Friday, August 1, 2008

New Discoveries

Wow, you take a day off, two important archaeological discoveries get announced, and there's nothing left for you to say.  I'm speaking, of course, about the news of a new alphabetic inscription discovered at Zincirli and the discovery of a seal bearing the name Gedalyahu ben Pashur (a biblical name from Jer. 38:1, but don't be too hasty on the connection).

Here's a roundup of representative posts I've found today on these two important finds.

Jim Davila at Paleojudaica has excerpts from a Jerusalem Post article about the Gedalyahu seal and presents the Agade announcement about Zincirli. 

Peter Bekins also mentioned the Zincirli find, but more importantly has a very informative summary explaining the relationship of Sam'alian to Aramaic and the Canaanite dialects.  I also found his discussion of Garr's Dialect Geography helpful in this regard.

Jim West has a couple of posts about the Gedalyahu seal.  The first has a picture and links to the Jerusalem Post article, and the other presents the views of UW-Madison alum Lawrence Mykytiuk, an expert on the methods of identifying biblical names in epigraphic finds.

Mykytiuk is understandably cautious in jumping to the conclusion that the name on the seal is definitely the same man mentioned in Jeremiah 38:1.  Charles Halton at Awilum feels the identification is a little more likely than Mykytiuk will allow.

Todd Bolen at the Bible Places Blog also has a good summary of the Gedalyahu find with some additional comments about the Jerusalem Post article and useful links to photos of the seal and the excavation site.

Between all the above sites and the links they contain, there's not much more for me to say except to advise that if you're going to SBL and want to hear Pardee's presentation of the Zincirli inscription, find out what room it's going to be in and camp out there all weekend.  Arriving early on the day of the talk won't be enough.  (I just checked and it's not on the SBL online program book yet).

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