Sometimes I find good scholarly resources just sitting around on the internet. My most recent such discovery is a copy of Amihai Mazar’s Archaeology and the Biblical Narrative: The Case of the United Monarchy. You can find it here.
The idea that there ever was a united monarchy such as the one presumed in the biblical accounts of David and Solomon has come under attack. I am most familiar with Israel Finkelstein’s claim that Israel never included Judah, a weak and negligible southern tribe, until the history was rewritten after the fall of Samaria to the Assyrians. There is also the view that Judah was an important state, but that it always existed in tension with the north and was never part of a united kingdom. Apparently this is the view of Yosef Garfinkel.
These views depend upon the idea that the Deuteronomists who compiled our Joshua-2 Kings invented the united kingdom.
Mazar’s position is that the Deuteronomists used much older source material and that they have preserved kernels of the actual history of ancient Israel.
So I want to give Mazar a hearing.
He points out that he has previously written about the inscription found at Tel Dan with it’s reference to the “house of David”. This, he says, means that 140 years after his lifetime, David was well-known as the founder of a dynasty centered in Jerusalem. Mazar also has previously written about the the raid into the southern Levant by the Egyptian King, Shoshenq I in about 925 BCE, . He sees this as evidence that Egypt perceived a threat from a polity in the vicinity of Judah. He has also written about other older archeological evidence.
This paper, instead, focuses on new evidence available by about 2010.
So I expect to write a short series of posts about this.