Post by mjhbrown on Mar 29, 2015 21:07:12 GMT
I just came across your Quodlibeta post of April 4th, 2011 with this title. I was interested to read a new (to me) commentator on the topic, who takes an evidence based approach.
As you rightly note, progress on the ancient near eastern chronological debate is frustratingly slow! It seems to have been left hanging for years.
Centuries of Darkness was published in 1991, and was rejected by several articles published in the Cambridge Archaeological Journal (1993 from memory) which focused on radiocarbon dates and the 'insurmountable obstacle of the Assyrian King List'.
(a small correction: Centuries of Darkness was by Peter James et al, not Peter Jones.)
Your comments are all sensible and I don't have anything to add to those particular points.
However, there is a further work, published in 2007, that does appear to re-ignite the debate:
Chronology at the Crossroads by Bernard Newgrosh.
In his 700 page book, Newgrosh
- Reviews the historical anomalies of the current framework of ancient near eastern history
- provides the first full list of historical synchronisms that need to observed in any historical structure
- argues that the Assyrian King List, and not an eponym list, was the principal long-period chronometer used in ancient times
- reviews other scholars' papers that the early AKL indicated periods of parallel kingship by means of catch-lines; repeated names within one linear list
- finds a further possible example of a repeated name within the Middle Assyrian period, Assur-nirari IV, for whom no historical evidence exists, uniquely.
- This leads to a proposal for a further folding of the AKL losing an overall 140 years from its total length, and an explanation for the Middle Assyrian Dark Age.
- A new and unknown Ashur-uballit is proposed to account for a dozen differences between Ashur-uballit 1 and the author of Amarna Letters EA15 & 16.
- A new reason for the collapse in trade at the end of the Bronze Age is now possible.
- a new, though somewhat complex, historical harmony with Babylonia, the Hittites, the Hurrians is given in detail with attempts at absolute dates.
- A chronicle of ANE events in the new framework is offered, and quite a lot more.
The book was sufficiently thorough to provoke a short, though very dismissive, response from Professor J A Brinkman in Orientalia. Brinkman was the author of the standard construct in A Political History of Post-Kassite Babylonia (1968). Back then, Brinkman acknowledged that his hypotheses 'rested on relatively thin support; and we shall not be surprised when future ... interpretation discards them as irrelevant'. Now however, he finds this new interpretation impertinent! No doubt it is because of the radical degree of revision envisaged, and a presumption of bias. However, as far as the published debate goes, the bias is all on the side of Brinkman, as he declined to comment on any of the detail.
If you don't mind me forwarding a further link, Bernard Newgrosh gives a three page introduction to his book at mjhbrown.wix.com/aklist#!authors-introduction/cp9u .
The latest authoritative overview (that I know about) of the chronological debate is given in Afterglow of Empire (2012) by Dr Aidan Dodson, chairman of the trustees of the Egypt Exploration Society. He attempts to update Kitchen's classic work on the disputed era, The Third Intermediate Period. Dodson does revise dates for Rameses II but only by a few years. However, he too has failed to pick up on Newgrosh's book.
It took over a hundred years to advance the Amarna Letters from initial discovery (1887) to full translation and publication in English (1992). So perhaps we can't be too surprised at slow progress! Hope this is helpful.
M J H-Brown Solihull, England.