Never Seen: The Trace of a Jewish Spirit from Mesopotamia

Never Seen: The Trace of a Jewish Spirit from Mesopotamia

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The Story Begins from a Dead End

August 25, 2015 was a very hot day of summer but its omen was a very promising one! That day, I was with my friend, Mr. Hashim Hama Abdulla, director of the Sulaymaniyah Museum in Iraq, walking in the main hall of the Museum. So far, I had visited the museum innumerable times. I pointed towards something on the floor, which I had noticed on several occasions but I had never inquired about.

The upper surface of the so-called "Gopala Rock", inscribed with five lines, thought to be Aramaic. On the upper right margin, a single separate line of inscription also appear.

There was a rock, which was displayed on the floor directly, without any description. It was relatively dirty, strange, and irregular in shape and was inscribed with what appeared to be an ancient language. It was abutting the wall besides one of the large wood display cases. I’m sure, you can easily by-pass and miss it if you visit that hall. Nothing is striking or interesting about it, in addition to being placed in a non-attractive hidden space. “What is this? I forgot to ask you many times Kak (brother) Hashim?” These were the opening remarks of mine to Mr. Hashim. “It is a long story and we are waiting the results of the transliteration of these Aramaic or maybe Hebrew inscriptions”, Mr. Hashim replied. “It was found at the village near Bazian in late 1970s”. This was the last information I got from him that day.

Undusting the Lens

With his help, I got access to the archives of the museum to have a clearer idea about this “rock”. This is the summary of the “history” of the rock (coming from the archives of the museum and the information I got later on from Mr. Hashim):

  1. While working in the field, Mr. Saman Mohammad Siddiq, an agricultural engineer found it in an apple farm, which lies in the village of Gopala (or Kopala) (Kurdish: ﮔوﭖاله), Bazian (or Baziyan; Kurdish: بازيان) Town (35°35'36.41"N; 45° 8'32.51"E). The village lies in the western part of the Governorate of Sulaymaniya, Iraqi Kurdistan.
  2. He found it in the year 1979 CE and delivered it to the Sulaymaniyah Museum in early 1980s (at that time the Museum was closed to the public because of the Iraq-Iran War).
  3. The artefact is a rock, which has no particular shape and it is irregular in outline and borders.
  4. Its maximum dimensions are 46 cm (length) x 39 cm (width) x 21 cm (height).
  5. One surface (the upper one) is inscribed with five lines of Aramaic text. On one of the upper margins, there is one line of Aramaic inscription as well.
  6. The most interesting point was that it was stored within the museum’s repository, un-numbered, unregistered, and not displayed until December 25, 2001 CE. It was unnoticed by and unknown to the museum’s staff and it was forgotten among the repository’s contents. On that day, Mr. Saman himself paid a visit to the museum (the museum was closed in 1980 CE, reopened very shortly after the Iraq-Iran War in 1989 CE and was closed again, and finally re-opened in the year 2000 CE). Mr. Saman told Mr. Hashim about this rock and the story behind it. This was the event which brought it once again to life and revived its spirit.
  7. The rock was registered on the day of December 25, 2001 and was given the registration number of “SM 1002” (Kurdish and Arabic: م. س. 2001). Hashim registered it and displayed it within the main hall the following day but without any description.

Once again, destiny strikes and imparts a long-lasting amnesia. The rock has been on display since then, but no one cares about it; a vagrant orphan lost in the arid desert, I describe it!

The Inscription: An About Turn

I contacted Mr. Hashim a few weeks ago (and that would be after almost two years), asking him about the rock. He gave me the contact details of Professor Narmeen Mohammed Amin Ali, a Kurdish archaeologist living in France. She was very cooperative! Dr. Narmeen said that a French archaeological team was doing excavations as well as studying Aramaic, Hebrew, and Syriac texts, scripts, and inscriptions in Kurdistan from 2011 to 2016. The team was headed by Professor Vincent Deroche, assisted by Professor Alain Desreumaux and herself. Professor Narmeen’s main work was on the ruins of an ancient Christian church in Bazian.

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The surprise was that Professor Alain commented that this is not Aramaic, this is Hebrew most likely.

The team was visiting the Museum in mid-2013 and Mr. Hashim, by chance, told them that this rock was found in Bazian and he wondered whether they could find what it says. The surprise was that Professor Alain commented that this is not Aramaic, this is Hebrew most likely. Professor Alain took pictures of the rock, drew the inscriptions, and transliterated it over a period of one month. The article about the inscription will be published in the journal “Etudes mésopotamiennes - Mesopotamian Studies” in April 2018 and is titled “une inscriptions hébraïque médiévale découverte dans Bet Garmaî (Kurdistan d'Irak) dans: Recherches au Kurdistan et en Mésopotamie du Nord)”. The article is in French and the English translation reads “A medieval Hebrew inscriptions discovered in Bet Garma (Kurdistan of Iraq), Kurdistan and Northern Mesopotamia Research”. This is exclusive information, so stay tuned until then!

Another side view of the Gopala Rock. The upper surface of the rock has not undergone any conservation work or cleaning; traces of modern paints remain.

What does this Rock Represent?

This is a tombstone, which was commissioned by a man in memory of his deceased mother, “Siporah daughter of Dan”, who will rest in peace and be blessed in the Paradise of Eden. The inscribed date is the Seleucian year 1669 (which roughly corresponds to the year 1357/1358 CE). Professor Narmeen said that there is a similar tombstone dating to the same period, currently housed in the Iraq Museum in Baghdad.

The so-called Abrahamic Religions (Judaism, Christianity, & Islam) lived peacefully together for many centuries in Mesopotamia.

So, it was a tombstone, inscribed 700 years ago in the Hebrew language for a deceased Jewish woman. Bang bang! In my opinion, although the text is short, it is a remarkable surviving evidence confirming the existence of a multi-religious environment in Iraq. The so-called Abrahamic Religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) lived peacefully together for many centuries in Mesopotamia. The people in Bazian are currently Kurdish in ethnicity and Islamic in religion. The presence of this Jewish tombstone (undisturbed and unvandalized) in addition to the ruins of a Christian church within that same small place undoubtedly is a marker of a highly civilized, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-linguistic society, which had melted and blended altogether, producing one solid and united body, living happily and friendly with each other for several generations. My parents once told me that many of their neighbours including their best childhood friends [in 1930s/1940s CE] were Jewish. Jewish people “were” one of the cornerstones of the Iraqi and Mesopotamian society. The demographic turmoil in the Middle East seems to continue, endlessly, for the benefit of whom?!

Lastly, no archaeological work has been done on the location where the tombstone was found. I think if we find the skeleton or at least some bones of that woman, we may, who knows, trace her offspring through DNA analysis! Where are her offspring now?

A zoomed-in image of the inscribed aspect (upper) of the Gopala Rock. Silver and bluish-green paints, which seem to be modern, cover some areas. This suggests that the rock was used by farmers for some purpose before it was given to the Sulaymaniya Museum! The Goapal Rock has an irregular shape and margins. The registration number of the Gopala Rock is SM 1002, which dates to December 25, 2001. It was registered after almost 20 years of storage in the museum's repository. This is the under surface of Gopala Rock.

I’m very happy to be the first one to share this very important discovery with the rest of the world through this article. I’m very grateful to Mr. Hashim Hama Abdullah and Professor Narmeen Mohammed Amin Ali for their kind help and cooperation. A special gratitude goes to Professor Alain Jacque Desreumaux, who kindly agreed to share the tombstone’s information with the public.

Everything that has existed, lingers in Eternity.

Agatha Christie.

The Hasmonean Palace - First Century Jerusalem

Photo of the Hasmonean Palace in the Second Temple Model

The palace of the Hasmoneans was located on the Western side of the Upper City. It contained a roof called the Xystus with where the people in the large square below could be addressed. It had large courts, living quarters, baths, and a service court.

"Hasmonean Jerusalem featured two major landmarks of which no remains have been found. One of these was the Hasmonean Baris, a citadel which is thought to have stood at the northwestern corner of the Temple Mount, occupying the probable site of the earlier Ptolemaic Baris and which was later demolished to make room for Herod's Antonia Fortress. According to Josephus "this citadel was built by the kings of the Asamonean race, who were also high priests before Herod, and they called it the Tower, in which were reposited the vestments of the high priest, which the high priest only put on at the time when he was to offer sacrifice." Herod's construction of the Antonia left no trace of the Hasmonean citadel. The other notable structure researchers have been trying to locate is the Hasmonean Palace. Josephus' description is quite precise: "over the gallery, at the passage to the upper city, where the bridge joined the Temple to the gallery." It is quite possible, therefore, to locate the approximate position of the palace, in front of the Temple slightly north of the modern Jewish Quarter. This location would make both topographic (on a lofty spot) and administrative (adjacent to the wealthy and priestly quarters in the upper city) sense. Overlooking the Temple, it would provide the king and high priest an observation point into events there within." - Wikipedia

Map of Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus (Click to Enlarge)

Winston Churchill: Speech to the Allied Delegates

In the twenty-second month of the war against Nazism, we meet here in this old Palace of St. James's, itself not unscarred by the fire of the enemy, in order to proclaim the high purposes and resolves of the lawful constitutional governments of Europe whose countries have been overrun, and we meet here also to cheer the hopes of free men and free peoples throughout the world.

Here before us on the table lie the title deeds of ten nations or states whose soil has been invaded and polluted and whose men women and children lie prostrate or writhing under the Hitler yoke.

But here also, duly authorized by Parliament and the democracy of Britain, are gathered the servants of the ancient British monarchy and the accredited representatives of the British dominions beyond seas of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, of the Empire of India, of Burma and of our colonies in every quarter of the globe. They have drawn their swords in this cause. They will never let them fall till life is gone or victory is won.

Here we meet while from across the Atlantic Ocean the hammers and lathes of the United States signal in a rising hum their message of encouragement and their promise of swift and ever-growing aid.

What tragedies, what horrors, what crimes has Hitler and all that Hitler stands for brought upon Europe and the world! The ruins of Warsaw, of Rotterdam, of Belgrade are monuments which will long recall to future generations the outrage of unopposed air bombing applied with calculated scientific cruelty to helpless populations. Here in London and throughout the cities of our island and in Ireland there may also be seen marks of devastation. They are being repaid and presently they will be more than repaid.

But far worse than these visible injuries is the misery of the conquered peoples. We see them hounded, terrorized, exploited. Their manhood by the million is forced to work under conditions indistinguishable in many cases from actual slavery. Their goods and chattels are pillaged or filched for worthless money. Their homes, their daily life are pried into and spied upon by the all pervading system of secret political police which, having reduced the Germans themselves to abject docility, now stalks the streets and byways of a dozen lands. Their religious faiths are affronted, persecuted or oppressed in the interest of a fanatic paganism devised to perpetuate the worship and sustain the tyranny of one abominable creature. Their traditions, their culture, their laws, their institutions, social and political alike, are suppressed by force or undermined by subtle, coldly planned intrigue.

The prisons of the continent no longer suffice. The concentration camps are overcrowded. Every dawn German volleys crack. Czechs, Poles, Dutchmen, Norwegians, Yugoslavs and Greeks, Frenchmen, Belgians, Luxemburgers make the great sacrifice for faith and country. A vile race of Quislings-to use a new word which will carry the scorn of mankind down the centuries-is hired to fawn upon the conqueror, to collaborate in his designs and to enforce his rule upon their fellow countrymen while groveling low themselves. Such is the plight of once glorious Europe and such are the atrocities against which we are in arms.

Your excellencies, my lords and gentlemen, it is upon this foundation that Hitler, with his tattered lackey, Mussolini, at his tail and Admiral Darlan frisking by his side, pretends to build out of hatred, appetite and racial assertion a new order for Europe. Never did so mocking a fantasy obsess the mind of mortal man.

We cannot tell what the course of this fell war will be as it spreads, remorseless, through ever wider regions.

It will not be by German hands that the structure of Europe will be rebuilt or union of the European family achieved. In every country into which the German armies and Nazi police have broken there has sprung up from the soil a hatred of the German name and contempt for the Nazi creed which the passage of hundreds of years will not efface from human memory.

We know it will be hard we expect it to be long, we cannot predict or measure its episodes or its tribulations. But one thing is certain, one thing is sure, one thing stands out stark and undeniable, massive and unassailable for all the world to see. We cannot see how deliverance will come or when it will come, but nothing is more certain that every trace of Hitler's footsteps, every stain of his infected, corroding fingers will be sponged and purged and, if need be, blasted from the surface of the earth.

We are here, your excellencies, to affirm and fortify our union in that ceaseless and unwearying effort which must be made if the captive peoples are to be set free.

