Joshua and Conquest of Canaan: Looking for Evidence

Part 6: Archaeologists studying Jericho ruins believe the story of Joshua might be fictitious.
3:00 | 12/29/12

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Joshua and Conquest of Canaan: Looking for Evidence
Driving through the region known todays a the west bank, it's hard to believe this was the promised land that moses tried for so long to reach but never did. And until this unexpected patch of green comes to view, signaling our arrival into the city of jericho. Jericho is one of the most interesting cities. There is a spring there that is STILL GUSHING OUT 10 0s OF Gallons of water. It's believed to be the oldest city in the world. Civilization has found on the outskirts of town. What draws pilgrims in is the biblical account how one of the civilizations may have disappeared. Flying over jericho, we can see the footpri of ancient jericho where the bible tells us joshua led the israelites in the promised land. The bible tells us that before his death on mt. Nebraskao with guidance from god, moses head them on their journey. We have a handle of power from one generation to the next. Moses and his generation have been wandering. Joshua is more action packed. They come on in and take over. As told in the book of joshua, the conquest of cannen has the details on after blockbuster. With the arc of the covenant leading the way, they cross over. T story of jericho is where he is in the role of a divine warrior. The bible says had he conquered jericho seven times. He walks around the world seven times. The whole time, carrying the mystical arc of the covenant which the bible describes as having special powers. God at that moment, causes the walls to crumble and fall down. At that moment, you get the image of them rushing and taking over for better or worse. However you view that image. Whether that is one of excitement, this is war, and war can be ugly. In this war, the bible makes clear that no prisoner should be taken alive. Every man, woman and child should be slaughtered. And according to the bible this bloody bible was the first stop on joshua's campaign. According to the book of joshua, the troops conquered the whole land of cannen, expelled or slaughtered the canaanites and it's all over. Jericho is a highlight now on most holy land tours. The pilgrims are drawn here by the violent version how the israelites came into the promised land. But it's unlikely this is actually how it happened. People forget there are two versions of the conquest in the bible. The book of joshua suggests a blitz, it's a form of mass colonialism, mass slaughter. It's horrible. And then we have a story of judges a gradual infiltration. Do we want a blitz model? The story, what do we believe happened? The archaeology leads to the less dramatic account. The one pird where we want it to be inhabited to joshua can attack it, there is nobody living there. There is no wall for joshua to knock down. Pucht it bluntly, the book of joshua is almost all fictitious. Yes, there are some battles but they are living side by side with some of the canaan yn ites. When I talk to most people, they relieved. The genocide. But it never happened. For some, the story presents a troubling 3ik9 of a violent god. But others draw a sense of mission from the very same story. A few days after we visited jericho, our team was invited to the graduation ceremony for jonathan freeland and his elite unit of the defense fort cadet. I am continues just like my groirt, and my grandfather did it and my father did it. They had marched 175 kilometers over night. A journey that ended here along the syrian border. The cadets finally join them for the final stretch. They use it conquer from Nobody picks up their packs and say, god promised you, here it is. And trying to piece together the truth, think the meaning of the story is less clear cut. One of the problems we got is that it's less difficult to tell an israelite from a canaanite. The story of the jews and israelites, might go back to the same tribe. Thatry one in the same notch not only a biblical story but you might find out the palestinians and the israelites are related. What does that do to modern politics? Everything is wrapped up in one big mess.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"3:00","description":"Part 6: Archaeologists studying Jericho ruins believe the story of Joshua might be fictitious.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/International","id":"18087161","title":"Joshua and Conquest of Canaan: Looking for Evidence","url":"/International/video/back-beginning-christiane-amanpour-joshua-conquest-canaan-evidence-18087161"}