Tag Archives: Philistines

Quote of the day: Aren Maeir on Philistine foreskins

OpalimThe quote of the day is from Aren Maeir, chief excavator at Tel es-Safi (“Gath”), regarding the approach in a recent book by Avraham Faust:

Clearly, a more in-depth dialogue between the interpretation of the archaeological remains and the modern, scientific interpretation of the biblical text is required. Bluntly put, even if a sackful of Philistine foreskins were found in an early Iron Age Judahite site, this does not prove that the story of David occurred, as described in the book of Samuel or that all the stories described in this book are true!

- Aren M. Maeir, Review of Avraham Faust, The Archaeology of Israelites Society in Iron Age II (Eisenbrauns, 2012)Review of Biblical Literature, September 2013

Indeed. And have a read of Aren’s whole review of Avraham Faust, which is a significant and weighty response. Aren wears a “velvet fist” in his review, being both broadly appreciative and deeply critical of Faust’s work.

(I admit, though, that I felt a little uncomfortable at Aren’s juxtaposition of the words “bluntly” and “foreskins” in that quote. For as LXX Joshua 5:2 makes clear, circumcision – of the living, at least – should always be carried out with a very sharp knife.)

h/t: Aren Maeir, “Something Interesting That Was Just Published“, The Tell es-Safi/Gath Excavations Official (and Unofficial) Weblog, 1 October 2013

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Obama’s Opening Speech in Israel Sounds Strangely Familiar – Oh yes, remember Bibi Netanyahu’s speech before Congress in the US?

Obama at Ben Gurion Airport

No sooner had US President Barack Obama touched the ground at Ben Gurion Airport, than he commenced this speech:

Shalom.

President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and most of all, to the people of Israel, thank you for this incredibly warm welcome. This is my third visit to Israel so let me just say tov lihiyot shuv ba’aretz.

I’m so honored to be here as you prepare to celebrate the 65th anniversary of a free and independent State of Israel. Yet I know that in stepping foot on this land, I walk with you on the historic homeland of the Jewish people.

More than 3,000 years ago, the Jewish people lived here, tended the land here, prayed to God here. And after centuries of exile and persecution, unparalleled in the history of man, the founding of the Jewish State of Israel was a rebirth, a redemption unlike any in history.

Today, the sons of Abraham and the daughters of Sarah are fulfilling the dream of the ages — to be “masters of their own fate” in “their own sovereign state.” And just as we have for these past 65 years, the United States is proud to stand with you as your strongest ally and your greatest friend.

- Barack Obama, in “Full text of Obama’s speech on arrival in Israel”, The Times of Israel, 20 March 2013

Now, there is much in here that a critical biblical scholar might take issue with.

Have “the Jewish people” really lived in the region for “more than 3,000 years”? No. A people known as Judeans did live in the land from perhaps the early part of the first millennium BC to the early Common Era. And they did so alongside many other peoples, many of whom have come and gone, including the Philistines (or residents of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath), the Edomites/Idumaeans, Romans, and Arabs (including Nabataeans). Moreover, the Judeans never occupied all the region now occupied by the modern state of Israel, including Tel Aviv, where Obama delivered his speech.

Did “the Jewish people” pray to God there for more than 3000 years? No. Not if you mean by God, with a capital letter, or the monotheistic concept of later Jews. In the early period of Judean settlement of the southern hill country and northern Negev, the inscriptions from various sites and the Elephantine correspondence (around 400 BC), written before much of the Bible was written, show that Judeans worshipped a number of gods and goddesses. Before this, even Yahweh (later identified as the monotheistic “God”) was worshipped alongside his divine consort or wife, named Asherah.

Are “the sons of Abraham and the daughters of Sarah” fulfilling the dream of the ages — to be ‘masters of their own fate’ in ‘their own sovereign state'”. No. Almost everything is wrong with this. First, no Abraham or Sarah ever existed, except in legendary tales. Second, if you’ve read the Bible, you might note that “the sons of Abraham and the daughters of Sarah” comprises a much more inclusive group than the Jews of the “Jewish State of Israel”. The sons of Abraham and daughters of Sarah include, for example, Ishmael (Abraham’s first son), the alleged ancestor of all Arabs. Given that the Bible makes Ishmael older than Judah (the eponymous ancestor of the Jews), why haven’t their “dreams of the ages” to have “their own sovereign state” been fulfilled? Third, the “dream” of a sovereign Jewish state is not “the dream of the ages”. It was only a dream of some Jews in the nineteenth century onwards, under the influence of European concepts of national sovereignty and Christian concepts of divine election and manifest destiny. And many Jews today still oppose the idea of a sovereign state in Palestine.

