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Re: orion spaceless BYTYHWH inscription!
Thank you so much for your report on this new ostracon.
I hope we can all go cautiously on this one.
I think we need to think about *how* "labs" have "authenticated" the
inscription (pottery? opinion of paleographer?). Is the potsherd on
which the inscription has been found datable? does the palaeography
match that kind of date? Has the region from which the clay of the pottery has
come been identified?
I agree with you that the parallel with the other byt inscription
should be considered for historical interpretations, though I am
unwilling to see the absence of a dot as pivotal, indicating little
more than that it can be read as a single word, like a place name. Also any other
inscriptions that refer to temples or the like, such as the Yahweh of
Teman and Yahweh of Samaria of Kuntillat Ajrud, need also to be
considered. Do we have other names of temples in inscriptions from
A dating of an inscription from 9-7th. century is unfortunately not
much of a date. Does this dating exclude an 11-1oth. century dating?
Does it exclude a 6th.-5th cent dating, or indeed, later or earlier?
Or is the dating 9th-7th merely a possible one among other possible
Is bytyhwh the name of a patronage? The name of a village? The name of a
temple? A geographical name? Can we exclude any of these
possibilities? Do we now have 4 known temples related to yhwh from
the Iron Age, or are there more? Does the Mesha stele offer a fifth?
Such questions are important to ask. Unfortunately, they were not
asked about the Aramaic inscription from Tel Dan before journalists began hawking
it. It would be a shame to see such a circus repeated.
Unfortunately, I have not received a copy of this magazine as yet, so
can not really comment on the text's significance.
Thomas L. Thompson
professor, University of Copenhagen
> A fascinating report (with clear photograph) appears in the latest BAR,
> concerning an ostracon that recently surfaced on the antiquities market.
> Obviously, such objects must initially be viewed with suspicion, but this
> one has (according to the report) been authenticated by several different
> labs. The author of the BAR report (You-guess-who!) acknowledges the
> assistance of two experts, P. Kyle McCarter and Benjamin Sass, in
> preparing it.
> The inscription appears to be some kind of a receipt for (or at least a
> record of) a donation to a temple called *BYTYHWH* (that is, BYT YHWH
> written as one word with no space between BYT and YHWH -- similar to the
> Tel Dan inscription, which (albeit in square Aramaic characters) likewise
> lacks a space between BYT and DWD. It is written in ancient Hebrew
> characters and is claimed to refer to the First Temple. (Apparently a full
> write-up is going to appear soon in the Near Eastern Archaeologist).
> So, it seems that H.S. has once again set the cat among the pigeons!
> The ball is now back in the court of the BETDOD-NIKS.......
> "Agog with Anticipation"
> Judith Romney Wegner