Blog Theme Changed

For the second time in all history, the theme of the Against Jebel al-Lawz blog has been changed. As the quip says, “you become what you hate”, I have started taking a cue from Jim West by changing this blog’s overly stylized “Adventure Journal” theme to the theme “Chateau”, which removes the tape and rippled brown paper as the defining characteristics of this blog’s theme and replaces it with overused italics. I think it takes much away from “Adventure Journal”, but certainly makes this blog look cleaner and more attractive from an outsider’s perspective. Also, here is a fun religion debate at the conservative/libertarian conference “Freedom Fest” (takes place right opposite TAM).

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Two Comment Threads Involving Fundamentalist Christians-Also, Jim West’s Birthday

Yesterday, I observed that August 28 was the first anniversary of the end of the great debate between Don Stewart and I on the location of the Land of Punt. I also noticed yesterday that six views came to my blog from the blog of Jan Simonsen. When I used Google Translate to figure out what the heck the comments that led up to the mention of my blog were saying, I was touched. A harmony went over my body, and I smiled, thinking “This is exactly what I meant AJaL to be used for!”. In short, eplejuice, a fundamentalist Christian, was arguing with Moskus (some kind of atheist or deist) about a number of religious topics. eplejuice mentioned that some people have found golden calf drawings and a menorah at The Real Mount Sinai. The comment that mentioned my blog was this one:

Moskus

Ok, siden du insisterte. Jeg har nå sett filmen. Den har forresten blitt hyppig diskutert (diskutert til døde, nærmest) på internett, og jeg har faktisk lest gjennom mye av det. Først og fremst må jeg bare si at det ikke finnes èn, en eneste èn, verken av verdens ledende arkeologer elle historikere med ekspertise på midtøsten og denne tiden, som tror at Jabal el Lawz er Sinai-fjellet. Ikke ÈN! Og hele Wyatts tese om at det faktisk skulle være tilfellet tas ikke seriøst av noen. Skulle en anestesisykepleier fra syvende-dags-adventistene vite dette bedre enn all verdens samlede korps av historikere og arkeologer? For ikke å snakke om egyptologene?
Uansett: Jeg tok det såpass på alvor at jeg så filmen (du finner den på youtube også), slik at jeg kunne besvare de konkrete tingene (synsbedragene…) du har nevnt (kalv, lysestake o.s.v.).
Stolpene har jeg allerede forklart i en tidligere post.
Så skrev jeg i timesvis ned det som måtte være rasjonelle forklaringer på de forskjellige tingene,samtidig som jeg googlet rundt etter forklaringer. Og i ettertid så jeg at jeg bare hadde ressonert meg fram til det riktige i rundt 50% av tilfellene, så det var bra jeg ikke postet dette før jeg fant DENNE siden:

againstjebelallawz…s.com/jebel-al-lawz/

…her finner du alt sammen forklart,ned til minste detalj, om menorahen (lysestaken — PS! Jeg FORSTÅR at fantasien setter i gang å spinne ved synet av akkurat den, jeg måtte faktisk svelge tungt et lite øyeblikk selv, for dette var før jeg fant den siden jeg linket til ovenfor), «kalvene» (he he), skrifttegn, den splittede steinen o.s.v., bedre enn jeg noensinne kunne gjort, så derfor stryker jeg ut mine egne forklaringer (som var nedenunder her)

Så vil jeg bare også påpeke (for det nevnes ikke inngående i teksten jeg linket til) at disse bildene i denne filmen ikke er tatt på et bestemt sted,eller innenfor et lite,avgrenset, geografisk område. De første bildene er tatt ute ved kysten. Andre bilder er tatt lenger inn i landet. Det som har foregått her, er at Wyatt og teamet hans av likesinnede rett og slett har kjørt fra kysten og innover i ørkenen, på leting etter steinformasjoner, bilder og fjell som kunne ligne, eller gi assosiasjoner til, bibelske hendelser. De har m.a.o. hatt historien klar på forhånd (slik den står skrevet i Bibelen) og SÅ lett etter ting som kunne bekrefte den allerede etablerte (som sannhet) hypotesen.
Det er ikke slik vitenskap foregår…
Hele «narrativen», som du kaller det, er reinspikka fantasi og dikting fra ende til annen. T.o.m. innad i SDA-kirken tar man avstand fra Wyatts dikting. Les teksten jeg linket til grundig.

You can see why I had the emotions I did when I read Google’s translation of this comment. eplejuice’s reply was toned down, but he still misunderstood AJaL enough to make a few objections.

Today also happens to be the birthday of Jim West, the most prolific biblioblogger of all time. He is thought by me to have three faces: the face of the theologian, the face of the historian, and the face of the social commentator. The face of the theologian prides himself on his hatred of reason, the homosexuals&the abortionists and his love of theologians and theology. The face of the historian prides himself on his love of reason and his love of the history of the Bible and its interpretation. The face of the social commentator prides himself on the support of government intervention in all spheres of life and his hatred of latter-day Republicans for stalling this phenomenon. Three faces in one person, each influencing each other-the closest anyone has come to seeing the Christian Trinity in real life?

