The problem with this approach is that the more cataclysmic events that are proposed as the alleged cause of destruction of some cities named in the biblical text, the less likely it is any one of them will satisfactorily explain all or even most of the evidence... indeed, avoiding specifics and citing Rohl's Lost Testament (like Collins' monograph I referred to in my last post, this book is not peer-reviewed and aimed at a lay audience eager to have their ears tickled) among "many others" leaves your position sounding impressive, yet it is anything but --- if the evidence in the ground is really so wide open to interpretation to allow for both an airburst and a seismic event, this is hardly a firm foundation for declaring that the historicity of Genesis 19 has been established. I've already dismantled the theory previously linked to in terms of its failure to harmonize with the biblical text and I could easily do so with any others you might specify... retreating behind vague claims may insulate you from further point-by-point refutation, but it is hardly a better position to be defending.Sure the meteor variation is speculative. There are other theories especially including volcanic and seismological events contextual to the description of the area as containing tar pits Gen 14:10, and widespread evidence of the event being associated with intense heat. These are addressed by David Rohl in Lost Testament &etc, and by many others.
The point of quoting the article was to show that many scientists accept large scale desctruction and transformation as occuring over a wide area in the vicinity of the Dead Sea circa the period of Abraham, and not to identify any one theory as supervening any other.
We at least agree on that.I don't accept that the biblical Sodom was located north of the Dead Sea.
You seem to be implying Sodom and the cities associated with it were situated somewhere along the western shore of the Dead Sea. Would you care to clarify and, if that is the case, provide specific evidence supporting this location?However the events associated with the middle part of the Dead sea may have had ramifications at the northern end also, but to a lesser extent, such that the remains of the buildings survived. However Sodom etc would have been turned into ash. This is reflected in the large quantities of ash and sulphur that permeate the western Dead sea region.
Please see my criticism above about the problems associated with appealing to varied but vague cataclysmic events... they may collectively "oppose" the conclusion of critical biblical scholars on the etiological function of a text such as Gen 19:26, but they appear on the fringes of scholarship and individually pose no serious opposition since they each, like the airburst theory you previously linked to, will crumble under critical scrutiny. Your claim here that a cataclysm, whatever you think that was, reduced Sodom to ashes but left the nearby city of Zoar unscathed continues to traffic in the absurdity I pointed out in my refutation of the airburst theory. The text refers to a targeted aerial assault attributed to angels acting under the authority of the Israelite deity and the escape of one city among all others of the plain is incompatible with an indiscriminant natural disaster.As I said above, I wasn't intending to espouse this theory I was already aware of, i.e. of Sodom being located north of the Dead sea. I was just pointing to scientists accepting that cataclysmic events must have occured in that general region, which opposes your theory of biblical events being invented wholesale and for effect. In fact the cataclysm was likely between the mid point and the north of the Dead sea, and so didn't reach Zoar, but conceivably did reach the northern parts of the Dead sea and Jordan valley.
There is too much in this cut and paste to respond to point-by-point so I will focus on the portion that you bolded, which is pertinent to discussion on the historicity (or not) of the cities of the plain and their destruction. First a brief general comment... the individual who made these claims (Giovanni Pettinato) resigned from the enormous publication and translation project after disagreements with the lead archaeologist (Paolo Matthiae), who discovered the tablets and characterized his colleague's claims as "silly and unscientific". Indeed, as Alan Millard, professor emeritus at the University of Liverpool in Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages (and thus an authority on the content of the Elba tablets written in a strange synthesis of North-West and East Semitic elements), also writes: "[o]ne by one the sensational claims have been retracted or refuted." Here are his comments specific to the claims concerning Sodom and Gomorrah:_____________________
The ELBA tablets
"In 1964, Dr. Paolo Matthiae, professor of Near East archaeology at the University of Rome began to excavate Tell Mardikh in north-western Syria. It soon became clear that they were excavating the ruins of the ancient city of Ebla. In 1975, as the dig progressed down to Early Bronze Age levels, a remarkable find was made in the form of nearly 20,000 clay tablets which constituted the royal archives of the city. These tablets date back to the middle of the 3rd millenium BC, almost 4,500 years ago. They are written in Sumerian wedge-shaped cuneiform script which is the world’s oldest known written language. Deciphering these tablets, Professor Pettinato, also of the University of Rome, found the language used to be what he called Old Canaanite’ even though the script was cuneiform Sumerian. This very ancient language is closer in vocabulary and grammar to biblical Hebrew than any other Canaanite dialect’, including Ugaritic; this therefore gives evidence as to the age of the Hebrew language.
This mass of information from Ebla will take years to digest but already it is very exciting. The city was a large one of 260,000 inhabitants; it traded widely over the known world at that time. A flourishing civilisation existed with many skilled craftsmen in metals, textiles, ceramics, and woodwork. It existed 1,000 years before David and Solomon and was destroyed by the Akkadians in around 1600 BC.
To date, only about one third of the Ebla tablets have been translated. Already, however, Eber has been named as one of its kings. Eber was the great-great-great-great-grandfather of Abraham (Genesis 10:21). Could this Eber, King of Ebla, be the same Eber of the Bible? Other names found, later to be used by biblical men, include Abraham, Esau, Saul, Michael, David, Israel and Ishmael. The supreme god of Ebla was called Yah’, a shortened version of Yahweh’; so, some residual knowledge of the one true God was left at this time before Abraham. Another god was called El’, short for Elohim’, used later by the Hebrews as the generic name for God.
Tablet 1860 names the five cities of Genesis 14:2 in the same order, i.e. Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar. Up until the discovery of the Ebla tablets, the existence of these biblical cities was questioned; yet, here they are mentioned as trade partners of Ebla. This record predates the great catastrophy involving Lot when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.
Also included in the archive are very early Canaanite creation and flood stories which very closely resemble that of the Bible. This is not surprising as these people would have descended from the generation after the flood and so would have had a common history of these events!
These tablets provide much evidence of early life in Syro-Palestine and give a rich background to the lives of Abraham and the Patriarchs. It will be truly amazing once the excavations are completed and the tablets fully deciphered."
The name si-da-muKI was identified as Sodom, and é-ma-raKI as Gomorrah. These identifications too have now evaporated.
Let’s look at Gomorrah first. The initial sign é could correctly reflect the initial ‘ayin with which Gomorrah begins in Hebrew. But the name is almost certainly not Gomorrah; much more probably it is a major town on the Euphrates River, ancient Emar, where a French team has found an archive of cuneiform tablets from the Late Bronze Age (13th century B.C.). Emar is mentioned many times in the Ebla tablets, as would be expected, for it lies at the point where travelers from Babylonia would leave the Euphrates’ route to move westward to Ebla and the Mediterranean coast.
Sidamu has not yet been located, but nothing favors a location near the Dead Sea (where Sodom lay), Indeed, a site in northwest Syria is indicated by the names associated with it. The only link with the biblical name is the resemblance in the sound. Similar arguments have disposed of the identification of virtually all the biblical cities supposedly mentioned in the Ebla tablets.
The above is taken from Millard's article "Elba and the Bible: What’s left (if anything)?" Bible Review 8.2 (1992) and note that "KI" is a non-phonetic symbol indicating the word is a city. Again, I can only reiterate what I conveyed in my last post about broadening your research skills to more reputable and peer-reviewed sources...