MemberJanuary 1, 2021 at 2:51 pm
Lord willing, I am days away (as of 1/1/21) from submitting the manuscript for my new book to Carta (Jerusalem) for publication. The title is Origins of the Hebrews: New Evidence for Israelites in Egypt from Joseph to the Exodus. For anyone not “locked into” the late exodus view or David Rohl’s “new chronology,” this book should make it beyond dispute that Israelites inhabited the site of Avaris (eastern Nile Delta) from 1876-1446 BC. FYI, Egyptian language is the first minor of my Ph.D., and the most compelling evidence in the book is the identification of Joseph, Ephraim, Manasseh, Manasseh’s son Shekem, and (probably) Jacob, all in Middle Egyptian inscriptions. The evidence simply is overwhelming and beyond compelling. The book is the fruition of 9 years of direct study (and many more years of related study behind that). As with all of my publications, this should make me lots of friends and lots of enemies, and probably lots more of the latter. Hopefully the book will be in print before summer. I will try to update you on its progress along the way. I’m hoping that Carta will offer a pre-publication purchase option, but there is no information on that yet.
ModeratorJanuary 5, 2021 at 12:36 pm
Exciting update Dr. Petrovich! Will definitely be looking forward to the release of your new book, as I thoroughly enjoyed the first on the Proto-Consonantal script!
MemberJanuary 5, 2021 at 1:13 pm
Thank you, Logan. I am almost finished with my next to last proofreading of the book. I’m also waiting for 1 more colleague to return his suggested edits. It’s getting close to time to submit it to Carta.
MemberFebruary 25, 2021 at 11:12 am
For anyone not “locked into” the late exodus view or David Rohl’s “new
chronology,” this book should make it beyond dispute that Israelites
inhabited the site of Avaris (eastern Nile Delta) from 1876-1446 BC. Douglas Petrovich [Referring to his upcoming book Origins of the Hebrews…]
If your timeline is adjusted to David Rohl’s chronology, aren’t your views of the arrival of Joseph in Egypt really close with David Rohl’s? Doesn’t David Rohl’s reign of Joseph partially overlap with yours in regards to who was reigning in Egypt? I’m hoping that the evidence in your book matches your descriptions. If your evidence is strong, then David Rohl will likely tweak his thoughts and timeframe on the arrival of Joseph and make it better.
MemberMarch 6, 2021 at 10:31 pm
There are very few matters in which my views are close to David Rohl’s, but we are within several decades of one another in reference to the synchronization between the biblical accounts of Joseph’s activities in Egypt and Egyptian chronology. He places Joseph’s administrative activities revolving around the 7-year famine during the reign of Amenemhat III, while I am certain that they instead date to Sesostris III’s reign (actually beginning with year 1 of the famine, as Sesostris II was ruling before this). However, Rohl uses the 2IP (2nd Intermediate Period) as a convenient tool to erase several hundred years of Egyptian history. Therefore, he wrongly connects the exodus pharaoh with Dedumose II, who is assigned variously to Dynasty 13 or 16, although all agree that the period is the 2IP. But no, David Rohl would not “tweak his thoughts and timeframe on the arrival of Joseph” to align with the conclusions drawn from my research. Not a chance. And BTW, on a related matter, note that he publicly ridiculed me because I hold to an inerrant view of the biblical autographa. In other words, the precise details of biblical chronology are not a non-negotiable for him. Moreover, sound methodology for biblical hermeneutics or (lower) textual criticism are not foundational elements to his approach to synchronization between Israel’s and Egypt’s timelines.
MemberMarch 7, 2021 at 12:25 am
“[Rohl] places Joseph’s administrative activities revolving around the 7-year famine during the reign of Amenemhat III”
Sorry, for skipping over the main points of your response to me. I’ll have to spend some time thinking about the other elements of what you wrote about languages. You have me now postulating common scenarios in the United States where immigrants come who speak Spanish or some other language at home. This perhaps is what you are suggesting happened with the wandering Patriarchs and the Israelites in Egypt. The chance I can knowledgeably comment on specifics of the ancient languages of the near east are rather small but maybe I’ll refresh myself with material from the collectors edition of Patterns of Evidence: Moses where other scholars also spoke about the ancient languages.
But the lead quote that I put above intrigued me. I am wondering you are overly nice to David Rohl? Are you making a concession that perhaps you could have more accurately phrased as “[Rohl] places Joseph’s administrative activities revolving around [what he sees as] the 7-year famine during the reign of Amenemhat III.”
Douglas, one of your fascinating papers at Academia (here is the link)
Your paper states some doubt about whether there was such a famine. “Rohl proclaimed that a famine lasting 7-10 years struck Egypt during Amenemhat III’s reign, and with this he implied that the famine predicted by Joseph in Genesis 41 is this very famine. First of all, and far less relevant, after studying an enormous amount about the reign of Amenemhat III, I never came across an description of a famine lasting that precise length of time. As a result, I challenge David Rohl to produce such conclusive evidence.”
Has there been a change in your position since you made that remark in your paper? Why did you write “precise length of time.” Were you aware of other famines… just with different time frames? Without me getting too much into the weeds of ancient Egypt, the same article was suggesting that Rohl was getting a few other details wrong. Details that might be important in fine-tuning the date of the famine etc. You talked about granaries being built earlier and the concentration of Power in Pharoah’s hands eliminating the Nomarchy in the days of Sesostris III. This slightly predates Rohl’s thinking as well. I’m inclined to tentatively go with your thinking on this rather than Rohl’s. But your comment seems to throw out a concession to Rohl, that appears you flipped from doubting the 7-year famine that Rohl espouses to now accepting it. I understand if you are just being nice to Rohl, for he has fans here, and I respect him as well, but throwing out a concession about a seven year famine while I’m trying to locate the seven year famine of Genesis moves the evidence back a little closer to Rohl’s position.
