Thursday, October 13, 2011

Shiloh Under Attack: The Revisionism of Archaeology and History

(Thanks to EH)

There's another assault on Jewish nationalism. Seems that

PA rewriting Jewish history

And the theme is an archeological revisionism by Arabs which aims to nullify Jewish connection to land. Palestinians are using archeology to advance their statehood bid. Prominent archaeologist Gabriel Barkai called it "cultural Intifada."

(see my previous post)

...Hamdan Taha, the Palestinian Authority minister who deals with antiquities and a pioneer of the new Palestinian revisionism. Last January National Geographic magazine ran a “Travel Palestine” ad that appeared to blot out the State of Israel’s existence...

...From his office in a restored house in Ramallah, Taha is also mastering a new Palestinian denial meant to cancel any trace of Jewish presence in the Holy Land...

And he gets personal:

The town of Shiloh is another target for Taha’s revisionism. Despite Shiloh being the capital of the Jewish nation for nearly four centuries and the Jews having brought the Tabernacle there, making Shiloh the religious center of the Israelites before Jerusalem, Taha is convincing the international community that the Jewish Shiloh never existed: “In Shiloh the settlers pretended to have found the tabernacles,” he proclaimed. “They can find the chicken bone my grandfather ate 50 years ago and say it was a young calf for ancient sacrifice.”

Well, Taha,

a) actually we haven't found "tabernacles". There was only one to find but in any case, you're argument is also with over 1600 years of Christian history since at Shiloh we have three basilicas attesting to the significant Byzantine presence here precisely because they knew it was Shiloh. (*)

b) as I pointed out previously, the scientific evidence attests (p. 266) to the location being burnt and destroyed around 1050 BCE, the exact chronology the Bible gives. And see Mazar's criticism, esp. p. 23.

c) the main Muslim structure there was built smack in the middle of a large basilica, indicating the Arab practice of absconding any previous presence as if it was their own, exactly what Taha is attempting now.



Not only was the site still known in the Middle Ages, but the historical sources provided relatively specific descriptions of its location. The credit for locating Shiloh really goes to the exceptionally detailed geographical data provided by the Book of Judges where we are told: “Behold, there is the yearly feast of the Lord at Shiloh, which is north of Bethel, on the east of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah” (Judges 21:19). The identification of Bethel with the village of Beitin, northeast of Ramallah, is well known; Lebonah must be located in the vicinity of the village of Lubban Sharqiya, near Shiloh on the northwest; and the “highway,” the ancient route, apparently followed a course close to that of the modern Jerusalem-Nablus road. The Onomasticon of Eusebius (fourth century A.D.) places Shiloh “ … twelve miles [from Neapolis (Shechem)] at Acrabitene,” that is, in the district named after the city whose name is still preserved in the name of the Arab village of Aqraba, northeast of Shiloh. As if all these literary references were not sufficient, the ancient name of Shiloh was preserved in the name of the Arab village of Seilun, still known in the 16th century (but later deserted). The identification of the site is thus sure. And, as we shall see, the excavated remains accord with the history of the site as reflected both in the Bible and in other written sources.


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