May 14, 2013

Possible Minoan connection to Tall el-Hammam (Sodom)

The photo is a piece of Mycenaean pottery (characteristic black) with the etched image of a hand visible. I picked it up on the surface of Tell Kefrein (Possible Abila just 2 km NW of Tall el-Hammam) on a tour of their site. It is now in the hands of the Department of Antiquity in Jordan. Similar pieces of pottery have been recovered at Tell Kefrein I'm told.
Here is an hour long video update (April 17, 2013) from Dr. Steven Collins, Dean of the College of Archaeology and Biblical History at Trinity Southwest University and lead archaeologist at the Tall el-Hammam dig in Jordan, as he presents the evidence for the city of Sodom and its miraculous destruction. Link This update was presented at Calvary church Albuquerque New Mexico and it introduces some very interesting connections to the biblical text about Sodom and possible connections with the cultic practices of the Minoan civilization of Crete. Dr Collins announced pottery with Minoan or Mycenaean motifs (I have seen these) along with the inner gatehouse pillared with an Aegean influence. He states
"Between those two things we knew that the people of Tall el-Hammam (Sodom) weren't just any old garden-variety Canaanites." What is significant is that the Mycenaean culture was known for its " institutional paiderastia of the Minoans, including the time-honored and accepted practice of ritual kidnapping...The Minoan paiderastia was, in fact, the very structure of the society by which boys were raised into men. It was the rule, not the exception. Each boy, at age 12, was taken as an eromenos ("beloved") by a 22-year-old erastes ("lover") to be raised for 8 years in a male-male sexual bond. It was usually initiated with a ceremonial kidnapping performed by a gang of ritual abductors sent by the older male. The practice was formalized and ubiquitous across Minoan culture. Boys couldn't be considered properly-trained male citizens unless they submitted to this process. They then repeated this "societal norm" with their own eromenos. Generation after generation. On Crete, the women and/or wives often lived separately from the men and boys. It was a thoroughly male-dominated homosexual culture in which the narrow role of women was to bear and raise children. There were additional formal Minoan institutions developed to promote and sustain their androphile model of social organization....And the more we research into this, the clearer the Crete-Sodom connection becomes. I'm sure even the Canaanites were shocked by the presence of this culture in the southern Jordan Valley!" April 22, 2013 TEH Update Newsletter
Dr. Collins also makes mention of this connection in a recent article. “Tall el-Hammam Is Still Sodom: Critical Data-Sets Cast Serious Doubt on E.H. Merrill’s Chronological Analysis.” Biblical Research Bulletin 13, no. 1 (2013): 1–31 Link He states:
Even Hammam’s intriguing Minoan connection provides an extraordinary backstory for the attempted abduction of Lot’s angelic visitors." page 1 In the footnote he states: "Minoan artistic motifs and architectural features discovered in the most recent excavation seasons at Tell el-Hammam, when linked with the story of the attempted abduction of the angels by the “young and old” men of Sodom (Gen 19), suggest an affinity to the formal cultural institution of paiderastia found on Bronze Age Crete, including a unique feature: ritual kidnapping. Research in this vein is ongoing, but the results thus far support the idea that the link is more than coincidental. 1 n.4.
 The Minoan practice is described by Strabo in his Geography.
(The Cretans) have a peculiar custom in regard to love affairs, for they win the objects with their love, not by persuasion, but by abduction; the lover tells the friends of the boy three or four days beforehand that he is going to make the abduction; but for the friends to conceal the boy, or not to let him go forth the appointed road, is indeed a most disgraceful thing, a confession, as it were, that the boy is unworthy to obtain such a lover; and when they meet, if the abductor is the boy’s equal or superior in rank or other respects, the friends pursue him and lay hold of him, though only in a very gentle way, thus satisfying the custom; and after that they cheerfully turn the boy over to him to lead away; if, however, the abductor is unworthy, they take the boy away from him. Ephorus of Cyme (Strabo Geogr. 10.21.4).
For more information on paiderastia see 
Koehl, Robert B. “The Chieftain Cup and a Minoan Rite of Passage.” Journal of Hellenic Studies 106 (1986): 99–110.
Percy, William. Pederasty and Pedagogy in Archaic Greece. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1998.


UnfairGrace said...

Really curious about specifically what images on the pottery led you to conclude that they're depicting pederasty. I know it's well-documented in the Minoan culture at large, but knowing more specifically about this Minoan site would be great!

Dr. David E. Graves said...

No specific images let us to conclude that it was pederasty. There were several architectural features and ceramics that show Minoan influence. Minoan influence is well documented at other cites such as Tel Kabri(Israel), Alalakh (Turkey) Tel el-Dab'a (Egypt) and Qatna (Syria). For further documentation see the excavation reports and David E. Graves, The Location of Sodom: Key Facts for Navigating the Maze of Arguments for the Location of the Cities of the Plain (Toronto, Ont.: Electronic Christian Media, 2016),132-33.