
Arrival in Canaan
Setting off from their camp at the wilderness of Paran, the Israelites sent spies to collect intelligence on the people of Canaan (Numbers 13). But those spies returned with reports so frightening about the strength of the Canaanites and the towering fortifications of their cities that the multitude of Israelites lost heart and rebelled against Moses, begging to return to Egypt, where at least their physical safety could be ensured. Seeing this, God determined that the generation that had known slavery in Egypt would not live to inherit the Promised Land, and the Israelites must remain wanderers in the wilderness for another forty years.
Egypt, the Bread Basket
From earliest recorded times throughout antiquity, Egypt beckoned as a place of shelter and security for the people of Canaan at times when drought, famine, or warfare made life unbearable or even difficult.
Egypt had always provided a safe haven in time of famine and an asylum for runaways, and was perceived as a potential ally against invasions from the north.
A "Second Law"
This second code of law is contained in the Book of Deuteronomy (named from the Greek word deuteronomion, “second law”).
According to Jewish tradition, the Oral Torah was passed down orally in an unbroken chain from generation to generation until its contents were finally committed to writing following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, when Jewish civilization was faced with an existential threat, by virtue of the dispersion of the Jewish people - Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia
The major repositories of the Oral Torah are the Mishnah, compiled between 200–220 CE by Rabbi Yehudah haNasi, and the Gemara, a series of running commentaries and debates concerning the Mishnah, which together form the Talmud, the preeminent text of Rabbinic Judaism - ibid
Manetho described a massive, brutal invasion of Egypt by foreigners from the east, whom he called Hyksos, an enigmatic Greek form of an Egyptian word that he translated as “shepherd kings” but that actually means “rulers of foreign lands.”
Manetho reported that the Hyksos established themselves in the delta at a city named Avaris. And they founded a dynasty there that ruled Egypt with great cruelty for more than five hundred years. In the early years of modern research, scholars identified the Hyksos with the kings of the Fifteenth Dynasty of Egypt, who ruled from about 1670 to 1570 BCE.
Recent archaeological excavations in the eastern Nile delta have confirmed that conclusion and indicate that the Hyksos “invasion” was a gradual process of immigration from Canaan to Egypt, rather than a lightning military campaign.
The fact that Manetho, writing almost fifteen hundred years later, describes a brutal invasion rather than a gradual, peaceful immigration should probably be understood on the background of his own times, when memories of the invasions of Egypt by the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians in the seventh and sixth centuries BCE were still painfully fresh in the Egyptian consciousness.
Manetho suggested that after the Hyksos were driven from Egypt, they founded the city of Jerusalem and constructed a temple there. Far more trustworthy is an Egyptian source of the sixteenth century BCE that recounts the exploits of Pharaoh Ahmose, of the Eighteenth Dynasty, who sacked Avaris and chased the remnants of the Hyksos to their main citadel in southern Canaan - Sharuhen, near Gaza - which he stormed after a long siege.
The Merneptah Stele contains the first appearance of the name Israel in any surviving ancient text.
Lack of Evidence
The border between Canaan and Egypt was thus closely controlled. If a great mass of fleeing Israelites had passed through the border fortifications of the pharaonic regime, a record should exist. Yet in the abundant Egyptian sources describing the time of the New Kingdom in general and the thirteenth century in particular, there is no reference to the Israelites, not even a single clue.
The Merneptah Stele refers to Israel as a group of people already living in Canaan. But we have no clue, not even a single word, about early Israelites in Egypt: neither in monumental inscriptions on walls of temples, nor in tomb inscriptions, nor in papyri, Israel is absent.
Although the Tell-el-Amarna tablets give much information regarding Canaan at about the period of the Exodus, they make no allusions to the Jews in Egypt or to the great catastrophe caused by the events preceding their escape - Ernest Busenbark (Symbols, Sex and the Stars)
Academics Admit Problems
the escape of more than a tiny group from Egyptian control at the time of Ramesses II seems highly unlikely, as is the crossing of the desert and entry into Canaan. In the thirteenth century, Egypt was at the peak of its authority - the dominant power in the world. The Egyptian grip over Canaan was firm; Egyptian strongholds were built in various places in the country, and Egyptian officials administered the affairs of the region.
large Egyptian armies marched through Canaan to the north, as far as the Euphrates in Syria. Therefore, the main overland road that went from the delta along the coast of northern Sinai to Gaza and then into the heart of Canaan was of utmost importance to the pharaonic regime.
...one can hardly accept the idea of a flight of a large group of slaves from Egypt through the heavily guarded border fortifications into the desert and then into Canaan in the time of such a formidable Egyptian presence.
Some archaeological traces of their generation-long wandering in the Sinai should be apparent. However, except for the Egyptian forts along the northern coast, not a single campsite or sign of occupation from the time of Ramesses II and his immediate predecessors and successors has ever been identified in Sinai. And it has not been for lack of trying.
Repeated archaeological surveys in all regions of the peninsula, including the mountainous area around the traditional site of Mount Sinai, near Saint Catherine’s Monastery, have yielded only negative evidence: not even a single sherd, no structure, not a single house, no trace of an ancient encampment.
