Monday, July 10, 2006

Lesson 26: "King Solomon: Man of Wisdom, Man of Foolishness"

This lesson turned up some extremely interesting facts and gave me some new ideas for info that might go into future flyers. These scriptures had a lot of numbers in them, so I did a statistics-kind-of-list like Harper's puts into its magazine every month. Besides having 1000 wives (well, 700 actually, 300 others were concubines)--wow, that's completely unreal to think about, that man must have been super tired all the time or else he just put down as "his next wife" any woman that he ever came into contact with, friend, cousin, someone nice-looking, or a true love--the building of his temple came at an astronomical cost to the environment. I won't even "go there" during my lesson, but even though I know it was for worshipping God and that's a good thing, I got mad at Solomon for clearcutting the entire Israeli/Judea Valley area and Lebanon. I know I'm not getting my geographical terminology right, but you know what area I mean. I came upon some appalling articles (appalling in an environmental consequences-sense) that referred to this, which I'll include links for here. (here are two links and there are others)

Meanwhile, another controversy (this info from "Shifting Ground in the Holy Land")that I discovered was between the camps of revisionists/minimalists vs. the traditionalists/maximalists. Essentially, the minimalists are those who believe that the Bible's events and facts are mostly mythological/metaphor and do not actually reflect history. In other words, they may believe in the Bible theologically, but not so much historically or that it is "true." This word gets bandied about so much in Mormondom, I'm surprised there isn't a blog called "What does "most true" mean?" Anyway, they are alternatively referred to as "revisionists" because, from archaeological findings, they are beginning to adjust their understandings of biblical truth to physical truth, i.e., archeological/scientific proof. Leading this camp might be Israel Finkelstein and co-author Neil Asher Silberman, who wrote David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible's Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition and The Bible Unearthed. The traditionalists or maximalists, on the other hand, include archeologists like Amihai Mazar who wrote Archeology of the Land of the Bible. Mazar is leading an archeological dig at Tel Rehov (I think you can find out about through http://www.rehov.org/volunteer/index.htm. Meanwhile, Eilat Mazar (related) found a piece of pottery at Tel Dan, I think, that is the only non-biblical reference to the House of David; it has an inscription on it that says "house of David" (but in Hebrew), and this pottery becomes a bone of contention between Mazar and Finkelstein/Silberman. Apparently they squared off at a conference recently where they each upheld their own theses, for which the pottery served as evidence for each, and yet their interpretations differed. Using radiocarbon dating, they both argue their cases, and both could be right, because apparently there's about 50 years difference between the two experts' points of views, and the importance society gave to the House of David, that contains the differences. I hope this controversy is represented somewhat accurately. I got my information from "Searching for the House of David" by Hillel Halkin in the July/August 2006 issue of Commentary along with "The Bible Unearthed in the Context of the Tenth Century (BCE) Debate" by Nicolae Roddy in the Journal of Religion and Society (vol. 3). Plus, I started being curious as to what others thought of David and Solomon, which I had bought recently and am reading. Fascinating controversy, but I do not think it is non-faith-promoting. The coolest piece of trivia that I found was that John Camp is helping fund Mazar's newest archeological dig. John Camp is the pen name of probably my most current favorite author: John Sandford. He writes those Prey novels about Lucas Davenport (not exactly a faith-promoting type of book, but everybody's gotta have an outlet; mine are crime novels).

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