Thank you for your very clear answer. I like your approach as far as it goes and have only respect for this part of your analysis as outlined here. Nevertheless, I would urge you to take one further methodological consideration up. You say that you "can do nothing else but realize that this picture matches that of the biblical texts well. ..." While I can well understand that you are convinced and that conviction has been supported by a careful and intelligent analysis of the bullae and their context, I still think there needs to be an argument for this final "realization" which is based on a systematic and independent analysis of the biblical narratives within their historical contexts and from their literary perspectives. The reasons for my caution here was presented in my Historicity of 1974, with the Nuzi parallels especially in mind (pp 196-297).
I look forward to reading your dissertation with great anticipation!
Thomas L. Thompson
Professor emeritus, University of Copenhagen
] På vegne af Peter van der Veen [van_der_Veen@...
Sendt: 15. december 2011 16:19
Emne: [ANE-2] seals of biblical characters?
I still missed this one. The list seemed to be flooded with responses on the same subject. What I meant to say with "especially attractive" is clearly based on multiple facets and not on the simple conviction "the Bible is right so that the finds we have must belong there too". As I have discussed in my (unfortunately still unpublished) PhD thesis (forthcoming in the AOAT series) several arguments re the Gemaryahu ben Shaphan bulla (discovered in 1982), and a good number of other seals and bullae from the same archaeological horizon (based on close examination of their find contexts, diagnostic pottery and small finds found in the immediate vicinity in the same context etc.), study of titles and names and patronyms (indeed here I examined the percentage of name uses also), as well as the new bullae from the Eilat Mazar excavation etc. there is a reasonable probability that some of these people are indeed those mentioned in 2 Kings and Jeremiah. The arguments are too complex to summarize here so that I hope you will be patient with me to see the final publication and weigh the evidence for yourself. If the evidence if examined carefully (as also my colleague Larry Mykytiuk had done in his book "Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions ...") and once we see what people are named on seal material in the right stratum and contemporary strata around Israel and Jordan, once we know where the bullae had come from (the 1982 bullae have been examined and found to have been made in Jerusalem!), once we have studied other evidence also pertaining to the politics on the eve of the Babylonian conquest (as I have done in several papers) etc. etc., then I can do nothing else but realize that this picture matches that of the biblical texts well, at least at this point. That to me is sound reasoning. When both coincide (having been looking at independently) well then this must be sound methodology.
Peter van der Veen
> Am 15.12.2011 um 12:39 schrieb Thomas L. Thompson:
>> But Peter,
>> you seem to be arguing for the authenticity of names. Why you find this "especially attractive" is confusing to me. Are you attracted to an assumption of an early date and offers evidence that the Bible har doch recht? or are you attracted by the idea that the Book of Jeremiah actually may contain authentic names from this early period?
>> Thomas L. Thompson
>> Professor emeritus, University of Copenhagen
>> Fra: ANEfirstname.lastname@example.org [ANEemail@example.com] På vegne af Peter van der Veen [van_der_Veen@...]
>> Sendt: 15. december 2011 11:49
>> Til: ANEfirstname.lastname@example.org
>> Emne: Re: [ANE-2] seals of biblical characters?
>> Dear Reinhard,
>> OK fair enough but as I did in my PhD, you need to check how common names are. In addition I have written about these two bullae extensively in an article now in press (SBL book by Meir Lubetski) and have compared the writing of these bullae with other Jerusalem bullae and I am pretty certain they are palaeographically all c. 600 BC, and that they belong to a small group of Jerusalemite aristocrats. Moreover, the perfect stratigraphical position of the Gedalyahu ben Pashhur bulla (not online the Gemaryahu ben Shaphan bulla found by Shiloh in 1982) in the destruction layer of the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 BC makes this link especially attractive. So the equation is not so far fetched after all.
>> Best wishes
>> Peter van der Veen
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