If you could clarify your position on whether you now believe a 7-year famine took place during the days of Amenemhat III, it might help me get a better sense of where the evidence is pointing. And if you’ve got any teasers for your upcoming book that will help pinpoint dates of Joseph’s reign in Egypt, I’d like to be aware, for sure.
MemberFebruary 25, 2021 at 8:57 pm
this book should make it beyond dispute that Israelites inhabited the site of Avaris… The evidence simply is overwhelming and beyond compelling.
Doug, as you probably have experienced in the scholarly world, very little in Egyptian and biblical chronology is beyond dispute. There are always qualified people on both sides of any debate. As for “simply… overwhelming” and “beyond compelling”, it is wise to leave the evaluation to others or make it clear you are just speaking for yourself, i.e. “I find the evidence to be overwhelming and compelling”. The fact is, we usually do find our own [selection of] evidence to be compelling; that’s why we have come to conclusions! I have learned that the scholarly world does not respond well to those who pre-assess the strength of their own theories.
In regard to your thesis as summarised, there are chronologists who are neither tied to David Rohl’s timeline nor the standard chronology (involving a “late exodus”), and do not accept that the Israelites ever lived at Avaris but believe they had already left Egypt before Avaris was founded. This view would not falsify your claims of finding patriarchal names on record, but neither would it support them. Moreover, the earlier the civilisations in the Middle East (spanning the great centres of Egypt and Mesopotamia), the more was shared in terms of language, personal names, gods, culture, and technology.
MemberMarch 6, 2021 at 9:59 pm
Moreover, the earlier the civilisations in the Middle East (spanning the
great centres of Egypt and Mesopotamia), the more was shared in terms
of language, personal names, gods, culture, and technology.
For us looking back in time Hebrew is a well-established distinct language. However looking at the language Jacob and his family spoke as they were wandering around in Canaan and before that living with Laban… they didn’t have their own language carved out yet. When Jacob eventually got around to sending ten of his sons to Egypt to get some food during the famine, Joseph who by now was capable of speaking Egyptian spoke to his brothers as an Egyptian and he used a translator. The translator was speaking the general language of the area. Jacob was able to talk the language of Laban. Jacob and his sons were able to speak with the people of Shechem. Judah moved away from his brothers and “Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah.” (Gen. 38:1 NIV) Jacob spoke with his brother Esau when he returned from staying with Laban. Isaac and Abraham spoke with other Kings and their herdsmen argued with other herdsmen over water. Abraham talked with the King of Sodom after his successful night raid which freed hostages and regained possessions.
I”m just saying that at what point can you say the descendants of Jacob spoke a different language? There may have been a few unique words the family used, and maybe they had some distinct voice or accent like people today have distinct voices and accents. Even within a single family everyone usually has a distinct voice.
During the time of the four + generations that the Israelites were in Egypt I’m sure they developed some more linguistic distinctives. But it might be hard to cull out distinctive (Hebrew) speech patterns from the time of Joseph. Yet Jacob claimed two of Joseph’s sons as his own and perhaps they were more Egyptianized and may have brought some more uniqueness to what later became Hebrew. On top of that, when one reads the book of Judges I can’t think of times where language barriers became an issue. After being in the promised land for 300 years the Ephraimites had some bit of difficulty with the word “Shibboleth” —— which leads to another large number. “Forty-two thousand Ephraimites were killed at that time.” (Jdg. 12:6 NIV)
MemberMarch 6, 2021 at 10:47 pm
I have major issues with this statement, Thomas: “However looking at the language Jacob and his family spoke as they were wandering around in Canaan and before that living with Laban… they didn’t have their own language carved out yet.” Not only do you simply have no way of substantiating this claim, but all of the available evidence conspires against this notion. The most important extra-biblical evidence that demonstrates the fallacious nature of the idea that Hebrew did not exist as a language in Jacob’s/Joseph’s day is that we have Hebrew inscriptions in Egypt and Sinai dating to as early as 1840 BC and dating down to the reign of Amenhotep II (middle of the 15th century BC), which include DISTINCTIVELY HEBREW words, contra Christopher Rollston’s criticism of my book (Petrovich 2016). The real question is not “at what point do Jacob’s descendants speak another language, but at what point do Jacob’s ancestors speak a different language. The language they spoke is named after Eber/Heber, who (along with his son, Peleg) was alive in the days when the universal language was divided into multiple languages. Its language family (Semitic) is named after Shem, the ancestor of Eber/Heber and Peleg. If we are going to take the patriarchal genealogies seriously, this means that the Hebrews/Habiru/Apiru received a separate language than the other Semites at the time of the division of languages. While the other Habiru do not seem to have survived the ravages of antiquity, the Hebrews did. Ergo, the native language of Abram was the same as the native language of Jacob and his descendants. The secondary languages that they spoke (such as your implied but unstated reference to Akkadian) are a completely different issue.
MemberMarch 18, 2021 at 9:14 am
Greetings, Dr. Petrovich,
It’s a pleasure to see you here, sir. I enjoyed the material in the HFS course based on your book, The World’s Oldest Alphabet. You indicated that you have more evidence coming in your next book that points to an Israelite presence in Egypt in the 19th century. Could you please provide us with a small sampling of that evidence? And could you help us to understand how the Sinai inscriptions were dated? Also, while your theory about Manasseh as Hebeded is compelling, for the sake of playing the advocate, is it possible that Hebeded is the name of someone other than Manasseh, and if so, how would this affect the interpretation of this and related inscriptions? Is there any way the inscriptions could have been invented or placed by the Hyksos? Who do you think the Hyksos might be?
On another note, perhaps Thomas Donlon, above, doesn’t have a dog in the fight, but was merely misinformed about the language Abraham brought with him to Canaan. Is there any reason to think that Hebrew was ever written in a cuneiform script? Is it possible that it was a modification of another Semitic language to accommodate the conceptual nature of the Hebrew alphabet (Aleph + Beit = Leader of the House = Father), or is that putting the cart before the horse? When does Aramaic appear, relative to Akkadian and Hebrew? Could it have been used to synthesize the Hebrew language?
