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> Archaeologist sees proof for Bible in ancient wall


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Posted: Feb 26 2010, 07:14 PM
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Archaeologist sees proof for Bible in ancient wall

By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writer Matti Friedman, Associated Press Writer Mon Feb 22, 6:30 pm ET

JERUSALEM – An Israeli archaeologist said Monday that ancient fortifications recently excavated in Jerusalem date back 3,000 years to the time of King Solomon and support the biblical narrative about the era.

If the age of the wall is correct, the finding would be an indication that Jerusalem was home to a strong central government that had the resources and manpower needed to build massive fortifications in the 10th century B.C.

That's a key point of dispute among scholars, because it would match the Bible's account that the Hebrew kings David and Solomon ruled from Jerusalem around that time.

While some Holy Land archaeologists support that version of history — including the archaeologist behind the dig, Eilat Mazar — others posit that David's monarchy was largely mythical and that there was no strong government to speak of in that era.

Speaking to reporters at the site Monday, Mazar, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, called her find "the most significant construction we have from First Temple days in Israel."

"It means that at that time, the 10th century, in Jerusalem there was a regime capable of carrying out such construction," she said.

Based on what she believes to be the age of the fortifications and their location, she suggested it was built by Solomon, David's son, and mentioned in the Book of Kings.

The fortifications, including a monumental gatehouse and a 77-yard (70-meter) long section of an ancient wall, are located just outside the present-day walls of Jerusalem's Old City, next to the holy compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. According to the Old Testament, it was Solomon who built the first Jewish Temple on the site.

That temple was destroyed by Babylonians, rebuilt, renovated by King Herod 2,000 years ago and then destroyed again by Roman legions in 70 A.D. The compound now houses two important Islamic buildings, the golden-capped Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Archaeologists have excavated the fortifications in the past, first in the 1860s and most recently in the 1980s. But Mazar claimed her dig was the first complete excavation and the first to turn up strong evidence for the wall's age: a large number of pottery shards, which archaeologists often use to figure out the age of findings.

Aren Maeir, an archaeology professor at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, said he has yet to see evidence that the fortifications are as old as Mazar claims. There are remains from the 10th century in Jerusalem, he said, but proof of a strong, centralized kingdom at that time remains "tenuous."

While some see the biblical account of the kingdom of David and Solomon as accurate and others reject it entirely, Maeir said the truth was likely somewhere in the middle.

"There's a kernel of historicity in the story of the kingdom of David," he said.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100222/ap_on_...el_ancient_wall


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Posted: Feb 27 2010, 09:26 AM
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I concur with Aren Maeir and other Israeli archaeologists who find no evidence for the existence of the fabulous kingdoms of David and Solomon. "Tenuous" can be translated as "none". As in Egypt, Israeli archaeologists who wish to maintain their jobs must make polite noises in deference to the official propaganda which uses Judaic mythology to legitimize its claims to Palestine.


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Posted: Feb 27 2010, 04:06 PM
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Hey, TA! waving.gif




I agree with this quote:

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Maeir said the truth was likely somewhere in the middle.


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Posted: Feb 28 2010, 07:10 AM
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Hi, Junkman! Yes, as with almost everything, the truth lies between two extremes. Israel Finklestein, a long time critic of the existence of Solomon and David as presented in biblical narratives, also participated in the excavation of that wall. In the following interview, he explains where he thinks that middle lies.
(I had a problem making this link "hot", so you'll need to copy and paste into your browser if it doesn't load)
http://prophetess.lstc.edu/~rklein/Documents/grounds.htm

"A huge number of people talk about the United Monarchy; but the number of people who truly understand the matter is very small. There is a stream in the research that says that David and Solomon were not historical figures, that they are a legend. I don't think so. There is an inscription from Tel Dan from the ninth century BCE that mentions the southern kingdom by the name of `the house of David.' So it stands to reason that they existed, but the question is whether they ruled a large empire, and about that there is not the slightest hint. All the evidence is against it."

Yet there are many archaeologists and historians who dispute your view?

"It's true that until recently there was a great deal of opposition to this conception. Today, though, at least some of my adversaries agree with me. There is a large difference in the text between the David stories and the Solomon stories. The whole character of Solomon is that of an Assyrian king: resplendent, rich, wise, a womanizer and a great trader, a figure of ideology like someone out of a journal. David is not, precisely because he is given a complex description and there are the unpleasant stories about him that make him a human figure. And according to archaeology, there is no hint of magnificence or pomp in 10th-century Jerusalem, and in fact until the end of the eighth century BCE, until the Assyrian period and after the destruction of Israel, when refugees from the north began streaming into the city, it was a small village, remote, wretched and unfortified."

So are you saying that the United Monarchy is a lie?

"I don' believe in lies in history. Spin, yes; lies, no. What I am saying is that if in the seventh century BCE a strong tradition existed in Jerusalem that the temple on the hill had been built by the founders of the dynasty, I see no reason to question that. That doesn't mean it was a huge and magnificent building. On the question of the grandeur of the United Monarchy I find myself in a tough scholarly confrontation: there is still a debate over the archaeological remnants. Two magnificent palaces were found at Megiddo. [The noted archaeologist] Yigael Yadin said they were from the 10th century BCE, the period of Solomon, and could support the account of the great monarchy, whereas I think they are from the ninth century BCE, 70 years later, from the period of the northern kingdom."

I think you will find the rest of the article instructive as well as Finklestein explains why it is possible for him to practice his faith yet reject the historicity of biblical narratives. His discussion of the political underpinnings, both historical and current are also quite illuminating.

This post has been edited by Tex Arcana on Feb 28 2010, 07:20 AM


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