Show Full Transcript
The conquest story narrated in the Book of Joshua is one of our main sources of reconstructing how early Israel emerged in the land of Canaan, in the land of Israel.
There are five theories; one of them, the conquest theory as described in the Book of Joshua, describes a lightning campaign through the land of Israel or the promised land, really wiping out, kind of committing almost genocide against the Canaanites.
The second theory as recounted in the Book of Judges is called the peaceful infiltration theory, which in many respects seems to contradict what’s mentioned in the previous book, the Book of Joshua.
Then you have three other theories, the social revolutionary theory, which sees the early Israelites as essentially rebelling Canaanites, and the pastoral Canaanite theory, which sees the early Israelites as pastoral nomads, which settled down following the collapse of the last Bronze Age in the twelfth and eleventh centuries.
Then you have my theory, the mixed multitude theory, which does encompass, I would say, bits and pieces of all of the above theories. Now in the Book of Joshua, there’s certainly evidence which contradicts the archaeological record. Most notably, Jericho, which archaeologists have yet to find. Not only have they not found a wall, they haven’t even found a settlement which can be dated to the time that most scholars believe Joshua would have lead this campaign. In other accounts, we do have some aspects which do seem to be corroborated in the archaeological record, most specifically, Mount Ebal and Hazor.