Thank you so much for your willingness to teach your research to others. I look forward to your gracious response.
MemberApril 20, 2021 at 11:56 am
I apologize for the late reply. Well, you have a lot there! Let’s give it a go (with your comments or questions in quotes): “You indicated that you have more evidence coming in your next book that points to an Israelite presence in Egypt in the 19th century. Could you please provide us with a small sampling of that evidence?” Yes. The evidence (1) identifies Joseph, Manasseh, Ephraim, Manasseh’s grandson, and (probably) Jacob in ME (Middle Egyptian) inscriptions; (2) documents Joseph’s initial move to Lahun (after his elevation) and his project to build a dyke that would allow controlled water-flow in the Fayyum, which created Egypt’s breadbasket for thousands of years; and (3) numerous strands of evidence of the societal upheaval that must’ve ensued when ALL of the Egyptians–minus the priests–sold themselves and their property to the king. That should suffice for a sampling.
“And could you help us to understand how the Sinai inscriptions were dated?” The short answer is that (1) not every inscription is datable, and (2) the ones that are datable are datable for various reasons. Some are datable to an exact year, usually because there is a regnal date (in ME) on the inscription. Others are datable to a range, based on the dateability of objects such as pottery. All of this is explained inscription-by-inscription in my first book.
“Also, while your theory about Manasseh as Hebeded is compelling, for the sake of playing the advocate, is it possible that Hebeded is the name of someone other than Manasseh, and if so, how would this affect the interpretation of this and related inscriptions?” Sure, it’s always possible. It’s possible that an inscription with “-yahu, servant of Hezekiah” that is dated by accompanying 14C evidence to 720-690 BC belongs to someone other than the King Hezekiah who ruled during Sennacherib’s invasion. The question is just always about plausibility. When you see how tight the datable inscriptions are that serve as multiple stands of a rope to tie together the ID of Manasseh, Ephraim, Joseph, Manasseh’s son, and Jacob, and compare all of this to accurate chronological synchronization, you honestly have to practice the willful suspension of persuasive force to disbelieve (to invent my own term, LOL). If anyone wants to live on such a planet as that, he/she can knock himself/herself out.
“Is there any way the inscriptions could have been invented or placed by the Hyksos?” Not a chance in the world. I devote a lengthy appendix in my new book to demonstrate persuasively that non-Hyksos Asiatics resided at biblical Ramesses both BEFORE and AFTER the Hyksos. This can be proven from multiple lines of evidence from material culture of all of the Asiatics there from MBA IIA until LBA I, Hyksos and non-Hyksos alike. Besides, the Hyksos left behind an absolute PLETHORA of inscribed objects that most certainly would have displayed their written (proto-consonantal) script . . . if it actually belonged to them. Anyone who would propose this theory, after seeing the evidence, simply would have to put himself/herself off of the radar screen (of reality) completely to maintain this view. Period.
“Who do you think the Hyksos might be?” This is a tough question to answer, given that you could intend it in various ways. I’ll see if I can guess correctly. Conventional thought is that they are Asiatics who migrated from the Caucuses to the southern Levant, then descended into Lower Egypt and took power for themselves during the SIP (2nd Intermediate Period). I have no reason to doubt this view, but I cannot prove it, either. We know nothing about their relationship with the Hebrews. All we have, to my knowledge, is Josephus’s account about how Manetho’s Hyksos narrative (i.e. their departure from Egypt as shepherd-kings) was a reliable Egyptian account about the Israelite Exodus. Josephus even called the Hyksos ‘our people.’ Obviously he conflated the two departures, but he at least understood from Manetho (an earlier Egyptian priest) that the timing of their departure was from the same general era (i.e. one at the beginning of LBA I, and the other at the end of LBA I).
“Is there any reason to think that Hebrew was ever written in a cuneiform script?” None whatsoever. Zip. We can always fantasize, speculate, dream, or whatever, but there is no rational reason to believe this happened. Moreover, why would Manasseh and Ephraim need to create a script for their uncles at biblical Ramesses (Avaris) if their uncles/descendants already had a perfectly legitimate script in use? Once again, we would have to be driven to practice the willful suspension of the persuasive force of the available evidence to dissent.
“Is it possible that it was a modification of another Semitic language to accommodate the conceptual nature of the Hebrew alphabet (Aleph + Beit = Leader of the House = Father), or is that putting the cart before the horse?” I cannot conceive of anything like this.
“When does Aramaic appear, relative to Akkadian and Hebrew? Could it have been used to synthesize the Hebrew language?” Aramaic inscriptions do not appear until late in the 11th century BC, which is over 800 years later. That’s a long time, even in antiquity. Are you talking about the spoken language or the written script? If it’s the written script, how are we to conceive of a much later Hebrew script being synthesized into a script that didn’t cut its teeth until 8 centuries later? I’m not sure what rational thought would be behind this idea.
Thank you for giving us some valuable things to talk about, Jennifer. Unfortunately, far too many (although certainly not all) comments on these boards reflect wrong assumptions, inaccurate scholarship, or misguided criticisms. Your topics were a refreshing departure from the norm.
MemberApril 28, 2021 at 7:52 pm
Thank you for your kind response to my many questions. I didn’t initially intend to bombard you; I just kept thinking of things as I asked. I appreciate your willingness to answer. I look forward to seeing the evidence that links Joseph’s family in the inscriptions you described, as well as support for Joseph in Lahun and other details. I lack the full context to understand why the Manasseh-Hebeded connection is so strong, but I’ll wait to read more on Manasseh.
The Hyksos are one of the biggest Egyptian mysteries to me, the reason for my question. I’ve seen them variously identified with Israelites, Amorites, and a few others, but I don’t think I’ve heard of them being from as far north as you’re suggesting. Would you care to elaborate on evidence for this identification? I have been inclined to take Josephus at face value for most things. I’m curious to know why that might not be wise in this instance.
