Erol, I like your credo - "scholarly and inquisitive." So often people come into the forum with preconceived ideas and agendas. Sometimes they state them immediately, but sometimes they conceal their biases and pretend to be open to new insight. So it is hard to have a genuine discussion with such "know-it-all" folks, especially when they also want to make unfounded judgments about other posters.
I try to read widely. Still, I'm glad when others help fill in the gaps of my purview.
You are kind to acknowlege the importance (for humanity at least) of the work published here. I'm presently not in the mode of actively promoting the site, but it does represent the latest and greatest research into the ancient world, not in terms of archaeology, per se, but in understanding the archaeology we already possess. Not that I think I'm the only one doing good stuff, but how can anything compare to identifying ALL the Patriarchs. We are now forced to reconsider everything. It is not an easy task to begin doing ... but it is a thrilling opportunity.
As we have seen, this Patriarchal family did exercise real control over much of the Near East and beyond. We are even yet finding just how far was their reach. However, I don't think it is possible to completely differentiate between direct and indirect control, especially on the periphery of the empire. Also, it is not possible to know whether the Patriarchs were able to establish a presence in regions like India, or whether colonizing efforts and other immigrations were more responsible for the dissemination and naturalization of the history in far away places.
I tend to reference the Patriarchs to Egypt. It was the seat of empire for long stretched of time ("Sojourns"), but this does not mean that the Patriarchs considered themselves Egyptians. The royal court would have been constantly on the move. They were all things to all people and would have been proficient in many languages. What was their "mother tongue"? That also probably varied over time and even between members of the same extended royal family.
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