Monday, November 19, 2012

Far-reaching Clarifications

When I awoke this morning, it dawned on me that this sentence I wrote in last night's blog post is wrong/misleading:

"I find it amazing that [the northern (Israelite) LMLKs] have not even been noted in this TA series of articles."

Actually they were noted by Lipschits et al.; however, what I sub-consciously meant was that they were not taken into consideration for the primary subject, which is the chronology of the LMLK stamp impressions as a tool for studying the history of late monarchic Judah. To be thorough, here are the exact quotations:

Tel Aviv 37 #1 p. 15: "Stamp impressions of [type M2D] were also found at ... Tel Jezreel and Khirbet Sharta (Qiryat Ata / Kefar Ata), all of them located outside the boundaries of the Kingdom of Judah. (See the data gathered by Garena [sic] (, with further literature.)"

Tel Aviv 38 #1 p. 10 (Table 1) & redundantly on p. 30 (Table 2) with respective footnotes 39 & 40 on p. 35: "Outside Judahite Territory: En Tut (, Mt. Meiron (For this impression see Meyers and Meyers (1990: 126, Pl. D: 1). The drawing of the stamp impression is blurred and not detailed, making it impossible to identify its exact type or even to know if it is indeed an lmlk stamp impression.)"

To his credit, David Ussishkin hinted at the issue in his rejoinder:

Tel Aviv 38 #2 p. 222: "How is it that similar systems were not introduced in northern Israel or the kingdoms of Syria that fell under the Assyrian orbit about the same time as Judah?"

Turning to my BibleInterp response, here's what the TAU scholars need to take into consideration, especially when discussing methodology as Dr. Finkelstein recently did:

"If anything, the jars argue against an outsider/Assyrian connection, unless you believe there were numerous Assyrians stationed at, or frequently visiting, small farming sites as well as large towns during Hezekiah's reign. If so, where is the evidence, and more importantly, why are there so few in the northern territory, which was thoroughly conquered by Assyria? Did the Assyrians not care about the economy in those regions they conquered? ... 2Kings/Isaiah and 2Chronicles present Hezekiah as both a religious and political rebel, a bold leader who attempted to unify the northern kingdom of Israel with his southern kingdom of Judah, rebelling against Assyria (albeit with a brief burst of infidelity when he made a tribute payment to Sennacherib at Lachish). This interpretation of history stands in complete contrast to that presented by Lipschits et al., where Hezekiah inherits the Assyrian vassal kingdom from his father, Ahaz, and remains mostly subservient, like a bird in a cage."

Also, I should have linked to Dr. van der Veen's Academia site, wherein he provides this abstract to a paper published in Journal of the Ancient Chronology Forum vol. 10 (2005):

"In this paper a summary is given of seal evidence presented in my thesis, but also deals with other evidence that appears to suggest that a moderate lowering of Iron Age dates is in order: e.g. lammelek jar handles (especially those with the 2-winged symbol) continued to be produced after 701 BC (i.e. after the destruction of Lachish in 701 B.C. by Sennacherib). This is especially clear from sites that continued to flourish after Sennacherib's invasion of Judah (e.g. Jerusalem, one period sites such as Horvat Shilha, as well as sites that were probably not founded before 650 BC such as Tel Goren (Str. V). This case has been argued previously by E. Stern (2001) and G. Grena (2004 and in subsequent articles), and only recently by Oded Lipschits et al (2010, 2011)."

Here is his published quotation from p. 51 (w/ bibliographical footnote #22 from p. 56):

"Contrary to G. Barkay and A. Vaughn's suggestion that all royal stamps originated before the end of 'Lachish III' (conventionally late 8th century), evidence now increases that the two-winged type continues into the late 7th century BC (e.g., at Tel Goren V, Khirbet es Samra, H. Shilha; esp. P.G. van der Veen, "The Final Phase of Iron Age IIC and the Babylonian Conquest [PhD thesis, Bristol 2005, scheduled for publication through Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, USA], pp. 128ff.; G. Grena, "LMLK--A Mystery Belonging to the King [Redondo Beach 2004], pp. 333ff.)."

On a related note, in case anyone claims that the TAU writers were not obligated to cite van der Veen's unpublished thesis, they're correct; however, notice these other "forthcoming" publication citations used by the TAU writers:

TA 37 #1, p. 9: "Of these, 132 were incised on the same handle and next to
the lmlk stamp impressions (Lipschits, Sergi and Koch forthcoming).

