This blog, written by your host “pithom”, otherwise known as “E. Harding”, shall discuss biblical and ancient geography from an atheistic and Skeptical viewpoint. The title comes from the page which shows the errors of Rudd, Wyatt, and Cornuke in their belief that Jebel al-Lawz is Mount Sinai. It was founded on December 29, 2010, around 11-12 AM, Eastern Time.

I view all the Bible as a Herodotus or Virgil-like official account of Israel’s history, the earliest parts being the most completely fictitious due to the authors’ lack of knowledge, the latest being merely propagandistic. They were meant by the author to be set in a clear reality. I agree there might be some kernels of history in the biblical account before the Omride era (such as Shishak’s campaign, the importance of Shiloh, the location of Earliest Jerusalem, Mizpah’s construction in Asa’s day, ect.), however, I view the vast majority of these accounts as fiction. The core of Genesis to Kings was, as shown quite a few decades ago, completed in the late 7th century, with additions in the Exilic to Hasmonean periods. The works describing the Persian period, meanwhile, were all written during the 2nd C BC. I am forced by the radiocarbon dates and the Shoshenq I list to preliminarily accept Finkelstein’s present Low Chronology (slightly modified from the original, which places the beginning of Iron IIa after 925 BC; the Iron IIa in fact began a decade or so before that). However, the old errors of Finkelstein and Silberman and the Christ Mythers shall not here be repeated.

I admit a strained case can be made for a hypothesis (one which does NOT accept exotic pagan parallels), which makes Jesus a product of visions and elaborations (e.g. Jesus born and crucified in heaven) with the help of the OT (Septuagint) and Christian tradition (e.g., miracle healings), and of course, textual corruptions in 1 Thess 2 and Rom 1. I concede the Josephus passages can be dispensed with if Origen had a serious misunderstanding about the origin of the James death tradition (e.g., it did not come from Josephus, but, rather, from Hegesippus), but I doubt total forgery of these passages is likely. There have been good defenses for Jesus’s historicity over the years (this not being one of them). In any case, the gospels are not biographies, but expositions of Jesus’s divinity written after the deaths of Peter and Paul and should be treated accordingly. They rely mostly on fabrications and distortions of fabrications, having within them only a small core of history. They are not meant to be histories or biographies, even in the classical sense. I find absolutely no need to believe the idea the corpse of Jesus became re-animated, for the same reasons as those outlined by Richard Carrier.

Regarding politics; I view government as an inevitable evil, and that it might be necessary to prevent the public goods problem. However, I find it absolutely necessary governments act as private entities to help avoid misleading impressions. The best defenses of anarchy come from Roderick Long.

Regarding Young Earth Creationism, see the Chronology page on this blog for a history of humanity, mostly centering on Palestine, Answers in Creation regarding geology, and the Talk Origins archive list regarding everything else.

Regarding other matters, see the Skeptic’s Dictionary.

Pieces of general importance on this blog are the page titled “Jerusalem”, listing placemarks and their latitude and longitude of landmarks in the area, the page titled “Against Jebel al-Lawz” (shortened “AJaL”, the most detailed refutation of the Jebel al-Lawz position there is), this copy of Shishak’s list. My Exodus Calendar is here. My analysis of the Numbers/Deuteronomy Wanderings is here. My post on Kadesh-Barnea and Tell Qudeirat is here.

Regarding Conspiracy Theories: I have written a guide for makers of conspiracy movies here.

Regarding Velikovsky: This post especially, proving Velikovsky to be totally ****ed in the head regarding Kadesh on the Arantu is my longest. Practically all the anti-Velikovsky posts, especially those against Emmet Sweeney regarding the Land of Punt and the Queen of Sheba toward the bottom are worth reading. As for catastrophism, me not being a physicist, see here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Regarding Wyatt: Section 5 of AJaL refutes any claim of his relating to the Exodus. The Omnibus Sodom/Cities of the Plain post is here. A post debunking the blood claims is here.

For a description of the archaeological history of Palestine, from the earliest times to today, see the “Chronology page.

Bethel Posts: By far the most important of these is this post, arguing Beitin is the biblical Bethel. See this post on the archaeological history of Beitin.

