What other ancient Hebrew texts?
tonyprete at earthlink.net
Wed Feb 28 21:43:29 EST 2001
At 09:04 AM 02/28/01, Dave Washburn wrote:
> > On 26-02-2001 15:44 Karen Spray <karen.spray at lineone.net> wrote:
> > > I was wondering what (if any) other Hebrew texts of comparative antiquity
> > > exist which might shed light on word meanings etc in the Hebrew Bible.
> > Karen,
> > there are Hebrew inscriptions dating from the biblical times. However, they
> > do not help very much with regard to the meaning of words, though sometimes
> > they do.
> > On the other hand, sometimes they are rather revolutionary with regard to
> > the religion or history of ancient Israel. For example, an inscription from
> > Kuntillet `Ajrud mentions that Yhwh has an Ashera. An inscription from Tel
> > Dan (though in Aramaic) mentions the _BYTDWD_ which refers to the house of
> > David (see http://members.nbci.com/gathas/teldan.htm for much more
> > information).
>Agreed. At the same time, it's necessary to use caution when
>interpreting what these items really mean. In particular, does the
>Kuntillet `Ajrud inscription indicate that ancient Israel *universally*
>and consistently believed YHWH had an Asherah, or does it
>indicate a localized phenomenon that took place during one of
>Israel's many reported periods of idolatry? People's answers will
>vary with their presuppositions about things like what we can know
>about ancient Israel, how reliable the biblical texts are, the history
>of religions and other aspects of the field. But in most cases, there
>are several ways of looking at the implications of these brief and
>often cryptic messages.
I appreciate Dave's clarification, which is especially important with the
Asherah matter because of its potential for mis-application (and I
emphasize "mis") to the contemporary "goddess" interests. Also, presenting
these two extra-biblical sources as examples of "Hebrew inscriptions dating
from the biblical times" can create the impression that there are lots of
others. Is that true?
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