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A Response to I. Finkelstein and N. Na'Aman

A Response to I. Finkelstein and N. Na'Aman

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Published by Jim West
Peter van der Veen responds to Finkelstein and Ussishkin
Peter van der Veen responds to Finkelstein and Ussishkin

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Jim West on Jul 04, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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My Reply toI. Finkelstein and N. Na'aman "A Response to David Ussishkin":Section "Van der Veen"(in:
 Antiguo Oriente 
10, 2012),
Peter van der Veen: July 2, 2013In their response to David Ussishkin's second rejoinder to O. Lipschits, Israel Finkelstein andNadav Na'aman write concerning my work: "Van der Veen: there is no merit to hiscomplaints. Van der Veen speaks about
jars that continued to be in use after thedestruction of Lachish III ... The debate is whether
jars were
..."I would reply to them, however, that there is no merit to what they are saying about my work.For if indeed I had
to say "use" (i.e. of old jars) rather than "manufacture" (i.e. of newly produced jars), I would not have complained. But as I indeed
"manufacture", and so Idid already in my Ph. D. thesis
(cf. especially Excursus 1 on the Tell Goren jar handle of anindividual called "
; this at least the authors did admit
) I cannot simply accept theiraccusation. For those, who have carefully read my thesis, it must have become inevitably clear what I meant by "continued to be in use". Moreover, in articles, which were subsequently published, the issue of "continued manufacture" became even more apparent. Some of these(including the submission of my thesis in 2005
) were written well before O. Lipschits, O.Sergi and I. Koch presented their views on the 7th century B.C.
jar handles in 2010.
 Finkelstein and Na'aman also belittle other points in my work, which I find hard to accept.Hence, I decided to personally reply here by presenting what I believe to be the true situation. They state:"It seems that Lipschits received only one chapter of the thesis - a chapter which deals with
." (my emphasis)
P. G. van der Veen,
The Final Phase of Iron Age IIC and the Babylonian Conquest: A Reassesssment with Special Emphasis on Names and Bureaucratic Titles on Provenanced Seals and Bullae from Israel and Jordan
, unpublished PhD thesis, submitted to the University of Bristol,2005. This thesis is currently in preparation for publication in the
series of UgaritVerlag, Münster (scheduled to appear in 2014).
Excursus I, "A Jar Handle from Tel Goren", 128-136.
It remains troubling, however, that they continue to belittle my criticisms as they hadalready done previously in their letter to D. Ussishkin of "20/5/2013" (sic. 2012!). They alsoargue that I took the idea from George Grena. Indeed Grena presented his views in his book back in 2004. But Grena and I had been in touch since some time before his book came out,and as we both agreed that some
jars continued to be produced after 701 B.C., I welcomed his opinion, as it appeared to independently add weight to my own views. It is only natural therefore that I referred to Grena's book, which should be the normal procedure inevery scholarly publication. See G. M. Grena,
Lmlk -- A Mystery Belonging to the King 
,Volume 1, 4000 Years of Writing History, Rendondo Beach CA, 2004, esp. 333-338.
On these see below.
Their first article on the subject is: O. Lipschits, O. Sergi and I. Koch, "Royal Judahite JarHandles: Reconsidering the Chronology of the
Tel Aviv 
37 (2010), 3-32.
 This they have completely misunderstood, even though I already made this clear to I.Finkelstein in a personal email of June 3, 2012. Indeed, O. Lipschits acted as "externalassessor" for my main and longest chapter of my thesis (it is over 100 pp. long, thebibliography not included) on the M. Litt. level back in 2003. According to British academicregulations his assessment served as the basis for my upgrade from the M.Litt. level to the fullPh.D. programme. I finally completed my thesis in 2005. In the official university documentof May 27 (2003) (which is still available through Trinity College, Bristol), signed by O.Lipschits, the latter wrote the following comment on my chapter:"This chapter contains a detailed discussion
in selected epigraphic finds 
from the end of the7th and the beginning of the 6th centuries BCE.
The epigraphic discussion
is good and canbe a base for a PhD thesis, the scope of the bibliography in this field is impressive, and thetechnique of introducing the material is clear and nice.
But the ceramic discussion is not in
[sic. on]
the same level 
and needs more parallels and a better level of discussion..." (my emphasis)How then can Finkelstein and Na'aman claim:"Note that in a recent letter to Lipschits, Van der Veen apparently withdrew from hisaccusation that Lipschits was called upon to evaluate his thesis; it seems that Lipschitsreceived only one chapter of the thesis -
a chapter that deals with pottery 
"? (my emphasis)Regardless of the fact that I never claimed that Lipschits assessed the
thesis, one caneasily falsify their claims as according to them this part of the thesis was merely "a chapterthat deals with pottery". As Lipschits himself clearly specified, the situation is remarkedly different: "The chapter contains a detailled discussion in
selected epigraphic 
finds..." and "theceramic discussion is not in [sic. on]
