Remarks On Blizzard's Investigation -- By: David Livingston

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 36:2 (Winter 1974)
Article: Remarks On Blizzard's Investigation
Author: David Livingston


Remarks On Blizzard's Investigation

David Livingston

1. The real issue in our earlier articles centered around the question, "Where is biblical Bethel?" The location for Ai which Blizzard has investigated was only a proposal. Not too much is lost if it proves not to he biblical Ai. Bethel's location at Bireh does not depend upon Ai being where we have suggested. Of course, if our suggested site for Ai had produced Late Bronze (1550-1200 B.C.) remains (or if it does in the future), this would strengthen our theory that Bireh is Bethel. The evidence we have presented for Bireh being Bethel has not yet been satisfactorily matched for the Beiten-Bethel equation. Until it is, the location of Bethel at Bireh is still a valid theory.

2. I am personally favorably impressed with Blizzard's method and the results. I was present when it was carried out and am satisfied with his conclusions on the basis of the evidence assembled. I appreciate his holding his conclusions tentatively until an excavation can prove their validity. I am naturally disappointed that no Middle Bronze-Late Bronze (MB-LB) remains were found. But, facts are facts and this all aids in finding the real truth.

3. That there was nothing earlier than Iron I (1200-1000 B.C.) pottery may yet be favorable for our theory that this site is Ai. If EB (Early Bronze) or MB pottery had been found with no evidence of LB at all, one would be most skeptical of eventually finding LB. But, the finds as they were could simply indicate that heavy Iron Age and later occupation has completely obscured any scanty LB (or earlier) remains.

We note that very little LB remains were found at Jericho. In fact, the only LB evidence Kathleen Kenyon found during her thorough excavations was a corner of a Canaanite house, with an oven and a jug in it. Why only this? She explains, "The houses of the Late Bronze Age Jericho have … almost entirely disappeared … It is certain that the erosion had taken

place before the Byzantine period, and it is probable that it took place before the Iron Age … Of the wash from the Late Bronze Age town in fact very little trace has been found … the wash would have been mainly to the east, where it is lost in modern cultivation." (our italics) (Kathleen Kenyon, Digging Up Jericho [London: Ernest Benn, Ltd., 1957] pp. 261-263.)

Since the case of Jericho is similar to Ai—total destruction and long abandonment— it seems conceivable to us that if our proposed site were really Ai, most of the Canaanite remains should be looked for in the wadi below, rather than on the tell itself.

4. Redman ...

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