It seems that the more controversial a topic the more difficult it is to find unbiased information on the internet. The materials presented below from Kenneth Humphreys are no exception as the name of his website clearly indicates. However in the ongoing debates concerning the authenticity of the Old and New Testaments Humphreys strongly states his points thus allowing direct and pointed discussion. His materials raise questions that can be useful starting points and/or lightening rods when sifting through the many and varied texts produced by theologians, archaeologists, historians, linguists, etc.
“Legendary kings David and Solomon supposedly had an imperial capital in Jerusalem. Yet extensive archaeology in the city reveals Jerusalem was a village in the 10th century BC. In contrast, Megiddo, ‘part of the empire.’ far to the north, had a palace!
In reality, separate and distinctive chiefdoms developed in Samaria and Judah in the 9th century. They were never a ‘united monarchy.’ The north was larger, richer and more developed – and soon succumbed to the Assyrians.
Judah, in reaction, produced its pious, biblical fraud, castigating the apostate kings of the 8th - 9th century northern kingdom of ‘Israel’ and elevated its own importance in an earlier, fantasised empire – ruled from an imperial capital of Jerusalem.
“... in Jerusalem nothing has as yet been brought to light which can be ascribed to Solomon with certainty.” – Isserlin, p81.”
“David, “son of Jesse the Bethlehemite,” is a “curiously elusive figure” (Oxford Companion to the Bible). In turns shepherd, giant killer, court musician, poet, warlord and king, nothing and no one outside the Bible notes his existence.
If an original ‘Dawid’ inspired the legendary king, he was an inconsequential bandit chieftain in the Judaean hills, nothing more. Possibly the only element of truth in the biblical story is the episode of David as renegade and outlaw leader, living from theft.”
“It will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, YHWH, 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.”
The impressive race history, tracing the Jews (the people of Judah), back through Hebrews in Canaan and Israelites in Egypt, to a noble ancestor called Abraham (father, it seems, of all the races, including Greeks and Arabs!), and the whole melodramatic story of the Exodus, was concocted at a much later date, after the tribal leadership of these Judaean tribesmen had been taken into exile and had learned the rudiments of civilization from their Babylonian captors. This was not at the dawn of time but in the seventh century BC, when Greece was already a civilization and Carthage had a maritime empire.
The original Hebrew/Canaanite occupants of Palestine did pass into history. Many, including the so-called ‘lost tribes’ of Israel (those living in northern Palestine) were assimilated by Assyrian conquerors during the eighth century.
But the ‘victors’, a Persian-sponsored priesthood who settled in Judaea in the 6th century BC, wrote a sacred history, known to the Jews as the Torah (or Pentateuch ) and to the Christians as the first ‘five books’ of the Old Testament. Together with the ‘Prophets’ and ‘Wisdom’ literature this voluminous text purports to be an account of the trials and tribulations of the Jews through the previous two millennia. Rather oddly, its detail and obvious accuracy peters out the closer it approaches the time when it was actually written. Joshua, supposedly on the rampage in the thirteenth century BC gets vast reportage, whereas several 7th century kings known to history are omitted.
Indeed, the four hundred years between the last book of the Old Testament (the 5th century Malachi) and the first book of the New Testament echo in a biblical silence.
No biblical text gives the conquest of Palestine by Alexander the Great (in 323 BC) a mention. Ptolemaic Egypt’s loss of her Palestinian provinces to Syria in 198 BC is unrecorded. ‘Minor’ personages like Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great are overlooked. And the books of Maccabees – which should tell us the ‘recent’ story of the successful Jewish rebellion against Greek rule in the second century BC – are so blatantly filled with error and incoherence that even biblical editors shunted them into the ‘Apocrypha’ or omitted them entirely.
But of course we are not speaking of history but rather, of sacred testimony, designed to control, justify and inspire.
Anyone can be factual. In the Bible we have a book with a purpose.
Earliest Jewish writings:
There was no written Hebrew before the 9th century BC. At that time, the Hebrews adapted the Phoenician script.