[b-hebrew] question re: Tel Dan stela

Reinhard G. Lehmann lehmann at uni-mainz.de
Wed May 26 10:33:43 EDT 2004


As one of those who formerly (1995, just before discovery of Fragment B) made another point out of the BYTDWD in Tel Dan,
I only want to add (what you already know very well, George):
convincing,
and the actual formulation:
vivid and brilliant.

Reinhard


> The dominant theory has been to see the phrase [ML]K.BYTDWD as similar to other Ancient Near Eastern designations for states, such as "Bit-Humri" (House of Omri) for Israel. This sees the state named after one of its prominent rulers. The problem with this reasoning is that it would require the phrase in the Tel Dan Stele to actually read: [ML]K.DWD -- in other words, the element BYT should not be there. The fact that BYT is there, however, is the thorn in the side of the dominant theory. To say "King of the House of David" is a bit like saying "President of the Bush Household" or even "President of the Whitehouse". Such expressions don't make sense. Using our contemporary examples, we would have to say "President of the USA", or some such expression.
>
> This to me says that BYTDWD is indeed the name of a place, rather than the name of a dynasty. I suggest that this place is actually Jerusalem. In other words, BYTDWD (Bayt-Dawid) is an Aramaic version of the Hebrew name (YR-DWD (City of David). This would see the Tel Dan Stele, which I date to c.795 BC (written by Bar-Hadad, son of Hazael), being a witness to some sort of state entity in Jerusalem. That is, it sees Jerusalem as a city state, albeit very small, ruled by a famous family -- a kind of Monaco of the ancient world, only far less glamorous.
>
> You can find a more detailed argument in my book, The Tel Dan Inscription: A Reappraisal and a New Interpretation (Sheffield Academic, 2003).-

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   Dr.  Reinhard G. Lehmann, AkOR
   Forschungsstelle für Althebräische Sprache und Epigraphik
   Fachbereich 02 Evangelische Theologie
   Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
   D - 55099 Mainz
   tel: (+49) 6131 - 39 23284
   mailto: lehmann at mail.uni-mainz.de
   web-HP: http://www.uni-mainz.de/~lehmann/
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