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Tel Zayit in the news

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  • Jim West
    List folk may find this report interesting- on Ron Tappy and Tel Zayit http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07302/829332-85.stm Jim -- Jim West, ThD
    Message 1 of 16 , Oct 29, 2007
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      List folk may find this report interesting- on Ron Tappy and Tel Zayit

      http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07302/829332-85.stm

      Jim


      --
      Jim West, ThD

      http://drjewest.googlepages.com/ -- Biblical Studies Resources
      http://drjimwest.wordpress.com -- Weblog
    • Peter T. Daniels
      From the article: One reason for the buzz was that the stone suggests the earliest Hebrew Scriptures could have been written down in that era -- hundreds of
      Message 2 of 16 , Oct 29, 2007
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        From the article:

        "One reason for the buzz was that the stone suggests the earliest Hebrew Scriptures could have been written down in that era -- hundreds of years earlier than many scholars had believed.

        "For Dr. Tappy, the alphabet stone also suggests not only that King Solomon was a real historical figure, but that he did in fact have a growing kingdom at the time, because Tel Zayit sits on the border of Solomon's Judah and the kingdom of Philistia, where the Philistines lived."

        Are the "many scholars" unaware that literary texts were being recorded centuries earlier than the Tell Zayit abecedary?

        How does an abecedary "suggest[ ]that King Solomon was a real historical figure"?

        Is _this_ what passes for archeology these days?? Note also that the article fails to mention the _graduate student_ who noticed the abecedary on the next-to-last day of the dig.

        (All my information comes from the 2005 Philadelphia SBL session.)
        --
        Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...

        ----- Original Message ----
        From: Jim West <jwest@...>
        To: biblical-studies <biblical-studies@yahoogroups.com>; ane-2@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 8:06:25 AM
        Subject: [ANE-2] Tel Zayit in the news

        List folk may find this report interesting- on Ron Tappy and Tel Zayit

        http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07302/829332-85.stm

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Yitzhak Sapir
        ... I think part of the issue is that (as I understand it), the main catalyst for the current debate over the historicity of the Solomonic Empire, was a book
        Message 3 of 16 , Oct 31, 2007
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          On 10/29/07, Peter T. Daniels wrote:
          > From the article:
          >
          > "One reason for the buzz was that the stone suggests the earliest Hebrew
          > Scriptures could have been written down in that era -- hundreds of years
          > earlier than many scholars had believed.
          >
          > Are the "many scholars" unaware that literary texts were being recorded
          > centuries earlier than the Tell Zayit abecedary?

          I think part of the issue is that (as I understand it), the main
          catalyst for the
          current debate over the historicity of the Solomonic Empire, was a book by
          Jamieson-Drake, "Scribes and Schools in Monarchic Judah: A Socio-
          Archaeological Approach." There, he argued that scribal schools could
          not have existed prior to the 8th century BCE in Judah, because Judah
          lacked the resources normally associated with states that have scribal
          schools. Prior to his work, the Solomonic period was relatively a consensus
          among scholars. His work may not have (at least in retrospect) destroyed
          that consensus, but it definitely made it an issue of discussion. The
          abecedary is one more evidence of scribal schools that one can place on
          the balance. That's what it means "could have been written down in that
          era -- hundreds of years earlier than many scholars had believed." It's
          not that literature was not written beforehand, or letters sent from Jerusalem
          to Egypt, but many scholars believed that in Iron Age I and IIA there were no
          scribal schools. It is somewhat naive (of course) to think that now that there
          is more and more evidence for scribal schools in this period, we can
          immediately assume the historicity of the Davidic/Solomonic state.

          This topic is also being discussed at the biblical-studies list, but you need
          to be a member to view the posts.

          Yitzhak Sapir
        • Brian Roberts
          What these various abecedaries and inscriptions show (Tel Zayit, Gezer Calendar, Izbet Sirtah) is that someone within the roughly defined biblical boundaries
          Message 4 of 16 , Oct 31, 2007
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            What these various abecedaries and inscriptions show (Tel Zayit, Gezer Calendar, Izbet Sirtah) is that someone within the roughly defined biblical boundaries of "Israel" was writing, and that it is possible that the Hebrew script could have been derived from the scripts used in those mentioned above. The individuals writing were not understood to be Philistines, were they?

