The next issue of BAR will carry an article about this recently excavated countryside village.



The camel-riding Midianites who struck at Israel in the time of Gideon, about a century after Israel’s initial formation, appear to have been the first full nomads known to us in the ancient Near Eastern sources (Judges 6:1–6).


Robert J. Braidwood, Prehistoric Men (7th ed.; Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Foresman, 1967), pp. 81–153. On the physical conditions disposing the neolithic revolution to occur where it did in the ancient Near East, consult K. W. Butzer, The Cambridge Ancient History, 3rd ed. Vol 1/Part 1, 1976, pp. 35–62.


J. T. Luke, Pastoralism and Politics in the Mari Period, pp. 23–24, citing Braidwood’s studies in Iraqi Kurdistan.


C. A. Reed in, Prehistoric Investigations in Iraqi Kurdistan, eds. R. J. Braidwood and B. Howe (University of Chicago Press, 1960), pp. 129–138; for different dates on domestication but entire agreement that domestication of animals took place in settled communities, see J. Mellaart, The Cambridge Ancient History, 3rd ed. Vol. 1/Part 1, 1970, pp. 248–254.


Op. cit., p. 24.


Other kinds of nomads are artisan or merchant nomads (an example of the latter are gypsies; perhaps we should more appropriately call this type of nomadism “group itineracy”).


Lawrence Krader, “Pastoralism,” International Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences 11 (1968), p. 458.


It is highly doubtful that we can characterize any of the later major movements of population in the historic period (e.g. Akkadians, Amorites, Arameans) as mass invasions or incursions of nomads into the settled region. In addition to the already cited searching rebuttal of the Mari nomads as invaders from the desert presented by J. T. Luke, A. Haldar has examined the entire range of evidence on the socio-economic status and origins of the Amorites—including their involvement in metallurgy and merchant caravaneering—and has conclusively demolished the foundations of the hypothesis that the Amorites were pastoral nomads from the desert. A. Haldar, Who Were the Amorites?


Thus, Sabatino Moscati, in a 1969 study, states: “There is a direction of movement constantly repeated throughout the centuries, namely, the movement from the centre towards the outskirts, from the Arabian desert towards the surrounding regions.” (The Semites in Ancient History; An Inquiry into the Settlement of the Beduin and their Political Establishment (Cardiff: Univ. of Wales Press), 29.)


Norman K. Gottwald, Tribes of Yahweh: A Sociology of the Religion of Liberated Israel, 1250–1000 B.C. (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books), 2 vols., in press.


There is the additional difficulty that the patriarchal traditions simply do not lend themselves to synchronization with specific historical or archaeological periods, as recently revealed in detail by Thomas L. Thompson, The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives: the Quest for the Historical Abraham (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1974) and John Van Seters, Abraham in History and Tradition (New Haven: Yale, 1975).