But this propaganda sounds all very familiar. Oh yes – remember the speech by Bibi Netanyahu to Congress in the US in 2011?

We’re not the British in India. We’re not the Belgians in the Congo. This is the land of our forefathers, the land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one god, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw his vision of eternal peace.
– Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, in Jonathan Lis, “The facts and fictions of Netanyahu’s address to Congress”Ha’aretz, 26 May 2011

I guess when you’re planning a war against Iran “to preserve our freedom” (as Obama alludes to the Bush Doctrine in his speech) the facts will only get in the way of shoring up political alliances.

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In a Pig’s Ear: On Levels of Pig Consumption as an Ethnic Marker of Ancient Israelites and Philistines

kosher-hamThere is a view that the low levels of pig bones found in the “Israelite” highlands during the Iron Age, and the comparatively higher levels in Philistine sites near the Mediterranean, provide evidence of an ethnic difference between an Israelite people and Philistines as early as 1200 BCE. That is, the explanation of the difference is sought in the ideological proscriptions against eating pork in literature from the much later Persian period (e.g. Lev. 11.7-8). One recent defender of such a view is William G. Dever:

One animal species is conspicuously absent in our Iron Age villages: the pig. Although not nearly as common as sheep and goats at Bronze Age sites, pigs are well attested then. They are also common at Iron I coastal sites that are known to be Philistine. But recent statistical analysis of animal bones retrieved from our Iron I Israelites sites show that pig bones typically constitute only a fraction of 1% or are entirely absent. A number of scholars who are otherwise skeptical about determining ethnic identity from material culture remains in this case acknowledge the obvious: that here we seem to have at least one ethnic trait of later, biblical Israel that can safely be projected back to its earliest days.

- William G. Dever, Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 108

It had already been pointed out, however, that there are other causes for a lack of pigs in arid highlands, such as the lack of water required for animals which require much more watering than sheep and goats (Brian Hesse and Paula Wapnish, “Can Pig Remains Be Used for Ethnic Diagnosis in the Ancient Near East?”, 1997; cf. Aharon Sasson, Animal Husbandry in Ancient Israel: A Zooarchaeological Perspective on Livestock Exploitation, Herd Management and Economic Strategies, Equinox, 2011).

A recent article from the excavators of Tel es-Safi (identified with biblical Gath, hometown of the legendary Goliath) affirms that there are good ecological and economic reasons for low levels of pig-farming in the highlands of “Israel”:

“… extremely high pig frequencies (c. 20 per cent or more) are found in [Philistine] sites in the Israeli coastal plain (Ashkelon, Tel Miqne-Ekron)…. At Tel es-Safi/Gath, located on the interface between the coastal plain and the hill country, pigs comprise 13 per cent of the Iron I fauna …, while Tel Batash, located in a similar setting, has yielded only 8 per cent pigs; at southern Philistine sites, the Nahal Patish temple … and the small village of Qubur el-Walaydah in the northern Negev …. pigs represent less than 1 per cent of the faunal assemblage, a similar low frequency to that observed in coeval Israelite sites…. Thus, it is very feasible that ecological, economic or functional factors, or a mixture of them, rather than ethnicity, were responsible for the relatively high frequencies of pigs in some Philistine sites and their dearth in others – Philistine and Israelite settlements alike”

- Aren M. Maeir, Louise A. Hitchcock, and Liora Kolska Horwitz, “On the Constitution and Transformation of Philistine Identity”, Oxford Journal of Archaeology 32 no. 1 (2013): 5–6 (emphasis added).

The article by Aren Maeir, et al, is well worth reading, too, for observations about the complex mix of Aegean and Levantine cultural influences in the Philistine territories. These observations are based in the latest archaeology being carried out in the area.

h/t: Aren Maeir, “New Article on the Formation and Transformation of Philistine Identity”, The Tell es-Safi/Gath Excavations Official (and Unofficial) Weblog, 10 January 2013

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Israelite David versus Palestinian Goliath? Imagined Community and Israeli Missile-Defence Systems

The creation of a modern state of Israel was prompted – in large part – by the imagined community of modern Jews with an imagined ancient “Israel”. Conversely, as Keith Whitelam pointed out in The Invention of Ancient Israel, “the discourse of biblical studies has imagined an ancient Israelite state that is remarkably similar in many aspects to the modern state” (p. 129). This imagined ancient state of Israel even has its own enemies which it supposed to have defeated when Israel became, under David, a mighty empire. These were the Philistines, who were a repeated threat to Israel until the time of Saul. Yet, under David, “the Philistines are, interestingly, confined to the southern part of the maritime plain, the modern Gaza strip” (p. 137).