A year ago His Majesty's Government was left alone to face the storm, and to many of our friends and enemies alike it may have seemed that our days, too, were numbered and that Britain and its institutions would sink forever beneath the verge. But I may with some pride remind your excellencies that even in that dark hour when our army was disorganized and almost weaponless when scarcely a gun or tank remained in Britain, when almost all our stores and ammunition had been lost in France, never for one moment did the British people dream of making peace with the conqueror and never for a moment did they despair of the common cause.

On the contrary, we proclaimed at that very time to all men, not only to ourselves, our determination not to make peace until every one of the ravaged and enslaved countries was liberated and until the Nazi domination was broken and destroyed.

See how far we have traveled since those breathless days of June, a year ago! Our solid, stubborn strength has stood an awful test. We are the masters of our own air and now reach out in ever-growing retribution upon the enemy. The Royal Navy holds the seas. The Italian fleet cowers, diminished, in harbor and the German Navy largely is crippled or sunk.

The murderous raids upon our ports, cities and factories have been powerless to quench the spirit of the British nation, to stop our national life or check the immense expansion of our war industry. Food and arms from across oceans are coming safely in. Full provision to replace all sunken tonnage is being made here, and still more by our friends in the United States. We are becoming an armed community. Our land forces are being perfected in equipment and training.

Hitler may turn and trample this way and that through tortured Europe. He may spread his course far and wide and carry his curse with him. He may break into Africa or into Asia. But it is here, in this island fortress, that he will have to reckon in the end. We shall strive to resist by land and sea.

We shall be on his track wherever he goes. Our air power will continue to teach the German homeland that war is not all loot and triumph. We shall aid and stir the people of every conquered country to resistance and revolt. We shall break up and derange every effort which Hitler makes to systematize and consolidate his subjugations. He will find no peace, no rest, no halting place, no parley. And if, driven to desperate hazards, he attempts invasion of the British Isles, as well he may, we shall not flinch from the supreme trial. With the help of God, of which we must all feel daily conscious, we shall continue steadfast in faith and duty till our task is done.

This then, my lords and gentlemen, is the message which we send forth today to all states and nations, bound or free, to all the men in all the lands who care for freedom's cause. To our Allies and well-wishers in Europe, to our American friends and helpers drawing ever closer in their might across the ocean, this is the message-lift up your hearts, all will come right. Out of depths of sorrow and sacrifice will be born again the glory of mankind.

[British Library of Information]

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Never Seen: The Trace of a Jewish Spirit from Mesopotamia - History

Nowhere Man

The common assumption that Jesus was a peripatetic preacher, strolling through Palestine, though appealing, is unsupported by any evidence.

There are NO contemporary sources that corroborate the existence of Jesus. All the godman's pithy "wisdom" sayings predate the gospels, many taken from the works of Philo and Seneca.

The earliest writers about him knew nothing of what were later supposed to be the major events in his life.

When Christian texts eventually appeared which fleshed out a few months of human existence for Jesus, they were hopelessly contradictory and full of historical errors and anachronisms.

In short, the "historical Jesus" is a pious fraud, no less so than his divinity as "son of God" and "person" of the Trinity.

Agrippa - Christian "bad guy"?

Acts claims persecution of Christians &ndash "to please the Jews" &ndash began under Herod Agrippa (39-44), with the death of James, the brother of John.

Nothing supports this claim, not even the epistles of St Paul. Josephus in fact records the "mild temper" of the king.

"Agrippa's temper was mild, and equally liberal to all men. He was humane to foreigners, and made them sensible of his liberality.

He was in like manner rather of a gentle and compassionate temper. Accordingly, he loved to live continually at Jerusalem, and was exactly careful in the observance of the laws of his country.

He therefore kept himself entirely pure nor did any day pass over his head without its appointed sacrifice."

– Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 19,7.3.

Off with his head?

The hapless apostle James the Greateris dispatched in a single verse (Acts 12.2) – but then he has only a walk-on part in the whole melodrama, ever a shadow of his more illustrious younger brother John.

In stark contrast, the apostle Paul supposedly survived no fewer than FIVE murder plots and his adventures fill a third of the whole New Testament.

Acts 9.23,25: Paul escapes from murderous Syrian Jews by going over the wall in a basket!

Acts 9.29: Paul escapes from murderous Greek Jews with help of the brethren.

Acts 14.19,20: Murderous Iconium Jews stone Paul and dump his "dead body" outside the city of Lystra. Paul "rises up", and next day goes off to Derbe to preach and ordain elders!

Acts 21.27,32: Paul is set upon by a "whole crowd" and the "whole city" of Jerusalem. Nonetheless he survives long enough to be rescued by Roman troops.

Acts 23.12,23: More than 40 oath taking Jews swear to kill Paul but this time no fewer than 470 Roman troops arrive to take him to safety!

What ripping fun! What nonsense!

Two capitals, no Jesus

Sepphoris. Rebuilt by Herod Antipas 4 BC .

Tiberias. Founded in 20 AD, the new city replaced Sepphoris as the capital of Galilee.

No record of Jesus in either place.

The yokel of Galilee

Ok, so "Jesus" might have perambulated about a rustic backwater, bad mouthing local Pharisees and hypocrites, but surely some event from the wider world might have prompted pithy words of wisdom or a trademark enigmatic parable?

But from Jesus &ndash nothing.

Provincial hick?

Commemorative inscription, Herculaneum (pre-79 AD), erected by the "Augustals", freed slaves who were members of a cult dedicated to the worship of the emperor Augustus.

Surely enough to make a real god like Jesus livid?

From a distance of 2000 years Jesus Christ appears in glorious technicolor, a veritable rainbow of the power and the glory. Every child "knows" his story, every individual "recognizes" his slender frame, his flowing chestnut hair, his kindly blue eyes. But up close and personal our superhero evaporates into the ether, a phantom that leaves no trace upon the paper, no imprint in the historical record. Not only does no one notice Jesus during his supposed lifetime Jesus notices nothing of the wider world into which he makes his spectral appearance.

As for Christianity's audacious claim that its hero introduced something new into ethics and morality, that assertion is wholly fallacious. Long before any mythical Nazarene had epithets of wisdom put into his mouth, other – real, yet mortal – philosophers taught a morality of brotherly love and human compassion. Christianity merely sequestered and then ignored those ideals.

The "witnesses" who saw and heard nothing

As it happens, we have an excellent witness to events in Judaea and the Jewish diaspora in the first half of the first century AD: Philo of Alexandria (c25 BC-47 AD).

Philo was an old man when he led an embassy from the Jews to the court of Emperor Gaius Caligula. The year was 39-40 AD. Philo clearly, then, lived at precisely the time that "Jesus of Nazareth" supposedly entered the world to a chorus of angels, enthralled the multitudes by performing miracles, and got himself crucified.

Philo was also in the right place to give testimony of a messianic contender. A Jewish aristocrat and leader of the large Jewish community of Alexandria, we know that Philo spent time in Jerusalem (On Providence) where he had intimate connections with the royal house of Judaea. His brother, Alexander the "alabarch" (chief tax official), was one of the richest men in the east, in charge of collecting levies on imports into Roman Egypt. Alexander's great wealth financed the silver and gold sheathing which adorned the doors of the Temple (Josephus, War 5.205). Alexander also loaned a fortune to Herod Agrippa I (Antiquities 18).

One of Alexander's sons, and Philo's nephews, Marcus, was married to Berenice, daughter of Herod Agrippa, tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea, 39-40. After the exile of Herod Antipas – villain of the Jesus saga – he ruled as King of the Jews, 41-44 AD. Another nephew was the "apostate" Julius Alexander Tiberius, Prefect of Egypt and also Procurator of Judaea itself (46-48 AD).

Much as Josephus would, a half century later, Philo wrote extensive apologetics on the Jewish religion and commentaries on contemporary politics. About thirty manuscripts and at least 850,000 words are extant. Philo offers commentary on all the major characters of the Pentateuch and, as we might expect, mentions Moses more than a thousand times.

Yet Philo says not a word about Jesus, Christianity nor any of the events described in the New Testament. In all this work, Philo makes not a single reference to his alleged contemporary "Jesus Christ", the godman who supposedly was perambulating up and down the Levant, exorcising demons, raising the dead and causing earthquake and darkness at his death.

With Philo's close connection to the house of Herod, one might reasonably expect that the miraculous escape from a royal prison of a gang of apostles (Acts 5.18,40), or the second, angel-assisted, flight of Peter, even though chained between soldiers and guarded by four squads of troops (Acts 12.2,7) might have occasioned the odd footnote. But not a murmur. Nothing of Agrippa "vexing certain of the church" or killing "James brother of John" with the sword (Acts 12.1,2).

Strange, but only if we believe Jesus and his merry men existed and that they established the church. If we recognize that the Christian fable was still at an early stage of development when Philo was pondering the relationship of god and man, there is nothing strange here at all.

What is very significant, however, is that Philo's theological speculations helped the Christians fabricate their own notions of a godman.

Where did they get their ideas from?

Mocking Jesus – or Agrippa?

The mocking of a real Jewish king

The death of the Herod the Great's son, Philip, in 34 AD, left the tetrarchy of Panias and Batanaea without a local king. In 39, Caligula sent Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea, into exile. Caligula now turned to Herod the Great's grandson, Herod Agrippa, for a client king and Agrippa was made ruler of all the Jewish lands apart from Judaea.

On the voyage home from Rome, this new King of the Jews, stopped over in Alexandria where his presence in the city provoked anti-Jewish riots. Agrippa became the target of ridicule and lampoon.

Philo described the course of events in his work named for the anti-Jewish governor of Egypt, Flaccus. His work was familiar to the early Christians when decades after his death they composed the gospels. One passage of Flaccus contains a curious pre-figuring of several famous verses found in the Gospels.

But then the Lord moves in curious ways.

The Works of Philo Judaeus – Flaccus, VI.

(36) There was a certain madman named Carabbas . this man spent all this days and nights naked in the roads, minding neither cold nor heat, the sport of idle children and wanton youths

(37) and they, driving the poor wretch as far as the public gymnasium, and setting him up there on high that he might be seen by everybody, flattened out a leaf of papyrus and put it on his head instead of a diadem, and clothed the rest of his body with a common door mat instead of a cloak and instead of a sceptre they put in his hand a small stick of the native papyrus which they found lying by the way side and gave to him

(38) and when, like actors in theatrical spectacles, he had received all the insignia of royal authority, and had been dressed and adorned like a king, the young men bearing sticks on their shoulders stood on each side of him instead of spear-bearers, in imitation of the bodyguards of the king, and then others came up, some as if to salute him, and others making as though they wished to plead their causes before him, and others pretending to wish to consult with him about the affairs of the state.

(39) Then from the multitude of those who were standing around there arose a wonderful shout of men calling out Maris! and this is the name by which it is said that they call the kings among the Syrians for they knew that Agrippa was by birth a Syrian, and also that he was possessed of a great district of Syria of which he was the sovereign

27:26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

27:27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.

27:28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

27:29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

Philo: author of Christianity?

"Now the image of God is the Word, by which all the world was made."

Philo was an eclectic philosopher who borrowed freely from the Platonists, Stoics and Cynics. Yet he remained tenaciously loyal to his Jewish faith, and regarded Mosaic scripture as a source not only of religious revelation, but also of the philosophic truths propounded by the Greeks.

According to Philo, the Greek philosophers had "borrowed from Moses" and had received their insights from the God of the Jews. To substantiate this dubious claim Philo found subtle and obscure nuances in the biblical sagas. Simply put, the wisdom of the Greeks was to be found entire within the books of Moses – all that one had to discern was the "hidden meaning" of words that, to the uninitiated, patently had no bearing on Greek philosophy. Philo was thus able to preserve the arrogant superiority of the Jews who in reality had been subsumed into the Greek world.

How did a transcendent God communicate with the world? Here, a term from the Stoics proved most useful. According to Philo, "Logos" – Greek for "word" or "reason"– equated to divine reason. The Logos or Word emanated from the ineffable God and communicated with his creations. Thus it was the Logos that spoke to Moses from the burning bush, and it was the Logos that infused the righteous High Priest. When one experienced religious ecstasyit was because the Logos had entered one's own soul.

Philo defined the curious nature of God's intermediary thus:

"And the Father who created the universe has given to his archangelic and most ancient Word a pre-eminent gift, to stand on the confines of both, and separated that which had been created from the Creator.

And this same Word is continually a suppliant to the immortal God on behalf of the mortal race, which is exposed to affliction and misery and is also the ambassador, sent by the Ruler of all, to the subject race.

And the Word rejoices in the gift, and, exulting in it, announces it and boasts of it, saying, 'And I stood in the midst, between the Lord and You neither being uncreated as God, nor yet created as you, but being in the midst between these two extremities . For I will proclaim peaceful intelligence to the creation from him who has determined to destroy wars, namely God, who is ever the guardian of peace.' "

Philo, Who is the Heir of Divine Things? 42.205-6.

