Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chick-fil-A and Droopy Dog

It's official: Chick-fil-A belongs to The King!

Okay, I confess that I didn't see the two "484" occurrences until I looked at the receipt this morning while taking the survey. But I'll take advantage of any trivial incident as an opportunity to write about a Heritage Singers show!

I happened to stop at this Chick-fil-A on the way to the annual concert at Loma Linda University Church. In addition to celebrating my 1-year anniversary of becoming an HS fan, this was an extra-special occasion because it was the first time in many years (the 2005 35th-anniversary show?) they utilized a live (6-member) band for an American concert rather than simply pre-recorded orchestration. Here's the full line-up plus set-list:

  • Max Mace
  • Shani Diehl
  • Tim Calhoun
  • Melody Davis
  • Tim Davis
  • Val Mace-Mapa
  • Dave Bell
  • Austin Mapa (percussion)
  • Art Mapa (guitar)
  • Jesper Kristensen (drums)
  • Joel Umali (piano)
  • Nino Ocampo (bass)
  • Sergio Leiva (organ)

  • O Happy Day / Nothing But the Blood
  • Hey
  • Jesus Is All I Need
  • I Believe in a Hill Called Mount Calvary
  • Child Forgiven
  • Holy Spirit Rain Down
  • The Lighthouse
  • One Fine Day
  • (testimony by Shani referencing Max Lucado's blog)
  • Home
  • Yes I Am
  • The Prayer
  • Song of Glory
  • I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel
  • (offering speech by LLU Pastor Randy Roberts)
  • Hosanna
  • (HS member introductions)
  • This Old House
  • What a Day That Will Be
  • In Awe
  • Strike Up the Band
  • The Savior Is Waiting
  • I Bowed on My Knees & Cried Holy

Aside from getting to hear how the band blended with the pre-recorded tracks, highlights for me were getting to hear the first-ever (?) live performances of "One Fine Day" (from a 2005 album) & "The Savior..." (from their current album). Highlights for the general audience, based upon their standing ovations, were "The Prayer" & "I Bowed..."

Afterwards I was able to chat with Art about an obscure track from their 1986 album ("Right Now"), "Summer of '84". As this was the turning point in my life between graduating from university & moving to California for full-time engineering employment, & since it was only the 2nd instrumental song HS recorded, naturally I was curious. It turned out to be another HS original, composed primarily by longtime keyboardist Dani Stromback (who performs regularly at their European shows).

Next I met with Tim Davis, who has played a major role in HS musical arrangements for many years, & who works in the secular industry recording session soundtracks & commercial jingles. Earlier this year I found a special video on YouTube of Tim presenting his Christian testimony prior to singing "His Heart Is Big Enough" (from the 1994 Peacespeaker album tour). Less than a minute into his 8-minute speech, he does a funny imitation of the Droopy cartoon dog, a great example of Tim's humorous personality:

After asking him to autograph my HS book, I told him I was going to prove to him that I had become a genuine HS fan. I really don't have the skill to sing or imitate voices, but I've been practicing that winners-never-cheat line as best I could in the hope I'd get to make Tim laugh, & I succeeded! He got a kick out of it because it was from such a long time ago. The element of surprise!

And of course I had the privilege of chatting again with the HS founders, Mr. & Mrs. Mace. Overall it was a blessed night. So much joy! Such a great occasion to praise God & be thankful for life, & for the promise of so much more to come throughout eternity with the family of God. Get used to it!

G.M. Grena

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

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Far-reaching Implications

For some strange reason, I no longer see any info (contents, abstracts, editorial) for the current issue of Tel Aviv Journal (vol. 39, #2, Nov. 2012) on IngentaConnect's TAV page. Nonetheless, I'm going to let the editor, Professor Israel Finkelstein, do some more guest blogging by way of published quotations (I had considered titling this post "Son of Finkelstein", but I wanted to emphasize the importance of the occasion with the title I chose). Here's the abstract from Dr. Finkelstein's freshly pressed article, "Comments on the Date of Late-Monarchic Judahite Seal Impressions" (pp. 75-83):

"The article is a rejoinder to the recent discussion on the date of late-monarchic (Iron IIB-C) Judahite seal impressions (Lipschits, Sergi and Koch 2010; 2011; Koch and Lipschits 2010; Ussishkin 2011; Lipschits 2012). It contends with two main issues: (1) Methodological observations regarding the transition from the Iron IIB to the Iron IIC pottery horizons in Judah and their implications for the date of the lmlk seal impressions; (2) The date of appearance of the rosette seal impressions and its implications for the 'archaeology of the days of Manasseh' paradigm. The author agrees with Lipschits et al.'s early 7th century dating of the late lmlk seal impressions, but would place the transition from the concentric incisions to the rosette impressions somewhat before the middle of the 7th century BCE, in the days of King Manasseh."