...modern archaeological techniques are quite capable of tracing even the very meager remains of hunter-gatherers and pastoral nomads all over the world.
There is simply no such evidence at the supposed time of the Exodus in the thirteenth century BCE. The conclusion - that the Exodus did not happen at the time and in the manner described in the Bible - seems irrefutable.
The saga of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt is neither historical truth nor literary fiction. It is a powerful expression of memory and hope born in a world in the midst of change.
Book of Judges
...the book of Judges presents an extraordinarily rich collection of thrilling war stories and tales of individual heroism in the battles between the Israelites and their neighbors. It contains some of the Bible’s most colorful characters and most unforgettable images.
It is clear that this theological interpretation of the tales in the book of Judges was developed centuries after the events it purportedly describes.
Conquest of Canaan
Once the great conquest of Canaan was completed, the book of Joshua related in great detail how the Israelite leader divided the land - now mostly cleared of the indigenous Canaanite population - among the victorious Israelite tribes as their eternal inheritances.
Once the great conquest of Canaan was over, the book of Joshua informs us, “the land had rest from war” (Joshua 11:23). All the Canaanites and other indigenous peoples of Canaan had been utterly destroyed. Joshua convened the tribes to divide the land.
...within the book of Joshua and the following book of Judges are some serious contradictions to this picture of the tribes inheriting the entire land of Israel. Although the book of Joshua at one point declares that the Israelites had taken possession of all the land God promised and had defeated all their enemies (Joshua 21: 43–44), other passages in the book of Joshua and in the book of Judges make it clear that many Canaanites and Philistines lived in close proximity to the Israelites.
Problems with the Account
Though the Israelites might not have marched into Canaan as a unified army, the signs of their arrival seemed to be clear. In comparison to the monumental buildings, imported luxury items, and fine ceramic vessels uncovered in the levels of the preceding Canaanite cities, the rough encampments and implements of the arriving Israelites seemed to be on a far lower level of civilization than the remains of the population they replaced.
It was thus assumed that the Israelites were scattered groups of arriving pastoralists rather than a unified army.
Some of them may have become Apiru, that is, people living on the fringe of the society, causing troubles to the authorities. Many resettled in the relatively empty forests of the highlands, far from Canaanite and Egyptian control. And in their new homeland these peasant rebels established a more equal society - less stratified and less rigid. In doing so, they became “Israelites.”
Did it Happen?
...as we have seen, the Israelite Exodus did not take place in the manner described in the Bible, what of the conquest itself? The problems are even greater. How could an army in rags, traveling with women, children, and the aged, emerging after decades from the desert, possibly mount an effective invasion? How could such a disorganized rabble overcome the great fortresses of Canaan, with their professional armies and well-trained corps of chariots?
The Canaanite forces were annihilated and the children of Israel settled down to divide the land among the tribes as their God-given inheritance.
Did the conquest of Canaan really happen? Is this central saga of the Bible - and of the subsequent history of Israel - history, or myth?
...the evidence on the general political and military landscape of Canaan suggests that a lightning invasion by this group would have been impractical and unlikely in the extreme.
The princes of the Canaanite cities (described in the book of Joshua as powerful enemies) were, in actuality, pathetically weak.
It is highly unlikely that the Egyptian garrisons throughout the country would have remained on the sidelines as a group of refugees (from Egypt) wreaked havoc throughout the province of Canaan.
Even as the world press was reporting that Joshua’s conquest had been confirmed, many of the most important pieces of the archaeological puzzle simply did not fit.
If, as archaeology suggests, the sagas of the patriarchs and the Exodus were legends, compiled in later periods, and if there is no convincing evidence of a unified invasion of Canaan under Joshua, what are we to make of the Israelites’ claims for ancient nationhood?
Change in Viewpoint
In the formerly sparsely populated highlands from the Judean hills in the south to the hills of Samaria in the north, far from the Canaanite cities that were in the process of collapse and disintegration, about two-hundred fifty hilltop communities suddenly sprang up. Here were the first Israelites.
It is also noteworthy - in contrast to the Bible’s accounts of almost continual warfare between the Israelites and their neighbors - that the villages were not fortified...No weapons, such as swords or lances, were uncovered...Nor were there signs of burning or sudden destruction that might indicate a violent attack.
The New Scenario
As we now know, however, the Bible’s stirring picture of righteous Israelite judges - however powerful and compelling - has very little to do with what really happened in the hill country of Canaan in the Early Iron Age.
The process that we describe here is, in fact, the opposite of what we have in the Bible: the emergence of early Israel was an outcome of the collapse of the Canaanite culture, not its cause.
And most of the Israelites did not come from outside Canaan - they emerged from within it. There was no mass Exodus from Egypt. There was no violent conquest of Canaan. Most of the people who formed early Israel were local people - the same people whom we see in the highlands throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages. The early Israelites were - irony of ironies - themselves originally Canaanites!
