Tel Dan Inscription
peter_kirk at sil.org
peter_kirk at sil.org
Wed Dec 29 12:07:25 EST 1999
"Bethel" may be a single concept, but in Hebrew orthography it is two
words, usually joined by maqqef, of which the first is a construct
("Beth" not "Bayith"). So it's not a very good example for your
Later you wrote: "The Bible, which dates much later than the Tel Dan
Inscription, writes "House of David" as _byt dwd_ -- two words, not a
single word like _bytdwd_. If there were two words in the Tel Dan
Inscription, then we probably would have had "House of David"." Not
strictly true: in some cases (e.g. 1 Kings 12:20) Beyt Dawid is
written with a maqqef, in other cases as two separate words. So the
situation is the same as with Bethel. In both cases the writing
depends on phonology, not on semantics. Of course we don't know much
about the criteria on which the Tel Dan inscription writers divided
words, but perhaps they also used phonology rather than semantics as
the criterion, and I guess they didn't have that convenient device
maqqef in their orthography.
Also, can you justify your statement that the relevant parts of the
date to much later than the Tel Dan inscription? There is a danger of
circular argument here as this discussion of the inscription came out
of a discussion of the evidence for such a statement. I accept of
course that the Masoretic pointing with maqqef is much later than the
You have treated the Tel Dan inscription "on its own merits firstly".
When will you compare it "with other texts, like the Assyrian annals"?
______________________________ Reply Separator
Subject: Re: Tel Dan Inscription
Author: <gathas at mail.usyd.edu.au> at Internet
Date: 29/12/1999 07:39
You're correct about the Bit Humri concept. However, the Tel Dan Inscription is
different inscription and must treated on its own merits firstly, and then compa
other texts, like the Assyrian annals. Within the Tel Dan Inscription itself, th
orthography employed does not allow _bytdwd_ to be a construct phrase, such as "
David" or "Temple of Dod" or anything else like that. The orthography of the ins
suggests that it is to be read as a single word and concept. A toponym is the on
possibility in this case, much like the toponym "Bethel"...
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