When the works of Philo were studied by early Christian theorists (the Alexandrian school of Clement, Origen, etc.) not just the construct of the Logos but the "allegorical method" proved a godsend: the Old Testament presaged not merely Greek wisdom but the Christian godman himself! Thus the scripture of the Jews could be scoured for subtle clues supposedly prophesying a saviour in human form.

Again, Philo pointed the way:

"And even if there be not as yet any one who is worthy to be called a son of God, nevertheless let him labour earnestly to be adorned according to his first-born word, the eldest of his angels, as the great archangel of many names for he is called, the authority, and the name of God, and the Word, and man according to God's image, and he who sees Israel."

– Philo, "On the Confusion of Tongues," (146)

Philo was himself undoubtedly influenced by ancient notions of Hermes Trismegistos ('thrice greatest' Hermes), a Hellenized version of the Egyptian god Thoth – a god of wisdom and a guide to the afterlife.

Philo knew nothing of Jesus but when, a century after Philo's death, the Christians were historicizing their godman from preconceived notions of what the Saviour should be, they borrowed freely from Philo's work. Thus the Christian apologist Justin Martyr multiplexed "divine reason" into the myriad forms that populate the landscape of Christian theology:

"I shall give you another testimony, my friends," said I, "from the Scriptures, that God begat before all creatures a Beginning, a certain rational power from Himself, who is called by the Holy Spirit, now the Glory of the Lord, now the Son, again Wisdom, again an Angel, then God, and then Lord and Logos."

– Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, LXI – ("Wisdom is begotten of the father, as fire from fire.")

About the same time that Justin was finessing "God's Wisdom" into human form, the author of John's Gospel combined the opening phrase of Genesis with the speculations of Philo's logos to produce the famous opening verse of his gospel.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." – John, 1.1.

Bringing Philo on Message

In the 4th century so impressed was Church propagandist Eusebius by Philo's descriptions of the Therapeutae (Hellenized Jewish Buddhists of Alexandria) that the church historian decided the Therapeutae were in fact early Christian monks. As for Philo himself, Eusebius cheerfully disregarded chronology and credibility and had the grand old Jewish philosopher reading the (as yet, unwritten) gospels and epistles and conversing with Peter in Rome!

"It seems likely [Philo] wrote this after listening to their expositions of the Holy Scriptures, and it is very probable that what he calls short works by their early writers were the gospels, the apostolic writings, and in all probability passages interpreting the old prophets, such as one contained in the Epistle to the Hebrews and several others of Paul's epistles.

It is also recorded that under Claudius, Philo came to Rome to have conversations with Peter, then preaching to the people there . It is plain enough that he not only knew but welcomed with whole-hearted approval the apostolic men of his day, who it seems were of Hebrew stock and therefore, in the Jewish manner, still retained most of their ancient customs."

– Eusebius , The History of the Church, p50,52.

Philo played a major role in the Hellenization of Hebrew scripture, unwittingly preparing the ground for an upstart heresy to supplant and marginalize the ancestral religion he set out to defend.

The fate of Philo's co-religionist Josephus was to become a bogus witness to Christ – but Philo himself was rendered a closet Christian!

World events that Jesus never noticed

Whilst we should not expect a rural rabbi to comment on day-to-day politics, it is a telling silence that the man that nobody notices himself doesn't notice any of the major events of his age.

But then, JC never actually trod the earth and JC never heard the news from Rome.

Early in the 1st century the Romans suffered their most humiliating defeat. Germania, like Judaea, had been annexed by the empire in 6 AD and it, too, was being taxed and organised as a province. But in 9 AD, an alliance of German tribes ambushed and annihilated three legions in the Teutoburg Forest. The disaster permanently curtailed Roman designs in northern Europe.

The ill-fated commander in Germany had been none other than Publius Quinctilius Varus – the former governor of Syria. A few years earlier, Varus had crushed revolts in Judaea and Samaria and crucified 2000 rebels.

9 AD - Rome's catastrophe in Germany.

Not worth a comment from JC on 'resisting evil' or the 'folly of earthly ambition'?

In 14 AD, Emperor Augustus, master of the civilized world for nearly half a century, died. Eulogies from Tiberius and Drusus were followed by a pyre on Campus Martius and deification.

"An ex-praetor actually swore that he had seen Augustus's spirit soaring up to heaven through the flames."
– Suetonius.

"Augustus seemed to have superceded the worship of the gods when he wanted to have himself venerated in temples, with god-like images, by priests and ministers." – Tacitus (Annals, 1)

The imperial cult, which began with Julius Caesar, gained much greater impetus following the deification of Augustus. Here was an officially sponsored challenge to Jesus' own cult and surely merited a word of censure?

14 AD. Princeps, Augustus, Imperator, Pater Patriae – and finally God. This cameo of "divus Augustus" depicts a crown with rays of the sun god, just like the nimbus of Jesus.

Would not a "real" god Jesus have had something to say about the "imitation" god Augustus?

18-19 AD. The popular Roman prince Germanicus, a grandson of Augustus and restorer of the Rhine frontier, was sent east by Tiberius as imperium maius (imperial magistrate). He died suddenly in Antioch amid speculation that the governor of Syria, Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso, had poisoned him on orders from the emperor. Tiberius compelled Piso to commit suicide but became increasingly paranoid as his unpopularity grew.

Germanicus – a noble Roman

Plenty of stuff here, surely, for wise words about nobility and baseness. From Jesus – nothing.

22-31 AD. Emperor Tiberius – honoured by Herod Antipas with the new capital city of Tiberias – withdrew to debauchery on the island of Capri.

The emperor's isolation allowed the guard commander and consul Aelius Sejanus to establish himself as virtual regent in Rome, terrifying the city with spies, treason trials and executions.

Even the emperor's son Drusus was murdered, with Sejanus planning to marry his widow and thus link himself to the imperial family. Eventually alarmed, Tiberius had Sejanus arrested and killed, and returned to Rome.

Tiberius's playboy mansion, Capri.

Not a word about the evil designs of men from the "perfect" Jesus?

Witness to Jesus? – 2 Seneca and the Stoics

Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History (Harvard, 1984)
Charles Yonge, The Works of Philo Judaeus (Bohn, 1890)
G. Speake (Ed.), Dictionary of Ancient History (Penguin, 1995)
Tony Lane, Christian Thought (Lion, 1996)
W. Whiston, The Works of Flavius Josephus (Kregel, 1999)
M. Lyttelon, The Romans (Orbis, 1984)
J. Boardman, et al, Oxford History of the Classical World (Oxford, 1986)

Witness to Jesus? – Seneca and the Stoics
Non-Christian Testimony for Jesus? Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny, et al
Lying for God – Copy and Glorify!
Do you really think it all began with a sanctimonious Jewish wonder-worker, strolling about 1st century Palestine? Prepare to be enlightened. Jesus &ndash The Imaginary Friend

Still holding to the idea that some sort of holy man lies behind the legend? Better check out. Godman – Gestation of a Superhero

A closer look at the glib assertion that the Jesus story "got off the ground quickly and spread rapidly." What DID the Early Christians Believe?

Many currents fed the Jesus myth, like streams and tributaries joining to form a major river. Sourcing the legend – The Syncretic Heritage of Christianity

Much of the mythology of Christianity is a rehash of an older and even more transparent fabrication – Judaism. Jew Story – The Way of the Rabb i

Human ingenuity and cunning is matched by mankind's equally monumental credulity and wishful thinking. Christianity's Fabrication Factory

Church organisation, authority and membership preceded rather than followed the justifying doctrine. As the organisation and its needs changed so has the ‘Testament of God’ adapted accordingly. Dogma – The Word in all its Savage Glory
From religious policeman to grandee of the church, from beast fighter in Ephesus to beheading in Rome, Paul's story has more holes than a swiss cheese. St Paul the Apostle &ndash Dead in the water?

Orchestrated by ambitious Christian clerics, a cancer of superstition, fear and brutality was imposed across Europe. Heart of Darkness – The Criminal History of the Christian Church

The Christian Heaven may have been a vain folly but the Christian Hell has been real enough. Hell on Earth – A Brutal Superstition Spreads Across the World

Raised to the status of State religion the Christian Church reigned over the destruction of civilization. As the centuries passed religious barbarism grew ever more vicious. Winter of the World – The Terrible Cost of "Christendom"
For two millennia Christianity's anti-sexual, puritanical doctrines have inflicted untold damage on the mental, emotional and physical lives of countless millions of people. Those SEXUALLY hung-up Christians &ndash Loved-up for Jesus

With a Jewish father (stern patriarch) and a Christian mother (obsession with guilt and heaven) it is not surprising that Islam grew up a bit of a tartar. Islam's Desert Storm – 'Christendom' Reaps a Whirlwind
Heaven help us. The richest, most powerful nation in history has a psychotic infatuation with Jay-a-sus the Lawd! The Christianizing of the Americas

Some fifty articles are now available as a book. For your copy order:

24 thoughts on &ldquo King David’s Genes &rdquo

This article is not only fascinating but regardless of the fact that i really don t know personally the writer it seems that the research is grandiose

House of David? David represented the Jews only.. He United the Jews.. Judah only. NOT all 12 tribes of Israel (Jacob).. Jacob (Israel) was the other 10 tribes… the Kingdoms split. Judah was disowned for following Rehoboam.. Please don’t corrupt history according to text. Judah using the name of Israel is insulting and a false claim.. ONE tribe does not represent all 12..

Some loathe what they can’t be. I am sorry that you obviously are unable to be moshiach, but that is no reason to refute the concept based solely on your emotions. Either you believe the Tanakh, or you do not. Either you will change your thinking to conform to the Tanakh, or you are just one more individual with failed messianic ambitions who changes the words of Tanakh to conform to his selfish desire to be the lord of somebody.

The real king is a human being, perfectly imperfect, striving to conform himself to the Tanakh, rather than an egoist megalomaniac with the desire to rule. I would bet the actual king would be more shy than outgoing, and would seek solitude rather than limelight.

From time to time, I check on Geni to see my path to King David. Who knows what is fact and what is fiction? But it is fun to click on some of the 100 or so ancestors and learn some history. Some people get very hung up on the issue of having trees that might connect to something that is part mythology, but it never bothers me. I have plenty of work to do in the past three hundred years. As I always say, if you find something you know is a mistake, just fix it and move on.

One additional point to consider when one analyzes the question of proof of descent from King David is that until recently, no one was really interested in a path that went through a maternal line. And the tools we now have for working collaboratively on genealogy, like were unavailable only a few years ago. So I would not put much stock in old claims that proof is impossible. Since no genealogical fact can be proved with 100% certainty (not even your own parents) eventually it comes down to what you consider to be sufficient proof.

I believe I am descended from a Jewish background. I don’t have any way of knowing for sure. But I have memories and dreams and thoughts that have always been there.

I want to be part of this Jewish family. I was born and raised in Texas USA.

I was not raised Jewish, but I know inside I have some long ago connection.

I descend from Sephardic and Ashkenazi bloodlines. I found my maternal grandmother’s genealogy on the website geni. I don’t know who posted it nor do I know how accurate it is. When I followed it deep in the past, it took me all the way back to King David. People think we’re Jewish, but we’re Christian. I do know some of my Spa. ancestors were burned alive for being cryptojews. I’d like to know if I’m really a descendant of King David however I’m a female and genetic testing wouldn’t work on me.I would think it would wk on a relative. N R Perez

All you need to do is get your DNA tested. It will show up what are your true origins. Autosomal DNA test will take you back 6 generations or more. Y-DNA (paternal) and mtDNA (maternal) will take you right back. If you are Jewish your genes will show it.

The Davidic Dynasty website is not online anymore. Does anyone know why?

My name is Howard Gadsden a descendent of king David and the seer and prophet Gad I can trace my lineage to the kingdom of David through the prophet Gad l agree with Moshe dayan about him having a lineage of king David. I have the same lineage of king David I can see my lineage from great Britain king George III and Queen Charlotte and Queen Victoria because my birthday is may 24,1958 queen Victoria birthday is may 24,1819 and Moshe dayan birthday is may 20,1915 and king George III birthday is June 3 1738 so I am right in that king David lineage.

Isaiah 7: 14 says that the Messiah will be born of a virgin

Check the Hebrew and see if it really says that…

No, the hebrew mazoretic probably says maiden. But the Greek septuagint, is well over a thousand years older than the mazoretic text, and was translated from Hebrew to Greek, and the Greeks translated it as virgin, before Jesus the Messiah was born.

No…that prophecy speaks of a king of Israel who is raised as a non-Jew, Israel having not raised this individual, yet he comes to be a Jew anyways.

Study, study, study, and do not teach what you do not know.

