"admittedly syncretistic Kuntillet Ajrud fragments"

Ken Smith kens at 180solutions.com
Thu Jan 24 03:59:06 EST 2002

I got the Baal/El fragment from the Anchor Bible Dictionary article on
Kuntillet Ajrud.  The entire quotation that it reproduces is:

...]lbrk.b`l.by(w)m mlx[mh]
...]lsm(.)'l.by(w)m mlx[mh]

(I'm mostly using their transliteration scheme, but substituting $ for
shin and x for het.  Unfortunately, the ABD editors apparently assumed a
more substantial Hebrew literacy for their readers than I yet possess,
and didn't think it necessary to include a translation.  The last two
lines aren't that hard, but is there anybody else who wants to take a
shot at the whole before I embarrass myself?)

As for the dating of the Biblical materials, all I can say is that it
would take much more than an argument from manuscript silence to
convince me of a Second Temple setting for Hosea, Joel, Amos et al.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ian Hutchesson [mailto:mc2499 at mclink.it]
> Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2002 12:30 AM
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Re: "admittedly syncretistic Kuntillet Ajrud fragments"
> If a pundit tells you to back a certain racehorse, would you?
> The pundits must realize that the earliest recognisable biblical text
> from
> Qumran. Was any biblical text written long before that?
> The Lachish letters do give blessings by yhwh and don't mention a
> What is your exact source for the citation of Ba`al and 'El at KA?
> info
> would be of interest to at least one other listmember!)
> (I don't really know why they are labeled Bes images. I've seen lots
> they
> certainly don't look like the ones at KA. It could be just the fact
> these
> are pretty odd, mishapen figures, just as Bes was an odd, mishapen
> Syncretism is the equating of one god with another, or at least the
> absorption
> of traits from one to another. Polytheism is visible, but is
> Ian
> ------------------
> First, I'm not aware that the Lachish letters mention a consort, and
> they're quite certainly pre-exilic, if only barely so.  Also, a number
> of the prophets are, I believe, securely datable before the exile, and
> surely they don't refer to any consort of Yahweh; that's precisely the
> sort of thing that they'd have been ranting against at some length,
> don't you think?  In addition, Deuteronomy is generally dated to the
> reign of either Hezekiah or Josiah (are there any good arguments for
> exilic or post-exilic dating?), and the idea of Yahweh having a
> would certainly have been inimical to its author.
> Second, some of the other inscriptions at Kuntillet Ajrud mention
> gods, such as Baal and El:
> And whether or not the two gods immediately below the inscription I
> referred to earlier are Bes or not, most scholars seem to think that
> they at least look an awful lot like Bes.  In other words, it appears
> that other gods were, in fact, worshipped at Kuntillet Ajrud besides
> Yahweh and/or influenced the worship and portrayal of Yahweh; and
> pretty much the definition of syncretism, isn't it?
> And finally, I don't at all dispute that, among the Israelites and
> neighbors, there would have been a strong tendency towards the sort of
> thing you see in the Kuntillet Ajrud fragments.  (The Bible itself is
> the strongest argument that these tendencies existed.)  Maybe you
> even say that it was the mainstream way of thinking.  (Whether it was
> appropriate way to think about Yahweh is, of course, a question
> independent of whether it was the majority view.)  But just because
> mainstream doesn't mean it's not syncretistic.  Wasn't syncretism
> much universal in the ANE?  Why shouldn't we think that wasn't exactly
> the case at KA?
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