Eretz Yisrael Time

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Saturday, December 02, 2006
Makor Rishon has an interesting article about an archeological site found in Northern Syria (wiki: Ebla)- hopefully the article (in Hebrew) will be online next week. The site was found some 50 years ago, though apparently discoveries are still being made in it.

For various reasons, the article equates it with the location of Yeshivat Shem v’Ever.

Finally a reason to visit Syria (and not for the Humus).

The site was a huge important city with a palace, library/academy, with tens of thousands of clay tablets covering all sorts of subjects such as birds of the world (classified by type), geography, literary texts, genesis stories, and lots and lots of names.

The Wiki says,
“Many Old Testament Genesis names that have not been found in other Near Eastern languages do have similar forms in Eblaite (a-da-mu / Adam, h’à-wa / Eve, Jabal, Abarama/Abraham, Bilhah, Ishma-el, Isûra-el, Esau, Mika-el, Mikaya, Saul, David, etc.). Also found are many Biblical locations: for example Ashtaroth, Sinai, Jerusalem (Ye-ru-sa-lu-um), Hazor, Lachish, Gezer, Dor, Megiddo, Joppa, etc. (Pattinato also claimed to find references to Sodom and Gomorrah).”

And documents with the name Yah and El were found there along with those of the various Avodah Zarahs – which would chime in nicely with the story that when Rivkah passed by the Yeshiva, Yacov wanted out and when she passed by a makom Avodah Zarah Eisav wanted out.

If you recall a few weeks ago the NY Times had an article about a major flood some 4800 years ago that could have wiped out 25% of the world’s population. Someone mentioned to me that this wasn’t our Mabul, but rather the major flood the medrash talks about that preceded the mabul during the time of Enosh.

What’s my point?

There is a current of revisionism running through MO Judaism lately and can be seen on a lot of well known blogs (and I’m not talking about the Bible critics here at all).

Their idea is to completely explain away stories in the Torah as myth and moshals (and no, this is not an invitation to have that discussion on my blog) and fictionalize the people mentioned.

Yet here we are, and a few months ago scientist found evidence of a major flood that no one knew of before.

And we see a major center existed around the time of the Avos (which even mentions their names and other biblibal personalities of the time) – which could tie in quite neatly with our traditions relating to Yeshivat Shem v’Ever - not to mention it provides external validation to cities and locations mentioned in the Torah.

There’s still a lot more we don’t know than we do, and sometimes a little patience is all that is needed to wait for evidence, science, and history to be uncovered –and discover that events the Torah mentioned are quite grounded in the reality that was around them.

It’s important to read this article where one of the main archeologist of the site says there is no connection to Patriarchs, the Bible, or anything else despite any coincidental similarities in the names of the people and place mentioned in the documents found – while still confirming that it mentions all these biblical sites and names.

It also reveals a lot of the political infighting between the various archeologists and how it affects and twists their interpretations. In fact it, reading the various articles (see the links at the bottom of this last link) we can see that the different interpretations of the various archeologists involved swing widely in different directions depending on their agenda – reminds me of Finkelstein.

An interesting point in the article is how the Syrian government is putting pressure on some of the scientists to ensure that no Biblical links are found/published from the tablets and other items found.

Of course, if Ur is located in Syria as some of the documents imply, that means that we Jews are aboriginal Syrians (to use Pattinato's phrase) – and that must upset them too.

Another interesting side point is how the form of government used in Elba was similar to that of Israel’s. Its leaders (judges) were appointed (in fact, at one point they even had 7 year term limits!).

This article opened up something very interesting, and I recommend reading up on this.

But to return to my original point, this undercurrent of revisionism that is running around the MO world should really start to reconsider its position in light of recent findings.


Michael said...

I love how, when ancienct sites are excavated in the Middle East, they almost always seem to fit into the Jewish narrative.

Anonymous said...

The revisionists usually say but there is no proof.But no proof does not mean it did not happen.

Anonymous said...

daat y, that is incorrect. There is evidence of uninterupted human inhabitation in certain sites going back for 10,000 years, thus proving that a world wide annihilating flood did not occur in the way that it is _literally_ described in the Chumash.

JoeSettler said...


Save this discussion for GH, DB or Hirhurim. As I said in the post, that wasn't the point of the post, nor will this be the place to have this discussion.

If I decide to post a review of Slifkin's latest book on the Joe-Jameel Book-Club blog, I may let it be discussed there as it will be in context.

Anonymous said...

Some time back in the -- oh, late '80's, I guess -- there was an article about scientists having done computer simulations based on the topography of the floor of the Red Sea. One of their findings was, as the headline put it IIRC: "Computer Shows Biblical Splitting of Red Sea Could Have Really Happened." I taped that article onto the wall near my desk at work, with a hand-written addendum: "Some of us already knew that anyway!"


JoeSettler said...

It raises the question as to how old is the Dead Sea.

Most scientists I've heard say the rift and the sea are easily tens of thousands years old. The Torah says it was a plain with cities a mere 4000 years ago. And now the Ebla find apparently lists the 5 cities thus externally confirming their existence.

So how old is the Dead Sea?

Anonymous said...

The story of the proof of King Solomon using 1 Kings 9:16
completes the argument
King Solomons Gate

Anonymous said...

How do you explain the fact that Saul and David lived hundreds of years later(at least) than Shem and Ever?

JoeSettler said...

It obviously doesn't refer to King Saul or King David, but it is an interesting question, which leads to a number of interesting answers.

But to begin with, more than 10,000 personal names are listed in the Ebla tablets.

And the language of Ebla itself seems to most closely be related to Biblical Hebrew.

1. First it shows that they were known names, not all the names had a context except to list them - unlike some of the other names which had stories connected to them, but it certainly shows that the names themselves themselves weren't later inventions as some claim.

2. Following that thought, many names that until this point only appeared in the Torah, now also appear in Ebla tablets adding external validation and confirmation that the Torah contains historically correct information - which until this point did not have any external sources duplicating many of the names and places.

3. Not really relevant, but I just found this:

I hope this answers your question.

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