            What's the latest opinion of the Tel Zayit inscriptions, especially in light of Gezer and Aphek?

            R. Brian Roberts,
            Amateur Researcher in Biblical Archaeology

            Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir@...> wrote:
            On 10/29/07, Peter T. Daniels wrote:
            > From the article:
            >
            > "One reason for the buzz was that the stone suggests the earliest Hebrew
            > Scriptures could have been written down in that era -- hundreds of years
            > earlier than many scholars had believed.
            >
            > Are the "many scholars" unaware that literary texts were being recorded
            > centuries earlier than the Tell Zayit abecedary?

            I think part of the issue is that (as I understand it), the main
            catalyst for the
            current debate over the historicity of the Solomonic Empire, was a book by
            Jamieson-Drake, "Scribes and Schools in Monarchic Judah: A Socio-
            Archaeological Approach." There, he argued that scribal schools could
            not have existed prior to the 8th century BCE in Judah, because Judah
            lacked the resources normally associated with states that have scribal
            schools. Prior to his work, the Solomonic period was relatively a consensus
            among scholars. His work may not have (at least in retrospect) destroyed
            that consensus, but it definitely made it an issue of discussion. The
            abecedary is one more evidence of scribal schools that one can place on
            the balance. That's what it means "could have been written down in that
            era -- hundreds of years earlier than many scholars had believed." It's
            not that literature was not written beforehand, or letters sent from Jerusalem
            to Egypt, but many scholars believed that in Iron Age I and IIA there were no
            scribal schools. It is somewhat naive (of course) to think that now that there
            is more and more evidence for scribal schools in this period, we can
            immediately assume the historicity of the Davidic/Solomonic state.

            This topic is also being discussed at the biblical-studies list, but you need
            to be a member to view the posts.

            Yitzhak Sapir




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            Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
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          • Peter T. Daniels
            The Tell Zayit abecedary certainly doesn t look like something written by someone who had a fine grasp on what he was doing! -- Peter T. Daniels
            Message 5 of 16 , Oct 31, 2007
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              The Tell Zayit abecedary certainly doesn't look like something written by someone who had a fine grasp on what he was doing!
              --
              Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...

              ----- Original Message ----
              From: Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir@...>
              To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 12:34:43 PM
              Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Tel Zayit in the news

              On 10/29/07, Peter T. Daniels wrote:
              > From the article:
              >
              > "One reason for the buzz was that the stone suggests the earliest Hebrew
              > Scriptures could have been written down in that era -- hundreds of years
              > earlier than many scholars had believed.
              >
              > Are the "many scholars" unaware that literary texts were being recorded
              > centuries earlier than the Tell Zayit abecedary?

              I think part of the issue is that (as I understand it), the main
              catalyst for the
              current debate over the historicity of the Solomonic Empire, was a book by
              Jamieson-Drake, "Scribes and Schools in Monarchic Judah: A Socio-
              Archaeological Approach." There, he argued that scribal schools could
              not have existed prior to the 8th century BCE in Judah, because Judah
              lacked the resources normally associated with states that have scribal
              schools. Prior to his work, the Solomonic period was relatively a consensus
              among scholars. His work may not have (at least in retrospect) destroyed
              that consensus, but it definitely made it an issue of discussion. The
              abecedary is one more evidence of scribal schools that one can place on
              the balance. That's what it means "could have been written down in that
              era -- hundreds of years earlier than many scholars had believed." It's
              not that literature was not written beforehand, or letters sent from Jerusalem
              to Egypt, but many scholars believed that in Iron Age I and IIA there were no
              scribal schools. It is somewhat naive (of course) to think that now that there
              is more and more evidence for scribal schools in this period, we can
              immediately assume the historicity of the Davidic/Solomonic state.

              This topic is also being discussed at the biblical-studies list, but you need
              to be a member to view the posts.
            • Kevin P. Edgecomb
              ... To which I add: Nor are large rocks typically associated with scribal schools as student practice surfaces. The most anyone can deduce from the Tel Zayit
              Message 6 of 16 , Oct 31, 2007
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                Peter T. Daniels wrote:
                > The Tell Zayit abecedary certainly doesn't look like something written by someone who had a fine grasp on what he was doing!

