The dates of the lists of Levitical cities (Josh 21 and 1 Chr 6) remain controversial. The same is true for their apparent status as units distinct from the surrounding texts. Many scholars have cast doubt on the historical reliability of the lists and have suggested a variety of alternative dates for their composition. Some European scholars have argued that the lists pertain to part of the final redaction of the Hexateuch or Chronicles. This proposed redaction would have been produced as late as the mid-Hellenistic period. An early third-century date for the Greek translations of the Hexateuch or Chronicles or the earliest attestation of these texts in the Qumran documents would support the late-redaction hypothesis. Reevaluating all of the above claims in this article, I will demonstrate that the lists could have been a historical reality only during the Hasmonean period. This claim is built on recent archaeological data from the town sites mentioned in the lists. To this end, I will investigate the distribution of the lists between the Iron Ages and the Hellenistic/Hasmonean period. Based on these two independent studies, I will propose that these lists functioned as a propagandistic map for the Hasmonean state during the territorial expansion of Hyrcanus and that they were later delivered to his successors. A subsequent study will examine Josh 21 and 1 Chr 6 in their MT and LXX forms, as well as several relevant canonical and extracanonical witnesses, and will propose that these two chapters may have been composed and become part of their respective biblical books in the mid- to late second century BCE.

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