[b-hebrew] translation of Los Lunas ten commandments?

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Fri Mar 28 15:32:03 EDT 2008

Dear Ted and Yitzhak:

My interest is this.  A friend is in the home building and renovation
business.  He wants to start installing 12 inch wide doorposts in
peoples homes, and inscribe the ten commandments directly on these
doorposts with a wood burner or soldering iron.

Since we are in North America, we thought it would be neat to base our
doorposts on the Los Lunas inscription, the North American version of
the ten commandments.  Based on Karl's translation, I have a few more
questions before deciding that it is suitable for this style of mezuzah.
I'll post them later.

In the meantime, if a transliteration were available, with the spelling
corrections noted by Karl Randolph, we could use the text for our
project, but still have the freedom to experiment with different fonts.
If he wants to leave such an inscription, why not write Exodus 20:2–17? If
he does not want to write out the complete section, he can write the first
phrase of each statement, e.g. "I am YHWH your God. Don't have other Gods.
Don't lift up the name of YHWH your God to destruction. Remember the
sabbath. …" That way you can take it directly from the original, and choose
whatever font that best fits your fancy, whether Aramaic square characters,
or Paleo-Hebrew alphabet used before then, and have it accurate.

That "up arrow" symbol in the inscription is interesting.  I wonder what
it was put in for.

To indicate that this is the place to insert the second line. As I wrote
earlier, it appears that the second line was inserted after the third line
was written.

On Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 2:18 AM, Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com>

> On Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 9:37 PM, Ted Walther wrote:
> >  The professor wasn't claiming it was paleo-Hebrew.  Nor was he claiming
> >  anything older than 1500 years for the inscription.  Vocalization marks
> >  were around 1500 years ago weren't they?
> So what if he wasn't claiming it was or was not.  Authenticity is not just
> a
> consideration of whether all these elements could exist at that time.  It
> also
> requires a plausible context and whether particular elements were in use
> together.  It's not just that Paleo-Hebrew script, vocalization, and Greek
> were not used together, but even whether specific letter forms were in use
> at the same time (since letters evolve over time).  Cyrus Gordon is the
> only
> main expert on Hebrew epigraphy that actually thought it was authentic.
> He passed away.  All modern experts agree the inscription is not
> authentic.
> As for context, Jews and Samaritans do not leave inscriptions on rocks in
> mountains.

So is the Siloam Inscription a 20th century forgery? Jews and Samaritans
very seldom left inscriptions on rocks in mountains, It is still possible
that this is an ancient writing.

> >  Barry Fell said the vocalization marks present on the Los Lunas stone
> >  are consistent with paleo-Hebrew.
> Barry Fell is not an authority on epigraphy either.

The late Barry Fell was not an expert on Hebrew either. There are no
vocalization marks on the stone.

> >  I don't care about authenticity so much; I just want to know how far
> the
> >  text on the stone differs from the text we have in our modern Bibles.
> Why do you want to transcribe on people's homes the text that some 20th
> century person wrote on a rock in an attempt to forge an ancient
> inscription?

You don't know that, and because the site has been disturbed, there is no
way at present to tell when it was inscribed.

No wonder you referenced wikipedia as an authority, you're more biased than

> Yitzhak Sapir

The cleaning of the stone to see it more clearly also removed clues that
could tell us about the inscription's age. It could have been written by a
third to fifth century AD Samaritan who was more at home in Latin than
Hebrew, reaching back to dimly remembered youth to produce an appropriate
graffito to say "I was here", hence some of the idiosyncratic letter forms
and spellings. That would explain why the second line was inserted after the
third. These are the sort of things that a modern forger worth his salt
would avoid. On the other hand, it was first publicized by a person who had
a reputation of having salted some of his "discoveries". We don't know when
it was made.

Karl W. Randolph.

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