Thursday, October 30, 2008

Insider Info on Khirbet Qeiyafa

Jim West has posted a comment from Barnea Selavan of Foundation Stone, one of the organizations closely involved with the work at the Elah Fortress or Kh. Qeiyafa. It's well worth reading in full if you're interested in the site.

Despite their potential for blowing Finkelstein's low chronology out of the water [1], the minimalist watchdogs have been either silent on the findings or strangely supportive of the "reputable scholars in a controlled dig" there.

I think John Hobbins might be on to something with his assessment that we're witnessing "The End of Minimalism as We Know It." Of course, they'll deny it, circle the wagons and all that.

On the other hand, very little has been revealed about the inscription itself so far. The clues are that several words have tentatively been identified - judge, slave, and king, and that it's Hebrew according to Garfinkel based "on a three-letter verb from the inscription meaning to do, a word he said existed only in Hebrew." If the verb עשׂה is what he's found, then I'd have to concede that it is probably Hebrew. Aramaic and Phoenician used a different verb for "to do", עבד.

But the words "judge", "slave", and "king" are too common to even warrant speculation on their significance. So we shouldn't make too much of the discovery, claim victory over the minimalists, or make unwarranted inferences about the Book of Judges or 1 & 2 Kings just because we see the words "judge" and "king."

[1] Todd Bolen, commenting on Finkelstein's statements in the NY Times article, says:
"Look at how quickly Finkelstein re-dated the whole enterprise by approximately a century. Earlier in the article the fortress is dated to 1050-970 B.C. Finkelstein makes it late 10th-century with a wave of his hand. This is not accidental, as his recent publications are built upon the theory that the biblical history was written very late and is entirely unreliable. Any discovery which suggests a strong central government in Judah in the 10th century is very inconvenient for his views."

1 comment:

  1. according to an interview of prof. garfinkel(in hebrew) the inscription starts with the words אל תעש

    see the link: