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New Inscriptions and Seals Relating to the Biblical World

New Inscriptions and Seals Relating to the Biblical World

Meir Lubetski
Edith Lubetski
  • Book Info
    New Inscriptions and Seals Relating to the Biblical World
    Book Description:

    This volume continues the tradition of New Seals and Inscriptions, Hebrew, Idumean and Cuneiform (Sheffield Phoenix, 2007) by featuring analyses by eminent scholars of some of the archaeological treasures from Dr. Shlomo Moussaieff's outstanding collection. These contributions signal fresh approaches to the study of ancient artifacts and underscore the role of archaeological evidence in reconstructing the legacy of antiquity, especially that of the biblical period. The contributors are Kathleen Abraham, Chaim Cohen, Robert Deutsch, Claire Gottlieb, Martin Heide, Richard S. Hess, W. G. Lambert†, André Lemaire, Meir Lubetski, Matthew Morgenstern, Alan Millard, Lawrence J. Mykytiuk, and Peter van der Veen.

    eISBN: 978-1-58983-557-3
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xiv)

    It was not so long ago, from the perspective of history, that men were blissfully unaware of buried treasures telling tales of ancient civilizations. People had only a vague notion of the large number of cultures that had slipped into obscurity but had left an immutable impact on future generations. As the number of archaeological digs multiplies, the seal, the cuneiform tablet, the papyrus scroll, the stone stele, the ostraca, and even a crude ceramic, each provide an eye-opening glimpse into the days of yore.

    Our volume continues the tradition of New Seals and Inscriptions, Hebrew, Idumean and Cuneiform¹ by...

  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    Meir Lubetski
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xxii)
  5. Chapter One From the Origin of the Alphabet to the Tenth Century b.c.e.: New Documents and New Directions
    (pp. 1-20)
    André Lemaire

    During the past five years, several new studies and documents have tried to change the way we understand the inception of the origins of alphabetic writing before the tenth century b.c.e. In the first part of this communication, we will discuss the publications of these new studies, taking into account new documents mentioned in part 2. Finally, in part 3, we will add new unpublished inscriptions.

    Besides various status quaestionis on the diffusion of the alphabet around the Mediterranean Sea, and a few studies of its origins in Egyptian Scripts, as well as general considerations of the use of the...

  6. Chapter Two Gedaliah’s Seal Material Revisited: Some Preliminary Notes on New Evidence from the City of David
    (pp. 21-34)
    Peter van der Veen

    In a previous article on “Gedaliah ben Ahiqam” I discussed the question of identity of a high-ranking court official named Gedalyahu (variously described as ’šr ‘lhbyt and ‘bd hmlk on provenanced and unprovenanced bullae).¹ I suggested that the person involved may be one and the same as Gedalyahu ben Ahiqam, who was appointed governor over Judah by the Neo-Babylonians after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 b.c.e. Alternatively, an equation with a like-named minister of King Zedekiah—Gedalyahu ben Pashhur—was also considered possible as a second option, a possibility that had previously been proposed by Bob Becking.²

    Based on...

  7. Chapter Three Sixteen Strong Identifications of Biblical Persons (Plus Nine Other Identifications) in Authentic Northwest Semitic Inscriptions from before 539 b.c.e.
    (pp. 35-58)
    Lawrence J. Mykytiuk

    The goal of this paper is to report the strongest results of a complicated book, as now corrected and updated in a recent journal article, because almost half of these strongest results do not appear among the book’s conclusions.¹ The book is titled Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 b.c.e. (henceforth IBP), and the article, which appeared in Maarav, is designated below as Mykytiuk, “Corrections.”² This presentation of results is needed in order to gather the strongest identifications (below, identification is abbreviated as ID) within the parameters of its title from three sources: IBP’s conclusions, IBP’s...

  8. Chapter Four Six Hebrew Fiscal Bullae from the Time of Hezekiah
    (pp. 59-68)
    Robert Deutsch

    The ancient site of Keilah was a biblical fortified town (Josh 15:44), located 13.5 kilometers northwest of Hebron. Keilah has preserved its name in Arabic as Qila. The name of this town is mentioned in the Amarna letters during the conflict between Abdi-Heba of Jerusalem and Shuwardata of Hebron.¹ David established his headquarter at Keilah and used the town as a place of refuge from Saul (2 Sam 23:1–13). During the First Temple Period the town of Keilah was a part of the district of Mareshah and later, during the Persian period, Keilah was a district capital in the...

  9. Chapter Five Dml’: A Seal from the Moussaieff Collection
    (pp. 69-82)
    Meir Lubetski

    There is a dome-shaped unperforated scaraboid seal in Shlomo Moussaieff’s collection (fig. 1). Purchased in Jerusalem, it is made of blue-gray lapis lazuli and its dimensions are 16.0 long, 12.1 wide, and 6.1 mm high.¹ The seal cutter engraved an ornamented feline icon on the upper part, while the lower part contains a two-line inscription. Robert Deutsch and Michael Heltzer, in their book, Windows to the Past, read it:

    לדמלא ב

    ן פקחיו

    [belonging to] dml’ son of pqḥyw

    The authors indicate that the father’s name is included in biblical onomastics² while the seal owner’s name is not. The latter,...

  10. Chapter Six Who Was Bat Pharaoh, the Daughter of Pharaoh?
    (pp. 83-92)
    Claire Gottlieb

    When we study the inscriptions and iconography on ancient seals and related artifacts we are usually dealing with names of people with few or no clues as to their identity or place in history. It is only through careful and painstaking investigation and comparison with other objects that we can sometimes gain some insight as to who these people might have been and what their roles in their respective societies were. In the study of biblical literature we sometimes have the opposite problem. Some of the stories present us with a saga that can take place over many years but...

  11. Chapter Seven New Perspectives on the Trade between Judah and South Arabia
    (pp. 93-110)
    André Lemaire

    Ancient Near Eastern maps show that South Arabia is approximately 2000 kilometers from the kingdom of Judah. The history of the ancient South Arabian civilization during the first millennium b.c.e. is obscure and its chronology uncertain. However the Hebrew Bible mentions Sheba twenty-four times,¹ Hadramawt two times (Gen 10:26; 1 Chr 1:20) and the Minaeans approximately four times (Esd 2:40; Neh 7:52; 1 Chr 4:41; 2 Chr 26:7). The Table of Nations in Gen 10, illustrates that South Arabia was part of the cultural horizon of the Judaeans around 600 b.c.e.²

    According to the first book of Kings, chapter 10,...

  12. Chapter Eight A Unique Bilingual and Biliteral Artifact from the Time of Nebuchadnezzar II in the Moussaieff Private Collection
    (pp. 111-128)
    Kathleen Abraham

    Babylonia in the first millennium b.c.e., under the reigns of the Chaldean, Achaemenid, and Seleucid dynasties, was a multilingual society, with Aramaic and Akkadian as its major languages. It was also a society in which more than one script was in use, with cuneiform signs used to write Akkadian,¹ and alphabetic characters for writing Aramaic or other West Semitic languages.² The relationship between these languages and scripts is still not fully understood, mainly because the Aramaic alphabetic evidence that has come to us from Babylonia is rather limited. It is also becoming more and more clear today that these languages...

  13. Chapter Nine Bricks and Brick Stamps in the Moussaieff Private Collection
    (pp. 129-136)
    Kathleen Abraham

    Babylonian and Assyrian kings would often label bricks destined for public buildings with their name, title, and additional epithets (e.g., “provider of [zānin] / builder of [bāni] the temple of DN”). Some bricks bear long inscriptions detailing the historic and religious circumstances that led the king to (re)construct the building. These royal inscriptions were either stamped on the bricks or written by hand. Hundreds of such inscribed bricks are known from almost all periods of Mesopotamian history. Perhaps the best known are those from the time of Nebuchadnezzar, Neriglissar, and Nabunaid, which were discovered in German excavations at Babylon.¹ There...

  14. Chapter Ten A Babylonian Boundary Stone in the Moussaieff Collection
    (pp. 137-146)
    W. G. Lambert

    Boundary stones, as they are conventionally called, are a well-known category of legal documents surviving mostly from the Kassite Dynasty and the following Second Isin Dynasty. Although a few appear later they thus cover the period ca. 1400–700 b.c.e.

    They are called stones since a majority are carved on natural boulders with some trimming. A few offer similar texts but are written on clay tablets. The Moussaieff example is rare in that the stone has been cut to resemble a clay tablet: flat obverse and convex reverse, with sharp edges. Both text and relief sculpture commonly occur on a...

  15. Chapter Eleven A New Inscribed Palmyrene Stone Bowl from the Moussaieff Collection
    (pp. 147-156)
    André Lemaire

    The inscribed stone bowl (fig. 1) discussed here belongs to the collection of Mr. Shlomo Moussaieff.¹ It is 38.5 cm high with a diameter of 47 cm, or 58 cm if you take into account the ‘handles’. The upper rim is 4.3 cm thick (fig. 1) and is decorated by two human heads with chubby faces (figs. 2 and 3). These faces have been identified as Dionysos’ faces.² The two heads protruding 5.5 cm were placed in diametrical opposition and were probably used as a kind of handles to seize the bowl. The bowl is approximately half spherical with a...

  16. Chapter Twelve Mandaic Magic Bowls in the Moussaieff Collection: A Preliminary Survey
    (pp. 157-170)
    Matthew Morgenstern

    Amongst its many items, the Shlomo Moussaieff collection contains a sizeable number of magic texts inscribed on clay bowls or lead scrolls. To date, only a selection of these has been published, all of which have been texts written in the Jewish script.¹ However, the Moussaieff Collection also includes several items written in the Mandaic and so-called Manichaean Syriac scripts.² The “Manichaean” materials are being prepared for publication by the present author in collaboration with Dr. James Nathan Ford. The purpose of the present article is to present a preliminary survey of the magic texts written in the Mandaic script....

