Video: The Wilderness Itineraries–Who, How and When Did Biblical Authors Know About the Southern Deserts?

Israel Finkelstein discusses archaeology & history at UCSD's recent Out of Egypt conference

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Tel Aviv University scholar Israel Finkelstein delivered the keynote lecture “The Wilderness Itineraries: Who, How and When Did Biblical Authors Know About the Southern Deserts?” at the recent Out of Egypt: Israel’s Exodus Between Text and Memory, History and Imagination conference hosted by Calit2’s Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego. Watch the full lecture video below or click here for more information on the conference, including dozens of additional video lectures.

Lecture video courtesy of conference host Thomas E. Levy, distinguished professor and Norma Kershaw Chair in the Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Neighboring Lands at UCSD. All videos originally published on the Out of Egypt: Israel’s Exodus Between Text and Memory, History and Imagination website, which features additional Exodus research and more information on the UCSD conference.

In the FREE eBook Ancient Israel in Egypt and the Exodus, top scholars discuss the historical Israelites in Egypt and archaeological evidence for and against the historicity of the Exodus.

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  • Paul says

    Finkelstein’s discourse is like the flow that wells up from the earth and waters the whole surface of the ground (Genesis 2:6), changing the dry clods of data-dust into fertile soil. It makes sense that knowledge of geography of the south lands was acquired when Judah became a vassal state of the Neo-Assyrian Empire Tiglath-Pileser III seemed to have placed a premium on the riches of Arabia when he placed an Arab by the name of “Idibi’lu as a Warden of Marches on the border of Musur (Egypt)”, the rival of Assyria. From Samsi the queen of Arabia the tribute included “containers with all kinds of spices.” Likewise Sargon II recieves from Queen Samsi “all kinds of aromatic substances” which in another inscription of Sargon II is refered to as “herbs of the mountain.” Sargon II mentions the land of Meluhha as bordering the land of Musur, believed to be in Ethiopia. It ‘s described as “an unapproachable region … whose fathers since the far-off days of the moon-god’s time, had not sent messengers to the kings my fathers…” That would be the Akkadian moon-god Sin during the reigns of the kings of the Akkadian Empire beginning with Sargon the Great who mentions that “at the wharf of Agade he made moor ships from Meluhha…”
    Perhaps this is why the name Sinai looms so large in the desert narratives because it’s probably derived from the god Sin. Sin is Suen in Sumerian and this deity appears in “Lugalbanda in the Mountain Cave,” a poem that features wild animals eating various plants like the “beasts of the field …in which there is a living soul” who are provided with “every green herb for food” (Genesis 1:30). Along with “the pure plant of the mountains,” the wild goats “were sniffing with their noses at the foilage of the ‘senu’ tree as if it were grass.” In Exodus 3:2 the burning thornbush is called ‘seneh,’ similar to Arabic ‘senna’ and Assyrian ”sinu.’
    Yet we need not look far and wide for a verification of the shamanic use of plants in ancient Israel since it was probably known by a circle of initiates in the story of Jacob’s Ladder (Genesis 28:12). Jacob had the dream/vision as he was setting out for Haran, implying that the ladder is representative of a Ziggarat temple/tower that was dedicated to the moon god at Ur and Haran.
    In “Food of the Gods; The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge,” Terence McKenna describes how since prehistoric times cattle domestication allowed humans to become aquainted with psychedelic mushrooms that grew among the fertile dung, and on a Mesopotamian cylinder seal there is a depiction of the moon god Sin wearing a hat that resembles a mushroom (p.115):
    “The Babylonian civilization’s northernmost outpost was the city of Harran, a city traditionally associated with the original home of Abraham and the beginning of astrology. The patron deity of Harran was a male moon god; Sin or Nannar. He was thought to have arisen from a god of nomads and a protector of cattle related to the masculine cult of the moon god in Arabia” (p.114).

  • Paul says

    Oh yeah, looking through a “Glass Onion.”

  • warren says

    Mtzrayim = Mecca, or thereabouts. The Hyksos that didn’t originally go down to Egypt (ie the ‘Rump’).. The Koran also states that one of Abraham’s journeys was to Mecca and not Egypt as the Torah describes. The Provincial Pharaoh’s charioteers disappeared in a Wadi not in the Red or Reed seas. The king of Mitzrayim and Pharaoh were different persons ruling different people. Obviously there were more than one Exodus. Moses was the latter, Balaam the earlier prophet.

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