Tel Dan (Ian and George)

Raymond de Hoop rdehoop at
Fri Mar 2 04:53:56 EST 2001

On 28-02-2001 18:39 Ian Hutchesson <mc2499 at> wrote:

>> An inscription from Tel
>> Dan (though in Aramaic) mentions the _BYTDWD_ which refers to the house of
>> David (see for much more
>> information).
> 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)?

On 01-03-2001 12:00 George Athas <gathas at> wrote:

> The word BYTDWD cannot be translated as "House of
> David", but is rather a place name of the "Beth-X" type.


Just a few remarks concerning your reaction.

The fact that it is suggested that it is not genuine by scholars who
consider David not to be historical, makes their reaction suspect instead of
the inscription. 

That brings me to the following, you wrote "one has to deal with the text
and not what one wants it to mean". I absolutely agree with you. But next to
it, you also should say "one has to deal with the text and not what one DOES
NOT WANT it to mean". I regret to say, but much of the discussion with
regard to this stele has been governed by a fundamentalistic versus
anti-fundamentalistic position. And many of the oponents of the "House of
David"-interpretation made themself suspect in their publications that they
were opposing against a fundamentalistic reading instead of against a wrong
philological interpretation.

Concerning the lacking word divider I am sorry to say, but that argument is
void. In Ugaritic for example you can frequently find such combinations with
AND without a word divider. It just seems to be a matter of coincidence that
it was not used here.

(To be sure: this is not to say that this David is exactly the same as the
Bible depicts him; but I suppose they refer both to the same historical


With regard to your remark that "the word BYTDWD cannot be translated as
`House of David'": it certainly "whets my appetite". I knew that several
interpretations are possible (of which I prefer the "House of David" one),
but now you state that it is impossible I am curious for the arguments?



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