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Re: orion Spaceless "BYTYHWH" inscription

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Well...we donīt actually possess any 9th-century Hebrew inscriptions,
although there is a lot of superstition about the Gezer Calendar. The
calendar inscription is undated, done in Phoenician characters, and is only
assigned to Hebrew because of a Yahwistic theophorous name written on the
edge of the document, as if others than Israelites did not know or worship
YHWH (even the OT claims that the Edomites and some Moabites did, and in
fact von Rad found one of the themes of Genesis to be the theological
problem of those who *knew* YHWH, but were not "Israel"). The Samaritan
ostraca are likewise undatable, as the sequence of regnal years mentioned
in them could fit any of several Israelite kings --even on the assumption
that the OT records correct data about regnal periods, which is a far from
proven assumption, so their script, too, could be anywhere from the 8th to
the 7th century (tax receipts, if that is what they are, could be dated by
the regnal year of a foreign ruler, so the fact of the disappearance of the
Israelite monarchy tells us nothing about the possible date of the
There has recently been disagreement and considerable posturing by various
American scholars concerning the attempt at redating the Siloah inscription
by Philip Davies and John Rogerson, of Sheffield, down to the Persian
period or later. And yet, as I say, we have no absolute dates to anchor the
chronology of the scripts on, so their claim demands analysis like any
other, rather than repudiation on the basis of assumed knowledge. This
observation has become all the more pressing since the publication of the
Ekron inscription (the genuineness of which I do not question), since its
script shows that the Phoenicianising script kept its integrity very well
indeed until well down in the 8th century: so well that one might claim
that if Ekron is from the end of the 8th century( which seems, on the basis
of the Assyrian evidence, indisputable), then the Mesha inscription cannot
be from the middle of the 9th!
In short, our palaeographical guidelines for the scripts of the first half
of the first millennium bce are all too few and uncertain to enable us to
speak confidently about dates and the like, although there are those who
like to think otherwise. So I will permit myself to withhold judgement on
the bytyhwh ostraconīs script until I have had opportunity to examine it
closely myself.
The phrase bytyhwh, however, has nothing whatever to do with the alleged
bytdwd. The writing-together phenomenon of divine name (DN) and BYT is a
regular feature in placenames such as Betshemesh (byt$m$) and Betel
(bytīl), where it almost certainly refers to the presence of a temple. 

best regards,

Fred Cryer