Of Pig Bones and Pillars: Why Josiah Matters

As much as I’m drawn to Dura Europos, the interesting convergence of narrative interpretation, post-colonial criticism and historical authenticities surrounding the study of 7th and 6th century Judah as played out in the Deuteronomistic “History” of Joshua thru II Kings (and Jeremiah and parts of Hosea, Genesis, etc) is too fascinating to avoid.

I really do uphold the position that Hezekiah and Josiah (especially Josiah) are the main characters of the OT (from a narrative point of view) and all the actions, theologies, histories, and imaginings of creation can (I would say should, but that’s my own reading) be read through a Josianic lens.

Questions of historicity, royal theologies, centralization of politics and the worship of YHWH, cultural hegemony… it’s all in the Deuteronomistic History.

Fun, and incredibly important, stuff to ponder for us as we move out of a world dominated by the ideas of nationalism into something very different where cultural theologies will be as, if not more, important than historic realities.

It would appear that following the destruction of Philistine Gath, and the apparent existence of a political “vacuum” in part of the region of the late kingdom of Gath, the kingdom of Judah, perhaps under Hezekiah, takes over parts of the lands of the former kingdom of Gath, including the city of Gath itself.

What is interesting though, is the fact that despite the clear change in ceramics, when we analyzed the animal bones from the 8th cent. BCE level, there still was a lot of pig bones – very untypical of the Judean sites. This may very well indicate that while the political control, and cultural affiliation of the site moved towards Judah, at least some of the original “Philistine” population remained on site and sustained their traditional dietary habits.

link: A Judean “pillar figurine” from Gath « The Tell es-Safi/Gath Excavations Official (and Unofficial) Weblog

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