[b-hebrew] Zincirli stele

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Nov 19 20:10:45 EST 2008

On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 5:56 PM, K Randolph wrote:
> Yitzhak:
> Thanks for the news.
> Did you read the stone?
> I tried to, but I found most of the top line illegible, and some letters
> through the rest of the stone also illegible. But I was able to read most.
> One thing I noticed, in view of discussions we have had in the past, is that
> materes lectionis are found in this inscription, at about the same frequency
> as in Hebrew from the same time period (as dated by tradition).
> Even though the image you linked to is pretty clear, it is only about half
> the size of the original, and I wonder if it would have been more legible
> had it been full size? Was it published to excite people to come to the
> presentation? Now having seen it, I wish I could be in attendance.

The top line is pretty much hard to read.  This seems due in part to some of the
letters being poorly preserved, and also due to lighting.  I printed
it on a color
laser printer, and it easier to understand some of the letters (such as ktmw
and pnmw, as per Pardee's reading).

The inscription dates from the 8th century BCE and is in Aramaic.  This makes
it hard to compare it to Hebrew with respect to its matres lectionis.  I don't
think it suggests much in the way of Hebrew in any case, and perhaps the
primary example you are thinking of, bny "sons of", is in my opinion not
a mater lectionis, but Aramaic morphology.  A probable mater lectionis is
-w- for -o-.

As for the size, it is going to be as large as you print it.  You say it is half
size, but they claim to have found a 2 ft x 3 ft stele.  You are looking at a
printout a foot and a half tall?  It seems, from the resolution of the image,
to be at approx. 500-600 pixels per feet, or about 40-50 pixels per inch,
giving about 20 pixels per cm.  So, if you print it at 20 pixels per cm,
you'll get a life size image.  I really think 20 pixels per cm is great as far
as resolution goes, in light of the size of the inscription.  (This isn't some
miniature bulla or seal).

Yitzhak Sapir

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