Hebrews Were Canaanites
|3 1 14|
Greatly distressed by the prevailing ignorance of the villagers in the small village in which she was vacationing, an old lady persuaded the schoolteacher to give some lessons to some of the more illiterate adults.
The Bible faith gets many bumps nowadays.
Bible discrepancies and inconsistent tales
The Old Testament is full of tales from many sources, and there is very, very little archeological verification of these tales. Besides, some Bible stories conflict with one another, and gross self-contradictions occur in the New Testament too, as in the two versions of how Judas died. In one (Matthew 27:3-8) he hanged himself, in another (Acts) he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. (Acts 1:18). Obviously, at least one of the stories is not true to fact. Now for Old Testament examples:
In one chapter, the Bible says the flood lasts for 40 days and 40 nights, but in the next it says 150 days. To see if the floodwaters have subsided, Noah sends out a dove. But in the previous sentence, he sends a raven. [Nova]
You are told about how God ("We") created the world in several days. Many of those "days" happened before there was any basis in the world for calling a period "a day". And there are two stories about how man was created, man and female in the oldest story, and "woman from man" in the second one. Count the ribs of males and see which tale is the more likely of the two. Also, consider where the improbable mass of water of the said deluge could have flown when the claimed World Flood subsided. Most persons would agree that water from a surface that was claimed to be about 9000 m higher than now, had nowhere to go. But also note there are two distinct versions of the biblical flood story. In one of them the flood lasts for 40 days, in the other tale for 150 days.
How many of each species of animals is Noah supposed to bring into the ark? One text says two, a pair of every kind of animal; another text says seven pair of the clean animals and only two of the unclean animals. [Nova]
Emerging evidence tells the Bible writers edited older, differing sources. In this way different accounts about what is supposedly the same events, appear in the Bible.
This is good to know: The first five books of the Bible is today suggested to be a compilation of four major sources, all of which were later edited, as Michael Coogan and others explain. Scholars have identified the hand of at least four different groups of scribes, writing and perhaps editing the Bible over several hundred years. Coogan emphasizes that the Bible is a theological anthology produced by many authors over several centuries: "One way of thinking about it is as a kind of anthology that was made, over the course of many centuries, by different people adding to it, subtracting from it and so forth." [Nova; Atkinson]
"Historical Israel" was a subset of Canaanite culture, some experts hold, and document why
Hebrews are known as the ancestors of the Israelites, who used the Hebrew language. Israelites were the writers of the Hebrew Bible. Yet, in the Bible the word Hebrews is also used as a synonym for Israelites, the theological and historical ancestors of the Jews. and it is noted that Hebrews were a motley crew, for most part Canaanites. Jonathan Tubbs, a British archeologist, argues that the Israelites were themselves Canaanites, and that "historical Israel", as distinct from "literary" or "Biblical Israel" was a subset of Canaanite culture. Canaan when used in this sense refers to the entire Ancient Near Eastern Levant down to about 100 AD, including the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Mark Smith adds, "Israelite culture was largely Canaanite in nature." [Wiki, s.v. "Canaan"]
Before an Israelite nation was established, the area was dominated by Phoenician, Philistines, and Canaanite tribes. Several archaeologists now maintain that the Israelites simply arose as a subculture within Canaanite society, that the Israelites were themselves Canaanites, and that "historical Israel" was a subset of Canaanite culture. Recent archeological evidence supports such claims. For example, the hair-style and utensils of Canaanites and Hebrews are practically identical. Such evidence is to be taken into account too. Nomad bands settled in the Canaan area too. Some, like Abraham, came from the "other side" of the Euphrates or Jordan rivers and were "blessed" by Canaanite priests like the priest-king Melchizedek. A new theory has it that tribes of serfs, slaves, and commoners abandoned old Canaanite city-states and eventually emerge in the central highland of ancient Canaan as a new people - the Israelites. Such provocative new insights! [Nova]
And Hebrews borrowed material from neighbouring sources and the Israelites seem to have worshipped many gods in the forms of idols before Moses. They were polytheistic, as revealed by their common artifacts.
YHWH's possible origin in the South of Jordan
Against the prevalent worship of many gods or goddesses through idols, Moses was allegedly told by a burning bush that his god was YHWH (maybe pronounced as Yahweh, or maybe Jehovah) and that YHWH wanted to be so called for all time to come. In the light of the common worship among Hebrews of other gods place in the following five centuries or so, the command of having one God only was a later forgery, or not given at all, or just ignored by most Israelites. The commandment does not rhyme with how the people behaved, for one or several reasons.
The god of the territory where a burning bush told Moses it was the one God, was YHW (pronounced similarly to Yahoo). There is a theory among bible scholars that the God of the Bible (YHWH) originated among the nomadic shasu tribes of Midian. According to it, YHW was the god of a territory which covers southern Jordan today and Northern Saudi-Arabia. In that very area Moses got a revelation from a burning bush. "I am YHWH (maybe pronounced as Yahweh)," the bush told him. "O Lord," "Lord," and even "God" are English takes for "YHW".
Speaking of "God", the Old English/Germanic god - Gott in modern German - stems from Proto-Germanic guðan. The Germanic words for god were applying to both male and female such entities. Now there are counterparts to "God" in other languages too.
Bible translators add the "a" and "eh" sounds to get "Yahweh" for what was turned into a Hebrew national god. In biblical times that Israelite god typically had a consort, the Semitic mother goddess Asherah with the big breasts, the Queen of Heaven of many, many Israelites. Home worship of her along with the god may have been very extensive among "God's own people" back then, and for centuries longer than previously imagined.