The violent chaos of the period of the Judges now gave way to a time in which God’s promises could be established securely under a righteous king. Though the first choice for the throne of Israel had been the brooding, handsome Saul from the tribe of Benjamin, it was his successor David who became the central figure in early Israelite history.
His son Solomon, in turn, is remembered as the wisest of kings and the greatest of builders. Stories tell of his brilliant judgments, his unimaginable wealth, and his construction of the great Temple in Jerusalem.
For centuries, Bible readers all over the world have looked back to the era of David and Solomon as a golden age in Israel’s history.
Until recently many scholars have agreed that the united monarchy was the first biblical period that could truly be considered historical...Yet many of the archaeological props that once bolstered the historical basis of the David and Solomon narratives have recently been called into question.
...the monuments ascribed to Solomon are now most plausibly connected with other kings.
Even as Saul still reigned as king of Israel he was unaware that his successor had already been chosen.
God instructed Samuel to go to the family of Jesse from Bethlehem...The youngest of those sons was a handsome, red-haired shepherd named David, would finally bring salvation to Israel.
Escaping Saul’s murderous fury, David became leader of a band of fugitives and soldiers of fortune, with people in distress or deep in debt flocking to him.
David and his men men roamed in the foothills of the Shephelah, in the Judean desert, and in the southern margins of the Judean hills - all regions located away from the centers of power of Saul’s kingdom to the north of Jerusalem.
Tragically, in battle with the Philistines far to the north at Mount Gilboa, Saul’s sons were killed by the enemy and Saul took his own life...David proceeded quickly to the ancient city of Hebron in Judah, where the people of Judah declared him king.
This was the beginning of the great Davidic state and lineage, the beginning of the glorious united monarchy.
Given that the name Philistine comes from a root denoting Palestine, it's obvious that the race was in existence in Canaan before the Israelites. How many traditions did the latter appropriate and "magpie" from the former? In Greek, Philis means "green," and connotes liviliness, growth and hortiiculatural expertize. Philo means "loving." or "caring for." The term also ocnnotes "brotherliness" and "kindredness." In Gaelic Fili means "high born" and "aristocratic." So, despite biblical deceptiveness, in reality were the "giant" Philistines the "great ones" in terms of knowledge and skill? (Here for more...)
Epic King, Epic Wars
David then initiated sweeping wars of liberation and expansion. In a series of swift battles he destroyed the power of the Philistines and defeated the Ammonites, the Moabites, and the Edomites in Transjordan, concluding his campaigns with the subjugation of the Arameans far to the north. Returning in triumph to Jerusalem, David now ruled over a vast territory, far more extensive even than the tribal inheritances of Israel.
Just before David’s death, the priest Zadok anointed Solomon to be the next king of Israel.
Solomon, to whom God gave “wisdom and understanding beyond measure,” consolidated the Davidic dynasty and organized its empire, which now stretched from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt
They Didn't Exist
That David and Solomon are such central religious icons to both Judaism and Christianity that the recent assertions of radical biblical critics that King David is “no more a historical figure than King Arthur,” have been greeted in many religious and scholarly circles with outrage and disdain.
Thomas Thompson and Niels Peter Lemche of the University of Copenhagen and Philip Davies of the University of Sheffield...have argued that David and Solomon, the united monarchy of Israel, and indeed the entire biblical description of the history of Israel are no more than elaborate, skillful ideological constructs produced by priestly circles in Jerusalem in post-exilic or even Hellenistic times.
...the minimalists have some points in their favor. A close reading of the biblical description of the days of Solomon clearly suggests that this was a portrayal of an idealized past, a glorious Golden Age.
...neither David nor Solomon is mentioned in a single known Egyptian or Mesopotamian text. And the archaeological evidence in Jerusalem for the famous building projects of Solomon is nonexistent. Nineteenth-and early twentieth-century excavations around the Temple Mount in Jerusalem failed to identify even a trace of Solomon’s fabled Temple or palace complex.
in the summer of 1993, at the biblical site of Tel Dan in northern Israel, a fragmentary artifact was discovered that would change forever the nature of the debate. It was the “House of David” inscription, part of a black basalt monument, found broken and reused in a later stratum as a building stone...This is dramatic evidence of the fame of the Davidic dynasty less than a hundred years after the reign of David’s son Solomon. Jerusalem) is referred to with only a mention of its ruling house is clear evidence that the reputation of David was not a literary invention of a much later period.
David's Realm (Judah)
Israel was surely the most densely populated state in the Levant, with far more inhabitants than Judah.
Judah remained relatively empty of permanent population, quite isolated, and very marginal right up to and past the presumed time of David and Solomon, with no major urban centers and with no pronounced hierarchy of hamlets, villages, and towns.
Judah’s distinctive society was determined in large measure by its remote geographical position, unpredictable rainfall, and rugged terrain. In contrast to the northern hill country with its broad valleys and natural overland routes to the neighboring regions, Judah was always marginal agriculturally and isolated from the main trade routes, offering any would-be ruler only meager opportunities for wealth.
The First Temple of Solomon?