I wouldn’t begin to know why Manasseh would invent a script if there was already one in existence; I understand your point, here. Although I tend to lean toward a short sojourn view, I’m not defending any particular view; just trying to understand how all the details fit together.
As for my other questions about how the languages all interrelate, I appreciate the birds-eye view. Thanks again for sharing your insight.
MemberApril 17, 2021 at 6:43 am
we have Hebrew inscriptions in Egypt and Sinai dating to as early as
1840 BC and dating down to the reign of Amenhotep II (middle of the 15th
century BC), which include DISTINCTIVELY HEBREW words
I’m just curious Douglas. What is the percentage of words that are “DISTINCTIVELY HEBREW” as opposed to words common in what is called “The language of Canaan” (Isaiah 19:18).
As you note “Christopher Rollston” doesn’t see much difference between the scripts (but then again he doesn’t see evidence for the Israelites being there at that time) and Professor Orly Goldw… called Hebrew “a dialect of Canaanite” and as I just referenced, Isaiah prophesied that five cities in Egypt would be speaking the language of Canaan. The “major issues” you had with what I wrote, revolves around how big a difference of languages from early Canaanite to the later prophesied Canaanite language?
How many Canaanite words are there compared to the ones that you find to be clearly Hebrew? I think I’m on the same page as you on this. But I use the phrase ” a few unique words the family used” while you say “include DISTINCTIVELY HEBREW words.” Can you spell out the numbers? Both our phrases convey the idea of a limited portion of words that are different. But this can be accurately and scientifically quantified, if you know the totals and have the energy and ability to do the math. I believe languages evolve. You seem to be arguing that God gave a complete language to Eber that his descendants carried forward. If you discount names that might be distinctively Hebrew from both the total of available words and from those thought to be distinctively Hebrew what percentage of words differ? Are they high usage words? Core words or more specialized? Do the differing words reflect Egyptian influence or do they seem to be ancient, like from the time of Eber? Or do you find both?
You started this conversation with me Douglas.
MemberApril 20, 2021 at 12:12 pm
I’m not sure there is any empirical value in knowing what percentage of distinctively Hebrew words are found within the in the corpus of PCH inscriptions that are not found in any other Semitic language. [Note: To my knowledge, no epigrapher or linguist compares this with “the language of Canaan,” though. Instead, the comparison/contrast is with languages of the same linguistic family tree (i.e. other Semitic languages).]
Until I am persuaded as to the actual value of knowing percentages, I have no interest either in knowing about the numbers or in doing the math, myself. What’s the purpose? The amount of distinctively Hebrew words in the (admittedly small) corpus of translatable inscriptions is indeed small. I discuss all of this in one of my critiques of Rollston’s responses to my work, which is available for free on my academia.edu webpage. If you want to do number-crunching, you are welcome to consult that response and my TWOA book. Happy crunching.
MemberApril 23, 2021 at 5:18 pm
The conversation shifted around a bit. Deborah Hurn first made a statement (but you are choosing apparently to not address her) that earlier civilizations shared more in terms of language. I was addressing her, pointing out my belief that the earliest Hebrew started in an incremental way diverging from the language of Canaanites. (And you appear to agree that the vocabulary of ancient Canaanite and Hebrew words largely overlap but show some small but real differences. I wasn’t ready to say that some different words characterize it as a different language, but I borrowed Orly Goldwasser’s veiwpoint that Hebrew comprised a dialect of Canaanite. This is shared by her in the Patterns of Exodus: Moses part 2 movie/documentary.
She has some academic credentials as I suppose you might concur, though her views are radically different than yours. The phrase above “the language of Canaan” comes from Isaiah. If you are arguing that Isaiah isn’t a linguist… I don’t know what to say. Maybe he wasn’t, but he was good with words and he probably understood Hebrew pretty well.
This doesn’t impinge on your recognizing some distinctive Hebrew words, but I’m much poorer than you are and I’m overwhelmed with reading already, not sure when I can or ought to pick up your book. (I’m assuming, I know it might be wiser to ask people who know you… but I don’t want to bother them.) I hope you can trust me on how poor I am… if not it doesn’t matter.
But I have food and clothing, so I am content.
The only use of the word Hebrew (as a language) in the Bible that i found was used when Hezekiah’s servants said to the threat speaking Assyrians “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don’t speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall.” (2 Ki. 18:26 NIV) And then the scripture says the Assyrians then called out in Hebrew to threaten the city and its inhabitants.
So the Bible in describing one situation uses the term “Hebrew” and in another place “Language of Canaan.”
I wonder though if the conversation moved a bit afield from where it started. You also postulated that a Biblical viewpoint would require that we believe that at the time of the dispersion after the tower building ended …”If we are going to take the patriarchal genealogies seriously, this
means that the Hebrews/Habiru/Apiru received a separate language than
the other Semites at the time of the division of languages.”
I got the impression that you felt that “received” language was markedly different than Canaanite might have been.
I guess we can agree that there are sliding scales with what constitutes a language or a dialect. It is just convention I suppose. Some people in the United States (where I live) have accents I can’t understand. Some have regional words that are unique.
For purposes of identifying distinctive linguistic traits to the Israelites, I see the merit of your desire to protect the phrase “Hebrew.” I suppose if I used the term “The Canaanite dialect spoken by the Israelites”, we could again be on the same page. It wouldn’t cut against your scholarship. Maybe to fully understand why Isaiah seemed use two different language words “Hebrew” and “language of Canaan” we’d need more research. Perhaps speech patterns still had some variations in the time of the divided Monarchy when Isaiah preached. Jerusalem the center of the Kingdom could have better retained or developed a higher language, being the center of government and a lot of the priests may have lived there and other rural or rustic areas could have been less refined in speech, or may have picked up more language from the original inhabitants. Their may have been some prejudice between developed and non-developed areas of the Kingdom of Judah. The more refined speech of the center of culture, religion, government being “Hebrew” proper and those in the countryside maintaining more of the quirks and linguistical language residue that resulted from the Israelites not driving out the Canaanites but rather mixing with them.
