nephilim - Biblical Views: Giants at Jericho By Ronald S....

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Biblical Views: Giants at Jericho By Ronald S. Hendel We all know the words of the old spiritual: “Joshua fit the battle of Jericho, and the walls came a- tumblin’ down.” According to the Biblical account of the conquest of Jericho, Joshua and his troops marched around the city once a day for six days; on the seventh day they marched around it seven times, and on the seventh circuit they blew their horns and shouted. “When the people heard the sound of the horns, the people shouted a mighty shout, and the walls fell down” (Joshua 6:20). This is a climactic moment in the Israelite conquest of Canaan. Once the walls of Jericho came tumbling down, the other cities fell like a row of dominoes. But did it really happen? This has been a vexed question in the history of Biblical archaeology. According to the best interpretations of the archaeological evidence, Jericho was destroyed around 1550 B.C.E.1 and was not settled again until after 1000 B.C.E.a But the emergence of Israel dates to around 1200 B.C.E., right in the middle of this 500-year gap. If Joshua and his troops had surrounded Jericho, there would have been nobody home. Biblical archaeology—if such a thing really existsb—involves the rigorous correlation of textual data from the Bible and material evidence from archaeology. We must take the best interpretations of both sets of data in order to see what kinds of correlations or patterns are present. The case of Jericho is usually taken as a notorious instance where the Biblical and archaeological data don’t connect at all. Or do they? I suggest that they do connect in a remarkable way. The problem is that the Biblical evidence hasn’t been sifted properly to yield the correct connection with the archaeological evidence. In my understanding, the walls of Biblical Jericho have been visible all along. It is the Biblical story itself that has forgotten or suppressed a key detail that makes the correlation apparent. The insight that, in my view, solves this problem was first proposed by a pioneer of Biblical archaeology, G. Ernest Wright. In an article from 1938 with the delightful title “Troglodytes and Giants in Palestine,” Wright observed: Pausanias [a second-century C.E. Greek geographer] tells us that the great walls of Mycenae, Tiryns and Argos were constructed by the giant Cyclopes … Hebrews viewing some of the cities of Canaan, which we now know to have possessed walls as thick as eighteen feet, and often built of cyclopean masonry, might well have thought in terms of giants, just as did the Greeks.2 In other words, the Israelites would naturally have thought that the giant “cyclopean” walls of many old, ruined Canaanite cities (including Jericho) must have been built by giants. From this they reasonably concluded that the original inhabitants of Canaan were giants. This conclusion is borne out by many Biblical texts. For example, when Moses sends spies to
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This note was uploaded on 01/19/2012 for the course N.A N./A taught by Professor N/a during the Spring '11 term at UPenn.

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nephilim - Biblical Views: Giants at Jericho By Ronald S....

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