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Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
#1

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
A take off on the Jesus thread above but this one with an OT slant.

Keeping in mind that there is no archaeological attestation for "Solomon" and that the only textual reference to him is in the OT this reduces him to little more than a character in a book of fiction.

Let the opinions fly!
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#2

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
I liked the part where he cut the baby in half to feed more atheists.
Freedom isn't free.
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#3

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
(09-03-2020, 05:02 AM)Minimalist Wrote: A take off on the Jesus thread above but this one with an OT slant.

Keeping in mind that there is no archaeological attestation for "Solomon" and that the only textual reference to him is in the OT this reduces him to little more than a character in a book of fiction.

Let the opinions fly!

I expect there was probably a "Solomon" of some general name, but not all that he was credited to be. I suspect there were prophets but not as special as considered they are considered by theists.

But I also suspect that most of them are the hand-me-downs from previous beliefs, renamed and adopted. Noah is Utnapishtim in older stories from Kish or Sumerians. The Great Flood was probably about massive floods in the Black Sea. local legends handed down through generations tend to assume the people there are the only ones who existed and so their world is "the whole world".
Theists disbelieve in all deities but one.  I just disbelieve in one less.
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#4

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
Yabut whatabout the silver mines!!1!
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#5

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
They are like the proverbial Nazareth.  Ever-shrinking.  Nazareth started out as a city and worked its way down to a farm house!

Solomon's mines started out as Gold Mines and shrank down to tin.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#6

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
(09-03-2020, 02:37 PM)Minimalist Wrote: They are like the proverbial Nazareth.  Ever-shrinking.  Nazareth started out as a city and worked its way down to a farm house!

Solomon's mines started out as Gold Mines and shrank down to tin.

Yeah, tribal chieftain Saliman and his tin mines doesn't have the same glory, does it?
Theists disbelieve in all deities but one.  I just disbelieve in one less.
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#7

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
There was probably a Solomon but like everything else in the bible it's either embellished storytelling or revisionist history that doesn't really jive with known historical events from the surrounding empires and cultures.  

I think it was in the book, The Bible Unearthed,  by Israel Finkelstein who was part of a team that found what may have been Solomon's famous horse stables.  The Bible claims Solomon had enough horse stables for 40,000 chariot horses.  What the archaeologists found were stables for about 50 horses.  The Bible exaggerates everything to the max but then it's a tribal vanity book so it's to be expected.
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#8

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
Such numerical exaggerations are common in ancient literature.  Herodotus claimed that 2 million Persians invaded Greece on their way to Thermopylae.  Walking on a cart path.  The rear of the column would have been back in Persia.

But the fucking bible also claims that 185,000 Assyrians were attacking Jerusalem - at the time a minor shithole of perhaps 7,000 people.  Caesar claims that 250,000 Gauls magically came to relieve Alesia.  Dio gives Boudica's "army" as between 230-300,000!

All of that is total horseshit, too.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#9

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
(09-03-2020, 04:03 PM)Dancefortwo Wrote: There was probably a Solomon but like everything else in the bible it's either embellished storytelling or revisionist history that doesn't really jive with known historical events from the surrounding empires and cultures.  

I think it was in the book, The Bible Unearthed,  by Israel Finkelstein who was part of a team that found what may have been Solomon's famous horse stables.  The Bible claims Solomon had enough horse stables for 40,000 chariot horses.  What the archaeologists found were stables for about 50 horses.  The Bible exaggerates everything to the max but then it's a tribal vanity book so it's to be expected.

My post, (that I saw on the list after I posted) disappeared. I will try again. And it won't be the same...

I agree. And I agree that most biblical numbers are exaggerated. Battles reference "a 100,000 men". I doubt there were 100,000 adult males in the whole of both countries. There was certainly brutal fighting at the time though. Religious warfare over even small details caused mayhem. On the other hand, I pay no attention to "biblical archeology".

I like the term "tribal vanity book". That's a good one... LOL!
Theists disbelieve in all deities but one.  I just disbelieve in one less.
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#10

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
Quote: I pay no attention to "biblical archeology".


Archaeologist William Dever refers to it as Syro-Palestinian Archaeology... which annoys the piss out of the fundies.
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#11

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
What exactly is it about Solomon's story that necessarily renders him a totally fictitious character?
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#12

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
(09-03-2020, 05:34 PM)Aliza Wrote: What exactly is it about Solomon's story that necessarily renders him a totally fictitious character?

