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"Tales of the Ancients"

(+ "Archeology of the Bible Lands")

"None can deny it but the transgressor, the criminal,

Who when our signs are revealed to him says

"Tales of the Ancients"

Then shall he be burned in Hell-fire" (Qur’an 83:12-16)

The truth or otherwise of the Jewish stories in the Torah, Bible and Qur’an would not really matter except for the dissension they cause between present-day fundamentalists. The ultra-Orthodox Jews are as bad as the Muslims by trying to settle in areas they consider were Israelite over two millennia ago.

“… the areas where these two prophets borrowed from the Jews (Solomon and Abraham) lived are considered sacred to Islam. Solomon's temple thus becomes Sulaiman's mosque and we have already seen scores of deaths around this site, the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest place of worship in Islam. Similarly, Hebron is holy to Islam as the reputed burial place of their prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) in about 1500 BC, actually over two thousand years before Islam was instituted.

Such dubious history is the basis of many of today's conflicts, in this case between Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists.

Archeological research, however, shows that whereas:

"According to the Biblical account, the children of Israel spent 430 years in Egypt … from the time of Joseph to the Exodus under Moses. …The problem is … that … not one historical reference to the presence of the Israelites has been found there. Not a mention of Joseph, …Moses, …  the flight or the destruction of the Egyptian army. There is no … evidence that the Bondage or the Deliverance ever happened. Genesis and Exodus crystallized in written form in the seventh and sixth century BCE."

"The Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land (Canaan) in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. …The Jews did not embrace monotheism with Moses at Mt. Sinai – an episode which probably never happened – but did so hundreds of years later when their monarchy was in decline….

Jericho, where, according to the Bible, the walls collapsed after the priests blew their trumpets, had been an abandoned ruin 300 years before  the Hebrews emerged. …

The archaeological record shows that the first Hebrew settlement appeared on the West Bank about 1200 BCE, not from invaders fresh from desert privations but from the remains of the fallen Canaanite civilization: these settlements coalesced into tribal fiefdoms centred on Jerusalem.

The only reference to David found so far are two stone tablet inscriptions which mention Beth David (the House of David). Not a single building or artifact in Jerusalem has been found which can be securely dated to the reign of Solomon.

(A lot of archeological work is being done in Egypt and Israel. Anyone with information please email archeology@hraic.org and we will pass it on.)