Asherah was worshipped in ancient Israel as the consort of El and in Judah as the consort of Yahweh and Queen of Heaven, and the Hebrews baked small cakes for her festival. Figurines of Asherah are strikingly common in the archaeological record.
Israelite and Canaanite sites both contain idols, the experts [in "The Bible's Buried Secets"] emphasize that polytheism was the norm throughout much of the biblical period. It was not until after the 587 B.C.E. Babylonian conquest and exile of many Jews to Babylon that monotheism became the dominant religious. [Atkinson]
Besides, Israelites most often used Canaanite names for their god - El. A bull was the main symbol of El - who was the one Jesus called on too when he was "whining a bit" on a cross. The one thing that in time came to separate most Israelites from their "Canaanite cousins", was a monotheism that was not well carried through very well, as the Bible repeatedly tells.
[Chapter sources Nova, first and foremost; complemented with Wikipedia, s.v. "Hebrews", "Canaanites", "Asherah", "Midiam", and "God".
The following consists of selections from a 2-hour long film, "The Bible's Buried Secrets". To ascertain who voice the various statements, see a transcript of the text (sources are given below).
OLD STORIES FABRICATED, TOLD AND BELIEVED IN. The Abraham narrative is part of the first book of the Bible, Genesis, along with Noah and the flood, and Adam and Eve. . . to date, there is no archaeology or text outside of the Bible to corroborate them.
The farther back you go in the biblical text, the more difficult it is to find historical material in it. The patriarchs go back to Genesis. Genesis is, for the most part, a compilation of myths, creation stories, things like that.
The biblical writers were telling stories . . . they could tell it the way it was when they wanted to, but their objective was always something far beyond that.
The view that Moses had personally written down the first five books of the Bible was virtually unchallenged until the 17th century. There were a few questions raised about this, for example, the [description of] the death and burial of Moses. And so, some rabbis said, "Well, Moses couldn't have written those words himself, because he was dead and was being buried."
The Bible says the Israelites leave Egypt in a mass migration, 600,000 men and their families, and then wander in the desert for 40 years. But . . . in a hundred years of searching, archaeologists have not yet found evidence of migration that can be linked to the Exodus.
Exodus is simply not attested anywhere.
NOT MILITARY CONQUESTS FROM HAVE-NOTS MISFITS. [Ai, a] Canaanite city-state that Joshua and his army of Israelites are credited with laying waste . . . has been discovered in what is now the Palestinian territory of the West Bank. But when archaeologists date the destruction, they discover it occurred about 2200 B.C. They date the destruction of Jericho to 1500 B.C., and Hazor's to about 1250 B.C. Clearly, these city-states were not destroyed at the same time; they range over nearly a thousand years. In fact, of the 31 sites the Bible says that Joshua conquered, few showed any signs of war.
It was discovered that most of the large Canaanite towns that were supposed to have been destroyed by these Israelites were either not destroyed at all or destroyed by others.
Excavations reveal that Hazor had a lower city of commoners, serfs and slaves, and an upper city with a king and wealthy elites.
The entire Canaanite city-state system, including Hazor and Jericho, breaks down. Archaeology and ancient texts clearly show that it is the result of a long period of decline and upheaval that sweeps through Mesopotamia, the Aegean region and the Egyptian empire around 1200 B.C.
About the origins of the ancient Israelites . . .
The notion is that most of the early Israelites were originally Canaanites, displaced Canaanites.
The Israelites were always in the land of Israel. They were natives, but they were different kinds of groups. They were basically the have-nots.
Archaeology reveals that the Israelites were themselves originally Canaanites.
YAHWEH. "YHWH," . . . we think were probably pronounced something like Yahweh.
But Yahweh only appears in the Hebrew Bible . . . Where do the Israelites find their God? . . .
The search for the origins of Yahweh leads scholars back to ancient Egypt.
Here on the north wall of Karnak [in ancient Egypt], we have scenes depicting the victories and battles of Seti the First, the father of Ramesses the Great.
Seti, here, commemorates one of his greatest victories over the Shasu.
The Shasu were a people who lived in the deserts of southern Canaan, now Jordan and northern Saudi Arabia, around the same time as the Israelites emerged.
Egyptian texts say one of the places where the Shasu lived is called "Y.H.W.," probably pronounced Yahu, likely the name of their patron god.
In the Bible, the place where the Shasu lived is referred to as Midian. It is here, before the Exodus, the Bible tells us, Moses first encounters Yahweh [YHWH], in the form of a burning bush . . .
We have, in Egyptian sources, something that appears to be a name like Yahweh in the vicinity of Midian. Here is Moses in Midian, and there a deity appears to him and reveals his name to Moses as Yahweh.
Atkinson, Kenneth. The Bible's Buried Secrets. Review. 2008.
NOVA Science Unit. The Bible's Buried Secrets. (2008). A two-hour film about archeological and literary investigations of the Hebrew Bible, by the NOVA Science Unit (2008). The entertaining film goes into a century of literary detective work and decades of archeological excavation from Palestine. You may watch the whole film here:
USER'S GUIDE to abbreviations, the site's bibliography, letter codes, dictionaries, site design and navigation, tips for searching the site and page referrals. [LINK]|
© 20092011, Tormod Kinnes, MPhil [E-MAIL] Disclaimer: LINK]