...the quest for the remains of Solomon’s Temple was among the first challenges taken up by biblical archaeology in the nineteenth century.
Jerusalem has been excavated time and again - and with a particularly intense period of investigation of Bronze and Iron Age remains in the 1970s and 1980s under the direction of Yigal Shiloh, of the Hebrew University, at the city of David, the original urban core of Jerusalem.
Surprisingly, as Tel Aviv University archaeologist David Ussishkin pointed out, fieldwork there and in other parts of biblical Jerusalem failed to provide significant evidence for a tenth century occupation. Not only was any sign of monumental architecture missing, but so were even simple pottery sherds. The types that are so characteristic of the tenth century at other sites are rare in Jerusalem.
it is highly unlikely that this sparsely inhabited region of Judah and the small village of Jerusalem could have become the center of a great empire stretching from the Red Sea in the south to Syria in the north.
There is absolutely no archaeological indication of the wealth, manpower and level of organization that would be required to support large armies - even for brief periods - in the field.
During Solomon's Reign
The area from Jerusalem to the north was quite densely settled, while the area from Jerusalem to the south - the hub of the future kingdom of Judah - was still very sparsely settled. Jerusalem itself was, at best, no more than a typical highland village. We can say no more than that.
Out of a total of approximately forty-five thousand people living in the hill country, a full 90 percent would have inhabited the villages of the north. That would have left about five thousand people scattered among Jerusalem, Hebron, and about twenty small villages in Judah, with additional groups probably continuing as pastoralists. Such a small and isolated society like this would have been likely to cherish the memory of an extraordinary leader like David as his descendants continued to rule in Jerusalem over the next four hundred years.
...by the seventh century BCE conditions in Judah had changed almost beyond reckoning. Jerusalem was now a relatively large city, dominated by a Temple to the God of Israel that served as the single national shrine. The institutions of monarchy, a professional army, and administration had reached a level of sophistication that met and even exceeded the complexity of the royal institutions of the neighboring states. And once again we can see the landscapes and costumes of seventh century Judah as the setting for an unforgettable biblical tale, this time of a mythical golden age.
What More Proof is Required?
The course of Israel’s history - the books of Kings gravely inform us - moves with almost tragic inevitability from unity to schism and from schism to national catastrophe.
Reign of Chaos
After the glorious reigns of David and Solomon, when all Israel was ruled from Jerusalem and experienced a period of unprecedented prosperity and power, the tribes of the northern hill country and Galilee - resisting the tax demands of Solomon’s son Rehoboam - angrily break away. What follows is two hundred years of division and hatred between brothers, with the independent Israelite kingdoms of Israel in the north and of Judah in the south intermittently poised to strike at each other’s throats.
New northern Israelite dynasties, rivals of the house of David, bloodily come to power one after another.
...it is simply not an accurate representation of the it is simply not an accurate representation of the historical reality. As we have seen, there is no compelling archaeological evidence for the historical existence of a vast united monarchy, centered in Jerusalem, that encompassed the entire land of Israel.
In the Bible, the northern tribes are consistently depicted as weak-hearted failures, with a pronounced tendency to sinfulness. book of Judges, where the individual tribes struggle with the idolatrous peoples around them.
The tribes of the north are another story. Benjamin, Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan did not accomplish what they had to; they did not finish off the Canaanites. As a result they would be tempted again and again.
Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin, is said to have ruled over northern territories in the highlands. Yet Saul violated the laws of the cult and was driven to suicide after the defeat of his forces by the Philistines. God withdrew his blessing from this anointed northern leader, and the elders of the northern tribes duly turned to David, the outlaw-hero-king of Judah, and proclaimed him king over all of Israel.
...the tribes are depicted in 1 Kings as being treated like little more than colonial subjects by David’s son Solomon.
Upon the death of Solomon and the accession of his son Rehoboam, the northerners appealed for a reduction in their burden. But the arrogant Rehoboam dismissed the advice of his moderate counselors and replied to the northerners with the now famous words “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions” (1 Kings 12:14).
The northerners then gathered to proclaim for themselves a monarch and chose Jeroboam, son of Nebat, who had served in the court of Solomon. The united monarchy of David and Solomon was completely shattered.
Two independent states were created: Judah, which was ruled by the Davidic dynasty from Jerusalem, with its territory limited to the southern part of the central hill country; and Israel, which controlled vast territories in the north.
The new king, Jeroboam, decided to set up rivals to the Temple in Jerusalem and ordered that two golden calves be fashioned and installed in shrines at the farthest corners of his kingdom - at Bethel
The breakup of the united monarchy was therefore seen as an unfortunate postscript to a story that had already run its course. It appeared as if only the arrogant and ill-advised tyranny of Solomon’s son Rehoboam destroyed the expansive grandeur of the Solomonic empire. This vision of the united monarchy and its downfall seemed to be confirmed by the archaeological finds.
Shechem and Jerusalem, Israel and Judah, were always distinct and competing territories...Israel was well on the way to fully developed statehood within a few decades of the presumed end of the united monarchy,
Put simply, Israel and Judah experienced quite different histories and developed distinctive cultures.