  17. Chapter Thirteen Katuwas and the Masoretic Text of Kings: Cultural Connections between Carchemish and Israel
    (pp. 171-182)
    Richard S. Hess

    The Luwian text of King Katuwas was excavated by Woolley at Carchemish in 1911–1914. Sometime after its discovery, it was largely destroyed. Fragments remain at the Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara and at the British Museum. This study follows the text edition of John David Hawkins who was able to see the fragments and earlier photographs of the entire inscription.¹

    The first section of the text consists of the identification of the author:²

    (§1) EGO-wa/i-mi Ika-tú-wa/i-ss|(IUDEX)tara/i-wa/i-ni-sa|kar-ka-mi-si-za-sa(URBS) RE|GIO DOMINUS… Isu-hi-si REGIO DOMINUS]-[ia-i-sa] [|(INF]ANS)ni-mu-wa/i-za-sa Iá-sa-tú-wa/i-ta4-ma-za-si-i |REGIO- DOMINUS-ia-i-sa|INFANS.NEPOS-sa

    I (am) Katuwas the Ruler, Karkamišean Coun[try-Lord, the Country-Lord Suhis’s] son, the Country-Lord Astuwatamanzas’s grandson.


  18. Chapter Fourteen Hebrew Seals, Stamps, and Statistics: How Can Fakes Be Found?
    (pp. 183-192)
    Alan Millard

    Hebrew seals have attracted collectors since the mid-nineteenth century, consequently, there have been forgers at work to try to profit from them. The energetic French scholar Charles Clermont-Ganneau was one who published a stone inscribed “Servant of Yahwe, David, king” (‘bd yhw dwd mlk) in poorly executed imitation Old Hebrew letters, with other forgeries.¹ The problem of distinguishing true artifacts from fakes was not difficult in those cases. Today the problem is acute, exacerbated by the appearance of scores of seals and hundreds of bullae, some with the names of kings of Judah, which arouse great interest and command high...

  19. Chapter Fifteen The Moabitica and Their Aftermath: How to Handle a Forgery Affair with an International Impact
    (pp. 193-242)
    Martin Heide

    In the nineteenth century, large numbers of ancient artifacts were unearthed and eagerly acquired for public and private collections. As a side effect, the very same collections were at times deluged by fakes and forgeries. Moses Shapira (1830–1884), born to a traditional Jewish family in Kamjanez-Podilskyj (Ukraine), who later converted to Christianity and added “Wilhelm” to his name, emigrated to Palestine in 1855–1856 and became in 1861 an antiquities dealer in Jerusalem. He is known for the shrewdness with which he sold an entire forged culture, known also as the “Moabitica,” to the Royal Museum of Berlin, and...

  20. Chapter Sixteen Biblical Hebrew Philology in Light of the Last Three Lines of the Yeho’ash Royal Building Inscription (YI: lines 14–16)
    (pp. 243-276)
    Chaim Cohen

    In continuation of my previous article “Biblical Hebrew Philology in the Light of Research on the New Yeho’ash Royal Building Inscription,”¹ which dealt with the first thirteen lines of the YI, the present article concludes this research by suggesting another six philological contributions: the first one based on a change in translation of lines 4–5, while the other five suggestions are based on the final lines 14–16 of the YI. The present article thus begins with section IIA, a revision of my provisional translation of the YI in section II of my previous article, and then continues with...

  21. Chapter Seventeen Dr. Shlomo Moussaieff’s View of the Nerva Coin
    (pp. 277-282)
    Meir Lubetski

    The epigraphical session at the International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Rome, 2009, culminated with a paper presented by Dr. Shlomo Moussaieff, who graciously provided the artifacts on which most of the papers were based. He discussed a coin from his collection that was struck by Marcus Cocceius Nerva, the Roman Emperor who ruled sixteen months from September 96–January 98 c.e. This coin apparently commemorates the change in attitude toward the fiscus Iudaicus, a special poll tax of two dinarii per annum required from Jews after the rebellion of 66–70 c.e. Jews all over the...

  22. 18. A Teacher, A Colleague, A Friend: Wilfred G. Lambert, 1926-2011
    (pp. 283-286)
    Meir Lubetski

    The passing of Wilfred G. Lambert brings to a close a chapter in Near Eastern Assyriology research. His discoveries of ancient sources at the British museum were legion and his expertise in deciphering them brought him world recognition.

    As a faculty member of the University of Birmingham, Lambert was the sole Assyriologist and concentrated on Sumerian and Akkadian arts and literature. Acclaimed as a leading scholar in the field, his brilliant research was chronicled in many publications. Every article of his, is a book, each note, a paper. I had to read his works more than once in order to...

  23. Subject Index
    (pp. 287-294)
  24. Index of Sources
    (pp. 295-306)
  25. Index of Authors
    (pp. 307-314)