All bad history. Most religious texts are so falsifiable that none of the contents can be assumed to be accurate.
Theists disbelieve in all deities but one.  I just disbelieve in one less.
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#13

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
(09-03-2020, 05:34 PM)Aliza Wrote: What exactly is it about Solomon's story that necessarily renders him a totally fictitious character?

You mean aside from the fact that no one in the surrounding nations at that time ever heard of him?  In spite of his alleged wealth and fame?

He's like Rhett Butler, Harry Potter, or jesus.  A character in a book.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#14

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
(09-03-2020, 06:52 PM)Minimalist Wrote:
(09-03-2020, 05:34 PM)Aliza Wrote: What exactly is it about Solomon's story that necessarily renders him a totally fictitious character?

You mean aside from the fact that no one in the surrounding nations at that time ever heard of him?  In spite of his alleged wealth and fame?

He's like Rhett Butler, Harry Potter, or jesus.  A character in a book.

Okay, so you don't find anything supernatural about him. You just doubt his existence, right?
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#15

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
There may have been a king in the Southern Kingdom named Solomon.
Most of the story is later embellishment, personally, politically and geographically. 300 wives ? Really ? LOL
Many of his supposed wives were from surrounding kingdoms/localities, and they don't talk about sending their daughters to Jerusalem.

If there was a King named "David", archaeologically we know he was vastly exaggerated, as was his city and territory.
If he existed, he was a local petty king.

I think we have to "infer" Solomon's reality. Why ? One of the early kings in the South had a policy of one month mandated labor per year for able-bodied men. They hated it. The Bible says Solomon instituted a policy of "missim", which was the name of this policy. In fact the Hebrews did not actually suceed in conquering all of the territory in their "kingdoms", and in the territories they had some control, non-Jews were also required to work for Solomon.

It's pretty suspicious that the same word ("missim") is used in the Exodus story for "the officers of the missim", the (supposed) officers in Egypt, who were the bosses of forced labor, from which they escaped. In fact Egypt did not use this sort of forced labor. Personally my opinion is, since we know the Exodus never happened, the text is actually the way the priests who created the Exodus text, had for slamming their rivals (priests and king) in the temple in Jerusalem. The Abiathar (from the North) story and the way the story of the division into two kingdoms is told, (did not happen that way .. if at all), reeks of priestly competition and priestly rivalry. Nothing in that series of stories is what it appears to be, (ie the "slamming" continued with the "details" of and by whom, the Golden Calf story was placed also in Exodus).
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#16

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
Even the OT never made supernatural claims.  What it claims is that there was a glorious kingdom with a far-flung empire and a wise and wealthy king ruling over it.... that managed to leave no impact on the archaeological record or in the history of any of the nations he would have come in contact with.

Possible?  I suppose although it would be unique.  In Rome they have uncovered remains of primitive huts from the first miserable villages on the various hills.  In Athens they have found traces of Upper Paleolithic habitation which somehow survived the ravages of time.
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#17

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
My estimate is that Solomon was created to gin up a nationalistic pride / identity by citing a glorious, idealized (nay, fabulized) past that never existed. Failed states always appeal to past greatness as a justification of hope for future greatness. Manifest destiny by another name.
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#18

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
(09-04-2020, 02:03 PM)mordant Wrote: My estimate is that Solomon was created to gin up a nationalistic pride / identity by citing a glorious, idealized (nay, fabulized) past that never existed. Failed states always appeal to past greatness as a justification of hope for future greatness. Manifest destiny by another name.

I get the logic of why that might be done, but how did they sell the story to everyone? There would have been no past generations to vouch for it being something they witnessed, or something that has been in their tradition for generations. In fact, the past generations would have needed to collaborate with one another to fabricate the story to their kids and grandkids so everyone is reinforcing the same story.
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#19

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
(09-04-2020, 02:12 PM)Aliza Wrote:
(09-04-2020, 02:03 PM)mordant Wrote: My estimate is that Solomon was created to gin up a nationalistic pride / identity by citing a glorious, idealized (nay, fabulized) past that never existed. Failed states always appeal to past greatness as a justification of hope for future greatness. Manifest destiny by another name.

I get the logic of why that might be done, but how did they sell the story to everyone? There would have been no past generations to vouch for it being something they witnessed, or something that has been in their tradition for generations. In fact, the past generations would have needed to collaborate with one another to fabricate the story to their kids and grandkids so everyone is reinforcing the same story.

