My “northern Sodom” theory has been batted about the scholarly community since I first began to publish on the subject in 2002. In the fall of that year, I presented a paper to the Near East Archaeological Society wherein I provided a detailed refutation of the traditional “southern Sodom” hypothesis held by several scholars, including B. G. Wood. Since that time, I have continued to challenge southern Sodom advocates regarding the many serious “cracks” in the southern theory, encouraging them to come up with a substantive refutation of my theory, if they could muster one. Up to the present time no one has attempted a detailed critique of my northern theory in print, until now. In my opinion, the fatal weaknesses inherent in Wood’s criticisms of my position reveal the untenable nature of the southern Sodom hypothesis.
Before my research into the biblical parameters for the location of Sodom, few scholars had paid much attention to the area specified by Genesis 13:1-12 as the actual place: the eastern Kikkar of the Jordan River, just north of the Dead Sea. This paper applies those parameters, in the form of a criterial screen, to various “Sodom candidate” sites, and reveals that Tall el-Hammam is the most reasonable choice for the infamous city.
After 158 years of empire-building, Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty entered a bizarre, sixty-year period of implosion, seemingly slow at first, but ever-accelerating toward ultimate collapse. It is my contention that the demise of the once-powerful Eighteenth Dynasty was largely, if not entirely, due to the events surrounding the Israelite Exodus from Egypt.
In this article, S. Collins responds to an article by C.E. Billington published in the Spring 2012 issue of Artifax magazine titled “Tall el-Hammam is Not Sodom.” Billington rejects Collins’ identification of Tall el-Hammam as Sodom because the date of its destruction is too late (between 1750 and 1650 BCE) to conform to Billington’s early placement of Abr(ah)am, ca. 2166-1991 BCE. He also attempts to support a more southern location for Sodom via textual geography. Finally, Billington suggests that Tall el- Hammam is perhaps a ‘western’ Heshbon. Collins refutes these ideas as categorically untenable.
In this article, S. Collins responds to an article by E.H. Merrill published in the Autumn 2012 issue of Artifax magazine titled Texts, Talls, and Old Testament Chronology: Tall el-Hammam as a Case Study.” Merrill rejects Collins identification of Tall el-Hammam as Sodom because the date of its destruction is too late (between 1750 and 1650 BCE) to conform to Merrill s early placement of Abr(ah)am, ca. 2166- 1991 BCE. While Merrill takes a literal, base-10, arithmetic approach to the patriarchal numbers in Gene- sis, Collins suggests that every available line of evidence from ANE archaeology, history, culture, litera- ture, climatology, and socio-economics demonstrates that the patriarchs fit best in the period following 1800 BCE, which also conforms to the terminal MB2 destruction of Hammam/Sodom.
If Sodom existed, then was destroyed, during the Middle Bronze Age, then something of its architecture can be known by comparing statements from the text with known standard features of typical MBA cities.