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Archaeological Research on Jerusalem of the Old Testament Period

Hoo-Goo Kang 1

1서울장신대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Since Donald Trump’s proclamation on December 6, 2017 that Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Israel, it gained again the political focus of the people around the world. His announcement raised a question “Whose city is Jerusalem?” and it usherd in another question “Whose city was Jerusalem?” This paper is aimed at giving an answer to the second question, based on archaeological results from previous and ongoing expeditions to Jerusalem and concluded as following: (1) albeit intensive research, archaeological remains of periods of the Old Testament at Jerusalem is in scarcity. Thus, it is hard to reconstruct the life and culture of the city based only on archaeological source and necessary to take into account on historical as well as biblical sources in critical positions. (2) the fact that the material culture of Jerusalem as well as historical documents indicate the Canaanites settled down in the city of Jerusalem before the Israelites came teaches us that Jerusalem was originally of the Canaanite. The biblical accounts do not negate it. On the contrary to the other cases, the name of Jerusalem is not given to the Israelites from God. Instead, it was renamed as the city of David after he conquered. (3) From the archaeological perspective, it is certain that material culture of Jerusalem was changed from that of the Canaanite to of the Israelite. There is no direct, however, archaeological evidence to display with certainty when the change occurred. If it did somewhere in the 10th century BCE, the Israelites did not reject the material culture of the Canaanites but rather admitted. (4) the size of the city of Jerusalem has been changed throughout history. Such a change is originated from historical events rather than change of social organizations. Even so, the main water source, Gihon spring, has never been excluded in the biblical periods. (5) material culture of Jerusalem yielded the informations that it was not isolated but had broad and wide relations with Egypt, Phoenia, Cyprus as well as the region of the Red Sea. Potteries such as Ashdod Ware found in recent excavations indicates that in spite of hatred relationship, the Israelites had communicated with the Philistine. (6) stepped stone structure in Area G and large stone structure uncovered right above it as well as inscriptions found in Ophel expedition lead us to assume that Jerusalem could be the capital of the nation already in the 10th century BCE. Thus, the minimalist’s approach to material culture of Jerusalem taken by so called “Low Chronology” advocators is not so convincing to reconstruct the history of the Israelite.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.