Tradition and Interpretation

By G. W. Anderson | Go to book overview

III
RECENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERIES AND THEIR BEARING ON THE OLD TESTAMENT

J GRAY

IN this chapter one is conscious of the necessity of selection and the consequent limitation. To say nothing of the formative cultures of earlier periods, we shall not be able to discuss major texts with the fullness they deserve, important data of archaeology as they are, not only for the dating of associated strata as direct evidence for historical and cultural conditions in relevant periods and areas, but as relating directly to the Old Testament in content, literary form, and language.

Thus for instance the administrative correspondence from Mari in the Middle Bronze Age elucidates the impingement of semi-nomad tribal confederacies on the settled land1 as a more aggressive movement than Alt and Noth envisaged for the penetration of the fathers of Israel until their eventual local clashes with the Canaanites.2 Certain aspects of prophecy which are familiar from Israel are also illustrated,3 though the comparison reveals significant differences, the large perspective of the consistent purpose of God in history

____________________
1
J. R. Kupper, Les Nomades en Mésopolamie au temps des rois de Mari, Paris, 1957; M. Weippert, The Settlement of the Israelite Tribes in Palestine, SBT, 2nd series, xxi, 1971 (ETr). Actually the Mari texts refer both to transhumance by the nomads, whose seasonal rights were recognized and who had villages for seasonal occupation, and to more hostile encounters with the forces of Mari.
2
A. Alt, "'The Settlement of the Israelites in Palestine'", Essays on Old Testament History and Religion, ETr Oxford, 1966, pp. 175-221; "'Erwägungen über die Landnahme der Israeliten in Palästina'", PJB xxxv ( 1939), 8-63 = KS i, Munich, 1953, pp. 126-75. M. Noth, The History of Israel, ETr London, 2nd edn., 1960, pp. 68 ff.
3
W. von Soden in WO i ( 1950), 396-403; A. Malamat in SVT xv, 1966, pp. 202-27. H. B. Huffmon in BA xxxi ( 1968), 101-24.

-65-

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