Shift forward to 2012, and history repeats itself – so long as new peoples can be identified with old legendary peoples. This from Associated Press:

Israel’s newest missile defense system, designed to provide another layer of protection against enemy fire, is on schedule for deployment in 2014, defense officials said Tuesday.

The “David’s Sling” system, named after the famous weapon in the biblical David and Goliath story, is part of a multi-layered defense against incoming rockets and missiles….

Over the past decade, militants in the Gaza Strip have fired thousands of rockets into Israel….

- “Israel prepares new missile defense system”, Fox News, 13 November 2012

David’s Sling (קלע דוד‎) is a joint military project between Israel and the U.S., funded by U.S. Government financial aid to Israel. It is being developed by the same two companies involved in the development of the Iron Dome defence system, Rafael Advanced Defence Systems and Raytheon.

David's Sling (קלע דוד) missile

David’s Sling (קלע דוד) missile

The rhetorical identification of Israel with David facing a Palestinian/Philistine Goliath takes advantage of the rhetoric of “the underdog” to deny Israel’s military aggression against and military superiority over Palestinians and other neighbouring countries in the area:

In modern usage, a “David and Goliath struggle” is proverbial for a seemingly unequal contest between an overpowering opponent and a small but courageous contender…. The David and Goliath metaphor has frequently been employed to provoke sympathy for a heroic Israeli underdog against a surrounding Arab coalition – despite Israel’s overwhelming military superiority since 1948.

- DG, “Goliath”, Dictionary of the Bible and Western Culture, edited by Mary Ann Beavis, Michael J. Gilmour (Sheffield Pheonix, 2012), p. 189

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Aren Maeir: “The so-called political issues that are supposedly raised by the remnants of giants blog are, you’ll excuse me, ludicrous!”

In an earlier post, Remnant of Giants observed how the current archaeological site of Tel es-Safi (“Gath”) was remembered in The Washington Post as a place of conflict between Israelites and Philistines approximately 3000 years ago, while the newspaper made no mention of the eradication of Palestinians from the site in 1948 by Israeli military forces.

How does such a public memory arise? An important factor is that the Israeli government has heavily sponsored and supported scientific investigations into the “Israelite” history of Palestine, with which the state of course identifies, while discouraging any scientific inquiry into the recent presence there of Palestinian Arabs. This Israeli hegemonic structure, and the terms of engagement it imposes, are the already existing conditions within which archaeologists must work in Israel/Palestine. It follows, therefore, that even the most scientifically rigorous expedition will, within such constraints, support that hegemony. This – to be clear – is not to say that the inherently political nature of archaeology in Israel is the fault of individual archaeologists or individual surveys. Instead, it is fundamentally a result of political power structures that already exist in the region. A properly critical, social-scientific approach to Israeli archaeology should be able to recognise – not ignore – the political situation in which the Israeli state and society acts and has its being.

In this respect, no matter how much rigorously scientific information is furnished at Tel es-Safi, the archaeological excavation at Tel es-Safi also contributes to Israeli claims to the land while it suppresses or silences Palestinian claims. Because it is carried out in a particular political context, it necessarily assists in what Nadia Abu El-Haj has described as the enactment of the Israeli state’s colonial-national historical imagination.

Recently on Jim West’s blog (Zwinglius Redivivus), Aren Maeir, archaeologist at Tel es-Safi, replied in this way to the Remnant of Giants blog post mentioned above:

The so-called political issues that are supposedly raised by the remnants of giants blog are, you’ll excuse me, ludicrous! Because I mentioned one example of interaction between cultures (that of the Philistines and Israelites), which went on for ca. 500 years during the Iron Age, does not mean that I purposely not mentioning the modern Palestinian/Israeli issues. First of all – I’m an archaeologist – I deal with archaeological cultures. Second, the Palestinian/Israeli issue is only related to a very brief point in the history of the site (and nevertheless, we have published articles and chapters on the later periods at the site, including the on the Palestinian village). Thirdly, I also made the horrible mistake of not mentioning the altercations between the Canaanite city states in the Late Bronze Age; the tensions in this region between the Jews and the Pagans in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods; and the battles between the Crusaders and the Muslims in the Middle Ages!!!
C’mon – if one mentions modern day politics you are accused of enmeshing archaeology and politics; if you don’t, your accused of not!!!