Shooting a documentary I would like very much if you contact me

Everything we are is God-giving anything good in us he put in us what we see the things we hear the moon and stars Hes the Lord of it all If we trip stumble fall He’s the one that we call He’s the one that wrote the law in the brightest night or the darkest day to the Lord my God is to whom I pray I pray to keep my demons at bay I pray for the words I need to say and for my spirit to go the Lord’s way…Psalm of Cody

95% Much more Fiction than Facts…

=Deconstructing the walls of Jericho

Following 70 years of intensive excavations in the Land of Israel, archaeologists have found out: The patriarchs’ acts are legendary, the Israelites did not sojourn in Egypt or make an exodus, they did not conquer the land. Neither is there any mention of the empire of David and Solomon, nor of the source of belief in the God of Israel. These facts have been known for years, but Israel is a stubborn people and nobody wants to hear about it
By Ze’ev Herzog

This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is the fact that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, Jehovah, had a female consort and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai.Most of those who are engaged in scientific work in the interlocking spheres of the Bible, archaeology and the history of the Jewish people – and who once went into the field looking for proof to corroborate the Bible story – now agree that the historic events relating to the stages of the Jewish people’s emergence are radically different from what that story tells.

What follows is a short account of the brief history of archaeology, with the emphasis on the crises and the big bang, so to speak, of the past decade. The critical question of this archaeological revolution has not yet trickled down into public consciousness, but it cannot be ignored.

Inventing the Bible stories
The archaeology of Palestine developed as a science at a relatively late date, in the late 19th and early 20th century, in tandem with the archaeology of the imperial cultures of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome. Those resource-intensive powers were the first target of the researchers, who were looking for impressive evidence from the past, usually in the service of the big museums in London, Paris and Berlin. That stage effectively passed over Palestine, with its fragmented geographical diversity. The conditions in ancient Palestine were inhospitable for the development of an extensive kingdom, and certainly no showcase projects such as the Egyptian shrines or the Mesopotamian palaces could have been established there. In fact, the archaeology of Palestine was not engendered at the initiative of museums but sprang from religious motives.

The main push behind archaeological research in Palestine was the country’s relationship with the Holy Scriptures. The first excavators in Jericho and Shechem (Nablus) were biblical researchers who were looking for the remains of the cities cited in the Bible. Archaeology assumed momentum with the activity of William Foxwell Albright, who mastered the archeology, history and linguistics of the Land of Israel and the ancient Near East. Albright, an American whose father was a priest of Chilean descent, began excavating in Palestine in the 1920s. His declared approach was that archaeology was the principal scientific means to refute the critical claims against the historical veracity of the Bible stories, particularly those of the Wellhausen school in Germany.

The school of biblical criticism that developed in Germany beginning in the second half of the 19th century, of which Julian Wellhausen was a leading figure, challenged the historicity of the Bible stories and claimed that biblical historiography was formulated, and in large measure actually “invented,” during the Babylonian exile. Bible scholars, the Germans in particular, claimed that the history of the Hebrews, as a consecutive series of events beginning with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and proceeding through the move to Egypt, the enslavement and the exodus, and ending with the conquest of the land and the settlement of the tribes of Israel, was no more than a later reconstruction of events with a theological purpose.

Albright believed that the Bible is a historical document, which, although it had gone through several editing stages, nevertheless basically reflected the ancient reality. He was convinced that if the ancient remains of Palestine were uncovered, they would furnish unequivocal proof of the historical truth of the events relating to the Jewish people in its land.

The biblical archaeology that developed from Albright and his pupils brought about a series of extensive digs at the important biblical tells: Megiddo, Lachish, Gezer, Shechem (Nablus), Jericho, Jerusalem, Ai, Giveon, Beit She’an, Beit Shemesh, Hazor, Ta’anach and others. The way was straight and clear: every finding that was uncovered would contribute to the building of a harmonious picture of the past. The archaeologists, who enthusiastically adopted the biblical approach, set out on a quest to unearth the “biblical period”: the period of the patriarchs, the Canaanite cities that were destroyed by the Israelites as they conquered the land, the boundaries of the 12 tribes, the sites of the settlement period, characterized by “settlement pottery,” the “gates of Solomon” at Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer, “Solomon’s stables” (or Ahab’s), “King Solomon’s mines” at Timna – and there are some who are still hard at work and have found Mount Sinai (at Mount Karkoum in the Negev) or Joshua’s altar at Mount Ebal.

The crisis
Slowly, cracks began to appear in the picture. Paradoxically, a situation was created in which the glut of findings began to undermine the historical credibility of the biblical descriptions instead of reinforcing them. A crisis stage is reached when the theories within the framework of the general thesis are unable to solve an increasingly large number of anomalies. The explanations become ponderous and inelegant, and the pieces do not lock together smoothly. Here are a few examples of how the harmonious picture collapsed.

Patriarchal Age: The researchers found it difficult to reach agreement on which archaeological period matched the Patriarchal Age. When did Abraham, Isaac and Jacob live? When was the Cave of Machpelah (Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron) bought in order to serve as the burial place for the patriarchs and the matriarchs? According to the biblical chronology, Solomon built the Temple 480 years after the exodus from Egypt (1 Kings 6:1). To that we have to add 430 years of the stay in Egypt (Exodus 12:40) and the vast lifetimes of the patriarchs, producing a date in the 21th century BCE for Abraham’s move to Canaan.

However, no evidence has been unearthed that can sustain this chronology. Albright argued in the early 1960s in favor of assigning the wanderings of Abraham to the Middle Bronze Age (22nd-20th centuries BCE). However, Benjamin Mazar, the father of the Israeli branch of biblical archaeology, proposed identifying the historic background of the Patriarchal Age a thousand years later, in the 11th century BCE – which would place it in the “settlement period.” Others rejected the historicity of the stories and viewed them as ancestral legends that were told in the period of the Kingdom of Judea. In any event, the consensus began to break down.

The exodus from Egypt, the wanderings in the desert and Mount Sinai: The many Egyptian documents that we have make no mention of the Israelites’ presence in Egypt and are also silent about the events of the exodus. Many documents do mention the custom of nomadic shepherds to enter Egypt during periods of drought and hunger and to camp at the edges of the Nile Delta. However, this was not a solitary phenomenon: such events occurred frequently across thousands of years and were hardly exceptional.

Generations of researchers tried to locate Mount Sinai and the stations of the tribes in the desert. Despite these intensive efforts, not even one site has been found that can match the biblical account.

The potency of tradition has now led some researchers to “discover” Mount Sinai in the northern Hijaz or, as already mentioned, at Mount Karkoum in the Negev. These central events in the history of the Israelites are not corroborated in documents external to the Bible or in archaeological findings. Most historians today agree that at best, the stay in Egypt and the exodous occurred in a few families and that their private story was expanded and “nationalized” to fit the needs of theological ideology.

The conquest: One of the shaping events of the people of Israel in biblical historiography is the story of how the land was conquered from the Canaanites. Yet extremely serious difficulties have cropped up precisely in the attempts to locate the archaeological evidence for this story.

Repeated excavations by various expeditions at Jericho and Ai, the two cities whose conquest is described in the greatest detail in the Book of Joshua, have proved very disappointing. Despite the excavators’ efforts, it emerged that in the late part of the 13th century BCE, at the end of the Late Bronze Age, which is the agreed period for the conquest, there were no cities in either tell, and of course no walls that could have been toppled. Naturally, explanations were offered for these anomalies. Some claimed that the walls around Jericho were washed away by rain, while others suggested that earlier walls had been used and, as for Ai, it was claimed that the original story actually referred to the conquest of nearby Beit El and was transferred to Ai by later redactors.

Biblical scholars suggested a quarter of a century ago that the conquest stories be viewed as etiological legends and no more. But as more and more sites were uncovered and it emerged that the places in question died out or were simply abandoned at different times, the conclusion was bolstered that there is no factual basis for the biblical story about the conquest by Israelite tribes in a military campaign led by Joshua.

The Canaanite cities: The Bible magnifies the strength and the fortifications of the Canaanite cities that were conquered by the Israelites: “great cities with walls sky-high” (Deuteronomy 9:1). In practice, all the sites that have been uncovered turned up remains of unfortified settlements, which in most cases consisted of a few structures or the ruler’s palace rather than a genuine city. The urban culture of Palestine in the Late Bronze Age disintegrated in a process that lasted hundreds of years and did not stem from military conquest. Moreover, the biblical description is inconsistent with the geopolitical reality in Palestine. Palestine was under Egyptian rule until the middle of the 12th century BCE. The Egyptians’ administrative centers were located in Gaza, Yaffo and Beit She’an. Egyptian findings have also been discovered in many locations on both sides of the Jordan River. This striking presence is not mentioned in the biblical account, and it is clear that it was unknown to the author and his editors.

The archaeological findings blatantly contradict the biblical picture: the Canaanite cities were not “great,” were not fortified and did not have “sky-high walls.” The heroism of the conquerors, the few versus the many and the assistance of the God who fought for his people are a theological reconstruction lacking any factual basis.

Origin of the Israelites: The fusion of the conclusions drawn from the episodes relating to the stages in which the people of Israel emerged gave rise to a discussion of the bedrock question: the identity of the Israelites. If there is no evidence for the exodus from Egypt and the desert journey, and if the story of the military conquest of fortified cities has been refuted by archaeology, who, then, were these Israelites? The archaeological findings did corroborate one important fact: in the early Iron Age (beginning some time after 1200 BCE), the stage that is identified with the “settlement period,” hundreds of small settlements were established in the area of the central hill region of the Land of Israel, inhabited by farmers who worked the land or raised sheep. If they did not come from Egypt, what is the origin of these settlers? Israel Finkelstein, professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University, has proposed that these settlers were the pastoral shepherds who wandered in this hill area throughout the Late Bronze Age (graves of these people have been found, without settlements). According to his reconstruction, in the Late Bronze Age (which preceded the Iron Age) the shepherds maintained a barter economy of meat in exchange for grains with the inhabitants of the valleys. With the disintegration of the urban and agricultural system in the lowland, the nomads were forced to produce their own grains, and hence the incentive for fixed settlements arose.

The name “Israel” is mentioned in a single Egyptian document from the period of Merneptah, king of Egypt, dating from 1208 BCE: “Plundered is Canaan with every evil, Ascalon is taken, Gezer is seized, Yenoam has become as though it never was, Israel is desolated, its seed is not.” Merneptah refers to the country by its Canaanite name and mentions several cities of the kingdom, along with a non-urban ethnic group. According to this evidence, the term “Israel” was given to one of the population groups that resided in Canaan toward the end of the Late Bronze Age, apparently in the central hill region, in the area where the Kingdom of Israel would later be established.

A kingdom with no name
The united monarchy: Archaeology was also the source that brought about the shift regarding the reconstruction of the reality in the period known as the “united monarchy” of David and Solomon. The Bible describes this period as the zenith of the political, military and economic power of the people of Israel in ancient times. In the wake of David’s conquests, the empire of David and Solomon stretched from the Euprates River to Gaza (“For he controlled the whole region west of the Euphrates, from Tiphsah to Gaza, all the kings west of the Euphrates,” 1 Kings 5:4). The archaeological findings at many sites show that the construction projects attributed to this period were meager in scope and power.

The three cities of Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer, which are mentioned among Solomon’s construction enterprises, have been excavated extensively at the appropriate layers. Only about half of Hazor’s upper section was fortified, covering an area of only 30 dunams (7.5 acres), out of a total area of 700 dunams which was settled in the Bronze Age. At Gezer there was apparently only a citadel surrounded by a casematewall covering a small area, while Megiddo was not fortified with a wall.

The picture becomes even more complicated in the light of the excavations conducted in Jerusalem, the capital of the united monarchy. Large sections of the city have been excavated over the past 150 years. The digs have turned up impressive remnants of the cities from the Middle Bronze Age and from Iron Age II (the period of the Kingdom of Judea). No remains of buildings have been found from the period of the united monarchy (even according to the agreed chronology), only a few pottery shards. Given the preservation of the remains from earlier and later periods, it is clear that Jerusalem in the time of David and Solomon was a small city, perhaps with a small citadel for the king, but in any event it was not the capital of an empire as described in the Bible. This small chiefdom is the source of the “Beth David” title mentioned in later Aramean and Moabite inscriptions. The authors of the biblical account knew Jerusalem in the 8th century BCE, with its wall and the rich culture of which remains have been found in various parts of the city, and projected this picture back to the age of the united monarchy. Presumably Jerusalem acquired its central status after the destruction of Samaria, its northern rival, in 722 BCE.

The archaeological findings dovetail well with the conclusions of the critical school of biblical scholarship. David and Solomon were the rulers of tribal kingdoms that controlled small areas: the former in Hebron and the latter in Jerusalem. Concurrently, a separate kingdom began to form in the Samaria hills, which finds expression in the stories about Saul’s kingdom. Israel and Judea were from the outset two separate, independent kingdoms, and at times were in an adversarial relationship. Thus, the great united monarchy is an imaginary historiosophic creation, which was composed during the period of the Kingdom of Judea at the earliest. Perhaps the most decisive proof of this is the fact that we do not know the name of this kingdom.