Why does the Bible tell a story of schism and secession of Israel from Judah that is at such great odds with the historical evidence?
By that time the kingdom of Israel was already a fading memory, with its cities destroyed and large numbers of its inhabitants deported to far corners of the Assyrian empire. But Judah was, in the meantime, prospering and developing territorial ambitions, claiming to be the only legitimate heir to the extensive territories of Israel.
Violence, idolatry, and greed were the hallmarks of the northern kingdom of Israel as it is depicted in gory detail in the first and second books of Kings.
...the Hebrew Bible is not an adequate source in itself for reconstructing a reliable portrait of Israelite religions as they actually were - William Devers
Yahweh Proves False
The northern valleys and Galilee were thus conquered (732 BCE) and its inhabitants were deported, reversing the divine promises of the secure inheritance given at the time of the original conquest of Canaan by the Israelites.
The Assyrian noose was tightening with the accession of Shalmaneser V, an aggressive new Assyrian king. Hoshea proclaimed himself to be a loyal vassal and offered Shalmaneser tribute, but he secretly sought an alliance with the king of Egypt for an open revolt.
After exiling the Israelites from their land to Mesopotamia, the Assyrians brought in new settlers to Israel: “And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria, and dwelt in its cities” (2 Kings 17:24).
The ten northern tribes of Israel were now lost among the distant nations. kingdom of Judah, with its Temple and Davidic kings, now survived to carry on God’s commandments and to redeem the land of Israel.
What followed was a tragic series of miscalculations that spelled the end of independent Israel - and indeed the possibility that any of the states in the Levant would ever be free to act independently as long as the Assyrian empire survived.
Tiglath-pileser set his sights with full force on the kingdom of Israel. Conquering most of its territories, destroying its main cities, and deporting part of its population, Tiglathpileser brought Israel to its knees.
By the time of Tiglath-pileser’s death in 727 BCE, most of the territory of the northern kingdom had been annexed directly to the Assyrian empire...the Assyrians deployed a policy of deportation and repopulation on a grand scale.
After the partial destruction of the last Israelite city, a short period of abandonment was followed by extensive rebuilding. The Assyrians made Megiddo the capital of their new province, covering former territories of the northern kingdom in the northern valleys and the hills of Galilee. Within a few decades, official documents refer to Megiddo as the seat of the governor.
...most Israelites had embraced the easy-going Canaanite cult in which goddesses played the leading role, with kings as their consorts - Robert Graves (Hebrew Myths)
...the ultimate fate of most of them - the ten tribes of northern Israel - would never be known. In the beginning the deportees might have tried to preserve their identity, for instance by continuing Israelite forms of worship or giving Israelite names to their children. But they were soon Assyrianized and assimilated into the empire.
Our story now approaches that great moment in religious and literary history, because it was only after the fall of Israel that Judah grew into a fully developed state with the necessary complement of professional priests and trained scribes able to undertake such a task.
It was in the ancient Judahite capital of Hebron - in the cave of Machpelah - that the revered patriarchs and matriarchs were buried, as we read in the book of Genesis.
The Judahites’ fidelity to God’s commands was unmatched among other Israelite warriors; at the time of the invasion of Canaan, only they were said to have fully eradicated the idolatrous Canaanite presence from their tribal inheritance.
Despite Judah’s prominence in the Bible, however, there is no archaeological indication until the eighth century BCE that this small and rather isolated highland area, surrounded by arid steppe land on both east and south, possessed any particular importance.
As we have seen, its population was meager; its towns - even Jerusalem - were small and few. It was Israel, not Judah, that initiated wars in the region. It was Israel, not Judah, that conducted wide-ranging diplomacy and trade.
When the two kingdoms came into conflict, Judah was usually on the defensive, forced to call in neighboring powers to come to its aid.
But beginning in the late eighth century BCE, something extraordinary happened. A series of epoch-making changes, beginning with Israel’s fall, suddenly altered the political and religious landscape. Judah’s population swelled to unprecedented levels.
“Judah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord;” its people worshiped at high places “on every high hill” and imitated the practices of the nations (1 Kings 14:22–24). The punishment for this apostasy was quick and painful. The Egyptian pharaoh Shishak marched on Jerusalem in the fifth year of Rehoboam (926 BCE) and took away a heavy tribute from the treasures of the Temple and the palace of the Davidic kings (1 Kings 14:25–26).
The kingdom of Judah experienced ups and downs through the following centuries, reaching a low point when Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram married into the sinful family of Ahab and Jezebel. Predictable misfortune resulted:
Until a few years ago, virtually all biblical archaeologists accepted the scriptural description of the sister states of Judah and Israel at face value. They portrayed Judah as a fully developed state as early as the time of Solomon and tried their best to produce archaeological proof of the building activities and effective regional administration of the early Judahite kings. Yet as we have shown, the supposed archaeological evidence of the united monarchy was no more than wishful thinking.
Archaeology shows that the early kings of Judah were not the equals of their northern counterparts in power or administrative ability despite the fact that their reigns and even accession dates are intertwined in the books of Kings.
