More notes at http://tanguay.info/learntracker
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 
History of the Central Highland States
Notes taken on August 7, 2015 by Edward Tanguay
history central highland states
Biblical story
Book of Samuel
authority shifting along a succession of judges
people of Israel assemble and petition the prophet Samuel to find a king
so Isreal could be like other nations
Samuel says this is not what God wants, our king is alone Yahweh
but then under the direction of Yahweh himself, Samuel gives in and anoints Saul
1. Saul
Israel's first king
moderately successful
2. David
much more effective as a military ruler
expands the borders of the kingdom
also brings internal conflict
rips the kingdom of Judah away from Israel
becomes first king of Judah
then is anointed king over all of Israel
faces civil wars
Judah and Israel often separating from each other
establishes stable dynasty
3. Solomon
powerful ruler
brings great wealth to the united kingdom
4. Rehoboam
causes kingdom to split into two
the Davidic dynasty manages to maintain control of Jerusalem and Judah
the large and more powerful kingdom Israel has an every changing succession of short-lived dynasties
becomes powerful military player
ruled by mighty kings
exists under Israel's shadow
722 BC frees itself when Assyrians conquer Israel
but this was the view from the Bible written by authors writing for their own times
intended for Judahite readers, not for Israelite readers, living after the fall of Israel in 722 BCE and after the fall of Judah in 586 BCE
archeological view
1. Israel Finkelstein
emphasizes long-term history
Marcel Bloch
Lucien Febvre
Fernand Braudel
pointed to the cycles of settlement in the Southern Levant over many thousands of years
an important corrective to how many scholars use the Bible to reconstruct Israel's history
the origins of Israel must be seen in the cycles of the nomadic, semi-nomadic and sedentary demographic changes
individual historical events are less critical
2. Avraham Faust
until the Iron Age
the highlands on the fringe
core settlement lowlands
after Iron Age began
highlands were not so empty anymore
Jerusalem's importance
has little to do with it's geographical position
same for West Bank and central hill country
they are in the news today, not because they are more valuable places but because historical events happened here
formed population formed powerful states that conquered lowland territories
conquered by imperial armies
in response to defeat, they produced the Bible and new communal identities
the Amarna letters
building on historian Albrecht Alt, 1925
two types of city-states in the Amarna letters
those in high lands
those in low lands
smaller territories in the south
highlands are poorer
highlands south of the Jezreel Valley
dominated by Shechem and Jerusalem
division between these two powers correspond closely to Israel and Judah
this throws doubts on the united kingdom of Israel that later split into two
the authors of the Bible went to great lengths to affirm that the populations of Israel and Judah had common ancestors and common early histories
and the two kingdoms began as one
before the original sin severed them into two
but the Amarna letters reveal a division and political tension between Shechem and Jerusalem
Shechem: Labayu was the leader
14th-century BCE ruler or warlord in the central hill country of southern Canaan
lived contemporaneously with Pharaoh Akhenaten
mentioned in several of the Amarna Letters