[b-hebrew] matres lectionis

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Wed Jul 27 01:23:46 EDT 2005

The "Gezer Calendar" was found not in situ, outside of stratigraphic
context. It was dated to the 10th century by paleographic and linguistic
comparison (that is, the letters and the orthography seem more "primative"
than the 9th century Mesha inscription), nothing more. Dating it to c. 925
and not to, say, 970 or 950, is simply because scholars prefer that it be
"Israelite", i.e. after the city was "given" to Solomon by his Egyptian
father-in-law, than Canaanite, though there is nothing in either the
language or the content that makes it so. The "schoolboy" hypothesis is an
old one, and totally baseless. We just don't know who inscribed it and what

I was just there (at Gezer) yesterday, didn't see any schoolboys practicing
their calendar (really!).

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2005 2:55 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] matres lectionis

> I took out a book I have that has a full page photograph of
> the Gezer Calendar. It is generally said that it was
> inscribed by a school boy. The reasons are that the letters
> are inconsistant in shape and size. As separators between
> words, the writer inserted vertical lines, but he omitted
> them more than included them. There is only one clear waw,
> and that is in line five, the others are not clear and could
> be crooked vertical lines for separating words. Then the
> word (CD in line three is not a Biblical word at all, and
> KLM in line five could refer to an agricultural use of the
> term that has been lost, as it was not used in Tanakh. There
> are other signs of damage that could throw off modern
> researchers as well as other indications of missteps by the
> original writer, that the ommission of a mater lectionis or
> two could be attributed to a youthful mistake rather than to
> the belief that they didn't exist at that time.
> In short, that the Gezer Calendar omits them, doesn't mean
> they didn't exist.
> Karl W. Randolph.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Dr. Joel M. Hoffman" <joel at exc.com>
> >
> > Also:
> >
> > > The Gezer Calendar (c. 925) does not use them.  (The waw in YRXW is
> > > not a mater lectionis, but is to be understood phonetically as "ew"
> > > (contraction of "ehu", and the word translated "his two months".)
> >
> > There is absolutely no evidence to support this "W=dual" hypothesis,
> > and considerable evidence against it.  I think we have to admit that
> > the Gezer Calendar is still not fully deciphered.
> >
> > -Joel Hoffman
> -- 
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