With the possible exception of the city of Lachish in the foothills of the Shephelah, there are no signs of elaborate regional centers within Judah on the scale of the northern sites of Gezer, Megiddo, and Hazor. Likewise, Judahite urban planning and architecture was far more rustic. Monumental building techniques - such as the use of ashlar masonry and Proto-Aeolic capitals that typified the elaborate Omride building style in the northern kingdom - did not appear in the south before the seventh century BCE.
Despite the long-standing contention that the opulent Solomonic court was the scene of a flourishing of belles lettres, religious thought, and history writing, evidence for widespread literacy is utterly lacking in Judah during the time of the divided monarchy. Not a single trace of supposed tenth century Judahite literary activity has been found.
...monumental inscriptions and personal seals - essential signs of a fully developed state - appear in Judah only two hundred years after Solomon, in the late eighth century BCE.
Nor is there any evidence for mass production of pottery in centralized workshops or industrial production of oil for export until the same late period.
...archaeological surveys indicate that until the eighth century the population of the Judahite highlands was about one-tenth that of the highlands of the northern kingdom of Israel.
In light of these findings, it is now clear that Iron Age Judah enjoyed no precocious golden age. David and his son Solomon and the subsequent members of the Davidic dynasty ruled over a marginal, isolated, rural region, with no signs of great wealth or centralized administration. It did not suddenly decline into weakness and misfortune from an era of unparalleled prosperity. Instead it underwent a long and gradual development over hundreds of years. David and Solomon’s Jerusalem was only one of a number of religious centers within the land of Israel; it was surely not acknowledged as the spiritual center of the entire people of Israel initially.
Of the historical David we can say almost nothing, except to note the uncanny similarity between the ragtag Apiru bands that threatened Abdi-Heba and the biblical tales of the outlaw chief David and his band of mighty men roaming in the Hebron hills and the Judean desert. But whether or not David conquered Jerusalem in the daring Apiru-like raid described in the books of Samuel, it seems clear that the dynasty he established represented a change in rulers but hardly altered the basic way that the southern highlands were ruled.
All this suggests that the institutions of Jerusalem - Temple and palace - did not dominate the lives of the rural population of Judah in anything close to the extent suggested by the biblical texts.
...the Bible offers a retrospective interpretation rather than an accurate description of the past - Finkelstein & Silberman
Fanciful rabbinic expansions of the Genesis stories were still being made in the Middle Ages - Robert Graves
Priestly Condemnation Continues
some biblical scholars have suggested that this movement originated among dissident priests and prophets in the last days of the northern kingdom who were aghast at the idolatry and social injustice of the Assyrian period. After the destruction of the kingdom of Israel, they fled southward to promulgate their ideas.
the passages in the books of Kings about the righteousness and sinfulness of the earlier kings of Judah reflects the ideology of the YHWH-alone movement.
God's Grace Shines on King Hezekiah
Faith in YHWH alone did not save Hezekiah’s territory against the wrath of the Assyrians. Large parts of Judah were devastated and valuable agricultural land in the Shephelah was given by the Assyrian victors to the city-states of Philistia. Judah’s territory shrank dramatically, Hezekiah was forced to pay a heavy tribute to Assyria, and a significant number of Judahites were deported to Assyria.
Sennacherib fully achieved his goals: he broke the resistance of Judah and subjugated it. Hezekiah had inherited a prosperous state, and Sennacherib destroyed it.
In the aftermath of the failed rebellion against Assyria, Hezekiah’s policy of religious purification and confrontation with Assyria must have seemed to many to have been a terrible, reckless mistake...Hezekiah’s blasphemous destruction of the venerated high places and his prohibition against worshiping Asherah, the stars, moon, and other deities along with YHWH that had brought such misfortune on the land.
...when Hezekiah died and his twelve-year-old son Manasseh came to the throne, the religious pluralism in the (now considerably shrunken) countryside of Judah was restored.
He (Manasseh) was described as the most sinful monarch that the kingdom of Judah had ever seen (2 Kings 21:3–7). In fact, the book of Kings puts the blame for the “future” destruction of Jerusalem on his head (2 Kings 21:11–15).
Manasseh’s success in transforming Judah from the wasteland left by Sennacherib into a highly developed state in the Assyrian empire brought great wealth to some and social dislocation and uncertainty to many.
Manasseh died in the year 642 BCE and was succeeded by his son Amon. According to the second book of Kings, Amon “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, as Manasseh his father had done” (2 Kings 21: 20).
A New Enemy Arises
Assyria’s power continued to dwindle, and the ongoing Babylonian pressure on the heartland of the dying empire threatened to unbalance the ancient world and to endanger Egyptian interests in Asia. Egypt decided to intervene on the side of the Assyrians, and in 616 its army marched to the north. But this move did not stop the Assyrian collapse.
The great Assyrian capital of Nineveh fell in 612, and the Assyrian court escaped to Haran in the west, an event that was recorded by the prophet Zephaniah (2: 13– 15).
