Journal Article

Setting the Record Straight: What are we Making of the Tel Dan Inscription?

George Athas

in Journal of Semitic Studies

Published on behalf of University of Manchester

Volume 51, issue 2, pages 241-256
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 0022-4480
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1477-8556 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jss/fgl001
Setting the Record Straight: What are we Making of the Tel Dan Inscription?

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Contrary to the review by Victor Sasson, the author's treatment of the Tel Dan Inscription is not a new ‘Minimized’ reading of the fragments. A closer reading of his arguments reveals that he actually argues against the ‘Minimizers’. The Tel Dan Inscription provides us with good evidence for the historicity of David which is in line with biblical testimony, and suggests the reliability of the biblical record. Furthermore, we need to read the Bible more carefully to avoid false expectations about what we are looking for in archaeology. In relation to the inscription, context demands that the word דודתיב should not be understood as a dynastic label for Judah, but rather as a toponym for Jerusalem as a city-state. Sasson also misunderstands the nuances of the words קרא and לתקאו in the inscription. The author's own position is then summarized in ten points, including a reconstruction of the text.

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Subjects: Middle Eastern History ; Middle Eastern Languages ; Literary Studies - World ; Biblical Studies

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