Monday, January 13, 2020

Sodom and Gomorrah

THE SEARCH FOR SODOM: IS IT BAB EDH-DHRA OR TALL EL-HAMMAM? Jill Toodle Biblical Archaeology BIBL471_D01 April 7, 2013 Since the early 19th century archaeologists and Christian bible scholars have discovered a difference in archaeological and geographical evidence that supports a northern view of Sodom or a southern view of Sodom. The Southern site for Sodom is commonly referred to as the Bab edh-Dhra and the northern site for Sodom is referred to as the Tall el-Hammam. Since archaeologists have not uncovered exact evidence indicating a particular site as the biblical Sodom, the search for Sodom remains a mystery.To accurately investigate these sites and try to form a conclusion, key facts need to be revealed. The intention of this paper is to reveal certain facts pertaining to those areas. The specific facts are as follows; the site each position believes is Sodom, the evidence for destruction at both sites and how each site meets the criteria for the biblical location of Sodom. In addition this paper will compare and identify the strengths and weaknesses of each position. Two sites have been excavated as possible sites of the biblical Sodom.Which one is it? First the paper will focus on the southern site named Bab edh-Dhra, and then an analysis of the Tall el-Hammam will be done. Bab edh-Dhra is the excavated site along the Valley of Siddom, South of the Dead Sea. Many proponents of this site suggest that this site is located precisely on the eastern fault, which provides evidence for it’s destruction. [1] Furthermore, they indicate that the Bible historically supports this location in Genesis 13:10, Genesis 14:10 and Genesis 19:24. J.Penrose Harland explains that an overall agreement between the southern supporters and northern supporters is that the cities of the Plain are to be found in Ghor, or Valley of the Jordan and the Dead Sea. However, Harland states, â€Å"the evidence is preponderantly in favor of a location at the Southern end of the Dead Sea†, which is described as Bab edh-Dhra. [2] To better grasp this preponderant view the archaeological evidence for the destruction of Bab edh-Dhra should be revealed. Dr. Price is a prominent supporter of this site and he reveals that this site was never reoccupied after the Early Bronze date of 2300-2000 B.C. [3] This evidence supports the truth that after the destruction of Sodom by the wrath of God that this location was uninhabitable. Furthermore, significant ash layers were discovered, which supports Genesis 19: 24-28. Geologist Frederick Clapp surveyed Ghor, the southern end of the Dead Sea and discovered abundant amounts of asphalt, petroleum and natural gas. In addition, the smell of sulphur and ash deposits represented in Genesis 14:10 were present. [4] Since the Bible informs us that Sodom was destroyed during the time of the Patriarchs one important discovery needs to be made in regard to the date of the Patriarchs.The site of Bab edh-Dhra provides a date of the second millennium B. C. Dr. Price confirms this discovery and states, â€Å"Only a second millennium context will fit the type of inheritance practiced by the Patriarchs. [5] Many bible scholars and archaeologists have spent numerous hours uncovering the site of Bab edh-Dhra. At this point the criteria that causes Bab edh-Dhra to be considered as biblical Sodom is the followings; the Bible, the late Greek and Roman writers, from geology and topography, from hydrography, and archaeology. [6] Furthermore, Genesis 13:10 describes Sodom as â€Å"a well watered land like the land of Egypt. Therefore, the Paleo-botanical studies done on and at the Bab edh-Dhra site reveal that the area has had a rich diversity of crops, meeting the criteria for a well-watered land. [7] Another huge discovery that causes Bab edh-Dhra to be recognized as Sodom is the reference in Genesis 19:1, where Lot is sitting at the city gate. Bab edh-Dhra actually means â€Å"gate of the arm. † Wood describes this fortification when he describes what the gate and site measure. He states, â€Å"The city wall, enclosing an area of 9-10 acres, was a massive 7m (23 ft) wide and made of stones and mud bricks. [8] Although the Bab edh-Dhra has not been confirmed as the definite biblical Sodom, there is very strong evidence linking it to the Sodom described in the infallible Word of God. However, a professor from Albuquerque has followed and found based on the geography and history presented in the Bible a site called Tall el-Hammam, the northern site in question. Dr. Collins and many other scholars believe that this site is actually the correct site for biblical Sodom. Therefore, throughout the next section of this paper, a detailed analysis