It was far easier to do in the ancient world, where the vast majority of people were illiterate (and uneducated, even by the standards of the day) and poor, and where the preservation of records was inconsistent at best. In such an environment, anything that harkened further back than the living memory of the locals would go pretty much unchallenged (and when you think of it, maybe not even that: grandpop might be happy to regale the young'uns with stories of his glorious youth). Add to that the fact that such narratives were something people would want, perhaps even need to hear, and it's not a hard sell at all. Particularly if it's concocted by the priesthood and committed to writing so that it's consistent once introduced.
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#20

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
(09-04-2020, 02:12 PM)Aliza Wrote:
(09-04-2020, 02:03 PM)mordant Wrote: My estimate is that Solomon was created to gin up a nationalistic pride / identity by citing a glorious, idealized (nay, fabulized) past that never existed. Failed states always appeal to past greatness as a justification of hope for future greatness. Manifest destiny by another name.

I get the logic of why that might be done, but how did they sell the story to everyone? There would have been no past generations to vouch for it being something they witnessed, or something that has been in their tradition for generations. In fact, the past generations would have needed to collaborate with one another to fabricate the story to their kids and grandkids so everyone is reinforcing the same story.

The "story" as we have it, didn't exist in "past generations", except possibly in rudimentary oral form. The editors/redactors/assemblers who made it up, and "filled it in", far later than the time the story is "placed" in history, were the priests/scribes. Just as with the Torah of Moses (the 1st 4 books of the OT) was never seen (or heard of) until the Fall Festival organized by Ezra, who took it back with himself from Babylon, on direction of Artaxerxes, (along with the document which said Nehemiah would rule Israel in his name, the purpose of which was to serve as a cultural unifying force/legal system ... which had been disrupted by the centuries of disorder prior to the "exile") .. all described in the Book of Nehemiah, around 458 BC. Virtually no one was literate, except the priests. They would have just accepted a story they were given, and then retold. Artaxerxes wanted a buffer state between the invading Sea Peoples and his empire. He re-established the state of Israel for his own political/military purpose, and the Torah of Moses was invented and assembled from traditions from both kingdoms, with the addition of much Babylonian-themed material, in Babylon to serve that political purpose. Nehemiah describes the festival in which the Torah was presented to the people.
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#21

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
(09-04-2020, 02:46 PM)mordant Wrote:
(09-04-2020, 02:12 PM)Aliza Wrote:
(09-04-2020, 02:03 PM)mordant Wrote: My estimate is that Solomon was created to gin up a nationalistic pride / identity by citing a glorious, idealized (nay, fabulized) past that never existed. Failed states always appeal to past greatness as a justification of hope for future greatness. Manifest destiny by another name.

I get the logic of why that might be done, but how did they sell the story to everyone? There would have been no past generations to vouch for it being something they witnessed, or something that has been in their tradition for generations. In fact, the past generations would have needed to collaborate with one another to fabricate the story to their kids and grandkids so everyone is reinforcing the same story.

It was far easier to do in the ancient world, where the vast majority of people were illiterate (and uneducated, even by the standards of the day) and poor, and where the preservation of records was inconsistent at best. In such an environment, anything that harkened further back than the living memory of the locals would go pretty much unchallenged (and when you think of it, maybe not even that: grandpop might be happy to regale the young'uns with stories of his glorious youth). Add to that the fact that such narratives were something people would want, perhaps even need to hear, and it's not a hard sell at all. Particularly if it's concocted by the priesthood and committed to writing so that it's consistent once introduced.

This would still take the cooperation of all the educated people, and all of the people who they educated. So everyone who went to Sunday school (so to speak) would have to be in on it and vouch that the Solomon story was one they had heard about before.

I don't think you can really convince any group of people to collaborate on that level. Someone's gonna be the whistle blower, and when they blow the whistle on something that everyone in the older generation was thinking "didn't sound right to begin with," the house of cards would fall. 

If the story is faked outright, it makes more sense that there existed a Jewish king that the story was based on, and that it was embellished slowly over multiple generations.
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#22

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
There were not very many "educated people". See above.
The various versions, additions, and literary history of the Book of Deuteronomy sheds some light on how all this was "a work in progress",
designed to address the political situation of the time.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_De...3609%20BCE).
The thing is, the "Bible" (the "OT" anyway) is presented these days as a set of "religious" texts. They're actually mostly political material which was written with political assumptions from a "point of view", for a purpose, at the time.
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#23

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
Quote:I get the logic of why that might be done, but how did they sell the story to everyone?


Who is "everyone?"  The commons didn't count.  In "Did God Have A Wife" William Dever details (and more significantly provides archaeological evidence) of a long struggle between the court elites pushing the yahweh cult and the more traditional Canaanite belief system which dominated in the hinterlands.

