Hebron, Beersheba, and Biblical Dating

Hebron (Tel Rumeida) was inhabited as a Pre-Roman city of any size in four main periods: EB III, Middle Bronze IIB-C, Iron IIB-C, and the Hasmonean period. This fact is not all that useful for dating the Pentateuch, but it is important for dating the Deuteronomistic History. Joshua (21:13), for example, must be dated to the latter two periods, most likely Iron IIC, the commonly accepted date for its composition (the political geography of the land in Joshua, contra the Minimalists, does not resemble that of the Hellenistic period, but does have an uncanny resemblance to that of the Iron IIC). If Joshua goes, so does Judges and Samuel. Samuel is a more interesting case, however, since, while the Conquest was obviously nonhistorical, David’s rise to power seemingly has a far more solid historical basis. Yet, Hebron is mentioned numerous times in Samuel as a power center, even though it contained a relatively limited amount of Iron I pottery and yielded no building remains. This shows that even the Davidic narratives were highly fictionalized and perserve much late among with early tradition. Most of the Chronicles accounts are copied from Samuel, and, therefore, are hardly datable. There last reference is from the Hasmonean period.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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