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Back to the Iron Bed: Og’s or Procrustes’?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers three matters of material culture, principally in the book of Joshua, and explores implications for treatment of the biblical text. The archaeologists divide antiquity into ages according to the principal technology for tool-making: Stone, Bronze and Iron. There is evidence for some use of metals within the Stone Age, and of iron within the Bronze Age. The latter is the author's concern here. At the Twelfth Congress, in Jerusalem, the author discussed the question of King Og's iron bed and the iron chariots of the Canaanites, arguing that the biblical references could reflect unusual artefacts of the Late Bronze Age. Biblical scholarship should recognize the need to give the biblical text and its statements the space they deserve in the ancient world. Consequently, these ancient accounts are forced into a bed of that less comfortable and quite unbiblical style owned by the Greek brigand Procrustes.

Keywords: biblical text; book of Joshua; Canaan; Greek brigand Procrustes; iron bed; King Og; late bronze age; material culture; stone age



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