Let’s get serious – what we are doing at Tell es-Safi/Gath is archaeology. What others try to do with this is their issue.

Much of this reply quite misses the point of the original criticism. I might first note the strangely overdetermined dismissal of any political implications of the archaeological excavation. Not only are the political issues described as only “so-called”, but apparently I only “supposedly” raised them. Well, I don’t think there’s too much doubt that I had at least raised the political dimensions of the excavation. I mean, why else would Aren Maeir have responded? But more seriously, what is disappointing in this response is a complete failure to even recognise the grounds of the criticism being raised. This is not a criticism of the scientificity of the dig; it is also not a criticism that specialists in Iron Age archaeology have confined themselves to their specialist knowledge. In the original post, I did not criticise Aren Maeir nor the excavation; what I did, rather, was highlight the political implications of the archaeological excavation which already prevail, and which the excavation necessarily enters into.

The criticism is, therefore, of the very structure of Israeli archaeology, which renders such archaeological expeditions as pawns in a larger power play over modern Israeli and Palestinian claims to the land. Recognition of this social-political-material situation, and of the political interests which it serves, simply makes for a more critical, more scientific approach to the archaeological dig, not less so. Critical recognition of social-political-material interests does not negate the scientific value of the excavation of Tel es-Safi; it increases scientific knowledge by adding a social scientific dimension. On the other hand, to pretend that your archaeological work is neutral, that it comes “before” political applications, that political applications are independent of your work, now that represents a lack of critical judgment and poor socio-political analysis.

Examination of the political dimensions of Israeli archaeology increases the overall contribution to critical thought. Any archaeologist who wants to concentrate on archaeology, but who is interested in advancing scientific criticism, should therefore welcome such criticism from others.

See also:

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Ethnic Cleansing of Khirbat Zakariyya allows for excavation of site mentioned in David and Goliath story, Tel Zakariyya (“Azekah”)

The story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17 opens with this geographical description of the military camps of the Philistines and Israelites:

Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. Saul and the Israelites gathered and encamped in the valley of Elah, and formed ranks against the Philistines.

Azekah was a fortified town to the west of, and overlooking, the Valley of Elah – the latter the site of the legendary encounter between David and Goliath:

Tel Zekariyya seen from the Valley of Elah, location of the legendary encounter between David and Goliath

Tel Zekariyya seen from the Valley of Elah, location of the legendary encounter between David and Goliath

Azekah is today named Tel Zakariyya/Zakariya, after the name of the Arabic town Khirbat Zakariyya (خربة زكريا), lying to the north-east. The town was continuously occupied by Palestinians since the Roman or Byzantine periods, until ethnically cleansed by Israeli Defence Forces in 1948 and forcibly resettled in 1950. The town of Zakariyya was almost completely destroyed.

Zakariyya school-children, before they were ethnically cleansed from their city in 1948 by Israeli Defence Forces. Tel Zakariyya, under which lies Azekah, can be seen on the left  in the background.

Zakariyya school-children, before they were ethnically cleansed from their city in 1948 by Israeli Defence Forces. Tel Zakariyya, under which lies Azekah, can be seen on the left in the background.

There is, therefore, a rich destruction layer available for investigation from as recent a year as 1948, and which boasts some 2000 years of prior and continuous occupation. In light of this, the Lautenschläger Azekah Expedition has announced that it will excavate only the town of Azekah, underneath Tel Zakariyya, due to the organizers’ interest in the Bible. The directors of the excavation are Oded Lipschits of Tel Aviv University, Manfred Oeming of Heidelberg University, and Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University. The excavation is supported by the Collège de France, Duke University, Georg-August-Universität-Göttingen, Heidelberg University, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Macquarie University, Moravian College, Moravian Theological Seminary, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Tel Aviv University, Universität des Saarlandes, Université de Lausanne, University of Iowa, Univerzita Karlova v Praze, and the University of Zurich. The first season of the expedition to “Tell Azekah” will commence 15 July 2012.