Jehovah and his consort: How many gods, exactly, did Israel have? Together with the historical and political aspects, there are also doubts as to the credibility of the information about belief and worship. The question about the date at which monotheism was adopted by the kingdoms of Israel and Judea arose with the discovery of inscriptions in ancient Hebrew that mention a pair of gods: Jehovah and his Asherah. At two sites, Kuntiliet Ajrud in the southwestern part of the Negev hill region, and at Khirbet el-Kom in the Judea piedmont, Hebrew inscriptions have been found that mention “Jehovah and his Asherah,” “Jehovah Shomron and his Asherah, “Jehovah Teman and his Asherah.” The authors were familiar with a pair of gods, Jehovah and his consort Asherah, and send blessings in the couple’s name. These inscriptions, from the 8th century BCE, raise the possibility that monotheism, as a state religion, is actually an innovation of the period of the Kingdom of Judea, following the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel.

The archaeology of the Land of Israel is completing a process that amounts to a scientific revolution in its field. It is ready to confront the findings of biblical scholarship and of ancient history. But at the same time, we are witnessing a fascinating phenomenon in which all this is simply ignored by the Israeli public. Many of the findings mentioned here have been known for decades. The professional literature in the spheres of archaeology, Bible and the history of the Jewish people has addressed them in dozens of books and hundreds of articles. Even if not all the scholars accept the individual arguments that inform the examples I cited, the majority have adopted their main points.

Nevertheless, these revolutionary views are not penetrating the public consciousness. About a year ago, my colleague, the historian Prof. Nadav Ne’eman, published an article in the Culture and Literature section of Ha’aretz entitled “To Remove the Bible from the Jewish Bookshelf,” but there was no public outcry. Any attempt to question the reliability of the biblical descriptions is perceived as an attempt to undermine “our historic right to the land” and as shattering the myth of the nation that is renewing the ancient Kingdom of Israel. These symbolic elements constitute such a critical component of the construction of the Israeli identity that any attempt to call their veracity into question encounters hostility or silence. It is of some interest that such tendencies within the Israeli secular society go hand-in-hand with the outlook among educated Christian groups. I have found a similar hostility in reaction to lectures I have delivered abroad to groups of Christian bible lovers, though what upset them was the challenge to the foundations of their fundamentalist religious belief.

Never Seen: The Trace of a Jewish Spirit from Mesopotamia - History

Victor Sharpe

What you can find are coins, pottery, ancient scrolls, all providing conclusive, empirical and millennial evidence of Jewish civilization dotting the land known correctly as Israel &ndash not Palestine.
They are the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians.

They are indistinguishable from those Arabs who live in the surrounding artificial states such as Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia or the other entities throughout the Middle East created by the colonial powers, France and Britain. Both powers were victorious after the Ottoman Turkish Empire lay defeated at the end of World War I.

Both of these European powers carved artificial borders across the corpse of what had been Turkey&rsquos empire in the Middle East, and both France and Britain have left a resulting legacy of war and violence ever since. One such territory, previously occupied by Ottoman Turkey for 400 years, was the geographical entity known sometimes as Palestine.

But there is no such thing as a Palestinian people no such thing as a Palestinian history and no Palestinian language exists. There has never been any independent, sovereign Palestinian state in all of recorded history &ndash let alone an Arab independent state of Palestine.

You will search in vain for Palestinian Arab coinage or Palestinian Arab archaeological artefacts specifically related to any Palestinian Arab king or ancient leader. But what you will find are coins, pottery, ancient scrolls, all providing conclusive, empirical and millennial evidence of Jewish civilization dotting the land known correctly as Israel &ndash not Palestine.

The present-day so-called &ldquoPalestinians&rdquo are an Arab people sharing an overwhelmingly Muslim Arab culture, ethnicity and language identical to their fellow Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, with few if any distinctions.

Yasser Arafat, the arch-terrorist, who imposed himself undemocratically upon the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians, was fond of repeating the absurd myth that Palestinian Arabs were descended from the Canaanites and the Philistines. As we know, the bigger the lie, the bigger the number of people will believe it. And so Arafat twisted history in order to disinherit the indigenous native people of the land: the Jews.

Canaanites, without doubt, were the first known inhabitants of the Land of Israel before the first Hebrews, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives, settled there, and before Moses brought their descendants back to the Promised Land during the Exodus from Egypt.

The Canaanites lived both along the coastal plain and in the mountain regions, which run like a spine down the biblical territory of Samaria and Judea. Their language was similar to Hebrew and their territory stretched north into present day Lebanon and included the present day Golan Heights.

The Canaanites were finally subdued during the reign of King David. Most Canaanites were gradually assimilated into the Jewish people and were no longer a distinguishable people.

After the 8th century BC, the Canaanites no longer existed and the only people, therefore, who can trace back an historic link to ancient Canaan are the Jews, not the Palestinian Arabs. So much for Arafat&rsquos nonsense and for the on-going attempts by today&rsquos Palestinian Arabs, financed by vast Arab oil wealth, to hoodwink the world.

The term &ldquoPhilistines&rdquo provides the source from which the term &ldquoPalestinians&rdquo is derived. Like the Arabs who gave themselves the concocted name &ldquoPalestinian,&rdquo the Philistines were alien peoples who entered the land from the Mediterranean isles. That is why they were also known as the Sea People.

The modern &ldquoPalestinian Arabs&rdquo are primarily the descendants of itinerant Arabs who illegally flooded British Mandatory Palestine from Arab territories as far away as Sudan, Egypt, Syria and what was Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). They were attracted during the early decades of the 20th century by new employment opportunities provided by the Jewish pioneers, whose heroic efforts were turning the desert green again and restoring centuries of neglect that the land had endured under a succession of alien occupiers. Joan Peters proved this in her seminal work on the subject.

Britain, during its Mandate over the territory, turned a blind eye to the flood of illegal Arab aliens entering, while at the same time often arbitrarily limiting Jewish immigration into their ancient, biblical and ancestral homeland. This was a betrayal of the Mandate given to Britain to facilitate a Jewish Homeland in the geographical territory known as Palestine.

The Philistines were non-Semitic peoples who had entered the land from their homes throughout the Aegean Islands in general and from Crete in particular. These ancient Cretans arrived in Southern Canaan and along the Egyptian coastline and were known as &ldquoPelestim (from the Hebrew root for invaders)and Keretim&rdquo by the Hebrew tribes. It appears that their first settlement may have been Gaza. Later they settled in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gat and Ekron: the Pentapolis.

Their territory was primarily along the coastal Mediterranean interestingly, a territory not dissimilar to the present day Gaza. They attempted at different times to invade Judah but were turned back by the various Jewish biblical heroes and finally defeated by King David. From that time onwards they were diminished as a threat and as a separate people, finally disappearing from history and any &ldquoPalestinian&rdquo Arab attempt to claim a lineage with them is as absurd as that of links with the early Canaanites.

Moving fast forward to 73 AD, the first attempt of the Jews to reclaim their independence from the repressive yoke of Roman occupation ended when Jewish warriors and their families fled to the fortress of Masada from Jerusalem. The Romans had destroyed the Jewish capital city along with the Second Jewish Temple.

Historically documented and universally recognized, Masada, which rises to great height overlooking the Dead Sea, is where the heroic last stand took place and where the surviving warriors and their families took their own lives rather than be tortured or sent as slaves throughout the mighty Roman Empire. The Land where these stirring and epochal events took place was in the province known as Judæa. There is absolutely no mention of any place called &ldquoPalestine&rdquo before that time.

After the suppression of the Second Jewish Revolt in 135 AD against the Roman occupation, the Emperor Hadrian replaced the name of Judea (Yehuda in Hebrew from where the name Yehudim, Jews, originates) to Syria-Palæstina after the &ldquoPhilistines&rdquo who were the ancient enemies of the Israelites. Hadrian did so with the explicit purpose of effacing any trace of Jewish history.

Ancient Romans, as well as so-called Palestinian Arabs, have fulfilled the Hebrew Scriptural prophecy that declares: &ldquoThey lay crafty plans against Your People&hellip they say: &lsquocome, let us wipe them out as a nation let the name of Israel be remembered no more&rsquo.&rdquo &ndash Tehilim 83:3-4 (Psalm 83:3-4). They failed, as Israel is reconstituted as a modern Jewish state in its ancestral and biblical homeland.

No such name as Palestine occurs in any ancient document. It is not written in the Bible, neither in the Hebrew Scriptures nor in the Christian Testament, not even in Assyrian, Persian, Macedonian, Ptolemaic, Seleucian or other Greek sources.

There is no &ldquoPalestinian&rdquo people ever mentioned, not even by the Romans that invented the term.

If &ldquoPalestinians&rdquo allegedly are the historic inhabitants of the Holy Land, why did they not fight for independence from Roman occupation as Jews did? How is it possible that not a single &ldquoPalestinian&rdquo leader revolted against the Roman invaders or is mentioned in any historic record?

Why is there no Palestinian rebel group mentioned, as for example the Jewish Zealots? Why does every historic document mention the Jews as the native and aboriginal inhabitants, and the Greeks, Romans and others as foreigners dwelling in Judea but no &ldquoPalestinian&rdquo people, neither as native or as foreigner? What is more, there is no reference to any &ldquoPalestinian&rdquo people in the Koran, although Muslims claim that their prophet was once in al-Aksa (meaning the farthest place) which Muslims, for political purposes, chose to be Jerusalem &ndash an event not even mentioned in the Koran.

Saladin, a Kurd, knew the Jews and invited them to resettle in Jerusalem. He had no trouble in recognizing Jerusalem as their eternal capital city and the territory as their rightful Homeland. But he did not know any so-called Palestinians and to claim otherwise that Palestinians are the original people of Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, is not only counter to secular history but also is opposed to Islamic history.

The so-called &ldquoPalestinians&rdquo who claim Jerusalem want it so that they can take it away from the Jews for whom Jerusalem, known also as Zion, is the eternal, 3,000 year old Jewish capital.

Perhaps what links the modern day Arabs who call themselves &ldquoPalestinians&rdquo with the ancient Philistines is that both are invaders. The Philistines wanted to take from the Israelites the Holy Ark of the Covenant, while today&rsquos so-called &ldquoPalestinian Arabs&rdquo want to take from the Jewish people the Holy City of the Covenant &ndash Jerusalem.

A wealth of information about this and related subjects may be found at this website. I encourage all to read it.

Let me close, beginning with the words of a Christian Arab, Joseph Farah, who has made his home here in America and who knows of what he writes:

&ldquoThere has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Iraqis, etc. Keep in mind that the Arabs control 99.9 per cent of the Middle East lands. Israel represents one-tenth of one per cent of the landmass. But that&rsquos too much for the Arabs. They want it all. And that is ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about today&hellip No matter how many land concessions the Israelis make, it will never be enough.&rdquo (Joseph Farah, &ldquoMyths of the Middle East&rdquo)

Let us hear what other Arabs have said:

&ldquoThere is no such country as Palestine. &lsquoPalestine&rsquo is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. &lsquoPalestine&rsquo is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it&rdquo. (Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937)

&ldquoThere is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not&rdquo. (Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946)

&ldquoIt is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria&rdquo. (Representative of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956)

Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated: &ldquoThe only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 AD hardly lasted, as such, 22 years.&rdquo

The preceding declarations by Arab politicians were issued before 1967 as they had not the slightest knowledge of the existence of any Palestinian people.

How and when did they change their mind and decide that such people existed?

When the State of Israel was reborn in 1948 the Arabs had still not discovered that &ldquoancient&rdquo people. They were too busy attempting to annihilate the reconstituted sovereign State of Israel, and did not intend to create any Palestinian entity, but only to distribute the seized Jewish lands among the already existing Arab states.

The Arab armies were miraculously defeated by a tiny handful of Jewish defenders. The Arabs attempted again to destroy Israel in 1967, and were humiliated in only six days, in which they lost the lands that they had previously stolen and usurped in 1948. Those lands included Judea and Samaria, which comprise the biblical and ancestral Jewish heartland, tracing its history back some 4,000 years.

Now the world forgets such empirical history and prefers to name the ancestral Jewish territory, the "West Bank", which was illegally occupied by the Jordanian Arabs for 19 years from 1948 until its liberation in 1967.

In all those years, when Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria and Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip, neither of them created a &ldquoPalestinian&rdquo state, since the still non-existing Palestinians would have never claimed their alleged right to have their own state.

Paradoxically, during the British Mandate, which lasted from 1920 to 1948, it was the Jews that were known as Palestinians!

