Tel Dan & David

Lewis Reich lewreich at
Mon Jan 3 12:08:09 EST 2000

This seems to me exactly backward.  Unless there is reason to suppose the
artifact a fraud, one should accept it as genuine.  That is contradicts
onre's current ideas is not a reason to suppose it fraudulent . None of the
examples are apposite here.
The Turin Shroud was recognized for what it actually is by Church
authorities at the time it first appeared.

Schliemann's discovery of "Priam's Treasure" was not a hoax - the articles
were genuine, only the attribution was a mistake - Schliemann was led astray
by his wish to find what he hoped.  Similar thinking was partially
responsible for the success of the Piltdown Man hoax

The Piltdown Man hoax was not discovered earlier because scientist were
denied access to the actual "finds" and instead had to be content with
studying reproductions.  As Stephen Jay Gould has noted, the hoax was
accepted because it played to the expectations of the times. Today a human
cranium with an ape's jaw is considered to be extremely implausible and
far-fetched. But in the early part of this century, anthropologists were
imbued with the cultural prejudice which considered man's big brain as his
ticket to rule, the main evolutionary feature that made it possible for man
to develop all his other unique features. Since there was a pre-conceived
notion that man's brain must have developed to its human size before other
changes occurred in human structure, a human cranium with an ape's jaw
didn't arouse as much suspicion as it would today.

In the case of the Tel Dan inscription, since there is no evidence to
suggest a fraud, it seems to me that is those who refuse to accept its
genuineness that are being led astray by their presuppositions.

Lewis Reich

----- Original Message -----
From: Ian Hutchesson <mc2499 at>
To: Biblical Hebrew <b-hebrew at>
Sent: Monday, January 03, 2000 11:00 AM
Subject: Re: Tel Dan & David

> As I said in a previous post, the Tel Dan inscription has a long way to
> While George has already accepted its authenticity, such authenticity has
> not as yet been established and we are living in the world of the Piltdown
> Man, Schliemann's treasure of Priam or for that matter Cyril Burt's child
> psychology statistics. Burt's was rigging the data in the direction he
> thought it should go in order to get state funding (if I remember
> correctly). Piltdown Man was an attempt to discredit evolutionary studies
> and Schliemann's seems only to have been personal esteem. We could add to
> this the Turin Shroud and all the other relics manufactured in the middle
> ages to dupe the common person. (You can still find the hand of John the
> Baptist in Istanbul's Topkapi Museum!) The Tel Dan inscription comes along
> at such a convenient time, ie when strong inroads against the historicity
> of David had been made. It has the hallmark of a pious fraud, although it
> may not be.

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