The Lautenschläger Azekah Expedition website has detailed information about the story of David and Goliath. It describes the story in 1 Samuel 17, and summarises some of the competing explanations about the alternative story of the slaying of Goliath by Elhanan in 2 Samuel 21.19. The website notes that the name “David” is unique “in the Bible or in any known ancient Near Eastern records” – apparently taking a minimalist stance on the Tel Dan stele. No mention is made of the name of  Elhanan’s father in 2 Samuel 21.19 (“Dodi”), a form which is almost the same as “David”. The website then summarises the contradictions in the David and Goliath story in 1 Samuel 17, as indicators of its “complex compositional history”. The summary ends by concluding that

it is clear that 1 Samuel 17 is not a piece of historiography meant to document actual events as they occurred. Rather, at its core, it is a folktale about how, in spite of their disparity in size, military experience and weaponry, a mere shepherd boy was able to overcome a powerful foreign champion and become a national hero and future king. These kinds of folktales are known in many cultures around the world and are not unique in ancient Israel’s literature. What makes this story historically compelling is its setting in the Valley of Elah between Socoh and Azekah. This area, and the entirety of the Judaean lowlands, was a border zone in which different cultures and emerging polities intermingled during the early Iron Age (11th–9th centuries BCE). Cultural and political encounters thus provided the source material for many tales of heroism, including the story of David and Goliath.

The idea that there is some kernel of historical background, in real frontier skirmishes, has been proposed by Yosef Garfinkel, excavator at another Valley of Elah project, Khirbet Qeiyafa. As Garfinkel and Saar Ganor wrote in a 2008 article, “This was a hostile border area, where the Kingdoms of Gath and Jerusalem had constant millenary conflicts.” (We suspect that Garfinkel was intending to refer to military conflicts, rather than any rivalry between Israelite and Philistine millenarians or perhaps hat-makers.)

Israel Finkelstein makes a good rejoinder to such claims:

Making straight forward connection between this site and the biblical tradition on the duel between David and Goliath takes archaeology back a century, to the days when archaeologists roamed the terrain with a Bible in one hand and a spade in the other. The story of David and Goliath is a complex one. There could have been an ancient memory on conflicts between Judah and Philistine Gath in this region and the story of the slaying of Goliath by a hero named David or Elhanan (2 Sam. 21:19) may be related to this ancient tradition. But the text in 1 Samuel 17 is Deuteronomistic in its language, and it seems to depict Homeric influence. It is clear therefore that the story could not have been put in writing before the late 7th century BCE. More than anything else the story portrays the theological goals of the authors and the historical reality of the time of the authors – centuries after the high days of Khirbet Qeiyafa.

A final note on this issue: the eruption of the tradition biblical archaeology, characterized by a highly literal interpretation of the biblical text, should not come as a surprise. It is an unavoidable phase in the now two-centuries-long battle between the advocators of a critical history of ancient Israel and the supporters of a conservative approach that tells a basically biblically narrated history of ancient Israel in modern words. Following every high-tide of critical studies comes a “counter-revolution” of the conservative school.

- Israel Finkelstein, “A Great United Monarchy? Archaeological and Historical Perspectives.” Pages 3-28 in R.G. Kratz and H. Spieckermann, eds., One God – One Cult – One Nation: Archaeological and Biblical Perspectives (Berlin, 2010), pp. 18-19; cf. Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor, “Khirbet Qeiyafa: Sha’arayim”, Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 8.22 (2008): 6.

Although the Lautenschläger Azekah Expedition website provides a reasonably detailed discussion of the biblical David and Goliath story – which no doubt will stimulate the interest of volunteer diggers from North America and South Korea – oddly, there is no discussion of any history of the area since Roman or Byzantine times, nor any mention of the recent destruction layer in 1948. I wonder if anybody connected with the excavation can tell me how much of their resources are being allocated to an archaeological investigation of the Khirbat Zakariyya site. Surely this latter period and site is not deemed unimportant to “cultural memory”?

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The European Origins of the Book of Genesis: Dmitri Panchenko on the Giants of Gen. 6.1-4

Frost Giant

Frost Giant

In a recent article, “Европейские элементы в Книге Бытия (6: 1-16)” [“European Elements in the Book of Genesis (6.1-16)”], Dmitri Panchenko argues that the Nephilim of Genesis 6.1-4 have European origins.

The argument for Greek origins to biblical giant stories is not new: it was argued in various ways, for example, by Robert H. Pfeiffer (“A Non-Israelite Source of the Book of Genesis”, Introduction to the Old Testament), E.C.B. MacLaurin (“Anak/ ’Αναξ”), and Othniel Margalit (The Sea Peoples in the Bible). But Panchenko adds to these arguments, in particular by offering some possible philological grounds.