Regarding the percentage of words, I wanted to give you, Douglas, that opportunity to flesh out your theory that the Hebrew language had a degree of retention of a God given language from the time of Uber and Peleg. If you had linguistic documentation (percentages) that would be cool.
If Hebrew coming from Uber and Peleg is a theory you wanted to work on, that would be the kind of research that might be persuasive.
I though am looking forward to the research you are currently doing and believe it would be a distraction for you to get off on that tangent. So, no I don’t want you to do it. I don’t want to do it either.
For now, let us just assume that we don’t have enough data to prove one way or another the Hebrew/Uber connection (from a linguistical propagation perspective) and that this would not be worth the time of either of us to argue about. You gave your scriptural reasons, for your viewpoint and I gave you my scriptural reasons for believing the language of Canaan and the Hebrew language appear to me to be at close or partially overlapping and I lack the evidence to say the terms as used by Isaiah weren’t somewhat synonymous, but likely Isaiah thought “Canaanite” language implied a more imprecise type of Hebrew.
We use “English” to refer to what Americans speak, what British speak, the official language of India, (which is challenging for me to adequately understand by-the-way).
I’m not attacking you. You probably just saw a “teachable moment” and wanted to stress that you found some different words that are distinctively Hebrew. All I can do is take your word for it. As David Rohl says “If you have the history to back it up” then it becomes plausible. Scholars that think you don’t have the history, can’t help but be bewildered.
There was early indications that once South and North America and Europe and Africa were once joined together as a supercontinent. The scientists at the time didn’t understand what could power the movement of continents so they just kept rejecting and ridiculing “continental drift.” Missing one key piece of information can make smart and sincere people take what turns out in retrospect to be a no-brainer argument and not even want to give it a hearing. “Opportunism,” “sad,” “fake science,” and they can set the bar higher for evidence, “the evidence just isn’t there.”
I didn’t quote the Isaiah passage so I’ll just stick it here at the end of this long comment.
In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD Almighty. (Isaiah 19:18 NIV)
MemberApril 24, 2021 at 12:00 pm
For people that have a hard time following what Doug Petrovich and I were discussing.
“The various extremely closely related and mutually intelligible Canaanite languages, a branch of the Northwest Semetic languages included Amorite, first attested in the 21st century BC, Edomite, Hebrew, Ammonite, Moabite, Phoenician (Punic/Carthaginian), Samaritan Hebrew, Ekronite, Amalekite and Sutean.” Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic_languages
It may have been that Doug was stressing that the overall “family tree” is called “Semitic languages” while Orly Goldwasser was looking at the tighter cluster which wikipedia called “extremely closely related and mutually intelligible Canaanite languages.”
So I was focusing on the tighter cluster (and the fact there was a tight cluster) while Doug’s focus is on the distinctiveness of Hebrew and wanted to inform me that the entire cluster of languages is referred to as “Semitic.”
We were both right. And we all get “participation rewards.” And as we do this in love, with pure hearts and a good attitude “Speaking the truth in love” we build up the body of Christ.
And I’m fascinated to watch the other discussion going on with people respectfully working on Bible Chronological issues without demeaning each other.
We literally have as many different viewpoints on various aspects of Biblical chronology as we have participants on the HSF Discussion Forums.
This podcast by Jared, is mostly geared toward people who are too aggressive in tending to want to force ideas down others’ throats. He includes his experiences and how he has switched gears from trying to convince everyone of the rightness of his opinion(s) to where he now sees the value of discussing in order to make connections with people, and also to try to learn. And he learned to deal with his own frustrations when he couldn’t persuade people to the correctness of his views.
Though I’m not too “rude” that often, I have totally missed some of the value that he has discovered that can come from having conversations with people.
This isn’t a podcast episode suitable for most people, but for those of us who tend to debate too quickly it may be helpful. I didn’t necessarily like listening to it, but it had addressed some things I needed to learn, in order to be less combative at different times when it isn’t wise to be combative.
Again “speaking the truth in love” is a key that Paul stressed and urged us to grow towards.
And also what Jared said about checking your heart in different conversations or before engaging in discussion, is a vital teaching. Not only are we all to be judged on every idle word, but the intents and motives of our heart are laid bare before God.
MemberApril 27, 2021 at 5:21 pm
I’m afraid, Thomas, that this is goodbye. I will be adding your name to the list of people’s posts that I simply will not be reading. I have no time or interest in being judged or demonized by those who have no clue who in the world I am, yet feel free to blast away or accuse me of negative qualities that they want to assign to me, just so that they can feel better about themselves. One characteristic of the unwise, BTW, is that they simply cannot be told that they are wrong about anything, and their only recourse is to fire away with zingers. I simply am not such an insecure person who allows any of these children’s games to impact him. Sorry.
MemberApril 27, 2021 at 5:53 pm
MemberApril 28, 2021 at 8:55 am
Mr. @tim Mahoney graciously set up this site, equipping it with a panel of scholars who are trained and have knowledge in various subjects and fields. Some may not agree with all of Mr. Mahoney’s choice of scholars; but it is at least incumbent on all of us to hear the positions that they say, so that they can be compared with Scripture.
Our family would like to personally apologize to @dr_petrovich and any other of Mr. Mahoney’s scholars that have been offended by some of the posts on this site. We know that we can’t be the only ones on this site that actually want to hear and learn.
The question was recently posed to us as to why God does certain things the way He does (such as placing Palestine in the midst of a major earthquake zone in order for God to use them as naturalistic mechanisms). Since we take the position that the Holy Spirit is much wiser than ourselves, and that God has given us all that we need for salvation in His Book, the Bible; we can honestly say we don’t know why God does certain things. But we do know that He is the Sovereign God of the universe and doesn’t have to explain to us what He does. In other words — as Dr. Petrovich once said — whatever, however, and whenever God chooses to do something, that’s His prerogative. And we know that whatever God has ordained, even if it appears in our eyes as bad, He means it all for good.