The Deuteronomistic historian, who saw Josiah as a divinely anointed messiah destined to redeem Judah and lead it to glory was clearly at a loss to explain how such a historical catastrophe could occur and left only a curt, enigmatic reference to Josiah’s death. The dreams of this king and would-be messiah were brutally silenced at the hill of Megiddo. Decades of spiritual revival and visionary hopes seemingly collapsed overnight. Josiahwas dead and the people of Israel were again enslaved by Egypt.
If this was not devastating enough, the following years brought even greater calamities. After the death of Josiah, the great reform movement apparently crumbled. The last four kings of Judah - three of them sons of Josiah - are negatively judged in the Bible, as apostates.
Nebuchadnezzar crushed the Egyptian army at Carchemish in Syria (an event recorded in Jeremiah 46:2), causing the Egyptian forces to flee in panic back toward the Nile. With that defeat, the Assyrian empire was finally and irrevocably dismembered, and Nebuchadnezzar, now king of Babylon, sought to gain complete control over all the lands to the west.
The Babylonian forces soon marched down the Mediterranean coastal plain, laying waste to the rich Philistine cities. In Judah, the pro-Egyptian faction that had taken over the Jerusalem court a few months after the death of Josiah was thrown into a panic - and their desperate appeals to Necho for military assistance against the Babylonians merely heightened their political vulnerability in the terrible days that lay ahead.
The Babylonians were now intent on the plunder and complete devastation of the Judahite state.
The Jerusalem aristocracy and priesthood - among whom the Deuteronomistic ideology burned most passionately - were taken off into exile,
Four hundred years of Judah’s history came to an end in fire and blood. The proud kingdom of Judah was utterly devastated, its economy ruined, its society ripped apart. The last king in a dynasty that had ruled for centuries was tortured and imprisoned in Babylon. His sons were all killed. The Temple of Jerusalem - the only legitimate place for the worship of YHWH - was destroyed.
The mighty Neo-Babylonian empire crumbled and was conquered by the Persians in 539 BCE. In the first year of his reign, Cyrus, the founder of the Persian empire, issued a royal decree for the restoration of Judah and the Temple:
A leader of the exiles named Sheshbazzar, described in Ezra 1:8 as “the prince of Judah” (probably indicating that he was a son of the exiled Davidic king Jehoiachin), led the first group of returnees to Zion.
They reportedly carried with them the Temple treasures that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem half a century earlier. A list of returnees by town of origin, family, and number follows, about fifty thousand altogether. They settled in their old homeland and laid the foundations for a new Temple. A few years later another wave of returnees gathered in Jerusalem. Led by Jeshua the son of Jozadak and an apparent grandson of Jehoiachin named Zerubbabel, they built an altar and celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles.
The construction of the Temple was then finished in the year 516 BCE.
Intensive excavations throughout Jerusalem have shown that the city was indeed systematically destroyed by the Babylonians.
Both text and archaeology contradict the idea that between the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE and the return of the exiles after the proclamation of Cyrus in 538 BCE Judah was in total ruin and uninhabited.
Return to Judea
The lists of repatriates in Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7 amount to almost fifty thousand people.
The edict of Cyrus the Great allowing a group of Judahite exiles to return to Jerusalem could hardly have been prompted by sympathy for the people remaining in Judah or for the suffering of the exiles. Rather, it should be seen as a well-calculated policy that aimed to serve the interests of the Persian empire.
The Persians tolerated and even promoted local cults as a way to ensure the loyalty of local groups to the wider empire.
From this point onward, the Davidic family played no role in the history of Yehud. At the same time, the priesthood, which rose to a position of leadership in exile, and which also played an important role among those who had remained in Yehud, maintained its prominence because of its ability to preserve group identity. So in the following decades the people of Yehud were led by a dual system: politically, by governors who were appointed by the Persian authority and who had no connection to the Davidic royal family; religiously, by priests...This was one of the most crucial turning points in Jewish history.
I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star - Rev 22:16
Who Wrote the Scriptures?
One of the main functions of the priestly elite in post-exilic Jerusalem - beyond the conduct of the renewed sacrifices and purification rituals - was the continuing production of literature and scripture to bind the community together and determine its norms against the peoples all around.
Yehud remained in the hands of the Persians for two centuries, until the conquest of Alexander the Great in 332 BCE.
In the first century BCE, as the Hasmonean kings, of the Maccabean lineage, eventually declined into dynastic squabbling and the Roman client-king Herod took power in Judea, the Bible emerged as the uniting force and scriptural heart of a hard-pressed community.
Second Temple Destroyed
With the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE and the rise of Christianity, the independent power of the Bible as a formative constitution - not just a brilliant work of literature or a collection of ancient law and wisdom - proved itself.
