Tel Dan (Raymond)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Fri Mar 2 09:51:16 EST 2001

>> The TDI still has not been validated. It may not be genuine. See for
>> 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
>> 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)?

Raymond wrote:

>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
>the inscription.

I don't know if those people (who have spoken out against its genuineness or
even spoken against the assuredness of those who believe in the TDI)
consider David to be historical or not. Do you? I would rather listen to
what they say. If you read the Garbini article I mentioned, I don't think
there is any stated indication of the author's position on the question of
David's historicity.

What I pointed out is that some people do not accept its genuineness. This
is before one starts to analyse the inscription itself.

>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
>it, you also should say "one has to deal with the text and not what one
>NOT WANT it to mean".

This of course is a corollary, yet the logic of your stating it is
erroneous. Until a text can be in some way validated, its content has
*little use*. One doesn't cite stuff just because it is old. Its relevance
needs to be established.

>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.

You'll note that I supplied a range of positions other than the single one
you have advocated:

>>>_BYTDWD_ which refers to the house of David

Now I don't think David was a historical figure, but you'll note I said:

>>Is the dwd derived from David or vice versa (or simply unrelated)?

which does not commit the author of the text at all.

>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
>AND without a word divider.

Which such combinations?

>It just seems to be a matter of coincidence that
>it was not used here.

As we are strictly dealing with a southern Palestinian context of around 800
BCE, you need to establish some reason for introducing Ugaritic (circa 1200
BCE) into the discourse. I mentioned a few examples that pointed to local
usage of Beth- in placenames where the words involved are written without
separation. I'd like a local example or two of unseparated beth-X referring
to a dynasty or similar -- I'm sorry to say -- so that you can have a reason
for your contentment here.


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