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C O U R S E 
The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future
Dr. Jacob L. Wright, Emory University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
The Rise of the Iron Age Kingdoms
Notes taken on June 7, 2015 by Edward Tanguay
most Biblical archeologists and historians of ancient Israel no longer work with the periodization of the Biblical narrative
Biblical narrative
the patriarchs
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob
the matriarchs
Sarah, Rebekah, Leah and Rachel
exodus from Egypt
conquest of Canaan
have instead recognized that the Biblical narrative is a composite piece
was composed over time from sources that reflect many different understandings of Israel's history
look at a wide range of evidence
the important is the archeological record
many sites throughout the southern Levant
there is a dichotomy between the lowlands and the highlands
corresponds to significant changes at the end of the late Bronze age throughout the Iron Age (e.g. 1000 BC - 600 BC range)
from ceramic pottery remains
can identify a continuity from Iron Age I (1200-1000 BC) to Iron Age II (1000 BC - 586 BC, or the conquest of Judah)
lack of decorations
absence of imported wares
the Iron Age begins as a poorer period than the earlier Bronze Age
during the early Iron Age, the culture of the lowlands was much more sophisticated than the highlands
but the poorer populations from the highland sites grew into a sophisticated society with formidable armies that conquered many territories
period of the judges and united monarchy
few scholars think anymore in terms of the patriarchs, matriarchs, exodus, and conquest
but they do think in terms of
period of the judges
from Book of Judges
period of the United Monarchy
from Books of Samuel
the Book of Judges, Samuel, and Kings
written by authors that are living at a time that is closer to the time about which they writing
describe a reality that is more complex and realistic
unlike the legends in the Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua
United Monarchy (1050-930 BC)
the United Monarchy was formed when there was a large popular expression in favor of introducing a king to rule over the previously decentralized Israelite tribal confederacy
rulers were: Saul, Ishbaal, David, and Solomon
on the succession of Solomon's son, Rehoboam, in 930 BC the biblical account reports that the country split into two kingdoms
Kingdom of Israel (north)
Kingdom of Judah (south)
if we want an accurate understanding of the history of Israel
we need to think critically about the way the authors of the Book of Judges construe the period of the Judges that follows the age of Joshua and which precedes the period of the United Monarchy
a more responsible way to approach Israel's history is to look for signs of state formation and centralization
we can see a continuity from Iron Age I (1200-1000 BC) to Iron Age II (1000 BC - 586 BC, or the conquest of Judah)
we see extreme changes in rural settlements in the same region
almost all of the small settlements disappeared at the end of Iron Age I
Iron Age II was when we start to witness the rise of centralized states in the highlands
most of the new rural settlements did not continue from the earlier period of Iron Age I
suggests that a military threat was prompting the settlements in the countryside to seek refuge in larger, fortified places
perhaps by the Philistines along the coast
this was supported by the European historical model that states are caused by common enemies
and from the Biblical accounts from the Book of Samuel, which depicts Israel's first king Saul in battles with the Philistines
it might be more accurate to think also in terms of a wide variety of warlords in the hill country fighting amongst themselves
in any case, by the time this process of ran its course, it had produced the kingdoms of Israel and Judah
urban centers that grew up in the Iron Age and reached their peak in the 8th century and for Judah in the south in the 7th century
Beth Shemesh