Biblical Archaeology – Jericho
The story of the attempt to match up the archaeology of old Jericho with the account given in the Hebrew Bible has come to be regarded as something of your cautionary tale in the history of Biblical archaeology. Laughlin in Archaeology and the Bible (2000) invokes Jericho in precisely that way, as the most generalized case that they can find to warn against trying to power archaeological info onto a hermeneutically Procrustean framework based on the Old Testament:
For the student interested in “Biblical Archaeology” you will find two units of data: the archaeological plus the biblical. The Bible cannot be approved uncritically as being a “historical” consideration of old Israel, in the event by traditional we mean all the contemporary connotations of that term. Rather the Holy bible interprets through theological, and even mythological, lenses what archaeologists must interpret through scientific/historical ones. The truth of the tale of the break down of Jericho in the Book of Joshua is actually a classic case. The temptation was, but still is in a few quarters, to interpret the archaeological data to “fit” a preconceived interpretation in the Bible. (14-5)
Yet we have to acknowledge that, to a certain degree, the birthday of archaeology like a modern science was largely motivated simply by nineteenth hundred years attempts to prove the literal truth of the Bible. The initially excavations in Jericho were all apparently motivated by simply such an specific goal: Diaz-Andreu notes your initial work done between 1902 and 1914, if the German Oriental Society offered the institutional authority to get Ernest Sellin, the “LutheranProfessor of the Aged Testament at the University of Vienna, ” to begin “archaeological research in order to confirm the main historical value of the Bible” and accordingly began excavations at Tell-es-Sultan, the modern site of traditional Jericho, “although some problems were launched, ” because she grimly notes (154). Yet Diaz-Andreu quotes Bill F. Albright’s 1914 brief summary of the point out of finding correspondences between the history as provided in the Bible and the studies at this great wave of archaeological excavation:
The date ranges given by Sellin and Watzinger for Jericho, those provided by Bliss and Macalister pertaining to the mounds of the Shephelah, by Macalister for Gezer, and by Mackenzie for Beth-Shemesh do not consent at all, plus the attempt to foundation a synthesis on their chronology resulted, naturally , in turmoil. Moreover, almost all of the excavations did not define the stratigraphy of their site, and so left the archaeological background hazy and indefinite, with a chronology which was usually nebulous where right and often clear-cut where they have since recently been proved wrong. (155)
Yet , a brief brief summary of the archaeological findings via Jericho inside the period rigtht after this – especially after Albright specifically recruited Ruben Garstang to excavate even more at Tell-es-Sultan in the thirties – offer a fascinating cautionary tale about the misinterpretation of available data. I hope by providing a summary of the shift in interpretation of the evidence from Tell-es-Sultan which has occurred in the last century, we might see the method by which the created Biblical proof has come to always be contextualized and re-read along with archaeological findings.
The overdue nineteenth and early 20th century excavations at Jericho, such as regarding Sellin, got failed to match up with regular chronologies – a demolished city had been found, for what archaeology have come to term the City IV layer, but it really seemed to match up with sites much before (around 1500 BCE) compared to the probable time around 1400 BCE once Joshua and the Israelites commenced their conquest of Canaan with the break down of Jericho. The Biblical account which usually Sellin had been trying to set up as fact is to be found by Joshua 6: 1-27. The Lord God teaches Joshua to hold the ark of the covenant to the wall space of Jericho, and to deliver seven priests with seven trumpets. Then at Joshua 6: twenty the break down of the wall space is referred to: “When the trumpets seemed, the armed service shouted, with the sound of the trumpet, when the men provided a noisy shout, the wall collapsed; so everybody charged directly in, plus they took metropolis. ” It is additionally recorded that “then they will burned the whole city and everything in it” (6: 24), although the account records that Joshua rather attentively spared lifespan of Rahab the harlot (who “lives among the Israelites to this day”). The Biblical account then simply concludes together with the ferocious pledge sworn by simply Joshua within the smoldering ashes of Jericho:
At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn pledge: “Cursed prior to LORD may be the one who undertakes to restore this city, Jericho:
In the cost of his firstborn kid?
