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LMLK Jars, Computations and Bath Unit

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  • raz.kletter
    Dear ANE members, Zappaski, Finkelstein and Benenson published recently a paper called Computing Abilities in Antiquity: The Royal Judahite Storage Jars as a
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 17, 2009
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      Dear ANE members,
      Zappaski, Finkelstein and Benenson published recently a paper
      called "Computing Abilities in Antiquity: The Royal Judahite Storage
      Jars as a Case-study " (Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 16
      [2009]: 51-67). I found there many computations - but was skeptic about
      the abilities; so I wrote a comment (JAMT 16:357-65), to which they
      responded (JAMT 16:366f).

      The link to this is: http://www.springerlink.com/content/104888/
      <http://www.springerlink.com/content/104888/> . I'd gladly send my
      comment offline to those interested. The core of the debate is as
      follows:
      They claim that: volumes of LMLK jars were measured accurately by
      each potter/ administrator/customer in Judah, using a mathematical
      'algorithm' based on external measures; it was calculated in biblical
      Assiron and Bath units; the LMLK jars were standardized; hence, late
      Iron Age Judah was a "full blown statehood" with an "advanced
      beaurocratic system".

      I claim that: potters worked by eyes, not with measuring tapes;
      standartization of a pottery type says little about society as a whole;
      the ancients lacked the mathematical knowledge to create this
      'algorithm'; they measured contents of irregular jars by using measuring
      vessels; Zappaski et al. misunderstood the biblical/archaeological data
      on the Bath unit; the notion of accurate standards does not fit the Iron
      Age; LMLK jars were not standardized; and vague terms like "full blown
      statehood" are not serious research terms.

      In the response they ignored most points and conclude (p.67): "We
      asked new questions and suggested new insights. Is not this what
      scholarship is all about?" Following this understanding, If I claimed
      that the moon is made of potatoe chips mixed with Baltic herrings - a
      new suggestion - I would be a good scholar. Since I criticised their
      views, I am no longer a scientist.

      Whence comes such an understanding of science? If anybody knows,
      please send me a reference to any serious philosopher of science that
      holds such a view. In return, I promise to send a piece of the moon.

      Best wishes,

      Raz Kletter




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