Oral history • Event A happens. • Event A is told and retold. • Event A is recorded. • When Event A is recorded which period’s history is reflected? • Does Event A become Event AB, reflecting Periods 1 and 2? • Does Event A become Event AC, reflecting Periods 1 and 3? • Does Event A become Event ABC, reflecting all three periods? 1 2 3 Event A happens Event A is recorded Event A told and retold
Two camps (extremes): Minimalists take the minimum from the text as a historical source. Minimalists Maximalists Maximalists take the maximum from the text as a historical source.
Minimalism • Event A is invented in Period 3 • Event A is obscured by the realia and the realities of Period 3 • Period 2 creates Event A with some or no grains of truth (because of religion or politics) • Period 3 creates Event A with some or no grains of truth (because of religion or politics) • Unless archaeology can be provide actual evidence of Event A ever having occurred
Maximalism • The text is a historical source, subject to the same challenges as any historical source • Oral tradition can preserve both realia and realities from Event A which is later recorded • Archaeology is an important tool, but determining evidence for origins or proto-cultures is difficult • The text’s veracity can be determined by its authenticity, describing Period 1, not 2 or 3
Sources for the Hebrews Where to look for the origins of a people? • Tanak/Old Testament • Other versions: Samaritan Torah/Dead Sea Scrolls • Archaeology • Extra-biblical sources: • Sources from other cultures: • Victory stele • Evidence of tribute, alliance, war • Records from other countries
Tanak/Old Testament The books are primarily recorded from oral history: • Torah/Pentateuch • Nebi’im/Prophets • Kethubim/Histories, Poems Early leaders are difficult to find outside of the Torah and Old Testament: • Abraham, Noah, Moses, David?, Solomon?
Religion and politics House of David? Temple Mount in danger?
Israel Finkelstein • Professor of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University • BA - Tel Aviv University, ’74 • MA - Tel Aviv University, ’78 • Ph.D. - Tel Aviv University, 1983: Dissertation: The IzbetSartah Excavations and the Israelite Settlement in the Hill Country • Minimalist, maximalist or centrist?