Saturday, August 15, 2009

Who were the Ancient Israelites? A Multidisciplinary search for Answers

Image Caption: "Parting of the Red Sea", during the alleged emigration of ancestors of Jewish people, made famous by the biblical legend. Click on the image for enlargement


Over the years, this has become an age-old question: Who were the ancient Israelites, really? In what capacity did they actually exist, or what not, and do biblical stories around their eponymous ancestors and rulers reflect actual events?

This is actually a topic that came to attention quite a few years back, and to this day, the topic is controversial as ever. Part of the reason it is controversial, is the religious loyalties of elements both within and outside academia, that said persons want to defend. The other, which like the just-mentioned, probably goes without saying, is apparently longstanding identity/racial politics which certain camps are intent on passionately defending.

On the academic front, say for example—Egyptology, those who do not wish to shake up long held traditional narratives—usually highly romantic portrayals that have become cemented in many minds, with the aid of the likes of Hollywood—of what went down in ancient Egypt (Kmtnwt), and are perhaps in part inspired by biblical narratives, are also very reluctant to look at the subject at different, perhaps refreshing and more sober, angles. Whatever the camp, these ideologues generally share in common, resistance to re-examining their prevailing perceptions/preconceptions in the face of ongoing inflow of strongly substantive material, which challenge said viewpoints.