In the April focus video, Mr. Mahoney included diver Aaron Sen. Mr. Sen’s testimony is that naturalistic explanations were driving him away from Christ instead of to Christ. Naturalistic explanations will not convince anyone of the truth of Scripture. Especially since Jesus says that some are so hardened that not even spectacular miracles (like One rising from the dead) will convince them to believe. It’s not our job to convince or persuade anyone. In fact, that’s not Dr. Petrovich’s job, Mr. Mahoney’s job, or anyone else’s job on this site. Only the Holy Spirit can change and convince any heart. Mr. Mahoney has done a very good job, as well as the scholars that he has had here, of presenting the supporting evidence for the authenticity of Scripture for those who are born again and believe that what the Bible says is true.
The truths and supernatural miracles of the Red Sea crossing are amazing to consider. But the writer of Hebrews also begs us to consider what happened to the very large nation of Israel when they chose to act like skeptics and unbelievers in the wilderness. Except for Caleb and Joshua, that whole generation died in the desert and never actually got to cross the Jordan River because of their rebellion, unbelief, and hardness of heart. Some people would take the Promised Land as an allegory for heaven, but the entrance into the Promised Land can also resemble the entering of a new relationship with Jesus Christ. It is to be feared that some of the modern day skeptics who today claim to be Christians will one day end up becoming the Douglas Knights and William Devers of the next generation — who are, by their own admission, atheists and agnostics. The Scriptures say that these men are without excuse. And so is any other professing “Christian” who knows the truth and suppresses that truth with lies. It’s a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But for anyone who truly is seeking salvation, we’d again encourage you to check out LivingWaters.com.
Today if you hear His voice, harden not your heart like the children of Israel did. Rob Bell has been mentioned on HFS before as an authority to appeal to. However, Mr. Bell claims that Hell does not exist. The sobering question is: What if he’s wrong? Are you willing to stake your soul on it?
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
“If you cannot understand … then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are. For you are to deal with Scripture in such a way that you bear in mind that God Himself says what is written. But since God is speaking, it is not fitting for you wantonly to turn His Word in the direction you wish it to go.” ~ Martin Luther
MemberApril 28, 2021 at 11:36 am
34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (Jn. 13:34-35 NIV)
Maybe Dever’s problem is more with the anti-science behavior that some engage in. Note the Pope refusing to look through Galileo’s telescope because he thought he was standing on the correctly interpreted word of God. A colossal mistake. But fortunately the Catholic church apologized … eventually.
Yes let God be glorified whether he causes the sun to rise or the earth to turn.
MemberApril 28, 2021 at 2:24 pm
Does Jesus’ command to “love one another” include being disrespectful to others, or insulting them on a public forum, because their views happen to be different from ours? As we noted before, many of the people who write on these forums appear to be intelligent and are trying to think through things, so this type of behavior is stooping below their caliber and, if they profess Christianity, is also contrary to the witness of a Christian.
God is love, and it is God who sets the definition of love. Since the most perfect illustration of love is that God gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us; it’s contrary to his teachings to knowingly not warn someone that the next curve on the road takes them off the cliff, all in the name of not offending them.
To say that someone is unloving because they warn someone about their eternal state is committing the fallacy of appeal to fear. In other words, it’s saying that if you truly loved someone you wouldn’t warn them that if they continue in their present course something bad will happen to them. The illustration above shows that this is contrary to common sense, and the Bible confirms this in Proverbs 27:6: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful”.
We are not telling anyone to take what we say at face value. Go and compare it to what the Word of God says.
Historically the Pope and the Catholic Church have not stood on a faithful interpretation of the Word of God. One can just pick up any history book and see why the Reformation started, and why God swept it across all of Europe. It’s a known fact that they tried to deliberately keep the Word of God out of peoples’ hands, and persecuted those who did have it, which was the purpose of the Inquisition. Historically they have also emphasized their Councils, which are the subjective thoughts of men. Had they wisely used the time they spent persecuting others, and actually studied the Word of God, they might have realized that Galileo was correct, and that science and the Bible are not at variance.
We don’t personally know William Dever, and we’re certainly not going to cast a bad shadow on a man we don’t know, and who isn’t here to defend himself. However, he publicly admits that he is an agnostic, which is the same as saying that he is an unbeliever. We aren’t the ones making this judgement call; God says enough against him in His Word. If anyone wants to contend with this, they’ll have to take it up with God. He wrote The Book, not us. It wasn’t “anti-scientific” thought that led William Dever to the heretical position he takes. The Bible makes it truly clear that one thing leads a man to that position. He has suppressed the truth, denied the faith, and unless he repents will show himself to be a two-fold child of the devil. Damnation will be double for him, which is what God says about his state, because he once held to the truth, as a minister of God, and now has turned from that truth willingly. “There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in it, and overcome, the latter end of them is worse than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them” (2 Peter 2:1,2, 19, 20).
God never calls us to a blind faith. To imply that a Christian is “anti-science” is to commit the “No True Scotsman” fallacy. In other words, what this is saying is, “No truly scientific person would say/believe the things you believe, and since you do, you are anti-scientific”. The truth is history cannot be scientifically tested. Yes, history does involve science and its discoveries, but history itself cannot be scientifically tested. For something to be scientifically tested, it must be observable, measurable, and repeatable, which is something that no one on this site, or anyone else can do for history. For example, we cannot scientifically prove that George Washington was President of the United States. We cannot drop history into a test tube to measure it, nor can you observe or repeat his presidency. However, we do have reliable sources and eyewitness accounts of that presidency, and nobody today doubts that George Washington was president. We have the same scenario for the history found in God’s Word. The Bible itself is a reliable collection of historical documents, written by eyewitnesses, during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses, who record supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies; and their writings are divine, rather than human in origin. Anybody wishing for further explanation on this can go listen to Pastor Voddie Baucham’s sermon on “Why I believe the Bible is True”.