to the Tall el-Hammam will be done. Tall el-Hammam s the site located on the northern circular plain of the southern Jordan Valley. Proponents of this site are, Charles W. Wilson, H. H. Kitchener, Claude R. Conder, Selah Merrill, Henry B Tristram, Willia m M. Thomson, George Grove and Henry S. Osborn. [9] They form their conclusion based on an analysis of the Hebrew text and their understanding of geography. Dr. Collins explains that the place that Lot set out to is clearly between Bethel and Ai. [10] This location provides the evidence for scholars to lean towards the Tall el-Hammam as the biblical Sodom, instead of the southern site, Bab edh-Dhra.Supporting this, a majority of biblical scholars locate Bethel, near Beitin, about 12 miles north of Jerusalem. Therefore, if Sodom is located between Bethel and Ai, the Tall el-Hammam better fits the criteria for being the biblical Sodom. When looking at the archaeological evidence for the destruction of the Tall el-Hammam archaeologist have discovered the site was destroyed near the end of the Middle Bronze Age. Dr. Collins explains that they have discovered vast quantities of ash, consisting of 1. 5 to 3 feet thick of heavy ash associated with the Middle Bronze Age stratum. 11] Some of the debris found is pottery, a few bones, some ash and something an excited digger thought was part of the meteor some believers speculate God hurled at Sodom to destroy it. [12] In addition, the Tall el-Hammam site reveals that a temperature exceeding 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit destroyed the area; this gave evidence of catastrophic damage. [13] Based on the evidence revealed through archaeological excavation of the Tall el-Hammam, the supporters of this site date the Patriarchs as 17/16th Century, or Middle Bronze Age.Collins says the â€Å"Bible makes it clear that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed during the Middle Bronze Age, the time of Abraham and Lot†. [14] This dating is certainly the biggest difference between the two sites in question. Therefore, it is important to list how the Tall el-Hammam meets the criteria for the biblical Sodom. The specific discoveries of the Tall el-Hammam meet the criteria are described briefly in this paragraph. First, the bible describes t he place where Lot went as being a well-watered land, like the land of Egypt.Tall el-Hammam is located on a disk of well-watered plain 18 miles (30km) in diameter in the Jordan Valley north of the Dead Sea! This location is exactly where Dr. Collins believes the biblical Sodom exists. The Hebrew word kikkar has special significance to the location of the Tall el-Hammam. This word was used to describe what Lot looked up and saw. Kikkar is a plain, round or oval shaped. Dr. Collins explains that when kikkar is used to describe a geographical construct, it refers to a disk shaped plain in the Southern Jordan Valley. 15] The specific site of the Tall el-Hammam has revealed that it was a well watered and fertile land, with large wadis wrapped around the fortification in exactly the described location. Another discovery was that in 3000-2350 B. C. E. the site was protected by enormous defenses. This indicated a strong government and settlements associated with an agricultural economy. Whe n debating the two locations in consideration for the biblical site of Sodom, strengths and weakness of each view exist. Some of the strengths of the Bab edh-Dhra site are the discovery that the location was destroyed in the Early Bronze Age and never occupied again.This seems likely since God destroyed it with such great wrath. Strength of the Bab edh-Dhra is the fact that Lot was closely associated with Moab. [16] Therefore, the southern half of the Dead Sea would seem appropriate. In addition the charnel houses discovered in Bab edh-Dhra suggest a catastrophic event that burned many areas and came from above. [17] As for the weaknesses of in the location of Bab edh-Dhra, one is the fact that the Bible does not indicate specifically a southern site. Also, the lack of an excavated gate complex like the one found at the Tall el-Hammam and the difference in the size of the two sites.Bab edh-Dhra is approximately 12 acres and Tall el-Hammam is 100 acres. [18] When evaluating the weakn esses of the Tall el-Hammam some often mention the dating of the Patriarchs. Some believe that Dr. Collins has lowered the date of Abraham in order to create a match with his excavations. Dr. Collins absolutely denies that. Genesis 14 and 29 support an Early Bronze Age date for the Patriarchs and the Tall el-Hammam contradicts that date. Furthermore, the Tall el-Hammam was reinhabited hundreds of years after the destruction. This seems unlikely due to