Dating archaeology challenges biblical credibility

Their findings mean that those scholars convinced that the Hebrew Old Testament is at best a compendium of revisionist, fragmented history, mixed with folklore and theology, and at worst a piece of outright propaganda, likely will have to apply the brakes to their thinking. He never intended to walk into archeology's vicious debate over the historical accuracy of the Old Testament -- a conflict likened by one historian to a pack of feral canines at each other's throats.Edom was a rugged land south and east of the Dead Sea in present-day southern Jordan. (Dever remains dubious about the biblical history of the earlier Exodus, dismissing conservatives who cite the towns on Moses' route named in Egyptian records.) The Edom dig is described in Antiquity, a British archaeological quarterly, by Russell Adams of Canada's Mc Master University; Thomas Levy of the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues in Britain, Israel, Germany and Jordan. An impressive fortress site, 80 yards square, dates to the 10th-century era of David and Solomon.The Bible reports that Edom had kings before Israel (Genesis , 1 Chronicles ) and that they barred Moses' throng after the Exodus (Numbers -21) and later warred with David (2 Samuel -14, 1 Kings -16). They report that pottery and radiocarbon dating of organic materials from a major copper mill in Jordan show settlement in the 11th century B. This doesn't explicitly support the Bible's references to Edom, Adams says, but does prove that the Edomites thrived in the 10th century, and that lends credibility to the biblical chronology.In the biblical narrative, the Edomites are the descendents of Esau, whose blessing from his father, Isaac, was stolen by his younger brother, Jacob, ancestor of the Israelites.

References to the Kingdom of Edom -- almost none of them complimentary -- are woven through the Old Testament.Because of its remoteness in the Jordanian wilderness, the ruins of the rock-city of Petra were unknown to the western world for centuries...The main approach to the city of Petra is through a narrow passage known as the Siq.This passage, between two rock faces which tower between 150 and 250 feet above the rocky floor, is around a mile and a half long, and is at many places only 15-20 feet wide.The entrance to the Siq, and therefore to Petra, could be easily defended by as little as a dozen men because of the narrowness of its opening.

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