Tel Dan (Reprise)

George Athas gathas at
Thu Mar 1 06:00:02 EST 2001

| The TDI still has not been validated. It may not be genuine. See for example
| the article by Garbini I translated on the matter at my website
| (
| If it is genuine one has to deal with the text and not what one wants it to
| mean. First is it a place name like Bethel or Beth-Shemesh? Why else is
| there no word division between the the two words if they are in fact two
| words? Is the dwd derived from David or vice versa (or simply unrelated)?
| (I'm sure George has something to say on the matter!)

Right you are, Ian! I finished my study on Tel Dan and have been trying to find the time
to edit it for publication. Hopefully, it will be on shelves in less than a year.

I examined the fragments in Jerusalem and did find them to be genuine. However, the
arragement of the fragments as proposed by Biran and Naveh is well nigh impossible
physically and palaeographically. The fragments are seemingly from the same stele. This
can be validated by the engraving marks, the palaeography, the stone, and the stratigraphy
at Dan. A lot of information on the stratigraphy of Dan has been published, especially in
IEJ 49, since the discovery of the fragments. Fragment A was in the upper portion of the
original stele, while Fragments B1+B2 were in the lower portions.

While examining the stones, I found extra letters which do not actually show up in the
published photographs. In fact, so much more info came to light from examining the
fragments themselves that I basically threw the photographs out and only referred to them
to highlight how insufficient they were.

To whet your appetites:

The fragments date to just after 800 BCE and the author is not Hazael, but his son, Bar
Hadad. The text has nothing to do with Jehu's coup and the assassinations of Jehoram and
Ahaziah -- that was just a circumstantial quirk of Biran & Naveh's arrangement of the
fragments (which is really now defunct). The word BYTDWD cannot be translated as "House of
David", but is rather a place name of the "Beth-X" type. Also, the inscription confirms
some long held suspicions about the Ahab narratives in the Bible, and sheds a lot of light
on the evolution of the deity El and the use of massebot. Also, there is no waw
consecutive -- the language is absolute standard supermarket-brand Old Aramaic. The way
the waw-prefixes are used in the Tel Dan inscription also helps us work out their use in
Zakkur's stele: there is no waw-consecutive there either!

Best regards,

(Sydney, Australia)
Tel Dan Inscription Website

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