Monday, 8 July 2013

So there's no archaeological evidence of the Jews as a people?

Recently there have been a number articles, statements and even books which make the claim that the "Jews" have no history and that there is no evidence of their historical presence in Jerusalem. Most recently the Palestinian Authority has issued a statement to the effect that Jerusalem has always been a Palestinian city, and was never the capital of any Jewish state. This comes on top of a new statement made by the Al Aqsa Mosque Council, who make the outright statement that the Temple of the Jews never existed on the Temple Mount.

This does rather deny the evidence of the Roman records of 70 AD, and the depictions and inscription on the Arch of Trajan, showing the looting of the Temple following the sack of Jerusalem. It also denies all the archaeological evidence still visible to those prepared to look, of the Temple itself. There is, despite the propaganda and the rather vague statement  that the Romans razed it, quite a lot of it still standing. The difficulty of course, is that any attempt to examine what is there on the main platform is continuously blocked by the Muslim hysteria that any such attempt is purely to destroy the Al Aqsa mosque or to desecrate it and the Dome of the Rock. According to them, the Prophet ascended into heaven from here - having flown here from Medina on a winged horse. The "Rock" the Dome covers has been identified as an ancient threshing floor, and is located in the position identified by Roman and other ancient accounts, as the site of the Holy of Holies, the sanctuary of the Temple. The Dome itself sits on the foundations of a Christian Church built there long before Mohammad was born.

The last time the platform itself was properly examined was shortly after the 1967 war, when an American archaeologist was able to do a complete survey. He and his team were able to identify a number of features, some of which need further investigation, which are associated with the Temple. Among many things they identified were some now walled up entrances, a colonnade that dates to and resembles a colonnade described in the accounts of Solomon's Temple (Second Temple) as being part of the main entrance to the Temple enclosure. This was further enriched by Herod in his rebuilding. What is known, and has been for a long time, is that the so-called Wailing Wall, once the Western side of the Temple platform, is not the only part of the original that remains. Parts of the walls of the other three sides are also extant, one part built into the later city wall on that side. Like the western wall, the present walls are actually built onto earlier walls which have only been partly examined - largely because of the religious sensitivities of both the Muslims and the Ultra-Orthodox Jews. Between them they are preventing any examination of a site which is of huge importance to the whole world, not just their own narrow interests.

Unfortunately, the Temple platform, and the other sides of it, are controlled by a group known as the Waqf. They strenuously resist any examination of the platform itself, and have embarked on a number of projects which have destroyed early Jewish and possibly older archaeological structures in order to create several huge subterranean mosques. It is claimed that the Dome of the Rock, which stands separately to the Al Aqsa, is the second oldest Muslim structure in existence, but an excavation in the 1930 found a Byzantine mozaic floor beneath it and traces of earlier foundations belonging to a Christian church or monastery. Both are built over the site of the Holy of Holies of the Temple destroyed by the Romans in 70AD.

Despite what is often stated concerning the Jews and the Bible with regard to the historic truth of Jewish history, there is a wealth of archaeological evidence for its being factual. The earliest existing depiction of a "Jew" is found on an obelisk dated to 841BC. It shows an Ambassador from the Jewish king to Shalmanesser III, the Assyrian. Sennacherub's siege of Jerusalem is confirmed in a six sided 'prism' in the British Museum. These are things mentioned in the Bible specifically in Chronicles, Isaiah, 2 Kings and Daniel. Other artifacts confirm many other people mentioned in Biblical accounts of events, but, much of this remains unadvertised as it would undermine rival claims and alternate histories more in keeping with the current ideologies of the Middle East and supporters of the anti-Israel factions. 

Quite a large body of evidence and related artifacts exist, stretching back to 2000BC correlate with events described, obviously from a Jewish perspective, in the Bible. An ancient papyrus dated to 1500BC describes a range of natural disasters suffered in Egypt at this time, and some scholars translate one such as "the river is blood" something that is mentioned in Exodus - though some Egyptologists reject that relationship and even dispute (there's a surprise) the translation. It has to be said, that for those disputing it, it is a matter of protecting the Islamic belief that the Jewish accounts are entirely false and a 'modern' creation to deprive the Arabs of their rightful place as the Chosen of God. A full-ish list of these artifacts can be found on Wikipedia  

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