But read what other Arabs declared after the Six-Day War:

&ldquoThere are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity&hellip yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel&rdquo. Zuhair Muhsin, military commander of the PLO and member of the PLO Executive Council

&ldquoNever forget this one point: There is no such thing as a Palestinian people, there is no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria. You are an integral part of the Syrian people, Palestine is an integral part of Syria. Therefore it is we, the Syrian authorities, who are the true representatives of the Palestinian people&rdquo. Syrian dictator Hafez Assad to the PLO leader Yasser Arafat

&ldquoAs I lived in Palestine, everyone I knew could trace their heritage back to the original country their great grandparents came from. Everyone knew their origin was not from the Canaanites, but ironically, this is the kind of stuff our education in the Middle East included. The fact is that today&rsquos Palestinians are immigrants from the surrounding nations! I grew up well knowing the history and origins of today&rsquos Palestinians as being from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Christians from Greece, Muslim Sherkas from Russia, Muslims from Bosnia, and the Jordanians next door. My grandfather, who was a dignitary in Bethlehem, almost lost his life by Abdul Qader Al-Husseni (the leader of the Palestinian revolution) after being accused of selling land to Jews. He used to tell us that his village Beit Sahur (The Shepherds Fields) in Bethlehem County was empty before his father settled in the area with six other families. The town has now grown to 30,000 inhabitants&rdquo. Walid Shoebat

During the long years of alien occupation of the Land of Israel, though Jews were always living in the Land in whatever numbers they could sustain, visitors were always struck at how the land had become a barren waste with malarial swamps and a remarkably sparse population. The following reports from travellers to the desolate landscape that had become a mournful waste are quite telling:

&ldquoThere is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilee) not for thirty miles in either direction&hellip One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee&hellip Nazareth is forlorn&hellip Jericho lies a mouldering ruin&hellip Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation&hellip untenanted by any living creature&hellip A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds&hellip a silent, mournful expanse&hellip a desolation&hellip We never saw a human being on the whole route&hellip Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country&hellip Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes&hellip desolate and unlovely&hellip&rdquo Mark Twain, &ldquoThe Innocents Abroad&rdquo, 1867

One wonders, therefore, where were the &ldquoPalestinians&rdquo hiding so that Mark Twain could not see them? Where was that so-called &ldquoancient&rdquo people in the mid nineteenth century? Of course, Arab politicians now attempt to discredit Mark Twain, retreating into that realm of all scoundrels by calling him a racist.

&ldquoIn 1590 a &lsquosimple English visitor&rsquo to Jerusalem wrote: &lsquoNothing there is to be seen but a little of the old walls, which is yet remaining and all the rest is grass, moss and weeds much like to a piece of rank or moist ground&rsquo&rdquo. Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund

&ldquoThe land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil&rdquo. British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s

&ldquoPalestine is a ruined and desolate land&rdquo. Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian

&ldquoThe Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it&rdquo. Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s

&ldquoThe country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population&rdquo. James Finn, British Consul in 1857

&ldquoThe area was under populated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880&primes, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained &ldquoThe Holy Land&rdquo in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants &ndash both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts&hellip Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen&hellip The plows used were of wood&hellip The yields were very poor&hellip Schools did not exist&hellip The rate of infant mortality was very high&hellip The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert&hellip Many ruins were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants&rdquo. The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913

Far too many otherwise decent people have come to accept Arab oil financed falsehoods masquerading as history about the origins of the so-called Palestinian Arabs. These lies now permeate the mainstream media, schools, colleges, and universities and are perpetrated by the tenured leftist professors and the colleges who all too eagerly accept Saudi blood money.

The historical facts given above may be of help to those who have otherwise fallen hook, line and sinker for duplicitous Arab propaganda and what constitutes one of the biggest scams ever perpetrated upon the world.

Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer and author of several books including a collection of short stories called The Blue Hour and Volumes One, Two and Three of Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state.

Never dead, not even past. Poland’s struggle with history

The libel trial against two prominent Polish Holocaust researchers could mean that litigation will replace debate concerning difficult parts of Poland’s history, writes Laurence Weinbaum in this op-ed for NEE.

The Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw, which houses the Polish Center for Holocaust Research. Photo: Tilman2007

In both Jewish and Polish culture, remembrance is seen as a sacrosanct national and religious imperative. In William Faulkner’s Mississippi, the past is never dead it’s not even past. The same is certainly true of Poland — especially regarding the war years, when under German occupation, the country became a charnel house for its Jewish inhabitants.

Ever since the national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party came to power, the development and promotion of an uplifting historical narrative has been one of Warsaw’s highest priorities. To that end, the Polish state has expended vast amounts of public money to convince people at home and abroad that the story of wartime Poland was one of almost unmitigated patriotism and righteousness in the face of unimaginable torment. The attempt has been so crass and so devoid of nuance that even the prolific British historian Norman Davies, author of the fittingly titled God’s Playground —and a staunch champion of Poland — has registered his indignation. Ironically, a very similar policy had been adopted in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and Moscow is busy peddling its own “useful history ,” as the nonagenarian doyen of Holocaust scholarship Yehuda Bauer recently put it.

A watershed moment in the zealous pursuit of this policy was the enactment of an “anti-defamation” law in January 2018, essentially designed to squelch the suggestion that Polish society bore any responsibility for the destruction and despoliation of the Jews in its midst — and to criminalise those who dared to hint otherwise. Its authors took pains to justify the bill as an entirely legitimate reaction to the frequent references to Auschwitz as a Polish camp rather than a German one. Of course, however irksome, this misbranding has generally had more to do with carelessness and geography than any wilful attempt to slight Poles. Yet those who spearheaded the contentious legislation quickly discovered that instead of diverting attention from Polish culpability, it unleashed a wave of scrutiny not only about the period in question, but also the health of Poland’s hard-won democracy. Within months, its harshest provisions were walked back.

During the long years of communist censorship, the Jewish dimension to Poland’s calamitous plight under the German occupation became little more than a footnote to the general account. When it was raised, the story was crafted — sometimes carefully, often crudely — to suit the agenda of the moment. According to the legendary Radio Yerevan, the hardest thing to predict under communism was the past. Quite predictably, nothing was said at all about the Soviet occupation.

Since the collapse of “People’s Poland,” however, a determined band of iconoclastic Polish researchers has been trawling through archives that were once off limits. In no other post-communist country have scholars worked on the issue of native responses to the Holocaust with such tenacity and equanimity Bit by bit, they deconstructed the “kumbaya” story that had been propagated by both the communist regime and that of its ostensibly anti-communist successors. Apparently, whatever the differences in their pathology, they share a very similar view of history.

At the core of their narrative was the notion that Poles had, en masse, acted to aid their imperiled Jewish neighbors. Resistance to the Germans, it was insisted, was a near universal phenomenon, and collaboration an entirely marginal one. Unfortunately, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Such was the case with the tangled history of Polish–Jewish relations, and it quickly became clear that this research was not for the faint of heart.

It was, of course, Nazi Germany that masterminded and implemented the destruction of Jews in Poland (and elsewhere in Europe). However, to carry out that that diabolical plan the German occupiers were able to count on the indifference and often on the approval of broad segments of the autochthonous population. Complicity, it turns out — whether on the part of coldhearted enablers, savage executioners or rapacious beneficiaries — was far more widespread than had been previously imagined. This was so on both the individual and institutional levels, whether involving neighbours, the so-called Blue Police, or the various local authorities left intact by the Germans. Alongside thousands of valorous rescuers who are today memorialised by Yad Vashem, many times that number saw in the desperate, existential plight of the Jews a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for El-Dorado-like self-enrichment, religious triumphalism, or the realisation of sadistic fantasies. In fact those who did risk their lives to save Jews feared betrayal by fellow Poles more than any happenstance discovery by the Germans, which makes their audacity all the more remarkable.

Yet, with each successive revelation, a spasm of vitriolic rage was unleashed against the researchers who, it was said, had defamed the nation. Sometimes, even in polite circles, among those who could not be suspected of antisemitism, there was disbelief and denial. Ten years ago, in an interview with an Israeli newspaper, Poland’s then-foreign minister, Oxford-educated Radołsaw Sikorski, insisted that “Nazi Germany carried out the Holocaust on our soil against our will, but in front of our eyes.” Others, however, faced these findings with genuine introspection and contrition. In 2001, after it became known that Poles had slaughtered their Jewish neighbours in a small town in northeast Poland, the Jesuit philosopher Stanisław Musiał suggested that Jedwabne should be seen as a metonym for the Holocaust, alongside Auschwitz.

The truth is that however horrible the occupation was, many Poles believed that there was at least one positive aspect of the German presence — that the Jews, who before the war had been seen as a bone in the throat, would finally be dislodged. Moreover, it would be done without ordinary folks even having to get their hands dirty in the process — or at least not very dirty. In the years leading up to the war, antisemitism in Poland intensified, just as it had in much of Europe, and the Polish government and much of Polish society saw the removal of the Jewish minority through mass emigration as one of the highest items on its agenda.

It is not surprising, therefore, that even the most cursory reading of the underground press reveals the extent to which society was rife with antisemitism and gratified that Poland would emerge from the war, Judenfrei. That partially explains why more than a few of those who so ferociously fought the Germans saw little or no contradiction between that struggle and the war against the Jews that was being waged in parallel., This situation was not unique to Poland, and in some occupied countries such as the Netherlands, a similar phenomenon has been identified.

In one of his earliest reports, in early 1940, the heroic Polish courier Jan Karski observed that the attitude of Polish society to the Jews was “ruthless, often without pity. A large part avails itself of the prerogatives that they have in the new situation …. To some extent this brings the Poles closer to the Germans.” Antisemitism, he contended, “is something akin to a narrow bridge upon which the Germans and a . . . large part of Polish society are finding agreement.”

As a seven-year-old child in the 1930s, Irena Szydłowska, the daughter of a wealthy mill owner in Konin, befriended a Jewish girl in school. The two became inseparable. The friendship continued even as the Jews were confined to the ghetto, and Szydłowska helped her soul sister’s family by delivering food to them. When the ghetto was liquidated, the Jewish girl disappeared, murdered by the Germans together with other Jews in the autumn of 1941. That horrific massacre in which the Jews were killed using a mixture of lime and water was described in a chilling 1945 testimony by Mieczysław Sękiewicz, a Pole forced to help dispose of the human remains. On the Sunday after the Jews had been deported, the then-sixteen-year-old Szydłowska and her family attended mass. The priest told the faithful that a terrible and tragic event had taken place, that thousands of people had been forced to leave their homes, but then went on to say that there was a positive side as well. The Jews themselves had been to blame, and what happened to them was punishment for having crucified Jesus. The Germans knew what they were doing, he declared, and at the end of the day, Poland would be cleansed of Jews. After the Germans had been chased out, Poland was still wracked by anti-Jewish violence, to which not a few survivors and returnees from Soviet exile fell victim.

In recent weeks, there have been several developments that underscore the ongoing assault on historical research in Poland. Pioneering Holocaust scholars Barbara Engelking and Jan Grabowski, accused of libel for a passage in a meticulously researched 1,700-page, two-volume opus, were called into court to defend themselves in what was ostensibly a civil lawsuit. The 81-year-old plaintiff is the niece of a village head who according to the testimony of a survivor rescued some Jews even while betraying others. There is little doubt that Filomena Leszczyńska was actually acting at the behest of a self-styled anti-defamation NGO that enjoys the political and financial backing of the state and that it is Polish officialdom that is the thinly disguised spiritus movens of the whole exercise — seeing it as a test case that could intimidate a new generation of scholars. On February 9th, the court ruled that the historians would have to publicly apologise for their characterisation of the man in question. The trial made headlines all over the world, and the defendants may at least derive some consolation in the fact that their Dalej jest noc has aroused intense curiosity among the Polish public and that an English edition will be released shortly. Certainly, no author could ever hope for advertising this good.

Lest there be any doubt as to the stance of the authorities, in the wake of the verdict, Poland’s justice minister, Zbigniew Ziobro, immediately tweeted: “This plucky lady [Madame Leszczyńska] stood up to the mendacious propaganda besmirching Poles.” According to Stanisław Żaryn, spokesperson for the Polish security service, the international media had used the case against Engelking and Grabowski “to slander Poland” and this was a dangerous phenomenon adversely affecting the nation’s security. The message is unmistakable. Henceforth, any researcher publishing unpleasant truths risks provoking the ire of the Polish state, and the veracity of historical truth is now to be decided through litigation, not debate among scholars.

Few today remember the case of Władysław Dering, who sued Leon Uris for libel in a London court in the early 1964. Based on an early book on the Holocaust by Joseph Tenenbaum, Uris had made an en passant reference to the ghastly forced sterilisations performed on Jewish prisoners in Auschwitz by the Polish physician who was a fellow inmate. Having found inaccuracies in the passage in question (the operations were no less horrifying than described, though far fewer in number), the jury ruled in favour of the plaintiff, awarding him a half-penny, the smallest coin in circulation, for the damages to his reputation. Of course, Dering’s legal action was not acting as a proxy of Her Majesty’s government, and the verdict was understood in the spirit in which it was intended — as comeuppance to the merciless man who had sued the celebrated American novelist.

