Hebrew Civilization

when the Hebrews were one among many nomadic tribes of Semitic peoples in the northern Arabian peninsula.C. the Hebrews settled in northern Egypt where by 1400 B. according to tradition. .E.E.E. Around 1600 B.E.C.C. the Hebrew tribes were loosely united under the leadership of Abraham.C.Early History to 1250 B. According to tradition.. they were enslaved. 2000 B. from the Mesopotamian city of Ur.. Hebrew civilization traces its roots back to c.

that Moses may well have been a real figure from the ranks of the Egyptian royal family leading a revolt.. Jan Assmann.Moses the Egyptian Berlin s leading archeologist. suggested in his work. i. he would have been viewed in the Egyptian tradition as the Gods representative of the people and as a holy person himself. In addition.e. . Aaron. to interpret his words for his people. As such. Moses the Egyptian. As such. it would also lend some explanation to the Hebrews reversion back to Egyptian practices in the activities associated with the so-called golden calf. this would explain both his clearly Egyptian name as well as need for someone.

The Advance into Palestine.C. defeated Saul and the kingdom disintegrated. these tribes were held together by the League of 12 Tribes. Until the formation of the kingdom of Israel by Saul in 1010 B.C.E. namely through the ten commandments (Exodus 19:3 . Although Saul defeated the Ammorites and established himself as the first monarch. in turn. the Philistines. the tribes split into a northern (the ten tribes of Israel) and a southern (the 2 tribes of Judah) region.C. Sinai of His covenant with them. Mosses composed the entire Torah (or Pentateuch) during his stay on Mt. some of the Hebrew tribes left Egypt for Palestine. Moses united them through God's revelation on Mt..E. the Judges (tribal leaders) adhered to the principles passed down to them by Moses. 1250 B. Sinai whose actual location eludes us even to this day. By the 10th century B.. Founded on the common origins and religious beliefs of the tribes.20:22). The kingdom of Israel had it ups and downs.. According to certain Jewish traditions. The Philistines and the Ammonites (eastern Jordan) pressured the Israelite tribes from all sides. 1250 BC to 538 BC Under the leadership of Moses c. .E.

united Judah and Israel (northern kingdom). originally from Bethlehem. and captured Jerusalem. using mercenaries.A Focus on Jerusalem Prior to Jerusalem. a Canaanite city of Jesubites. Hebron had been the traditional capital of the southern regions. which became the new religious (by bringing in the Ark of the Covenant) and political capitol. . conducted a series of successful military campaigns against immediate threats. David.

For those interested in these competing points of view. . While the vast majority of scholars still hold to the accepted view of the origins and development of the city. While clear evidence exists for the existence of a smaller city on the site prior to the 10th century BCE as out outpost of the Egyptian empire. In addition to the religious narrative.King David: A Myth? In addition to the religious narrative. historians andarcheologists debated in the 1990's whether the original city of King David existed at all. While clear evidence exists for the existence of a smaller city on the site prior to the 10th century BCE as out outpost of the Egyptian empire. evidence for the city of David appears less prominent in recent discoveries. While the vast majority of scholars still hold to the accepted view of the origins and development of the city. the magazine Biblical Archeological Review offers a number of provocative articles. historians and archeologists debated in the 1990's whether the original city of King David existed at all. evidence for the city of David appears less prominent in recent discoveries.

a mythic religious figure is reemphasized as the Law-Giver.centralization of worship in Jerusalem. . Solomon's death initiated a long period of military rulers. henceforth. Within this context. in particular. which made them the object of large-power politics. Mount Sinai is then rendered as an unknown location. the introduction of Phoenician deities. This new history could be characterized as a law giver-mystery mountain model (850-720 B. only Jerusalem would be the focus for worship -. Within forty years.) wherein Moses -.C. efforts were made to reconstruct history and understand God's plan for the Hebrews. He placed restrictions on the actions of the king while separating the influence of the priests from the palace by discovering Deuteronomy. King Josiah (r. these two models blended as groups from the North and South both settle into the city and region around Jerusalem. the Babylonian's would destroy Jerusalem along with the temple (587 B.E. Over the course of the next century. 850-720 B.C. the books of Exodus and Amos are composed. he also made himself subject to the law. 621) reforms and pulls existing traditions together in order to provide unity to his kingdom. During these times.). Regarding the contemporary understanding of Jewish chosen-ness. this appears to be more the product of rabbinic Judaism rather than a product of this early history. Assyria and Egypt.) Within this time period.E. the historical forces at play left the early Jews subject to the forces moving within the region. However. and God's covenant includes conditions for God's favor.C. he forbad future references to northern cities where God had been worshiped and. c. however. As refugees fled into the southern regions. the cult of Baal.E. and finally defeat by the Assyrians. Within Judah itself.The Retreat into Mythology: God as Distant and Judge (ca. a new theological narrative emerges. begin to reassert them influence throughout the region. For example.

). for example.)  The "Babylonian Captivity" determined the course of the religious and physical history of the Jews for almost 50 years (until 538 B. .E. 587-538 B.. Jewish chroniclers embellished their past with greater glory to maintain unity among the tribes. the great flood) and the Babylonian God Tiamat (whose name referred to a sacred wind/spirit). Two aspect of the religious history narrative emerge which focus both on why the Jews had failed God and punished but also the time when their previous history is glorified. While in captivity.Babylonian Captivity (c. Babylonian influences appear also to include taking ideas from the Epic of Gilgamesh (e. now creation story includes references to seven days and the basic concept of creation as good.g.E.C.C.

Until the arrival of Alexander the Great in 332 B. . some had still sacrificed children in the Kidron Valley to the God Moloch.E.E..C..C. Persia's rise brought Babylon's fall and the end of the Babylonian Captivity for the Jews.. In 458 B.E. King Ezra -. 538 B. As far back as 586 B. a political and religious revival in Jerusalem led to the rebuilding of the Temple.C. Another interesting change comes in the realm of sacrifice where animal sacrifice had been conducted virtually anywhere and moved the focal point to the Temple. By the mid-sixth century B.Second Temple Period. to 133 C.C.E.C..E. The agrarian population settled in and Jerusalem was rebuilt.with a Persian governor -. the Torah emerges as the book from which the old stories were read.gave the force of royal sanction to recognition of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) as the basis of he religion of Law (the Law was the gift of God). It also led to the prohibition of marriage between inhabitants of Judah and alien peoples.E.