Lachish, Mareshah, and Beit Guvrin

Throughout the ages, from the Early Bronze Age even unto today, there has always been a tendency for an important regional center in the Lachish-Mareshah-Beit Guvrin area to exist. This is due to the need for a transportation route between the Coastal Plain and Hill Country and the rich resources the soil of the Southern Shephelah has to offer (olives in the East and grain in the West). In the Early Bronze Age (and probably earlier; in the Chalcolithic) the town of Lachish existed as a chief center in this area. However, as the only major center in the Hill Country in the Early Bronze Age was et-Tell, This center was shifted to Area 1500, somewhere on the ridge to the north-west of Lachish, in the Intermediate Bronze. In the Middle Bronze (Stratum VIII), Lachish revived again, building a city wall and fosse. The city was destroyed in the 16th C BC, and inside the fosse was built the famous Fosse Temple, which would survive down to the last days of Ramesses II. Lachish was destroyed and rebuilt in the late 13th-early 12th C BC, and, after that, imported some Midianite Ware, and had a temple built on the acropolis. Due to the border/coastal conquest effect described below, it did not recover until the Judahite reconquest of the Shephelah in the late 9th century BC. Lachish remained the second most-important city of Judah until it was destroyed and probably annexed to Gaza in 701 BC. Lachish was reconstructed whenever Judah re-annexed the Shephelah, and was destroyed in 588-6 BC.

After 588-6 BC, the entire area to the south of En Gedi, Nezib, and Beth-Zur was given to the Kingdom of Edom, which apparently later became a province (in 551 BC). Lachish, in the fourth century BC, during a period of Egyptian independence, became an important administrative settlement in the north-western part of this province. During the Early Hellenistic period, only a shrine was apparently left at Lachish, while the chief administrative center in the area moved to Mareshah. It is not clear as, whether Fantalkin suggests, Lachish’s administrative role was removed immediately after the Persian reconquest of Egypt in 343 BC or near the beginning of the Hellenistic period.

Mareshah remained a thriving Early Hellenistic provincial capital mostly focused on oil production until 108 BC, when it was destroyed by John Hyrcanus. Eventually, in the Herodian period, Beit Jibrin, a ruin located just to the SE of modern Beit Guvrin, became the chief city of the southern Shephelah. By the time of Septimius Severus, this had become Eleutheropolis, a district center which sprouted some major Late Roman ruins just to the South of the Tell of Beit Jibrin. Beit Jibrin’s Roman ruins were abandoned sometime after the Islamic conquest, and the town continued until its demolition by the Israelis in 1948.

Today, the regional center I have described above does not exist for largely the same reasons as in the early 7th century BC and in the 11th C BC-after a destructive war, most of the Shephelah was annexed by a polity based primarily on the coastal plain. This state will undoubtedly continue for the next few decades.

Some Things To Note On the Macalister and Duncan Plans of Field 5

Watch the “Palace of David” video before reading the below remarks.

Firstly, in this plan, the eastern part of the plan should be erased and not considered, as it does not correspond to reality. Secondly, it should be noted that, as in the case of E. Mazar’s excavation, little Late Iron II pottery was found in the M&D excavations, suggesting, as is said by Josephus, a mass removal of Iron II remains in the area of the Akra by Simon the Hasmonean.

Image 1 (plan of “Jebusite” stratum):

Note that the westernmost of the “Jebusite” walls uncovered by M&D is parallel to Wall 107 West and perpendicular to Wall 20/27. This supports the TAU reconstruction of the Large Stone Structure’s plan.

Image 2 (plans of “Hebrew” and “Jebusite” strata):

Note the existence of a corner around the cistern just to the NE of the Hasmonean ritual bath. The combination of this fact and the existence of the “Jebusite” “Inner Wall” noted above is very strong evidence for the TAU reconstruction of the LSS’s plan. Also, note the large elevation differences along the course of Wall 107 pointed out on Page 5 of Finkelstein 2011-if that is not proof of the TAU reconstruction of the LSS’s plan, I don’t know what is. Note that the Early Byzantine “Davidic Wall” follows a completely different course from the “Jebusite” “Inner Wall”. It is difficult to see how Amihay Mazar confused these two features; yet, amazingly enough, he did.

Image 3 (plan of “Hebrew” stratum):

Note the little NE wall, in the areas of Walls 21, 107, 22, and 24. Though the excavators claim that the Hasmonean ritual bath (labeled by them the “stepped cistern”) “cut through” the “Davidic wall” and did not cause any visual unsightliness as it was underground during its period of use, it is clear the “Davidic Wall” was actually built after the disuse of the ritual bath, and was built during the Early Byzantine period as part of the “House of Eusebius”. The Herodian vaulted chamber is not shown as part of M&D’s plans. It was apparently located below the Early Byzantine “staircase” below the “Millo Tower”. A curious Early Byzantine painted figure was found at the join between the “Millo Tower” and the “Davidic wall”.

Image 4 (plans of “Hebrew” and “Herodian” strata):

In the Herodian period, a domestic quarter sprung up to the S. of Eilat Mazar’s excavation area. According to M&D, the floor of the house just to the W. of the House of Eusebius is four feet lower than that of the House of Eusebius, thus suggesting it is Herodian.

Image 5 (plan of “Herodian” stratum):

Numerous cisterns were found to date to this period.
Image 6 (plans of the “Herodian” and “Roman” strata):

The “Roman” period of the excavators is the 4th-5th C AD (the Early Byzantine period). The “Millo Tower” and “Davidic Wall” in reality date to the excavators’ “Roman” period.
Image 7 (plan of the “Roman” stratum)

Several beautiful mosaics were found in the “House of Eusebius“. Numerous lamps were also found to date to the Byzantine period.