[b-hebrew] question re: Tel Dan stela

Brian Roberts formoria at carolina.rr.com
Thu May 27 10:12:11 EDT 2004

Agreed, George. It seems that the Tel Dan inscription presents more 
questions than it answers.

On Thursday, May 27, 2004, at 08:57  AM, George Athas wrote:

> Good point about the royal Israelite inscriptions. Are you saying that 
> there were none, or that we have found none? The answer to that at this 
> point in time must be that we don't know. It must be an argument from 
> silence. I for one think that there probably were Israelite royal 
> inscriptions, but since we don't have any in our domain we can't argue 
> either for or against whether they did or did not refer to kings as 
> 'king of [Dynastic Name]'.

BR: I'm saying that we have not found any. Because of that, we don't 
have the advantage of knowing whether there was a standard titulary 
formula for Hebrew kings, and what that titulary formula could have 
been. It makes the Tel Dan inscription a rather odd bird, since, as you 
point out, it is Syrian.

> In terms of epistemology and logic, if you are saying that I cannot 
> make my point, then you cannot make your point either. There is no 
> logically necessary link between proposing the likelihood of Israelite 
> royal inscriptions and the use of the phraseology 'king of [Dynastic 
> Name]' in those same inscriptions.

BR: I cannot address epistemological issues as I am not a Hebrew or 
Aramaic scholar.

> However, since the field of interest is not devoid of all royal 
> inscriptions, I believe we can say something. I am not declaring the 
> matter proven -- I am merely building a cumulative case. And there is 
> far more evidence for saying that kings were not labelled as 'king of 
> [Dynastic Name]' than there is to say that they were. Neighbouring 
> cultures do not seem to have used that phraseology. Neither does it 
> appear anywhere in the entire biblical corpus. Granted, the biblical 
> corpus is not a royal inscription, but it is literary Hebrew.

BR: Of course, your case may end up being correct. It's just far too 
early to make that call, and I know you understand that was the spirit 
of my post.

Best salaams,

Brian Roberts

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