My miscellaneous notable pieces include the thread on Ur Kasdim (in which I admit Abraham’s Ur might be in N. Mesopotamia) is here. My discussion on Naucratis is here. The classic one about Herodotus’s Cadytis is here. If one wishes to find how Megiddo was identified, go here. For Yenoam, go here.

About Me: I have never visited any place in Palestine (though I have visited Russia and Belarus), nor am I a certified expert on any subject I write about in this blog. However, I do tend to be correct regarding the things I write about. If you find even a single error on this blog, PLEASE let me know in the comments. The Ur debate is a great example of how my views can be changed.

16 thoughts on “About”

  1. I’ll be interested to see what you think about the chieftains of the highland clans book. I read it a while ago. I remember thinking that it was generally supportive of Finkelstein.

  2. Finkelstein has changed/moderated himself in the time since this book was published and his earlier works came out. His original ultra-low chronology and tribal chieftain model has taken a beating in the past decade from epigraphic finds (such as the seti inscription mentioning Israel) and the large RC study that supported high dates for Egypt.
    It is my recollection that this book was supportive of Finkelstien’s tribal chieftain model, in particular. Although I was thinking about the assumptions that underlie the pottery distribution analyses that are so crucial to this model in light of some recent work about iron age pottery and burial practice in the highlands. This most recent BAR has an article that is very relevant to this topic.
    It’s been 8 years since I read chieftains, so perhaps it comes across differently in light of newer evidence?

    1. What Seti inscription mentioning Israel? You might be thinking of this one, but that’s from the reign of Amenhotep III. Finkelstein’s chronology only revises the chronologies of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Greece, and Cyprus, not that of Egypt, and doesn’t deal with anything before c. 1210 BC. The main impetus behind Finkelstein’s raising his dates by ~30 years came from the Shoshenq I list. Can you give the name of the BAR article you’re referring to?

  3. That is the inscription I was referring to. It was made during the reign of either Seti or Ramses II. Görg thinks it is a copy of an Amenhotep III era text. Just because Finkelstein doesn’t comment on Egypt doesn’t mean there are no implications. The article I refer to is Early Israel; An Egalitarian Society, by Avraham Faust. Because Finkelstein published after I had my degree, I have mostly been familiar with his work through conferences and talking to him and Eric Cline, who excavates with him at Megiddo.

  4. Also, somewhere on here, I think you made reference to one of the ‘gentlemen’ involved in the writing of the book ‘Moses in the Hieroglyphs’. I’m not sure if you’ve read the book, that claims ancient Egyptians really spoke Welsh (and a bunch of other things that are similarly outlandish). I have read it, and have a copy I’d be happy to send you. You could read it, if you’re so inclined. Or, you could use it as a doorstop or toilet paper… Just let me know.

  5. The thing that really surprised me about it, is just how much work went into its production. It’s very thorough and detailed and does have some great transcriptions. The Welsh thing is quite far fetched, though.
    I really will send it. I have too many books.

    1. No, thank you. I’m already having a tough enough time trying to convince George Grena that Evolution is true. I also plan to watch and comment on some two dozen speeches on the Exodus (at http://exodus.calit2.net/ ), update my long-neglected Schedule page, make a lmlk YouTube video and a video debunking Ron Wyatt’s Ark of the Covenant and write the rest of my Non-Biblical History of Iron Age Palestine.

  6. Well, can’t say as I blame you with a schedule like that. I suspect that having it in the house is bringing down my i.q. It does make a fair doorstop, though.
    Good luck with your evolution debate. I gave up on that pursuit. I realized that debate on facts is impossible between people who disagree on the fundamental nature of reality. If someone believes that the essential building blocks of nature are magic or miracle, there is no reasoning with them.
    I keep thinking that Wyatt’s nonsense has run it’s course already. But, if Velikovsky is still influential, then Wyatt may still be attracting followers too.
    There are a few books I might mention that are worth a read, if you haven’t already;
    ‘Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times’ by Donald Redford *
    ‘The Rise and Fall of the Ancient Israelite States’ by Martin Sicker
    On the more ‘speculative’ side of things…
    ‘Synchronized Chronology; Rethinking Middle East Antiquity’ by Roger Henry
    ‘Centuries of Darkness’ by Peter James *
    ‘Pharaohs and Kings; A Biblical Quest’ by David Rohl

    The 2 with * are more outstanding examples. (You’ve probably already read them) I would also have included Hoffmeier’s books alongside Redford, but I noticed that you referenced them already.

