Genesis 10 contains a list of Noh’s descendants through his three sons, Ham, Japheth, and Shem. The roster is divided into three branches, one for each son and lists a series of descendants from each son. Each branch is associated with different geographic territories. According to Genesis 10:32, “These are the families of Noah’s sons, according to their genealogies, in their nations; and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood.”
A number of the names closely align with the names of ancient nations in the Near East but many, if not most, are obscure and unknown from the historical records. One particularly glaring problem scholars have with the list is that it omits the various Mesopotamian empires that flourished in the first two millennia B.C.E.
There are many other problems with the list, including such issues as when it was composed and what it can tell us about geo-politics at the time of its publication. Here I want to focus on one particular issue. Who does Nimrod represent? The question puzzles biblical scholars and near eastern archaeologists and some academic contortions have been used to resolve the matter. I have a more sensible solution.
“A single Northern Hemisphere calibration curve has formed the basis of radiocarbon dating in Europe and the Mediterranean for five decades, setting the time frame for prehistory,” Manning and co-authors write. “However, as measurement precision increases, there is mounting evidence for some small but substantive regional (partly growing season) offsets in the same-year radiocarbon levels.”
A recent study suggests that the current basis for radiocarbon dating in the Middle East may be relying on an erroneous calibration based on sources outside of the Middle East. This site also reports on the study and includes a video on radiocarbon dating.
Eric Cline has a new book out, Digging Up Armageddon: The Search for the Lost City of Solomon and The Spectator has a review by Dominic Green.
In the layers of 20 other ancient cities that comprise Har Megiddo — or Armageddon — Solomon’s has proved impossible to identify
The full review can be found here.
Ataroth is an obscure Transjordanian city, referenced only twice in the Bible. Nevertheless, due to modern archaeological discoveries, it has become a central piece of evidence for reconstructing the history of the Moabite rebellion against Israel and King Mesha’s expansion of the Moabite kingdom described in both 2 Kings and the Mesha Stele.
To read the full essay go here.
I recently appeared on The God Above podcast to discuss my new book, The Case for a Proto-Gospel. If you care to listen in here is the link.
Here is the link to the July 2020 Biblical Studies Carnival. Catch up to some of last month’s interesting posts about the bible.
BAS’ Bible History Daily has an essay on word play in Genesis. Explores some examples of how some biblical names have relationships to the situations in which the individuals find themselves.
My posting has slowed down over the last couple of weeks because of a perfect storm of projects crashing down on me. I’ve been feverishly taking advantage of a creative spurt on my Volume 2 follow-up to Genesis Chronology and Egyptian King-Lists, which I would like to get out by the end of the year. I am working on a major revamp of this blog site, which will also add a lot of content to be accessed. I’ve been working an an article for publication, hopefully to be out soon. And I have to prepare a paper for what is now a virtual ASOR Annual Meeting. Oh, and also some time-consuming personal projects. I hope to get over the hump in the next few days. Be patient with me.
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I have been doing a series of posts on my new book The Case for a Proto-Gospel. Here are links to previous entries.
Standard Source Criticism Theory
The Luke-John Problem
John’s Theological Biases
John’s Editorial Techniques
The Paralytic on the Mat
Mark 8:22-26 tells of Jesus healing a blind man at Bethsaida. According to the story, some people brought a blind man to Jesus and asked for help. Jesus put saliva in the man’s eye and laid hands upon him. When he finished he asked if the man could see anything. The man indicated that he had some vision but it was not clear. Jesus laid hands on him again, and the man’s vison was restored and he could see clearly. The laying of hands suggests that Jesus healed the blind man through an exorcism.
Scholarly commentaries on this story focus on two elements. First, they are troubled by the allegation that Jesus used saliva to heal the man, and many scholars see this as an indication that the story goes back to an early primitive layer in the Jesus tradition. Matthew and Luke also seem to have been troubled by Jesus’ use of saliva to heal as they both chose not to include this story in their respective gospels. This suggests that as time went by, some Jesus followers were troubled by the way this story portrayed Jesus.