A Doubting Thomas: Prof.Thomas L. Thompson,
Theologian on the "Old Testament" and His Doubts About Our History and Religion and Our Archaology Finds
Being involved with many problems affecting Israel, and being an Israeli citizen, I was amazed with a researcher who is writing books that are not in step with our Jewish beliefs about our land of Israel. He, in turn, cannot understand why Israelis gave him a negative review. He thinks he knows so much more about our religion and land than we do.
Evidently Professor Thomas L. Thompson is not in any agreement with our Israel's past history. He joins the Palestinians who have been busy trying to change our history as well, if not on purpose, in deed. This professor, born in Detroit, Michigan, is now living in Copenhagan, Denmark with Danish citizenship, and from there gives opposing views of our Jewish history. He is not Jewish, but a Professor of "The Old Testament "and is is a follower of the Copenhagen School of Theology. He tries to connect or view side-by-side the "Old Testament" and archaology, and to me he understands neither. He is in a group of "scholars" that think that the bible's version of history is not supported by any archaeological evidence so far unearthed. In fact, they even think that sites unearthed will undermine our Jewish history. From what I've seen, it proves otherwise. Some authors have written that recent archaeological discoveries appear to undermine Thompson's theories. On such discovery is the Tel Dan Stele, found in northern Israel at Tel Dan uncovered in 1993. He had written about it with his unusuaI interpretation in one of his books published in 1999. This form of publicity was in Aramaic, written by either the king of Damascus, Hazael, or one of his sons had incribed the words "Israel" and "House of David" and was telling about his conquest of this people. I suggest he actually go to Israel and take a tour and learn about it. It's authentic proof of our history.
The poor professor was outraged when his book was reviewed by the Jerusalem Post by Magen Broshi, former director of the Israel Department of Antiquities, who gave it a negative review. I would imagine! I have a feeling that this man has never talked to a Rabbi about our Torah, and has not seen the discoveries in Israel. No doubt he cannot read Hebrew as well.
He states in a list of 10 facts of his in #8 that the history of Palestine and of its peoples is very different from the Bible's narratives, whatever political claims to the contrary may be. An independent history of Judea during the Iron I and Iron II periods has little room for historicizing readings of the stories of I-II Samuel and I Kings. So what does this mean? That he is accepting the Egyptian versions? What?
I believe that our Torah (first five books of the "Bible") is a beautiful real-life history, with all the good and the bad included in it. We didn't cover up King David's exploits with women, or change the number of Solomon's wives to make us look better. That was a trick done in Egyptian history. You won't read anything bad about their people there. Anything they didn't like was erased, the hard way. I'd like to tell Thompson that our soldiers have used our Tanakh "Bible" when out on the field fighting, and by searching in it found the path needed to move to another part of the land. The geography in the bible works! We know that Moses wrote down the 1st five books. He was educated in Egypt, knew how to write and was with slaves that were not scribes, so he had to do it. Our belief is that G-d dictated it to him. Believe that or not, I really don't care. It is magnificent! It is awesome! How one man could come up with such thinking, and especially at that time, is more than awesome. It's brilliant. He was so exact. Our version of Torah has been most carefully copied for 4,000 years by scribes. If one error was made, the whole thing was thrown out and they started over.
The only thing I see is that Christians have not translated certain words properly when they used it for material for their printed "Old Testament." If you really want to do good research, you must go to the Hebrew original versions and study with a Rabbi, like a Chabad Rabbi who is into education and may have more patience with you.
The practical thing for this man is to have a discourse with archaeologists in Israel to learn anything. I see in one source that he was prevented from being given a tenured position in any North American university because of a controversy provoked with the conservative American academia over his study : The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives. To me, that's a fantastic part, repleat with genealogy. Of course Moses wasn't alive in Abraham's day, but that was told to him and most likely also in our oral history. Has he ever read the book about the Black fellow who went to Africa to find his family and came upon a whole tribe who could repeat their oral history? It used to be quite a skill for ancient peoples. Also, look at the shards with writing on them found in Ur, where Abraham and his family originally came from. There was a story of the flood, etc. Things have been written down.
In his 10th listing comments, "already by the Persian period, Judaism is marked by multiplicity in social, religious and regional organization and the term should not be used as if identifying either a specific religion or people." I am left flabbergasted! What, we shouldn't use Judaism for our identification even though we come from different places? Sorry, Bub, but whether we are Ashkenazi, Sephardi or Mizrachi or Berber, or through Khazar conversions, we count ourselves as Jews as we follow the precept of Moses. You have so much to learn. Even the people with Moses in Egypt on the Exodus were a multitude, a mixture, all sharing the slavery racket of the Egyptians and used by them to build . Abraham started us off by being monotheistic and we grew which also includes picking up people along the way.
Now, if you really want to learn anything, get into the DNA of our Jewish people. That can lead you to study about our paths and history. That's what I'm into right now. Get out of your chair in Denmark and do what so many of your people have done, visit Israel. We're all deep into our history because of it.
When living in Safed, Israel from 1980-1985, we had a friend, who was a recent educated tour guide, take us on a tour to practice his new skills. We went to many ruins and had the first hand lecture of the history of the places. There wasn't any place that didn't fit with the history that I was familiar with. It was an enhancement. When Israel learns something, like the recent mikvah dug out or about the Western Wall, they publicize it with alterations of time, periods etc. They're after truth, just like we all are.
Gosh, I hope Professor Thompson leaves his den and does some real research about our religion and home. Whatever does he think when he says such things as "the biblical theology of monotheism has roots in the ideology of empire." So that's what he thinks about believing in one G-d?
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100107183037.htm showing 10th Century BCE shard from King David's period with Hebrew writing, sent to my by Freddy Krupa