    I am also working on an exodus/conquest/judges project. I’ve begun to suspect I may never be able to pull it all together…

  7. Question for you. Given your extensive time dealing with the subject of ANE archaeology, what is the best short YouTube that you are aware of for summarizing the modern evidences regarding the Exodus? I’m looking for something accessible that I can pass to friends who do not have time to read the longer books I’ve personally been tackling. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    1. As of now, I know of no good short YouTube videos regarding modern evidences for the Exodus, but this is probably because I’m not on YouTube a lot. Were you looking something pro-Exodus historicity (e.g., something by James Hoffmeier), or something anti-Exodus historicity? Any truly good YouTube video on the reality of the Exodus or the origin of the Biblical accounts of the Exodus has to mention the Tanis issue and would probably have to focus on Joshua’s fictional conquest at least as much as on the Exodus and Wilderness Wanderings themselves. However, there are very many long YouTube videos I’m aware of regarding modern evidences for the Exodus. I plan to comment on them all on this blog. Israel Finkelstein’s talk was rather close to what I had hypothesized back in May 2011.

      1. Mostly looking for anti. I have also found a number of long ones. Right now – although it is dry – I favor Dever’s 30 minute lecture from the UCSD series. Anything superior come to mind? Perhaps up to 60 minutes, but I’m trying to avoid the fluff of the TV specials from Nova/History Channel. They take so long to say anything. :-)

  8. Well, I think that the unique genetic characteristics that are dominant in specific major population groups – such as the “Western European” ones (marked in red) which dominates in Sardinia and Spain; The “Eastern European” ones (marked in blue) which dominates Russia, Lithuania and Belarus; And the “Caucasian” ones, which are dominant among the Georgians, Lezgins and Adygei people – have evolved, and become dominant, within very-very small groups of populations, which have lived in a very-vary high level of isolation – far away from each other – over a very-very long period of time – long-long time ago… I believe we’re talking Ice Age and Epipaleolithic here – and/or, at the latest, during the Neolithic period. Long before the formation of those ethnic groups – such as the “Hurrians”, “Hittites” etc – which are known to us from the Bronze Age on.

    A good example for such genetic characteristics – which have evolved, become dominant, and spread, during the late Paleolithic and early Neolithic periods – are the Y-Chromosome Haplogroups such as:

    Haplogroup R1b – which could be paralleled to (and is probably part of) what is defined here as “West European DNA”:


    Haplogroup R1a (by that I mean R-M17) – which could be paralleled to (and is probably part of) what is defined here as “East European DNA”:


    And, of course, Haplogroup J2 (J-M172) – which is the most popular Haplogroup among Ashkenazi Jews – that could also be paralleled to (and is probably part of) what is defined by Elhaik as “Caucasian DNA”, and should be rather “North-Levantian & Caucasian DNA”:


    See also:


    The fact that such regional genetic characteristics have been around for so long, is why we don’t necessarily need to see “Hurrian Migration” to Romania in order to explain how the “Caucasian DNA” got there. These “Caucasian” elements must have been present in the DNA of many people, from many different ethnic groups, throughout the northern parts of the Fertile Crescent and Anatolia, since the late Neolithic period; And they could have found their way into East Europe & Romania either long before – and/or long after – the Hurrians existed as a distinct ethnic group (for example, those same “Caucasian” elements also appear in the DNA of people in Spain, and it was probably brought there from the Levant, first by the Phoenicians and Greeks who sailed around the Mediterranean and founded colonies in distant places, and then later by the Muslims who came from the Levant, and invaded Spain in the 7th century AD)…

    However, in the case of Canaan and the ancient Israelites, it is good that we have – in addition to what was said above, and in addition to the Bible stories – some ancient documentation (like many of the names in El Amarna letters, for example) which proves the presence of people from ethnic groups such as the Hurrians and Hittites (and probably the Biblical “Jebusites” and “Hivites” also refers to such people) which originated in the northern parts of the Levant… If we wouldn’t have such written proof, well, one can only guess what some people would say… ;-)

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