In the meantime, the Polish anti-defamation law is being enforced on some level. Earlier this month, journalist Katarzyna Markusz was summoned by the police and questioned about how she had “offended the Polish nation”. Writing in the journal Krytyka Polityczna, she had dared to ask, “Will we live to see the day when the Polish authorities will admit that among the Poles, by and large, there was no sympathy for the Jews and that Polish participation in the Holocaust is a historical fact?”

One hopes that Poles will live to see that day. Whatever the sentiments of Poland’s fervent well-wishers, especially those deeply engaged with the place we called home for so many generations, that change can only come from within. This issue is not one of right or left, and it transcends the freedom to study the past without fear of government interference What is really at stake here is the future of the country’s political culture. To be sure, time is not on the side of the obfuscators, but for now, sadly, Poland continues to careen down the same perilous path. Recent milestones are the appointment of Tomasz Rzymkowski, whose antisemitic views are a matter of record, as the second most senior official in the ministry of education, and of Tomasz Greniuch, a former activist for the neo-Fascist ONR, as director of the Wrocław branch of the influential Institute of National Remembrance. Paradoxically, it is that institution, flush with state subsidies, that is charged with researching the crimes of the Nazi and communist regimes, and of late, rewriting history in compliance with the instructions of its sponsors.

More than 70 years after his death, George Orwell’s oft-cited adage “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past” seems especially apt. And the searing words of the Polish-Jewish poet Henryk Grynberg have never resonated more powerfully:

If they shout us down to death …

there is no trace of crime

if they do it for no reason

no one knows who has done it

Laurence Weinbaum is the chief editor of the Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs and co-author with Prof. Dariusz Libionka of Bohaterowie, hochsztaplerzy, opisywacze. Wokół Żydowskiego Związku Wojskowego [Heroes, Hucksters and Storytellers: On the Jewish Military Union (ŻZW)] published by the Polish Center for Holocaust Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In May 2008, the late President Lech Kaczyński decorated him with the Złoty Krzyż Zasługi for his ongoing contributions to Polish–Jewish dialogue.

In memoriam Jana Jagielskiego (1937-2021)
Przyjaciela, Przewodnika, Pedagoga, Pioniera

ochrony pamięci o polskich Żydach

Article Comments

Submitted by Johnny Groves on Sat, 06/27/2020 - 09:07

Hey, thanks for this article…

Hey, thanks for this article. I was wondering about if the spirits of the deceased could somehow fall into the category of demons? I agree that their is a form of spirits from Genesis 6, but there seems to be a different form "type" of demon. For instance, a child with an imaginary friend. How do we know that the spirits of deceased humans don't also roam the earth (deceased humans who died without knowing God)? In the book of Samuel, for instance, the medium was able to summon Samuel and he had a conversation with Saul. This would nullify the belief that all contacts with the dead are merely "familiar spirits" who are imitating the dead. So, when you make distinctions of evil spirits (unclean spirits) and demons, do you have any literature that includes or mentions the spirits of evil people (say Ted Bundy) becoming demons? This would be similar to a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, and if people weren't meant to die, and yet satan caused death to enter this world. you'd wonder if the human form in spirit form (after they die, which was never intended until Adam and Eve sinned) actually transformed into a form of life that God never intended humans to be in (because if we weren't supposed to die, then how do we know a deceased human's spirit isn't a type of offspring of Satan. as his temptation helped cause death to enter the world).

Never Seen: The Trace of a Jewish Spirit from Mesopotamia - History

These descendants were sent back under Prince Sheshbazzar to set up a temple to help the Persian war effort. Its design – a succession of courtyards set high on a hill, at its heart enclosing a ‘holy of holies’ – was inspired by the multi-level temple ziggurats (which ‘reached up to heaven’) that the Jews had seen in Mesopotamia. Under the patronage of Cyrus, and despite the local opposition of Jews who had never left, the ‘children of Judah’, established a theocratic colony on the Persian model under an appointed Persian governor. Persian rule of Judah would last two centuries.

Before the exile, Jewish religion – such as it was – had Man facing an anthropomorphic, capricious tribal God, who looked for obedience rather than worship to assuage his anger. It was, apparently, Abraham's unswerving obedience when asked by Yahweh to sacrifice his son that validated his choice as ‘Patriarch.’ But at least obedience was within the wit of man himself. Pre-Babylon, only the ‘tribe’ of Levi could be priests and they performed the role of itinerant shamans. Post-Babylon, the Levite priests were downgraded to menial temple workers and the Sadducee clan took over the high priesthood. By taking for themselves the right to intercede with God, to placate his anger and honour his glory, the earthly power of the high priests of the temple was assured.

The theology changed to reflect the new organisation. Yahweh was elevated to sole god and was deemed to require endless sacrifice to placate his wrath. Thus all Jews acquired a duty to bring offerings to the priests (who were thereby freed of more mundane tasks). Not only did this give the priesthood their daily provisions and a major slice of the butchery business but also control over the lucrative leather trades. In time, tribute to the priesthood was extended to include tithes, dispensation fees and commission on money changing (only the ‘clean’ shekel could be offered at the temple no other coinage was acceptable).

Taking their cue from Zoroastrianism, the dominant religion of Persia, the returnees brought with them not only priestly monopoly and control over worship (and in a theocracy that implied control over law and social behaviour as well) but also the notion of an evil god (Satan) as a counterpoise to good god (Yahweh). Similarly, for the first time Judaism acquired angels and demons. At this point appears the curious tale of an idyllic garden (shades of Babylon), a satanic snake and a disobedient female – which nicely explained why life was full of wickedness, why women should be subjugated and why there was death itself.

The Persians made no images of their dual gods, but for them fire represented purity and was an incarnation of the light god Mazda.. On the other hand matter (including the human body) was created by the dark god Angra Mainyu. In stark contrast, therefore, to the earlier influence of fertility rites of the Canaanite and Phoenician cities - the celebration of life - the Yahweh cult now became at heart hostile to the body. Human sexuality was to cause the priests more distress than any amount of bloodshed.

And bloodshed there was, as the colonisers (the ‘Golan’) drove out (and de-Judaised!) the original inhabitants (the Am Ha-Aretz or ‘people of the land’), whom they were forbidden to marry. The arrival of an organized priesthood acted as a brake on secular development which might otherwise have produced a local monarch, albeit one under Persian dominance. Both Nehemiah, ‘cup-bearer’ to the Persian king, and Ezra, his ‘minister of Jewish affairs’, introduced interpretations and refinements of ‘the Law’ which kept Jewish piety compatible with the interests and security of the empire. With a brutal ruthlessness, for example, Ezra commanded Jews to ‘send away’ their foreign wives and children. ‘Membership of Israel was now confined to the descendants of those who had been exiled in Babylon.’ (Armstrong, p102).

A Sacred History Invented

While fulsome in their praise of the Persian High King Cyrus, the priest authors of official texts made clear their misgivings about ‘kings.’ The ambivalence is finely drawn in the tale, which now appeared but set several hundred years earlier, of an ideal kingship – in fact, of a Golden Age of kingship. Two successive kings, each ruling for ‘forty years’, showed all the right characteristics. (Forty is one of those magic numbers much favoured by the biblical authors, along with seven and twelve. Forty is used no fewer than 157 times, variously for days, nights, years, cubits and what-have-you!!) True, they had a few weaknesses but these became manifest only when they went against Yahweh’s laws and, of course, the guidance of the priests!

In this tale of Israel’s Camelot, it seems kings David and Solomon (his son) combined a brilliant mix of warrior vigilance with unfailing religious devotion. With Yahweh rooting for them, they slew, smote and heroically annihilated peoples – including women and children – all the way from the Gulf of Aqaba to the River Euphrates. Ancient Israel was an Empire, no less! A fabulous story emerges of David, in turns shepherd, musician and giant killer (he felled Goliath with a single shot, causing the whole enemy army to run away – possibly the most unique battle in ancient warfare). Of Solomon we hear of 700 wives plus 300 concubines (such Hebrew virility!) of prodigious wealth of awesome wisdom (‘wiser than all men’) of a vast army of cavalry and chariots (just like the invaders from the north) of a Red Sea fleet (Israel a maritime power, just like Phoenicia!) of a monumental temple entirely sheathed in gold (beat that, Babylon!) even of an exotic visitor – the Queen of Sheba – paying homage.

David was chosen (‘anointed’) for both himself and all subsequent generations! by a priest (the ‘judge’ Samuel). Once King, David returned the favour by ‘anointing’ Zadok and all his descendants to the position of High Priest. Thus the Zadokite clan became the nucleus of the Sadducee priesthood, the authors of the whole fantastic story.

Though much honoured in legend (and Hollywood) the simple truth is that no evidence has ever been found of David, Solomon or his ‘empire.’ Neither secular history, nor archaeology, provides a shred of confirmation for the highly detailed and colourful biblical stories. Not a single stone or artifact from what was supposedly the world’s most fabulous temple has ever been identified. The extraordinary magnificence of the Jewish Empire is matched only by the total void when we seek confirmation from any other source.

For example, the Asiatic Greek Herodotus – writing one of the world’s first histories in the 5th century BC – wrote of peoples and places throughout the Persian empire and beyond. Herodotus knew of lake-dwellers in far away Europe and of barbarous tribes along the north African coast. He was familiar with the painted warriors of the Sudan and with the nomads of southern Russia.

Yet in all his work Herodotus makes no single mention of Jews or Hebrews, Judah or Israel. He speaks of the coastal cities of Sidon and Tyre but never of Jerusalem. He records the great temple of Aphrodite Urania at Ascalon but fails to mention any temple of Solomon.

He does, however, know of circumcision and says this:

'"The Colchians, the Egyptians, and the Ethiopians are the only races which from ancient times have practiced circumcision. The Phoenicians and the Syrians of Palestine themselves admit that they adopted the practice from Egypt…No other nations use circumcision, and all of these are without doubt following the Egyptian lead. "

&ndash Herodotus, The Histories, Book 2,104 Penguin, p167.

Herodotus gathered much of his information first-hand from priests and holy men. His travels took him to the frontier of Upper Egypt and to Babylon itself. He also recorded popular beliefs and legends. Speaking of the inhabitants at the eastern end of the Mediterranean he says:

'The Phoenicians, with the Syrians of Palestine…have a tradition that in ancient times they lived on the Persian Gulf, but migrated to the Syrian coast, where they are found today. This part of Syria, together with the country which extends southward to Egypt, is all known as Palestine.'

&ndash Herodotus, The Histories, Book 7,89 Penguin, p472 .

For Herodotus, this land is the home of ‘Syrians known as Palestinians’. If tribesmen in the interior escaped his attention they assuredly were not the authors of a great empire which supposedly had existed a few hundred years before his own time. More than two thousand years later nothing has emerged to change our understanding:

"This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel.

Perhaps even harder to swallow is that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom."

&ndash Ha'aretz Magazine, October 1999.

All that we do have is some evidence of minor regional war lords or ‘city bosses’ (‘kings’) who, in the centuries before first Assyria, and then Babylon, overran Palestine. Yet more tellingly in the Jewish ‘nationalistic’ saga, we have the rationale for a theocratic state and a religious caste system. The priests are born to rule both because it is Yahweh’s design and because secular kings (even magnificent ones) transgress and run amok.

Yet kings are not excluded out of hand. The priesthood loathed the diminution of their power and the intrusion of secular laws but were delighted by the enlargement of the territory of the theocratic state, such as might be achieved by a warrior king (and as idealised in the ‘empire’ conjectured for Solomon). The duality of power, the conflict between king and priest, runs as a theme through subsequent Jewish history and was never resolved.

Above all, from the ‘Davidic’ legend we get the supposed primacy of the ‘House of David’ and the awful conviction that, when the hour is right, a warrior/priest (or a warrior and a priest – keeping him on the straight and narrow!) will appear to lead the nation of Israel against the forces of darkness – a Messiah (or Messiahs)!

It is worth noting that 'Davidic descent' as some sort of exclusive cachet – supposedly one of the marks of Jesus – would have been patently absurd in first century Palestine. If that fabled polygamous king and his prodigiously promiscuous son Solomon – he of 'seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines'! – had actually existed, the passage of a thousand years (or twenty eight generations according to Matthew, forty three generations according to Luke) would have assured that each and every Jew – all seven million of them – could have made the same 'Davidic' claim!

The Exodus and Ancient Egyptian Records

“And Moses said unto the people: Do not fear! Stand and see the deliverance of Hashem which he shall do for you this day. For as you have seen Egypt this day, never will you see it again.” –Exodus 14:13

When was the Exodus?