As far as being a Christian and being anti-scientific, all one has to do is look at the websites of Answers in Genesis, or Creation Ministries International, or the Institute for Creation Research, among others and see the vast number of Christian scientists that stand firmly on the Word of God. Although we can’t list them all here, that would include Dr. Andrew Snelling (Ph.D in Geology), Dr. Georgia Purdom (Ph.D in Molecular Genetics), Dr. David Menton (Ph.D in Biology), Dr. Terry Mortenson (Ph.D in Geology), Dr. Jason Lisle (Ph.D in Astrophysics), Dr. Danny Faulkner (Ph.D in Astrophysics), Dr. Charles Jackson (Ph.D, holding 4 degrees in various scientific fields), Dr. Andy McIntosh (Ph.D in Thermodynamics and Mathematics), Dr. Carl Werner (Ph.D in Medicine), the late Dr. Tommy Mitchell (Ph.D in Medicine), Dr. Rob Carter (Ph. D in marine biology), Dr. Stuart Burgess (Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Design), Dr. Todd Wood (Ph.D in Biology), Dr. Marcus Ross (Ph.D in Paleontology), and Dr. Steven Austin (Ph.D in Gealogy). Like we said, this list is by no means exhaustive. But you get the idea. This is just a taste of the men out there who are brilliant and thoughtful scientists, yet are also devoted Christians, who stand without apology on the written Word of God.
MemberApril 28, 2021 at 7:54 pm
The H Family wrote,
Does Jesus’ command to “love one another” include being disrespectful to
others, or insulting them on a public forum, because their views happen
to be different from ours? As we noted before, many of the people who
write on these forums appear to be intelligent and are trying to think
through things, so this type of behavior is stooping below their caliber
and, if they profess Christianity, is also contrary to the witness of a
The context of this statement might be something to do with Doug Petrovich. The statement to me resembles that of a defense lawyer asking a prosecutor or an antagonistic witness “Why do you think my client is guilty?” Are you inviting me to attack Petrovich? Why? If I was disrespectful the best thing to have done would be to have pointed it out at the time, and suggested a better way I could have worded my criticism. I’m aware of enough firefights … we don’t need any more.
The H family wrote,
Historically the Pope and the Catholic Church have not stood on a
faithful interpretation of the Word of God. One can just pick up any
history book and see why the Reformation started, and why God swept it
across all of Europe. It’s a known fact that they tried to deliberately
keep the Word of God out of peoples’ hands, and persecuted those who
did have it, which was the purpose of the Inquisition. Historically
they have also emphasized their Councils, which are the subjective
thoughts of men. Had they wisely used the time they spent persecuting
others, and actually studied the Word of God, they might have realized
that Galileo was correct, and that science and the Bible are not at
I notice you didn’t recommend or suggest that the Pope should have looked through Galileo’s telescope. WHY?
A short article I’ll copy. https://godrunning.com/2014/03/06/rc-sproul-on-truth/
So R.C. Sproul stands in front of a seminary class and asks the question, “How many of you believe God’s revelation in scripture is infallible?” They all raised their hand.
Then he asked, “Well how many of you believe God’s revelation in nature is infallible?” Nobody raised their hand. “How can that be?” Sproul asks. “It’s the same God giving the revelation.”
All truth is God’s truth.
MemberApril 20, 2021 at 9:41 am
Do you have a comment with regard to the Antiquity article “Early alphabetic writing in the ancient Near East: the ‘missing link’ from Tel Lachish”? The open access article was published online on April 15, 2021 by Cambridge University Press. Thanks.
MemberApril 20, 2021 at 10:44 am
Hello, Tess. Great question. I will paste–and modify slightly–my answer to that question as posed to me several days ago by an archaeologist in Spain: After looking at the ostracon and reading the journal article, I do have a lot to say about it. I already rec’d approval from Scott Lanser to publish an article this fall in Bible and Spade. I will go into greater detail there than here. By the way, I have been waiting for an inscription such as this (i.e. end of LB I or early LB II) for years now. I actually was hoping we would find one at Shiloh first [where I am the dig’s epigrapher], but maybe it’s better this way, because if we find one, then I would not be dismissed [as one who embraces biblical historicity] by publishing on it and stating that an alphabetic inscription in Canaan dates to this time.
The inscription undoubtedly is Hebrew, no matter what anyone tries to tell us, and the likelihood is extremely high that it dates to the end of LB I or the very beginning of LB IIA, and based on a conquest date of 1406 BC, the ostracon’s inscription probably was placed on the potsherd between 1406 and 1375 BC. Therefore, since 1446 BC is the latest date of any of the PCH inscriptions at Serabit, the ostracon represents a view into the ‘evolution’ of the script about 50+ years later.
Hoflmeyer is the champion of the view that opposes Bietak and his valid insistence on an offset in the radiocarbon dating going backwards in time from 1400 BC. I speak in detail about this is my new book (Origins of the Hebrews), which hopefully will be published in summer, but Hoflmeyer represents the younger generation and its insistence on ‘scientific data only.’ [Insert 5-hour explanation here. Also, here is one of my favorite lines: the great thing about being young is that you still know everything.] The bottom line is that the 14C material just BELOW the ostracon easily could be off about 50 years, due to the offset. Therefore, he almost certainly has dated it slightly too early. There also is depositional rationale for dating the inscription slightly earlier, due to mistaken interpretation on the part of the archaeologist [not the epigrapher, who is Misgav. I will save this discussion for the B&S article].
. . . Again, I will be discussing all of this in my article, where I also will make the claim that it is Hebrew, but not from the perspective that the words are strictly Hebrew and cannot represent any other Semitic language.
My argument will come from a historical perspective, mainly that . . .