the same level" (my emphasis). Hence the chapter dealt with epigraphy rather than with pottery. Additional discussions on pottery (and small finds!) were included, however, to provide a clear stratigraphic context for these inscriptions, i.e. sealsand bullae, as I do not believe that one can date inscriptions solely by their palaeographicevidence. Epigraphy and archaeology must always go hand in hand.Even though my thesis dealt primarily with seals and bullae from the end of the Judahitemonarchy (i.e. c. 600 B.C.) and hence the main focus was not on material from the LachishIII cultural horizon containing the
material, I did include sections on the archaeology of the Lachish III horizon, but still it was not the main topic of my thesis. I therefore kept theseto footnotes and to the slightly more detailed Excursus 1, dealing with an inscribed 2-winged jar handle from Tell Goren Stratum 5 (which is dated to the Iron Age IIC period while thesite was settled no earlier than 650 B.C.).Even if "Lachish III" was not my main focus, it still belonged to the overall discussion, in which I sought to distinguish the material evidence in the Lachish archaeological horizons of Strata III and II, in order to show that the material contained within the Judahite Stratacontemporary with Lachish Stratum II (e.g. City of David Str. 10, Tel Arad Str. 7/6, TellGoren Str. 5, Beth Zur Str. 3 etc.) could be clearly separated from that of earlier levels. Evenso, I decided to keep the detailed discussions on Lachish III for future publications, whilecurrently it has become an important part of my postdoctoral research conducted at theUniversity of Mainz.
 When I started my Ph.D. thesis (still on the M.Litt level) my prime supervisor, Dr. JohnBimson of Trinity College, had suggested to me to test out a theory, that had been presentedby Peter J. James
et al.
in their volume
Centuries of Darkness 
, which had been published back in 1991. In that book they argued that the destruction of Lachish Stratum III must be datedto 587 B.C. (i.e. similar to what W. F. Albright had previously advocated), but that inkeeping with the results of the renewed archaeological excavations by D. Ussishkin thesubsequent Lachish II horizon (i.e. accounting for an hiatus of several decades subsequent tothe destruction of Stratum III) had to be dated later.
In fact, they redated Iron Age IIC(including Lachish Stratum II) to the 5th cent. B.C., i.e. the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.
  All of this is clearly set out in my introduction to the thesis, which is now available on my  website on academia.edu. Despite my original expectations that James
et al.
could well beright, I soon discovered (especially so when I attended a conference in Tel Aviv on Judahduring the Neo-Babylonian Period which O. Lipschits had organized (May 29-31, 2001))that their theory would simply not work. Even so, I still continued to experiment with part of their theory, i.e. that the city of Lachish, which was destroyed by King Sennacherib in 701B.C. was not that of Stratum III but of Stratum IV.
By doing so, I was forced to suggest that(while Lachish II was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 B.C.) Lachish Stratum III(including the Assyrian siege ramp) had to have come to a sudden end sometime by themiddle of the 7th century B.C. Although I first sought to link this destruction with theScythian invasion referred to by Herodotus (I.105)
, I soon came to favor the idea thatLachish III must have been destroyed by the Assyrians after all, but at the time of  Ashurbanipal, i.e. c. 650 B.C., when according to the Hebrew Chronicler (2 Chron 33:10-13)King Manasseh of Judah was brought in shackles to the King of Assyria, apparently after hehad rebelled against his overlord.
Although I am no longer convinced that Lachish StratumIII indeed fell this late (in fact I now much prefer a destruction by Sennacherib in 701), I stillbelieve that many Judahite sites that were not destroyed in 701 B.C. and which belonged tothe same cultural horizon as had Lachish Stratum III (e.g. City of David Stratum 12)continued to use the same pottery types that are characteristic of that same cultural horizon.Hence my use of "continued to be in use" and "were in use until" did not imply 
mere  preservation
of old pots, but surely also
the manufacture 
of new pots made according to the oldtypology, which was in use in Judah already at the end of the 8th century B.C. The "oldforms" therefore remained part of the Judahite pottery repertoire until at least 650 B.C.according to my theory.One point in my thesis' chapter (which was also submitted to Lipschits in 2003) actually makes it rather clear that this is what I meant by "were in use". It deals with the bulla of acertain individual named Shebanyahu [...]
discovered by Y. Aharoni in an Iron Age IICcylindrical juglet from Lachish Stratum II. While discussing if the missing part of theinscription should read "
" or "
", I drew upon additional material which might shed
James et al., ibid., 170-180.
ibid., esp. 171-175.
ibid., esp. 178.
The impetus for this consideration was however the publication by S. Forsberg:
 Near EasternDestruction Datings as Sources for Greek and Near Eastern Iron Age Chronology 
, Uppsala, 1995,esp. p. 35.
On the possibility of Manasseh rebelling against Assyria see especially A. F. Rainey,"Manasseh, King of Judah, in the Whirlpool of the Seventh Century B.C.E.",
Tel Aviv 
1(1993), 147-164.

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