Panchenko begins with the general observation that, while Gen. 6.1-4 is anomalous in the Hebrew Bible, stories of gods mating with mortals and genealogies going back to gods are common in Greek and northern European sources. Like MacLaurin, whom he does not cite, Panchenko posits the dissemination of such traditions from the “Sea Peoples”, some of whose descendents, the Philistines, were the neighbours of the ancient Judeans. Panchenko refers to another one of his articles, ”Mice Destroying an Army (Hdt. 2. 141) and a Solution of the Tocharian Problem” (Hyperboreus 16/17 [2010/2011]: 32-45), in which he hypothesises a northwestern European, probably Scandanavian origin for the Sea Peoples.

Thus, Panchenko makes a claim that I haven’t seen before: that the Bible is dependent, in Genesis 6, on Scandanavian myth.

Panchenko then argues that, while Nephilim has no convincing Semitic etymology, it has a European cognate which suggests inhabitants of heaven, or those who come from the heavens/sky. Panchenko suggests that the term “Nephilim” belongs with Indo-European terms such as the Russian небо (“sky”), Latin nebula (“cloud”), Greek nepheli (“cloud”), Old Icelandic Niflheim (“kingdom of darkness”).

The suggestion is intriguing. If Gen. 6.1-4 refers to heavenly beings, the proposed etymological link has some foundation. It would be sounder if there were heavenly beings of some significance with this name, but this does not seem to be the case. For example, Nephele is a cloud nymph in Greek myth, but without any major role to play, and is rather more specific a figure than the very general “sons of god(s)” of Gen. 6.1-4. Panchenko posits an ancient predecessor to the Nibelung/Niflungr of medieval German and Norse mythology, which may have given rise to the Gen. 6.1-4 Nefilim. But this is a conjecture that requires further support. In any case, Gen. 6.1-4 does not refer to the heavens. While Gen. 6.1-4 does refer to the “sons of god(s)”, it is difficult to determine whether the short passage conceives them as heavenly or earthly beings, and the interpretation has been widely debated without any definitive resolution to the matter.

Panchenko adduces 1 Enoch 6.2, and its parallel description of the “sons of god(s)” as “sons of heaven”, as a further basis for his argument. However, it is highly problematic for Panchenko to use 1 Enoch in order to support his case. For 1 Enoch 6.2 may well be dependent on the tradition in Genesis 6. Whatever the relationship between the two texts, which is a complex issue in itself, the phrase “the angels, sons of heaven” in 1 Enoch 6.2 appears to exegete the vague “sons of god(s)” in Gen. 6.2. “Heaven” is most probably a theological circumlocution for god/elohim. Contrary to Panchenko’s contention, 1 Enoch cannot provide good evidence to interpret the meaning of a text on which it is itself dependent.

Panchenko makes a related argument concerning the derivation of “Anak” from the Mycenaean wa-na-ka or Homeric wanax. A similar argument was made most fully in recent years by MacLaurin, whose work Panchenko unfortunately does not engage. The common element of kingship/lordship between Anax and Anak is again intriguing. But in the absence of further parallel elements between the Greek and Hebrew sources, the case is less than compelling.

The remainder of Panchenko’s article looks at an alleged parallel between Snorri and Genesis concerning the Giant-Flood narrative.

Panchenko’s suggestion of the dependence of Gen. 6.1-4 on Greek (or even Scandanvian) sources is worthwhile, but given the brevity of the biblical material, it proves difficult to convert the suggestion into a convincing one. But Panchenko has made a case for an interpretive option that should be considered by biblical gigantologists.


See: Dmitri Panchenko, “Европейские элементы в Книге Бытия (6: 1-16)”, pages 438-446 in  РОССИЙСКАЯ АКАДЕМИЯ НАУК ИНСТИТУТ ЛИНГВИСТИЧЕСКИХ ИССЛЕДОВАНИЙ НАУЧНЫЙ СОВЕТ РАН ПО КЛАССИЧЕСКОЙ ФИЛОЛОГИИ, СРАВНИТЕЛЬНОМУ ИЗУЧЕНИЮ ЯЗЫКОВ И ЛИТЕРАТУР ИНДОЕВРОПЕЙСКОЕ ЯЗЫКОЗНАНИЕ И КЛАССИЧЕСКАЯ ФИЛОЛОГИЯ – XV. Материалы чтений, посвященных памяти профессора Иосифа Моисеевича Тронского 20-22 июня 2011 г. Отв. редактор Н. Н. Казанский. СПб.: Наука, 2011.

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Filed under 1 Enoch, Anakim, Biblical Exegesis, Genesis 6.1-4, Nephilim