Israel in Palestine before pharaoh Merenptah?

8 Dec 2010

This paper by Peter van der Veen, well known to SIS, with co-authors C Thies and Manfred Gorg, was published in the Journal of Egyptian Interconnections, and it bears heavily on the debate surrounding David and Solomon. I downloaded the article in pdf format from December 7th so it is just one click away - in full. It concerns a 19th dynasty inscription, possibly from the reign of Ramses II, but is said to have resemblances reminiscent of the Merenptah stele. However, it is interpreted by the authors as possibly dating as early as dynasty 18. The focus of the article is that the inscription is a genuine reference to Israel - which is controversial. The arguments are complex and sound quite reasonable if the orthodox historians are simply digging in their heels - as is their want. They would actively resist the idea of the Israelites ensconced in Palestine before the time of Merenptah - they do not even like the reference in the stele that has since become a stalwart of history books. It was, and still is, commonly regarded that the era of the Judges is confined to a couple of centuries at the end of the Late Bronze age when it would be just as easy to interpret the Biblical account as an indeterminate period of time that encompassed hundreds of years going all the way back to the Early Bronze period. All possibilities should be considered - and not one narrow interpretation that has become set in stone and as thick as a rind of dogma.