"There are only two ways of telling the complete truth—anonymously and posthumously."Thomas Sowell

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Mystery Edom Talks

Kudos to Professor Thomas Levy of UC-San Diego for his fabulous archaeological dig, results of which have just been published in the British journal, Antiquity.

Judy Siegel, in her excellent article in the February 22 Jerusalem Post, tells the story succinctly. Most contemporary scholars had been denying ("on the basis of no physical evidence" in Siegel's felicitous phrase) the Biblical account that the state of Edom existed in the days of David and Solomon and interacted with the Jews (then called Hebrews or Israelites) in Israel.

In past years, archaeologists had avoided digging in this area of modern Jordan's highland zone because of "the logistical difficulties of working in the extremely dry and hot region". In other words, they preferred to look for the wallet under the lamppost because the light was better.

Professor Levy's dig, conducted in 2002 and funded by the university, with a grant from the C. Paul Johnson Family Foundation, found evidence of two major phases of copper production. High precision radiocarbon dating tells them that it dates back to the 11th or 12th century BCE, a century or two before David and Solomon.

Additionally, they dug up evidence of massive fortifications and industrial-scale metal production, as well as over a hundred building complexes. All we can do is chuckle, my friends, and perhaps sigh as well. The truth is always there, hiding in plain sight.


Hunter Baker said...

Jay, this sort of archaeological find seems to occur over and over again. This is the advantage the Jewish people (and to some extent Christians through extension) have over a group like Mormons when it comes to authenticating the history bound up in the faith.

In fact, what has always seemed interesting to me about the Jewish and Christian faiths is that they make powerful truth claims about WHAT HAPPENED. Just as Christians ask one another, what do you think happened at Calvary, I've heard Jews ask one another what they suppose occurred at Sinai. The history is very much the point.

Jay D. Homnick said...

True. And the inverse is equally true. The archaeologists, as a class, are consumed with the need to reduce the Bible to a concoction of fancy and dogma, rather than something founded in real events.

The most perverse of all these quasi-scientific expressions of skepticism is the effort to deny that King David existed. How insane is it to try to undo his place in reality when he remains the most popular and compelling poet in human history?!