In 70 AD, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and dispersed its population. Fearing that scattering the Jews over the earth might cause their ancient records to become lost led to the formation of a council of rabbis who met in Jamnia about the beginning of the second century AD, for the purpose of codifying the holy records and giving them permanent form - Ernest Busenbark
Many of the Israelites seem to have considered Jahveh to be a mere tribal god, holding supreme power over them but powerless against their enemies - Ernest Busenbark
The Arch of Emperor Titus in Rome commemorates the sacking of Jerusalem and second temple of Solomon. After this punitive decision, Judea ceased to exist and the Jews lost their homeland. It was all due their own mania. God's all-wise chosen ones disobeyed Rome over and over again, finally goading Rome to bring down its might on their heads. (Here for more...)
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The details of its stories, drawn from a treasury of ancient memories, fragmentary histories, and rewritten legends, possessed power not as an objective chronicle of events...but as a timeless expression of what a people’s divine destiny might be - Finkelstein & Silberman
...if there were no patriarchs, no Exodus, no conquest of Canaan - and no prosperous united monarchy under David and Solomon - can we say that early biblical Israel, as described in the Five Books of Moses and the books of Joshua, Judges, and Samuel, ever existed at all? - ibid
We see that when it comes to the content of the Hebrew Bible it is impossible to tell history from fiction. It is absolutely impossible for us to decide which passage and anecdote speaks of things that actually happened or whether they are part of an elaborately crafted mythos created by priestly mythmongers. It boggles the mind to think that a compendium of folktales has been taken for reality and holy writ for so many centuries. It confounds the mind to think it's all been accepted due to two millennia of infernal deception and oppressive mind-control.
Finkelstein & Silberman provide evidence in plenty, showing that the well-known events recorded in Hebrew Bible are little more than lurid fictions which senior scholars know must not be taken as hard evidence for the existence of any character or event presented in the scriptures. These earth-shattering revelations - presaged by earlier forgotten geniuses - haven't reached the general public. They might never do so, which will be a great pity.
We see that these revelations utterly vindicate the work of men such as Comyns Beaumont and L. A. Waddell. But of course, the average Jew and Christian hasn't heard of these alternative scholars, and have nowhere to turn if and when the foundations of their religions crumble. They are left in quiet a void. We on the other hand are not. We have something to put in the place of whatever is removed. We have the work of Prof. Thompson and previous masters who knew we were being handed a litany of lies.
Discovering the lie-machinery of the rabbis and clergy paves the way for the truth about ancient times to finally come forth. Now we can begin to seriously consider the role of Astro-Theology and Sidereal Mythology. We can assess where the stories presented in scriptures actually came from. We can assess whether they pertain to earlier races, such as those referenced by Prof. Waddell and others. We can finally ask whether the great priestly orders mentioned in the Pentateuch were not in fact descendants of the High Arya, whose history fell by the wayside, to be replaced by a tissue of egregious pious frauds and outright lies. We can reassess the role of mightier nations from whom Jewish "history" was appropriated; those of Egypt, Persia, Phoenicia, Sumeria, Chaldea, Babylon, Mycenae, Crete, Greece, Anatolia, and places further west. (For example, the Book of Deuteronomy is suggestively similar in form and style to Grecian literature.)
Bear in mind that according to tradition the Jews were a nation set apart from all others, special and ever so holy. But where do we find evidence of this uniqueness? What if it was a trait not of Jews but of the Aryan founders of other Middle Eastern civilizations? What if it were the trait of even earlier divinely-inspired races? Are we dealing, as Beaumont insists, with the wholesale appropriation and ransacking of lost Western traditions stretching back to prediluvian Atlantis? We'll be in no place to find out if we continue believing the falsehoods of Christian and Jewish mythmongers.
Fortunately, as this book shows, their narrative is coming apart at the seams. It has been happening for a while, certainly since the beginning of the twentieth century. Consequently, the unraveling of Judeo-Christianity must be monitored constantly, since deception is still the order of the day. Hence the reason for this website.
Clearly, the content of the Old Testament was composed by people recently expelled from the great civilization of Egypt. Despite their hatred of Egypt, they were clearly enamored with the august temples of their sophisticated hosts. Such was the impression made by the colossi of the Nile, that it spurred Israelite mythmongers to replicate the grandeur in writing. Envying the expertize and majesty of Egypt, they wished to recast themselves as characters in a fictional simulacrum of it. The Old Testament is the result of this somewhat justified exercise in parody and appropriation. The dusty beggars of Israel desperately wanted to be monarchs of the world, and finally became so in their own sickly imaginations.
Finkelstein and Silberman, and academics of their kind, downplay the damage done by ancient mythmongers, saying that their skillful fictionalizations and literary genius excuses their deceptive intent. I do not take this view at all, and deeply object to those who do. The job of the early scribes was to chronicle actual events in plain unembroidered language. This they did not do. Instead they created a fiction posing as fact, making them consummate propagandists, myth-makers and liars.
Although it has taken centuries to unravel their skeins of deception and uncover the occulted truth about Judaism and Christianity, there's no turning back. Their campaign of lies has not succeeded, and the rational unbiased person now has access to the truth. We can now vindicate the greats of times past - the Masseys, Taylors, Beaumonts and Waddells, etc - who labored in the dark without recompense to bring forth truths hidden for so long. It is they who solely deserve the title "divine."
Michael Tsarion (2020)