Thursday, 4 July 2019

Biblical Philistines

Mystery surrounds the people of the Near East at the end of the second millennium BCE. This question in the history includes the main players in the biblical story of the descendants of Abraham and the origins of the so-called "twelve tribes". Also included are the origins of the "sea peoples", the people who invaded Egypt, who were responsible for the second intermediate period of Egyptian history (1642-1532 BCE) and who split the kingdom into two parts with their capital at Avaris. These people were named the "Hyksos" by the Egyptians.

This mystery led to questions about whether the Israelites actually did live in Egypt, whether the plagues were real, and whether the Exodus really happened. As has been said this week, if it can be shown that all of it is mere mythology, then the Jewish people have been celebrating Passover for a reason that does to exist.

Now modern DNA testing has revealed the origins of some of these people, most notably, the Philistines.

The new study stems from a discovery in 2013 of a cemetery with more than 200 burials contemporary with the Philistine settlement at Ashkelon just outside the ancient city walls. The cemetery, which was used during the late Iron Age, between the 11th and 8th centuries B.C., was the first Philistine burial ground ever found. The archaeologists documented burial practices that were distinct from the Philistines' Canaanite predecessors and their Egyptian neighbors. For example, in several cases, little jugs of perfume were tucked near the head of the deceased. Finding Philistine human remains also meant there might be potential to find Philistine DNA.
New light shed on the Biblical Philistines.

The DNA data suggest a kernel of truth to Greek and Middle Eastern legends that describe survivors who moved south after the catastrophic collapse of great Bronze Age civilizations of the Mediterranean in the late 13th and early 12th centuries B.C.E.Biblical Philistines - archenemies of the Israelites 

Will modern science allow us to finally put to bed the stories attributed to Moses.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

During this week, 23 November 2018, it was announced that fragments of the "Dead Sea Scrolls" were found to be forgeries, during an authentication  process in November 2017.

What this means is not that the scrolls themselves, in their entirety, are fake. It only applies to the five fragments that have been removed from the Bible Museum in Washington DC's display, are forgeries.

Dead Sea Scrolls and "fake news".

Atheists should be careful not to brush the entire collection with the "fake news" brush. That the museum is having artefacts authenticated is a good sign. It shows transparency.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

New ideas

It has been a while since I posted anything on this blog. However I am working on another idea.

A new book, a shorter version of the original, hopefully condensed to a more manageable 300 pages.

During the months since the last post, life overtook my good intentions and between depression, loss of interest in debating my subject, and a new puppy, almost a year has slipped by.

I'm going to leave the analysing of individual chapters of the "Good Book" for an even longer break while I concentrate on a summary of the original trilogy of Rationalising the Bible.

The new book will be a shorter version of the original, hopefully condensed to a more manageable 300 pages.

Watch this space for further posts over the next weeks.