Monday, May 01, 2006

A City of the Plain?

Another deus blog (no pun intended), Deus Artefacta, has a article mentioning an archaeological site that some people are saying may be the biblical site of Sodom. What I've read so far seems a bit sketchy... We may have one of the "cities of the plain" in the Valley of Siddim [usually grouped together in scripture as Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar], but so far I see no archaeological reason to identify Tall el-Hammam as Sodom. However, excavation has just begun. Let us see what the earth unveils.

Read the article "Sodom & Gomorrah" or see pictures of the site here and here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shalom, The Burning One here from the SaviourMachine forum. very interesting article on the sites.

i had previously come to the conclusion that the sites had to be located on the northen end of the Dead Sea as well, using only Hebrew Scripture to reach the conclusion. here's how i found it, in case you may be interested:

The men/angels tell Lot not to look back -- don’t even think about returning to Sedom…don’t stay on the plain…but instead head to the mountain!

The mountain that the men tell Lot to go to is a very specific mountain, and we can know this by looking at the Hebrew text. The word used here is HaHarah, literally “The Mountain-ess”. That’s right, it is the word Har - Mountain, with the definite article Ha (The) in front of it, and with the suffix of Ah behind it, which makes it a feminine word. Just so you are aware, mountains in Hebrew are not normally in the feminine. In fact, the usage of the feminine for mountain is so rare, that we can pinpoint the exact mountain that Lot was directed to flee towards. This mountain is first mentioned in 12:8, when Avraham pitches his tent on a mountain located between Beth El and Ai, and builds his 2nd altar there to the Father. The word for “mountain” here is the for the first time HaHarah. It is referenced again, but without the mountain exclusively mentioned, in 13:3-4. Finally, it appears one more time before our present account of Lot’s troubles in 14:10, being the place where the victims of the war of nine armies fled.

There is only one mountain that is to be found located between the ancient sites of Beyth El and Ai, and that is a mountain which today is called Mount Ba’al Chatsor, meaning “Master of the Palace”. So by using the specific spellings from the Hebrew text of Scripture, we can thus pinpoint precisely what mountain Lot was being directed towards for safety. The geographical location of the mountain in regards to where Lot was in Sedom also shows us that it was in close proximity, and not a far-off destination by any means. By using a “triangulation-type” method of Scripture verses, it becomes apparent that Sedom would have actually been located in the northern part of where the Dead Sea now sits, as opposed to its traditionally-cited location of being at the southern end of the Sea. A journey from that latter proposed distance would have taken days for Lot to cover -- which was precious time he did not have, and so obviously he was much further north than has been so long theorized. Also, from Haharah one cannot see the south part of the Dead Sea, where tradition says Sedom was located. And yet it was from HaHarah that Lot looked over the plain of the Yarden and first saw the city in the distance, so they obviously could not be too far apart from each other.

then there are also some awesome spiritual reasons as to why he was directed to this specific mountain, but they don't necessarily apply to the archeological nature of the post. anyhow, hope that sheds some more light on this particular issue.

11:59 AM  
Blogger slaveofone said...

Very interesting. Thank you for that literary analysis. However, I am not sure your definition of the mountain fits other details of the narrative.

Unfortunately, literary and narrative contexts only take us so far. We must still venture out into the real world to see if what is represented in the text aligns with what is represented in history.

Many Modern scholars believe the patriarchal stories of Sodom are entirely fictional. If so, it makes no difference where Sodom is located according to the text because it may never have existed anyway.

2:45 PM  

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