He begins by listing the 4 chronological phases of Lipschits, Sergi, Koch:

  1. "Early" LMLKs (late 8th century)
  2. "Late" LMLKs (early 7the [sic] century)
  3. "Concentric incisions" (mid-7th century)
  4. Rosettes (late 7th & early 6th centuries)

For item #2 (after his "7the" typo), he cites my LMLKv1 book: "already Grena 2004: 338"! (Note that I had informally written about this in 2002.) Here's a screenshot of his Bibliography showing my book (& yes, I'm totally gloating over this milestone in my life):

Although this screenshot ends after my book, the rest of the Bibliography unfortunately does not include Dr. P.G. van der Veen's 2005 dissertation, "The Final Phase of Iron Age IIC and the Babylonian Conquest – A Re-Assessment with Special Emphasis on Names and Bureaucratic Titles on Provenanced Seals and Bullae from Israel and Jordan", University of Bristol (forthcoming, Alter Orient und Altes Testament Series, Munster: Ugarit-Verlag), in which he was the first academician to formally acknowledge my work.

Following these 4 phases, Finkelstein mentions Dr. Ussishkin's 2011 rejoinder, & makes this profound declaration:

"This debate has far-reaching implications for the history of Judah in particular and the region in general in the late Iron II, ca. 730–586 BCE."

Except for the 730-586 date range (which I've been planning to deal with in depth in LMLKv2), I agree wholeheartedly with him on this point! So which side does he favor?

"I leave it to Lipschits, Sergi and Koch to struggle with the details of Ussishkin's arguments (2011)."

Deliberately ignoring my Bible & Interpretation rebuttals in this debate, he promptly proceeds to struggle with some of the details of Ussishkin's arguments, beginning with Lachish, then visiting Beer-sheba, Arad, 'Aroer, all of which "seems to support Lipschits, Sergi and Koch contra Ussishkin". Data from Tel 'Eton, on the other hand "may support Ussishkin contra Lipschits, Sergi and Koch". Moving to the Buqeia Valley & En Gedi, he again argues against Ussishkin by saying he sees "no clear-cut evidence that [they were] inhabited in the 8th century".

Horvat Shilhah becomes the deciding factor, which he describes as "the smoking gun for the dating of the late lmlk impressions in the 7th century". Many bloggers have remarked on the increasing excavation activity in the Shephelah. I believe that as more scholars realize the importance of these desert sites, we'll see a shift into that region ... if extensive excavation there is possible.

As I mentioned to Dr. Lipschits at ASOR/SBL in 2007, Dr. Finkelstein still needs to address the northern (Israelite) LMLKs. I find it amazing that they have not even been noted in this TA series of articles. Since the region east & northeast of Jerusalem has remained somewhat unpopular for archeological work mainly due to hostile Palestinians, the shift in popularity from the Shephelah may move to northern Israel first ... assuming that more excavation directors recognize the implications of this debate ... & that it doesn't take another 10 years to reach them!

G.M. Grena

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Be My Guest

Today's LMLK blog comes courtesy of Israel Finkelstein in the new issue of Tel Aviv (Volume 39, Number 2, November 2012 , p. 4), of which he is the Editor:

In their article, 'Royal Judahite Jar Handles: Reconsidering the Chronology of the lmlk Stamp Impressions', published in Tel Aviv 37/1 (2010): 3–32, authors Lipschits, Sergi and Koch divided the lmlk seal impressions into two groups, those produced before Sennacherib’s 701 BCE campaign and those after. As a result of what I consider to be an honest oversight, Lipschits et al. failed to cite G.M. Grena, who proposed a somewhat similar division in his 2004 book, LMLK—A Mystery Belonging to the King [vol. 1]. Figures 1–2 in Lipschits et al.'s article were created based on a plate that appears on the back cover of Grena’s book. The plate is in the public domain.

Israel Finkelstein

G.M. Grena