TA 37 #1, p. 11, f/n 15: "Five were found at Ramat Raḥel (Aharoni 1962: 19, Fig. 15: 8; 1964: 34, Pl. 39: 4–5; Sergi forthcoming a, forthcoming b)."

TA 37 #1, p. 14, f/n 17: "At Ramat Raḥel 35 were discovered (Aharoni 1962: 19–20, 47, Fig. 15: 5; 1964: 34, 62–63, Pls. 38: 10–12, 39: 1–2; Sergi forthcoming a, forthcoming b)."

TA 37 #1, p. 14, f/n 19: "Eighteen were found at Ramat Raḥel (Aharoni 1962: 47, Fig. 15: 6, Pl. 7: 5; 1964: 62– 63, Pl. 38: 7– 9; Sergi forthcoming a, forthcoming b)."

TA 37 #1, p. 15, f/n 22: "At Ramat Raḥel 20 stamp impressions of this type were retrieved (Aharoni 1962: 47; 1964: 62–63, Pl. 39: 8–11; Sergi forthcoming a, forthcoming b)."

TA 37 #1, p. 16, f/n 28: "See Sergi forthcoming a, forthcoming b; Pritchard 1959: 25, Nos. 75, 412, 414, 453; Sinclair 1960: 32, Pl. 166: 3; Avigad and Barkay 2000: Nos. 24–26 pp. 252, 261; Shoham 2000: 76, Nos. 29–30, Pl. 2: 29–30."

TA 37 #1, p. 19: "Only 40 stamp impressions are dated to the 8th century (28% of the total recognizable finds) as against 102 dated to the 7th century (72%) (Sergi forthcoming a, forthcoming b)."

TA 37 #1, p. 27, Table 4, index #43: "1, Ramat Rahel, Lipschits forthcoming."

TA 38 #1, p. 5: "Furthermore, the same administrative system continued after the 586 BCE destruction for an additional 450 years, during the Babylonian period (the mwsh and lion stamped handles; see Lipschits 2010), during the Persian and the Early Hellenistic periods (the yhwd stamped handles; see Vanderhooft and Lipschits 2007; Lipschits and Vanderhooft forthcoming) and until the Late Hellenistic period (the late yhwd and the yrslm stamped handles; see Ariel and Shoham 2000: 159–163, with further literature; Vanderhooft and Lipschits 2007)."

TA 38 #1, p. 6: "We assume that in addition to Jerusalem, the few sites that yielded large quantities of stamped handles (mainly Lachish and Ramat Raḥel) served as major collection centres, while sites that yielded up to a few dozen stamped handles served as secondary administrative centres (Lipschits and Vanderhooft forthcoming)."

Also unpublished personal communication:

TA 38 #1, p. 14: "The settlement pattern in the Beersheba–Arad Valleys included four fortified towns: Tel >Ira VII (Beit Arieh 1999: 170–173), >Aroer III (Thareani 2010: 55–271), Tel Malúata IV (Kochavi 1993: 935–936; I. Beit-Arieh, personal communication) and probably biblical Beersheba (Bir es-Seba) (Panitz-Cohen 2005)."

TA 38 #1, p. 19, f/n 10: "The excavators of the site accepted this suggestion as well (L. Freud, personal communication)."

TA 38 #1, p. 20: "The region did not thrive during this period, but there are some clues for the existence of a town at Tel Malúata (I. Beit-Arieh, personal communication) and the caravanserai at >Aroer (Thareani-Sussely 2007b; Thareani 2010)."

Oh, & I also forgot to reiterate that my 2004 book & van der Veen's 2005 thesis had already been cited by another scholar (Peter James) in another prestigious academic journal, Palestine Exploration Quarterly vol. 139 #3, p. 215:

"Yet, as Mazar and others have frequently pointed out, lmlk jars are found at many sites (such as Tel Batash) in strata deemed to be 7th century (see e.g. Mazar, Amit and Ilan 1996, 208-209; Grena 2004, 333-338; van der Veen forthcoming, Excursus 1), including a number of one-period settlements."

If my 2004 book & Dr. van der Veen's 2005 thesis were not known at Tel Aviv University until this year, they definitely are now, & for that I'm grateful. The secret's out...

G.M. Grena