Thursday, October 30, 2008

When The Past Comes To Haunt You

Israel Finkelstein, who excavated Tel Shiloh 1980-1984, and used it not only for his doctorate but as part of his rejection of the Biblical narrative, is in trouble.

...archaeologist Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University urged adhering to the strict boundaries of science. Finkelstein, who has not visited the dig but attended a presentation of the findings, warned against what he said was a revival in the belief that what's written in the Bible is accurate like a newspaper.

What dig?

What find?

This one:-

Have Israeli archaeologists found world's oldest Hebrew inscription?

And the main story:-

An Israeli archaeologist digging at a hilltop south of Jerusalem believes a ceramic shard found in the ruins of an ancient town bears the oldest Hebrew inscription ever discovered, a find that could provide an important glimpse into the culture and language of the Holy Land at the time of the Bible.

The five lines of faded characters written 3,000 years ago, and the ruins of the fortified settlement where they were found, are indications that a powerful Israelite kingdom existed at the time of the Old Testament's King David, says Yossi Garfinkel, the Hebrew University archaeologist in charge of the new dig at Hirbet Qeiyafa.

Hirbet Qeiyafa sits near the city of Beit Shemesh in the Judean
foothills, an area that was once the frontier between the hill-dwelling Israelites and their enemies, the coastal Philistines. The site overlooks the Elah Valley, said to be the scene of the slingshot showdown between David and the Philistine giant Goliath, and lies near the ruins of Goliath's hometown in the Philistine metropolis of Gath.

...Carbon-14 analysis of burnt olive pits found in the same layer of the site dated them to between 1,000 and 975 B.C., the same time as the Biblical golden age of David's rule in Jerusalem.

Scholars have identified other, smaller Hebrew fragments from the 10th century B.C., but the script, which Garfinkel suggests might be part of a letter,
predates the next significant Hebrew inscription by between 100 and 200 years. History's best-known Hebrew texts, the Dead Sea scrolls, were penned on parchment beginning 850 years later...several words have already been tentatively identified, including ones meaning judge, slave and king.

...Hebrew University archaeologist Amihai Mazar said the inscription was very important, as it is the longest proto-Canaanite text ever found. But he suggested that calling the text Hebrew might be going too far.

...But if Garfinkel's claim is borne out, it would bolster the case for the Bible's accuracy by indicating the Israelites could record events as they happened, transmitting the history that was later written down in the Old Testament several hundred years later.

And there's a new Jerusalm find:-

Rare First Temple period seal found in Jerusalem

A rare Hebrew seal from the First Temple period, discovered in archaeological excavations in the Western Wall plaza, west of the Temple Mount, will be presented to the public today with an image of a warrior shooting an arrow is depicted on the seal, which belonged to a Hebrew person by the name of Hagab. The owner of the seal probably held a military position, possibly that of army commander of the Kingdom of Judah.

The seal, was discovered in the excavations that are being conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority, at the behest of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, will be presented to the public at a joint study day of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

And following this

First Temple-Era Water Tunnel Revealed in Jerusalem

A tunnel built thousands of years ago – and which may even have been used during King David's conquest of Jerusalem – has been uncovered in the ancient City of David, just outside the Old City and across the street from the Dung Gate.

Renowned Israeli archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazer, who is leading the dig, revealed the findings from the discovery Thursday morning at an archaeological symposium at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The archaeologist said there is a high probability that the tunnel is the one referred to as the "tsinor" in the Biblical story of King David's conquest of Jerusalem (Samuel II, 5:6-8; Chronicles I, 11:4-6).

and this,

Archaeologists excavating north of Jerusalem have found a piece of a sarcofagus - a stone coffin - belonging to a son of a High Priest. The visible inscription reads, "the son of the High Priest" - but the words before it are broken off. It thus cannot be ascertained which High Priest is referred to, nor the name or age of the deceased.

it would seem that all these post-Zionist archeologists (see Finkelstein's latest interview here who are attempting to uproot the past are finding that the past can come back to haunt you.


mnuez said...

Awesome stuff. Any news on what the fragment says? I guess I'll have to check the article.

Anyone trying to read the seal by the way should note that for some strange reason we're presented here with a mirror image of it.

Also, I'm no fan of Finkelstein's but the quoted sentence seems pretty fair. Indisputable evidence can surface for the Kingdom of David and one would still be wise to wonder as to whether every detail written of David's relationship with Saul is necessarily accurate to the quoted word.

Then again, modern newspapers aren't infallible sources of undisputed truth either...

Anyhow, thanks for the links. It's exhilarating whenever anything surfaces in ktav ivri and I wasn;t aware of these finds.

kol Tuv,


mnuez said...

Totally cool! Barnea!(I just read the article and I know him but didn't know of his current doings)