The Exodus from Egypt was not only the seminal event in the history of the Jewish People, but was an unprecedented and unequaled catastrophe for Egypt. In the course of Pharaoh’s stubborn refusal to let us leave and the resultant plagues sent by Hashem, Egypt was devastated. Hail, disease and infestations obliterated Egypt’s produce and livestock, while the plague of the first born stripped the land of its elite, leaving inexperienced second sons to cope with the economic disaster. The drowning of the Egyptian armed forces in the Red Sea left Egypt open and vulnerable to foreign invasions.

From the days of Flavius Josephus (c.70 CE) until the present, historians have tried to find some trace of this event in the ancient records of Egypt. They have had little luck.

According to biblical chronology, the Exodus took place in the 890th year before the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians in 587 BCE, or 1476 BCE [1]. In this year, the greatest warlord Egypt ever knew, Thutmose III, deposed his aunt Hatshepsut and embarked on a series of conquests, extending the Egyptian sphere of influence and tribute over Israel and Syria and crossing the Euphrates into Mesopotamia itself. While it is interesting that this date actually saw the death of an Egyptian ruler — and there have been those who tried to identify Queen Hatshepsut as the Pharaoh of the Exodus — the power and prosperity of Egypt at this time is hard to square with the biblical account of the Exodus.

Some historians have been attracted by the name of the store-city Raamses built by the Israelites before the Exodus. They have drawn connections to the best known Pharaoh of that name, Ramses II, or Ramses the Great, and set the Exodus around his time, roughly 1300 BCE. In order to do this, they had to reduce the time between the Exodus and the destruction of the Temple by 180 years, which they did by reinterpreting the 480 years between the Exodus and the building of the Temple (I Kings 6:1) as twelve generations of forty years. By “correcting” the Bible and setting a generation equal to twenty five years, these imaginary twelve generations become 300 years.

Aside from the fact that such “adjustments” of the biblical text imply that the Bible cannot be trusted, in which case there is no reason to accept that there ever was an Exodus, Ramses II was a conqueror second only to Thutmose III. And as in the case of Thutmose III, the Egyptian records make it clear that nothing even remotely resembling the Exodus happened anywhere near his time of history.

We appear to be at a standstill. The only options are to relegate the Exodus to the status of myth, or to conclude that there is something seriously wrong with the generally accepted dates for Egyptian history.

In 1952, Immanuel Velikovsky published Ages in Chaos, the first of a series of books in which he proposed a radical redating of Egyptian history in order to bring the histories of Egypt and Israel into synchronization. Velikovsky’s work sparked a wave of new research into ancient history. And while the bulk of Velikovsky’s conclusions have not been borne out by this research, his main thesis has. This is that the apparent conflict between ancient records and the Bible is due to a misdating of those ancient records, and that when these records are dated correctly, all such “conflicts” disappear.[2]

Both Thutmose III and Ramses II date to a period called the Late Bronze Age, which ended with the onset of the Iron Age. Since the Iron Age has been thought to be the time when Israel first arrived in Canaan, the Late Bronze Age has been called “The Canaanite Period,” and historians have limited their search for the Exodus to this time. When we break free of this artificial restraint, the picture changes drastically.

According to the midrash [3], the Pharaoh of the Exodus was named Adikam. He had a short reign of four years before drowning in the Red Sea. The Pharaoh who preceded him, whose death prompted Moses’s return to Egypt (Exodus 2:23, 4:19), was named Malul. Malul, we are told, reigned from the age of six to the age of one hundred. Such a long reign — ninety four years! — sounds fantastic, and many people would hesitate to take this midrash literally. As it happens, though, Egyptian records mention a Pharaoh who reigned for ninety four years. And not only ninety four years, but from the age of six to the age of one hundred! This Pharaoh was known in inscriptions as Pepi (or Phiops) II [4]. The information regarding his reign is known both from the Egyptian historian-priest Manetho, writing in the 3rd century BCE, and from an ancient Egyptian papyrus called the Turin Royal Canon, which was only discovered in the last century.

Egyptologists, unaware of the midrash, have wrestled with the historicity of Pepi II’s long reign. One historian wrote: [5]

Pepi II…appears to have had the longest reign in Egyptian history and perhaps in all history. The Turin Royal Canon credits him with upwards of ninety years. One version of the Epitome of Manetho indicates that he “began to rule at the age of six and continued to a hundred.” Although modern scholars have questioned this, it remains to be disproved.

While the existence of a two kings who reigned a) ninety four years, b) in Egypt, and c) from the age of six, is hard enough to swallow as a coincidence, that is not all. Like Malul, Pepi II was the second to last king of his dynasty. Like Malul, his successor had a short reign of three or four years, after which Egypt fell apart. Pepi II’s dynasty was called the 6th Dynasty, and was the last dynasty of the Old Kingdom in Egypt. Following his successor’s death, Egypt collapsed, both economically and under foreign invasion. Egypt, which had been so powerful and wealthy only decades before, suddenly could not defend itself against tribes of invading bedouin. No one knows what happened. Some historians have suggested that the long reign of Pepi II resulted in stagnation, and that when he died, it was like pulling the support out from under a rickety building. But there is no evidence to support such a theory.

  • Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere.
  • The river is blood.
  • That is our water! That is our happiness! What shall we do in respect thereof? All is ruin!
  • Trees are destroyed.
  • No fruit or herbs are found…
  • Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire.
  • Forsooth, grain has perished on every side.
  • The land is not light [dark].

Velikovsky recognized this as an eyewitness account of the ten plagues. Since modern men are not supposed to believe in such things, it has been interpreted figuratively by most historians. The destruction of crops and livestock means an economic depression. The river being blood indicates a breakdown of law an order and a proliferation of violent crime. The lack of light stands for the lack of enlightened leadership. Of course, that’s not what it says, but it is more palatable than the alternative, which is that the phenomena described by Ipuwer were literally true.

When the Bible tells us that Egypt would never be the same after the Exodus, it was no exaggeration. With invasions from all directions, virtually all subsequent kings of Egypt were of Ethiopian, Libyan or Asiatic descent. When the Sages tell us that King Solomon was able to marry Pharaoh’s daughter despite the ban on marrying Egyptian converts until they have been Jewish for three generations because she was not of the original Egyptian nation, there is no reason to be surprised.

In the Wake of the Exodus

It was not only Egypt which felt the birth pangs of the Jewish People. The end of the Old Kingdom in Egypt preceded only slightly the end of the Early Bronze age in the Land of Israel. The end of this period, dated by archeologists to c.2200 BCE (in order to conform to the Egyptian chronology), has long puzzled archeologists. The people living in the Land of Israel during Early Bronze were the first urban dwellers there. They were, by all available evidence, primitive, illiterate and brutal. They built large but crude fortress cities and were constantly at war. At the end of the Early Bronze Age, they were obliterated.

Who destroyed Early Bronze Age Canaan? Some early archeologists, before the vast amount of information we have today had been more than hinted at, suggested that they were Amorites. The time, they thought, was more or less right for Abraham. So why not postulate a great disaster in Mesopotamia, which resulted in people migrated from there to Canaan? Abraham would have been thus one in a great crowd of immigrants (scholars of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries often felt compelled to debunk the idea of divine commands).

Today, the picture is different. The invaders of the Early Bronze/Middle Bronze Interchange seem to have appeared out of nowhere in the Sinai and the Negev. Initially, they moved up into the Transjordan, and then crossed over north of the Dead Sea, conquering Canaan and wiping out the inhabitants. Of course, since we are dealing with cultural remnants and not written records, we don’t know that the previous inhabitants were all killed. Some of them may have remained, but if so, they adopted enough of the newcomers’ culture to “disappear” from the archeological record.

Two archeologists have already gone on record identifying the invaders as the Israelites. In an article published in Biblical Archeology Review [7], Israeli archeologist Rudolph Cohen demonstrated that the two invasions match in every detail. Faced with the problem that the two are separated in time by some eight centuries, Cohen backed down a bit:

I do not necessarily mean to equate the MBI people with the Israelites, although an ethnic identification should not be automatically ruled out. But I am suggesting that at the very least the traditions incorporated into the Exodus account may have a very ancient inspiration reaching back to the MBI period.

The Italian archeologist Immanuel Anati has come to similar conclusions [8]. He added other pieces of evidence, such as the fact that Ai, Arad and other cities destroyed by Israel in the invasion of Canaan were destroyed at the end of the Early Bronze Age, but remained uninhabited until the Iron Age. Since the Iron Age is when Israel supposedly invaded Canaan, we have been in the embarrassing position of having the Bible describe the destructions of these cities at the very time that they were being resettled for the first time in almost a millennium. When the conquest is redated to the end of the Early Bronze, history (the Bible) and physical evidence (archeology) are in harmony. Anati goes further than Cohen in that he claims the invaders really were the Israelites. How does he get around the 800 year gap? By inventing a “missing book of the Bible” between Joshua and Judges that originally covered this period.

  1. The Middle Bronze Age invaders, after some centuries of rural settlement, expanded almost overnight into an empire, stretching from the Nile to the Euphrates. This empire has been termed the “Hyksos Empire,” after a group of nomads that invaded Egypt, despite the fact that there is no historical evidence for such an identification. History knows of one such empire. Archeology knows of one such empire. The same adjustment which restores the Exodus and Conquest to history does the same to the United Kingdom of David and Solomon.
  2. The Empire fell, bringing the Middle Bronze Age to an end. Archeologists and Egyptologists have engaged for some time in a great debate over whether it was civil war or Egyptian invasions which destroyed the “Hyksos” empire. The biblical accounts of the revolt of the ten northern tribes and the invasion of Shishak king of Egypt make the debate irrelevant.
  3. The period following the end of the Empire was one of much unrest, but saw tremendous literary achievements. Since this period, the Late Bronze Age, was the last period before the Iron Age, and since the Iron Age was believed to have been the Israelite Period, the Late Bronze Age was called the Canaanite Period. Strangely, these Canaanites spoke and wrote in beautiful Biblical Hebrew. Semitic Canaanites? Did the Bible get it wrong again? But then, coming after the time of David and Solomon, they weren’t really Canaanites. The speakers and writers of Biblical Hebrew were, as might have been guessed — Biblical Hebrews.
  4. Finally we get to the Iron Age. This is when Israel supposedly arrived in Canaan. But it has been obvious to archeologists for over a century that the archeology of the Iron Age bears little resemblance to the biblical account of the conquest of Canaan. There were invasions, but they were from the north, from Syria and Mesopotamia, and they came in several waves, unlike the lightning conquest under Joshua. The people who settled the land after the invasions also came from the north, though there is much evidence to suggest that they weren’t the invaders, and merely settled an empty land after it had been destroyed by others. The south remained in the hands of the Bronze Age inhabitants, albeit on a lower material level.

The conclusions drawn from this evidence have been devastating. The people in the south, who constituted the kingdom of Judah, from whence came the Jews, has been determined to be of Canaanite descent! If not biologically, then culturally. And the people in the north, the other ten tribes of Israel, have been determined to have been no relation to the tribes of the south. The idea of twelve tribes descended from the sons of Jacob has been removed from the history books and recatalogued under “Mythology, Jewish.”

A simple redating of the archeological periods in the Land of Israel brings the entire scope of biblical history into synchronization with the ancient historical record. Only time will tell whether more archeologists will follow Cohen and Anati in their slowly dawning recognition of the historicity of the Bible.

[1] According to the Jewish historical tradition, the generally accepted date is 166 years later than the traditional date of 421 BCE. For the purposes of this article, I am using the conventional dates, but this does not imply an acceptance of those dates over the traditional Jewish ones.

[2] None of this should imply an acceptance of Velikovsky’s revision of ancient history.

[3] Sefer HaYashar and The Prayer of Asenath (an ancient pseudepigraphical work) contain this information, though Sefer HaYashar only gives the 94 year reign length without Malul’s age.

[4] Egyptian kings had a vast titulary. They generally had at least five official throne names, not to mention their personal name or names, and whatever nicknames their subjects gave them.

[5] William Kelly Simpson in The Ancient Near East: A History, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1971.

[6] A.H. Gardiner, “Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage from a hieratic papyrus in Leiden” (1909). Historians are almost unanimous in dating this papyrus to the very beginning of the Middle Kingdom. The events it describes, consequently, deal with the end of the Old Kingdom.

[7] Rudolph Cohen, “The Mysterious MB I People – Does the Exodus Tradition in the Bible Preserve the Memory of Their Entry into Canaan?” in Biblical Archeology Review IX:4 (1983), pp.16ff.

[8] Immanuel Anati, The Mountain of God, Rizzoli International Publications, New York 1986.

Watch the video: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS. Last living Jewish member of ancient Jewish town of Pekiin speaks out


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