On the 1st page of the 1st chapter in my 1st book, “LMLK–A Mystery Belonging to the King vol. 1”, published 3 years ago today, I mentioned taking a class at West Virginia University on the “History of the Old Testament, Part 2”. The course enrollment ID was Religion 103.02, taught by Dr. Alan Jenks (author of “The Elohist & North Israelite Traditions”).
While rummaging through my personal archives a week ago (during an interlude as I was transitioning from one job to another), I found some of the quizzes & exams from that class. I learned a great deal of material during the first few years after graduating from school, but it amuses me even more looking back now, 2 decades hence. Take for example this multiple-choice quiz:
Ten questions, of which I guessed correctly on 6, but was not so lucky on 4 others. A score of 60 equates to a grade of D-, a heartbeat away from an F, which is what I really deserved. The exceptionally funny one deals with my current area of expertise related to the LMLK jar handles manufactured under the auspices of King Hezekiah. As I’ve said elsewhere, we can safely assign them to his timeframe thanks to the heathen Assyrian king, Sennacherib, who led a campaign to Judah during Hezekiah’s reign.
The quiz asked me to name the “Assyrian ruler who succeeded his murdered father, Sennacherib.”
My answer? “Hezekiah”
One would think that it doesn’t get any worse or more embarrassing than that! And no, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke–that’s why I just had to scan the actual quiz & post it here for proof. But wait–it actually gets even better/funnier!
Some readers may think I’m joking when I say I guessed on the multiple-choice quiz, but here’s an even more outrageous illustration of how little I knew about Biblical archeology in 1984: On a mid-term essay exam, I was asked about events during the reign of Hezekiah’s father, Ahaz, & my lengthy response included this gem:
“…Ahaz wanted to pay tribute to the Assyrians & eventually did so despite Isaiah’s advice not to. King Ahaz even had a temple built in Jerusalem (the capital of Judah) exactly like one in Assyria. …”
Dr. Jenks wrote “altar” in red ink over my word “temple”, & also drew some red lines around my subsequent statements about Sennacherib leading a campaign to Judah at this time. On the opposite page of the exam book, he gave me this advice/words-of-wisdom:
“don’t get into this, which is 35 years later!”
Well, as my book testifies against me, I eventually did “get into” it. Some students just never learn…