MemberMay 30, 2021 at 12:40 pm
It seems to me that a biblical site identity will never take on unless it works geographically.
This is why I don’t rely on the features or archaeology of Har Karkom to make the case for its identity as Mount Sinai. They are indicative of the possibility, but not conclusive. The three most well-known Sinai candidates rely on three types of argument for their defence. A ‘score’ seems to accrue according to their tradition, location, and distinction (features and remains). As things stand at present, what each candidate lacks it makes up for in other aspects:
1. What Jebel Musa lacks in location and distinction (just one of many similar granite peaks, and not the highest), it makes up for in tradition (since the 4th C). But an arbitrary identification many centuries after the event is not really a tradition.
2. What Jebel el-Lawz lacks in distinction and tradition, it makes up for in location (in ‘Midian’). But this is all it can offer so far as ‘location’ goes… nothing else works.
3. What Har Karkom lacks in tradition and location, it makes up for in distinction (archaeological remains). Even so, most would see it as lacking distinction (it is an unimpressive plateau).
Anati has provided evidence of Har Karkom’s distinction (i.e. abundant cultic remains). I will provide evidence that the location fulfils the biblical geographical requirements, thus resolving the problems of the wilderness itineraries. It turns out that Har Karkom does not lie in an odd location too close to Kadesh and Canaan as is commonly supposed. In regard to ‘tradition’, its Arabic name is Jebel Ideid, “Mount of Congregation/Celebration”. There is also evidence of pilgrimage to the site in the biblical period, long after Israel would have been there.