he will lay its foundations;
at the cost of his most youthful?
he will build its gates. “
And so the LORD was with Joshua, and his celebrity spread throughout the land. (Joshua 6: 26-7)
To a certain degree, there must be a certain level of irony for any Biblical literalist in the conclusion with the Biblical consideration. Rachel Hachlili notes the fact that excavations for Tell-es-Sultan have got revealed loads of specifically Judaism rebuilding with the site, including “two recently uncovered constructions at Jerichodeemed to be synagogues” of the early first century CE (98), as part of some considerable Jewish occurrence that continued for centuries. Because Hachlili as well notes, the excavation of post-Biblical Judaism settlements for Jericho have uncovered possibly the first emblematic representation of a menorah used to signal the Jewish faith in the synagogue structures. It would appear that Jews in the first hundred years CE had been substantially much less literal within their interpretation of Joshua’s bane (and indeed the whole accounts of the progressing of the metropolis during the intitial conquest of Canaan) compared to a late nineteenth century Lutheran like Sellin. Hoffmeier additionally notes that there was currently some issue of conundrum in the Biblical accounts with the conquest of Jericho from the beginning:
When we consider the size of the cities the Israelites happen to be said to have taken in Canaan, one amazing things why the Israelites with an army of 600, 1000 would have been pessimistic of the ability to overcome these very large cities. Jericho, the initially city assaulted by the Israelites (Josh. 6), at its maximal size tested only 300 by 140 meters, or perhaps approximately the dimensions of seven basketball fields. Hazor, recognized by archaeologists to be the most significant city in most of Canaan, occupied 210 acres (both upper and lower tell), according to Amnon Ben-Tor, the current excavator. The massive scale this old city is usually acknowledged in Joshua 11: 10. The estimated population of Midsection Bronze Grow older Hazor is definitely 33, 000 – 42, 000, and it apparently was somewhat smaller back in the Bronze Age. While Hazor was formidable and Jericho quite tiny by Levantine standards, fortified cities like these should not have been completely a serious concern to an army of six hundred, 000. In fact , an army of these size could fight in many fronts at the same time, rather than fighting within a united method (i. at the., “all Israel”), taking on one city at the same time. The biblical references cited here, along with the data regarding the demography and size of fortified cities in Canaan, suggest that Israelites felt outnumbered and overmatched. (155-6)
Quite simply, the Arabic construction from the story inside the Bible is already ideological in character – couched as a sort of “underdog” narrative – in which the figures cited (presumably to give exclusive chance to the Israelites for their capacity to go on and multiply) could not probably have indicated any kind of “underdog” status as expressed in the account with the military conquest of Jericho. These issues were all accessible to archaeologists pertaining to consideration in the period prior to the twentieth hundred years, and had been crucial in illustrating many ways in which the Scriptures might provide a remarkably poor guidebook pertaining to archaeological excavation. As Laughlin will summarize the Biblical account:
fresh archaeological info that have emerged over the past many years have elevated serious queries concerning the historicity of this central biblical account. It is with these data that I will be primarily concerned here. Some, readers will need to remind themselves constantly that any and all tries to evaluate these types of sources, both equally textually and archaeologically, while using goal of reconstructing some of the process through which “Israel” arrived at occupy the land of Canaan entails significant amounts of very subjective judgments whatever the final model one chooses to embrace. (111).
Certainly Laughlin’s characterization with specific reference to Jericho seems to carry true, that because “the textual compilations of Amounts, Joshua and Judges have long, complicated histories in accordance to most literary critics” which means “overriding consensus is that these kinds of texts were written later in Israel’s history (most likely during the post-exilic period, including Idol judges 1; observe P. K. McCarter, Jr. 1992: 119 – 22), are primarily theologically enthusiastic and must therefore be taken with extreme caution, if at all, in any attempt to rebuild the early good Israel. inches (110).
Nevertheless the interpretation in the relevant early evidence was changed when the 1931 to 1936 excavations at Jericho by Steve Garstang had discovered anything