Yossi Garfinkel’s 60th birthday and Fs

Yesterday evening, a large crowd gathered at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, in honor of Yossi Garfinkel’s 60th birthday, and a Festschrift volume that was published on this occasion. The evening was very nice, and the book has many very interesting articles!

Among them is an article by Itzik Shai and myself (that can be downloaded here), which is entitled:

Maeir, A. M., and Shai, I. 2016. Reassessing the Character of the Judahite Kingdom: Archaeological Evidence for Non-Centralized, Kinship-Based Components. Pp. 323–40 in From Sha‘ar Hagolan to Shaaraim: Essays in Honor of Prof. Yosef Garfinkel, eds. S. Ganor, I. Kreimerman, K. Streit and M. Mumcouglu. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society.

Here is the abstract:

In this study we reassess the character of the Judahite Kingdom during the Iron Age. As opposed to most past discussions of this monarchy, which define it as a highly centralized political structure, we suggest to identify various facets indicating that local elites played a major role in the societal and leadership structure of the Judahite Kingdom. We suggest that many of the supposed indices of centralized bureaucratic control that have been previously identified may in fact reflect the influence and control of local elites within the kingdom. We likewise believe that patronage-based relations, at different levels of society, were of central importance in the social and economic structure of the kingdom.

At the end of the evening, the participants were given a sneak preview of the about to be opened exhibition on Khirbet Qeiyafa, Yossi’s former excavations. The exhibit is very nice – and is highly recommended. It will officially open in a few weeks.


One thought on “Yossi Garfinkel’s 60th birthday and Fs

  1. ryan

    What a fascinating article.

    A tidbit you may find interesting in furtherance of some of the things you wrote there (for instance, mentioning the wives of Kings coming from peripheral areas of the kingdom) is the discussion of the Nitzabim (sp?) in 1 Kings 4, who seem to hold most of the land of the kingdom for Solomon, provision him, and 2 of whom are married to his daughters. There is brief discussion of Solomon’s adminstrators and then a long description of the officers, their areas, and the provisions they bring.

    This kind of relationship is pretty common in later European kingdoms, where a capital city often couldn’t provide sufficient food and timber for a king, so he would make annual rounds to the strongholds of each of his noblemen, who would provide for the king and his retinue. (An idea I was introduced to by Peter Heather’s Empires and Barbarians.)

    In the post-Roman European context, these holders of peripheral areas are typically the most powerful people in the realm aside from the king. The passage in 1 Kings explicitly seems to deny the importance of the Nitzibim compared to others, the King’s administrators. And suggests that they bring provisions, rather than hosting him on their own land. Yet Solomon’s daughters are married off to them …

    The names ascribed to these men are extraordinary as well, in my mind. Son of Whiteness, Son of Piercing, etc. Aside from Jehosephat, the names don’t seem to reflect much deference to a central deity. Only a few seem to have proper names at all. They are instead mostly named “son of” or “brother of” which to me, does seem to identify them more as representatives of families or clans rather than individuals. They don’t seem to get their names from the land itself (as say, the Duke of Gloucester), which might seem to put them less in the role of the scion of a family holding a landed estate and more in the role of clan representative. Heroism, warriors and the liberality of a leader who must win the loyalty of his followers are the qualities elevated by the names of these men, in positions deemed worthy of the daughters of the king.

    Compare the names of the administrators – Azariah, Elihoreph, Ahijah, Jehosephat, Benaiah, Zadok, Abiathar, Azariah, Zabud, Ahishar and Adoniram. 11 men with 5 Yah- and 1 El- based names.

    I may be stretching things pretty far. It was just an impression I had that seemed relevant to your article.


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