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Notes on video lecture:
The Merneptah Stele: The Oldest Reference to Israel
Choose from these words to fill the blanks below:
Judah, five, Canaan, Persians, defeated, figurines, Egyptians, response, Assyrian, urban, thirty, Cyrus, Execration, mountains, nomadic, military, mentioned, 1887, Transjordan, kings, dating, epistles, Merneptah, catastrophe, seed, Babylonians, Jerusalem
the history of Israel is a history of defeat and the                  to defeat
most concretely, the military and political                        in which the states of Isreal and Judah were destroyed by Assyrians and                       
Israel (9th century BC - 722 BC)
fell to Neo-                 Empire
Judah (8th century BC - 586 BC)
was client-state of Assyria, then Babylon
revolt again Neo-Babylonian Empire led to its destruction
after Babylon fell to King           , some returned to Jerusalem
the writing that became the Bible emerged from          successive empires:
1. Assyrians
2. Babylonians
4. Hellenistic Rulers
5. Roman Empire
Assyrian and Babylonian empires deported the            of Israel and Judah, the royal families, the elites of the palace
replaced them with their own governments, so now you didn't have a local government, but one that reported externally
territories of Israel and            were transformed into provinces
this brought about profound changes in economics, demographics, family lives, language, religion
this situation left people asking:
who are we?
where do we go?
Israel's origins
first historical reference to Israel outside the Bible
19th century BC:                      texts
texts which mention important towns in Canaan which would become Israel
during Egypt's 12th dynasty
on pottery shards
names of enemy places were written on pottery and then it was destroyed
one supposedly mentioned a town that some say became                   
the context is important: curses calling for the defeat of these places and their inhabitants
The Amarna Letters
most important source of what was happening in Canaan in pre-Israel and pre-Judah times
discovered by local                    in         
on clay tablets, mostly diplomatic correspondence between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan
The correspondence spans a period of at most              years
discovered by Sir Flinders Petrie
excavated these letters
pioneer of systematic methodology in archaeology and preservation of artifacts
developed the system of              layers based on pottery and ceramic findings
correspondence between rulers in Middle East with ruling Egypt
kings also wrote                  back and forth to their town leaders in Canaan
these leaders wrote details about competitions with leaders in neighboring towns
                   Stele [STEL-ah]
discovered by Sir Flinders Petrie
a large stone with writing
named after King Merneptah
an account of his                  campaigns
last three lines are a military campaign in             
"...Israel is wasted, bare of         , all who roamed have been subdued, by the King of Upper and Lower Egypt..."
in heiroglyphs, Ashkelon, Gezer and Yanoam have a determinative marker, three sticks and three                   , which is used before cities
Israel, however, has the three lines but not the three mountains
this determinative appears before foreign peoples who are typically                rather than urban
so Israel is being referred to as a people without an urban center
we are told that Israel is defeated
the word for defeated could refer to Israel's crops or its biological seed
either way, it meant that the Egyptian king had destroyed their means of survival
the location of Israel is revealed from the Merneptah Stele as likely to be in the southern Levant, but not more detailed
but they could have been in the                       , now modern Jordan
the Mernepta Stele is significant because
1. the name of Isreal is                    for the first time (1200 BC) outside the Bible
2. referred to Israel as a non-           population, not yet a state
3. the first reference to Israel is that it has been                 , it's "seed is no longer"


######################### (1853-1942)
English Egyptologist who discovered the Merneptah Stele (earliest text about Canaan), an inscription by the Egyptian king Merneptah from 1213 BC at Thebes
  • pioneer of systematic methodology in archaeology and preservation of artifacts
  • developed the system of dating layers based on pottery and ceramic findings
The Merneptah Stele: The Oldest Reference to Israel
Canaan as Outback between Mesopotamia and Egypt Civilization Centers
The Three Centers of Early Jewish History
The Amarna Letters and Egypt's Presence in Canaan During the New Kingdom
The End of Egyptian Imperial Control
Maps of Historical Biblical Regions
Interview with Bill Deaver
Israel, Judah, and the Campaign of Shishak
The Omride Dynasty
725 BC: The Fall of Israel to Assyria
The Kingdom of Judah and Sennacherib
The Fall of Judah
The History of Israel According to Genesis and Exodus
Archaeological Theories on the History of Israel
The Rise of the Iron Age Kingdoms
Bronze Age vs. Iron Age Material Culture
History of the Central Highland States
Judah After the Babylonian Conquest
Factors Leading to the Depopulation Of Israel
The Elephantine Papyri
Judahite Communities in Babylon
Ezra-Nehemiah and Haggai on Temple Rebuilding
The Biblical Project
From the Bible to the Sumerian King List
Genesis Chapter 26: Isaac, Abimelek and Rebekah
The Biblical Authors' Portrayal of Women and Heroism
The Bible's Treatment of Heroic Death
Portrayal of Death in the Bible