Tim, this is a Hebrew inscription, and it fits perfectly with everything I say in my book about the history of the script and the history of the Hebrews. Finally, they are incorrect about this being the earliest alphabetic inscription from Canaan and being the missing link. It only provides CONFIMATION of the missing link (which actual ‘missing link’ Albright published, BTW). So, I am going to ruffle a lot of feathers, as we say. LOL
MemberMay 10, 2021 at 10:49 pm
Here is a quick update on my new book, Origins of the Hebrews. Due to the impact that COVID had on Carta, since most of their sales come via tourists/visitors in Israel, they told me in January that they do not have the capital to publish any new books at present. This was a big blow to absorb, as my experience with their publication of The World’s Oldest Alphabet was a wonderful one. It was such a pleasure to work with them, and they protected me when the sharks were circling and taking bites at me. So, they released me from our contract and told me I am free to find a new publisher.
The process was a challenging one, but I finally settled on a publisher a week or two ago. The months from January to May also allowed me time to complete several more editorial passes, and to interact with new sources. Other challenges also arose. The exciting news is that I submitted the manuscript to the new publisher yesterday (5/9), and it now stands at 157,000 words, 39 images, and 5 appendices. I began the research in 2012, and the writing either in 2012 or 2013.
I have no idea how long it will take the typesetter to complete the preparation, but I know it will be a challenge with the multiple ancient and modern languages in the text and the bibliography. This includes accent marks, diacritical marks, transliteration, and the use of 3 ‘ancient’ fonts. I do not envy his task. When he finishes, I will have to go through the proofs carefully, which will take about 5 days if I spend all of my time on it and only go through it once.
Anyway, I do not know what is a realistic estimate of when it will go to–and come out from the–printer, but my hope is by the end of summer. My publisher believes that this is a realistic timeframe. This book should be cheaper than my first book, the price for which I played no role in setting. My hope is that OOTH will list at under $40, but it will have a color section and a hardback, so it will not be cheap to print. I expect to start a crowdfunding campaign soon to cover the majority of the printing (etc.) costs, because the publisher does not have deep pockets, and I certainly do not, either.
So, that is where the book is. I will try to post again when I have a target date for publication, but the first place to look for the book is on the mainpage of my academia.edu webpage. It will be tremendous to see it in print after 9 years of work (including stepping away at times for writing TWOA, completing my dissertation, and devoting 7 days/week at my professorial post for the first 3 years or so at my current position).
MemberMay 11, 2021 at 8:07 am
Thank you for your update on the impediments and progress of Origins of the Hebrews. It is interesting to learn about the experience, from conception to birth, of producing a book whose gestation will take a decade. Congratulations on your persistence in passing the hurdles.
I have a technical question: What software programs do you–or any other scholarly writers–use to switch back and forth from English to Hebrew and Greek when writing your drafts?
MemberMay 11, 2021 at 12:24 pm
You are welcome, Tess, and thank you for your warm congratulations. Yes, it is not the average book that takes this long to come to fruition, but this one’s claims require an overabundance of care before going to publication prematurely. There is one chance to get it right with such a major thesis as the one behind this book.
I cannot speak for other authors, but it depends on what font you choose for a given language. My favorite Greek and Hebrew fonts are from BibleWorks, which was pushed out of the market in recent years. They are about the prettiest in form, for my money’s worth, and they are easy to use. All you need to do is switch the font on Word’s quick access tool bar, and you’re now typing Greek or Hebrew, left to right. However, BibleWorks fonts are not unicode, so they prohibit being viewable with an e-version of your book.
For this reason, I use SBL Greek and SBL Hebrew (right to left), which ARE unicode. The downside is that their fonts are fairly ugly. Since most Christian publishers prefer the SBL fonts, that’s mainly the font that scholars use for these languages. To use an SBL font, there are two steps. First is switching to the font on Word’s quick access tool bar. Second is changing the language of the keyboard to Greek or Hebrew, which usually is done at the lower right of Windows, in the task bar. Of course, before you can complete this step, you have to install these languages into your operating system, which is quite easy. When you are finished writing your Greek or Hebrew text, you then have to switch back to (for most Americans) the US English keyboard, in addition to switching the font on the quick access bar.
As for Egyptian language, I try to avoid using hieroglyphics in books or journal articles, because this can be problematic for typesetters. Instead, I use the Transliteration font (whose file name is GLYPH_I.TTF). Of course, you have to know how to convert from a hieroglyph to a transliteration symbol, which you learn when you study the language formally. As for Aramaic, everything you need is available with your Hebrew font.
Hoping this helps,
MemberAugust 21, 2021 at 8:52 am
I now have an update on the publication of my new book, Origins of the Hebrews. I have completed the first round of proofs from the typesetter, and now I am working on proofing the second round. At the same time, I have begun a crowdfunding campaign, given that I have to raise funds for the book because the publisher is small and recently established.
At the very same time, I learned only recently that Carta finally is ready to republish my first book, The World’s Oldest Alphabet, which is a companion volume to the second book (just with a different publisher). Because Carta was devastated by COVID, I also need to raise the funds for its republication. The fundraising campaign–one campaign for the publication of both books–is currently underway, and if anyone is willing to contribute and/or spread the word about it to your contacts, I would be greatly appreciative.
Here is the link:
Let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for your prayers and support, as these are two extremely important volumes for biblical history as it relates to the Israelites in Egypt before and during the exodus. Hopefully they both will be in print by November.
MemberAugust 21, 2021 at 10:20 am
Man, I’m excited for this book! Will definitely pray for the resources needed
MemberAugust 21, 2021 at 10:44 am
Thank you @dr_petrovich for this update! We will pray for the resources necessary to complete your project and look forward to seeing both volumes in print.
By the way, Mr. @nick-liguori , we just bought a copy of your book Echoes of Ararat from Answers in Genesis! It looks like a fascinating read and we’re excited to dive into it.
“As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:27-29).
MemberAugust 23, 2021 at 10:16 am
Thank you, Nick and Hs. I appreciate your prayers. I’m excited for it to come out, too, Nick!
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