Second, and probably even more importantly, this is not anything unique.  How did Joseph Smith do it?  How did mohammed (or the people who invented him ) do it?  How did jesus (or the people who invented him) do it?  How does Q-Anon do it, for that matter.  People believe all sorts of silly shit especially if it is in their best interest to do so.  "The king said X, so X is fine with me."

Third you have to look at history to find times when such stories would have been useful to the power structure or feasible given the historic situation.  The tiny settlements which eventually coalesced into the kingdoms of Israel and Judah begin c 1200 BCE.  "Israel" agricultural and far more populous became a player in local geopolitics by 900 BC.  "Judah" pastoral, underpopulated, and isolated was an insignificant shithole until the Assyrian trade network to Arabia went right through them.  They were a vassal state.  Judah did prosper and grow under the Assyrians and then got a little too full of themselves, rebelled, and were smacked down hard.  A century later as they began to recover the Assyrians were overthrown by the Babylonians.  It is the fervent opinion of Israel Finkelstein in The Bible Unearthed and Egyptologist, Donald B. Redford, in Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, that the Exodus and Conquest stories date from this time as a resurgent Egypt was also looking to reclaim their lost empire in Canaan and did so by aligning with the Assyrians.  They got their asses kicked but not before smacking down the uppity Judahites, a tale the bible tells in garbled form.

So we are down to around 600 BCE and as we all know the Babylonians smashed Judah, dragged its more prosperous citizens off to Babylon, and began a 500 year cycle of domination by foreign powers.  Babylon until 540 BCE, Persia until 332 BCE, Alexander and his various feuding generals until about 140 BCE, when a revolt against the tottering Seleucid Empire succeeded to one degree or another.

Between 140 and 76BCE a semi-independent "Jewish" kingdom functioned centered on Jerusalem.  The did expand north in Galilee and south into Idumaea under an effective leader known as John Hyrcanus.  The last effective ruler of Judaea was Alexander Yannai who died in 76 BCE.  After that the whole thing went to shit in a dynastic squabble that the whole region joined in on.  That lasted until the Romans arrived and kicked the shit out of everyone.

Nonetheless, if you want to look for a powerful independent ruler of a "jewish" kingdom who could benefit from cobbling together stories of a great and glorious past, I submit the logical choice is John Hyrcanus.
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#24

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
There are fragments of texts in the Dead Sea Scrolls written in Paleo-Hebrew, and other references to known texts that would argue for an earlier date than Hycranus.
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#25

Historical Solomon, Biblical Solomon
Yes, but the bulk of the documents are in Hebrew with a generous addition of Greek and Aramaic thrown in and date between 150 BC, roughly the period of the revolt against the Seleucids which led to the Hasmonean kingdom and 70 CE.  I haven't seen where anyone has linked those "fragments" to specific scrolls relating to pre-Babylonian periods.

Important to remember that the earliest retelling of this happy horseshit is the Septuagint: the Torah written in Greek dates to the early-mid 3d century in Alexandria.  What is most interesting is the Letter of Aristeas which purports to tell the tale of how this came to be done.  This fraud coincidentally ( or not ) dates to the mid 2d century again.  In it Aristeas tells the tale of how the Librarian of Alexandria asked Ptolemy II to have the book of jewish law translated into Greek and to do this he selected 6 men from each of the twelve tribes ( 72 in all ) to do independent translations and VOILA all 72 came out with identical works.  Somehow, Aristeas seems to have forgotten that 600 years earlier ten of those tribes were kidnapped by the Assyrians and never heard from again.  Perhaps that part of the tale had not been invented when Aristeas was crafting his bullshit story?  Why does someone go through the trouble of creating a lie?  I submit because the truth is not satisfying.  The Ptolomaic Empire controlled Judah at the time.  There were Greek speaking jews in Alexandria (Aristeas and his brother Philocrates to whom the letter is sent were clearly two of them.)  If you apply the "What is More Likely Test" you get

A- The absurd tale of Aristeas, or

B-  Some Hellenized Jew living in Alexandria decided to write the fucking thing out in Greek and may have consulted with others who were also living nearby to do so.

I gotta go with "B."

So once again it seems as if there was some concerted effort by the powers that were in the second century BC to create a fabulous history (fabulous in the sense of "fabled") which might have been done by writing down whatever legends anyone could remember.  Evidence of literacy in the region before 600 is scanty and in many cases arguable as to what language it is written in. 

But as you suggest, the other books of the Bible show up in Qumran, and Qumran dates to the mid-2d century, and before that we have no inkling of them at all.  And it is that kind of shit that makes me wonder!
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