the soil being severely contaminated.Some strengths of the Tall el-Hammam site are the amount of ash and â€Å"frothy† magna indicating a temperature above 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, the northern location of Sodom seems more likely, since the Bible suggests that Sodom is between Bethel and Ai (Genesis 13:1-2). Tall el-Hammam is visible from that area which is ten miles north of Jerusalem. [19] In closing, I would like to suggest that it is just too early to exactly say which site is the correct biblical Sodom. Howeve r, the amount of ash strongly points to the Tall el-Hammam.I have reservations because of the date of the Patriarchs given to that site and the fact of it being occupied once again in the Late Bronze Age. This certainly complicates the excavation. Interestingly, very intelligent evangelical biblical archaeologists disagree on which site is in fact the biblical Sodom. I find it very difficult to form an opinion, considering Dr. Price, the author of our textbook The Stones Cry Out concludes the Bab edh-Dhra as the correct site and my professor, Dr. David Graves, is the field supervisor of the Roman remains (Livias? ) at the Tall el-Hammam (Sodom? excavations in Jordan. Due to this reality and the evidence, I am undecided. I have chosen to let the reader form an individual conclusion based on the evidence I have presented in this paper. Hopefully, I have equally analyzed each site and the reader can participate in this exciting journey of biblical discoveries to uncover the biblical So dom. Bibliography Collins, Steven. â€Å"Discovering the City of Sodom. † Kirkus Reviews 3 (Feb 2013), http://www. kirkusreviews. com Collins, Steven. â€Å"If You Thought You Knew the Location of Sodom and Gomorrah†¦ think Again. Biblical Research Bulletin 7, no. 4 (2007): 1-6. Collins, Steven. â€Å"North vs. South: Why the Southern Location Doesn’t Work. † Sidebar to: Where is Sodom. † Biblical Archaeology Society 39, no. 2 (Mar/April 2013) http://www. basarchive. org. ezproxy. liberty. edu:2048/bswbBrowse. asp? PubID=BSBA &Volume=39&Issue=2&ArticleID=2&UserID=1037. Collins, Steven. â€Å"Where Is Sodom? The Case for Tall el-Hammam. † Biblical Archaeology Society 39, no. 2 (Mar/April 2013). http:www. basarchive. org. ezproxy. liberty. edu:2048/bswbBrowse. asp?PubID=BSBA &Volume=39&Issue=2&ArticleID=2&UserID=1037. Harland, J. Penrose. â€Å"Sodom and Gomorrah: The location of the Cities of the Plain. † The Biblical Archaeologist 5, no . 2 (May 1942): 17-32. Higgins, Andrew. â€Å"Digging for Sin City, Christians Toil in Jordan Desert; Prof Collins seeks Sodom with Scriptures as Guide and Volunteers as Muscle. † Wall Street Journal, A1 edition (February 2007). http://search. proquest. com/docview/399037586? accountid=12085 Price, Randall. The Stones Cry Out. Oregon: Harvest House, 1997. Wood, Bryant G. The Discovery of the Sin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. † Bible and Spade 12, no. 3 (1999). â€Å"Search for Sodom and Gomorrah. † (August 2009). http://blog. bibleplaces. com/2009/08/ Video-Searchforsodomandgomorrah. html ———————– [1] Bryant Wood, â€Å"The Discovery of the Sin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah,† Bible and Spade 12, no. 3(1999): 0. [2] J. P. Harland, â€Å"Sodom and Gomorrah:The location of the Cities of the Plain,†The Biblical Archaeologist 5, no. 2 (May 1942):19. [3] Randall Price, The Stones Cry Out (Oregon: Harv est House, 1997), 120. [4] Price, 118-119. 5] Price, 94. [6] Harland, 28. [7] Wood, 0. [8] Wood, 0. [9] Steven Collins, â€Å"North vs. South: Why the Southern Location Doesn’t work,† Biblical Archaeology Society 39, no. 2 (Mar/April 2013):0. [10] Steven Collins, â€Å"Where is Sodom? The Case for Tall el-Hammam,† Biblical Archaeology Society 39, no. 2 (Mar/April 2013). [11] Collins, â€Å"Where is Sodom? The Case for Tall el-Hammam,† 0. [12]Andrew Higgins. â€Å"Digging for Sin City Christians Toil in Jordan Desert, Prof. Collins seeks Sodom with Scriptures as Guides and Volunteers as Muscle,† Wall Street Journal, A1 edition (Feb 2007): 0. 13] Collins, â€Å"Where is Sodom? The Case for Tall el-Hammam,† 0. [14] The Journal for Jane Mahoney, â€Å"Digging a New Path to Lost Cities; Albuquerque Archaeologist uses Biblical Clues to Find what He thinks are the Ruins of Sodom an Gomorrah,† Albuquerque Journal (June 2006):0. [15] Steven Co llins, â€Å"If You Thought You Knew the Location of Sodom and Gomorrah.. think Again,† Biblical Research Bulletin 7, no. 4 (2007): 2. [16]Harland, 21. [17] Price, 117. [18] Collins, â€Å"Where is Sodom? The Case of the Tall el-Hammam,† 0. [19] â€Å"Search for Sodom and Gomorrah,† (August 2009), http://bibleplaces. com

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