                To which I add:
                Nor are large rocks typically associated with scribal schools as student practice surfaces.

                The most anyone can deduce from the Tel Zayit abecedary is that the one who scrawled it knew the alphabet somewhat imperfectly, from whatever source, and that it is imperfect evidence for the existence of that particular alphabet. It's so shoddily scratched, however, that it seems relatively useless as a datum for paleography, and also places a question mark over even the order of letters in the inscription.

                The implication appears to be that an alphabet could only be learned in a scribal school, but this needs to be argued, not simply asserted.

                Regards,
                Kevin P. Edgecomb
                Berkeley, California
              • victor avigdor hurowitz
                fully admit my ignorance to such matters, but the assertion that one can learn an alphabet only in a school seems to me patently ridiculous. I taught myself
                Message 7 of 16 , Oct 31, 2007
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                  fully admit my ignorance to such matters, but the assertion that one can
                  learn an alphabet only in a school seems to me patently ridiculous. I
                  taught myself the Ugaritic alphabet on Purim many years ago when I was
                  drunk. We must remember that schools are not like schools of today with
                  clasrooms, auditoriums and gymnasiums and playing fields manned by
                  teachers, principals and guidance counselors. A school is an educational
                  framework, not necessarily a building, and anyone who knows something is a
                  potential teacher of a person who doesn't know that thing and is willing
                  to be a student. Schools can be far more complex and in certain societies
                  at certain periods certainly and demonstrably were, but an alphabet should
                  not be seen as an indication of much more than of an individual who know
                  the alphabet. By the way, even today we have "homeschooling" (I know
                  because my mother of blessed memory was for many years a home school
                  teacher), so why couldn't there have been such in the ancient world?
                  Victor Hurowitz
                  BGU





                  On Wed, 31 Oct 2007, Kevin P. Edgecomb wrote:

                  > Peter T. Daniels wrote:
                  > > The Tell Zayit abecedary certainly doesn't look like something written by someone who had a fine grasp on what he was doing!
                  >
                  > To which I add:
                  > Nor are large rocks typically associated with scribal schools as student practice surfaces.
                  >
                  > The most anyone can deduce from the Tel Zayit abecedary is that the one who scrawled it knew the alphabet somewhat imperfectly, from whatever source, and that it is imperfect evidence for the existence of that particular alphabet. It's so shoddily scratched, however, that it seems relatively useless as a datum for paleography, and also places a question mark over even the order of letters in the inscription.
                  >
                  > The implication appears to be that an alphabet could only be learned in a scribal school, but this needs to be argued, not simply asserted.
                  >
                  > Regards,
                  > Kevin P. Edgecomb
                  > Berkeley, California
                  >
                • Yitzhak Sapir
                  ... Well, this assessment means that we know what he meant to be doing or should have been doing. Do we? Regarding the comments by Kevin and especially
                  Message 8 of 16 , Oct 31, 2007
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                    On 10/31/07, Peter T. Daniels wrote:
                    > The Tell Zayit abecedary certainly doesn't look like something
                    > written by someone who had a fine grasp on what he was doing!

                    Well, this assessment means that we know what he meant to be
                    doing or should have been doing. Do we?

                    Regarding the comments by Kevin and especially Victor, I wish I
                    learned enough to be as ignorant of these matters as Victor. In any
                    case, I do not think the inscription proves the Davidic/Solomonic
                    empire. However, I do think it (together with other inscriptions from
                    the 10th - early 9th century BCE) show that in this period, before
                    the rise of regional states like Omri and Moab, there were likely
                    petty states whose king employed a scribe. That we today can
                    learn to write and teach others does not mean that literacy was so
                    accessible. The scribes had an important social function and
                    would not have taught it to just about anyone who wanted. What
                    to us may seem like a scribe who barely manages to scratch the
                    alphabet may have been a scribe who had little experience
                    working with engraving on stone, as opposed to writing on
                    papyrus. A different order of the letters probably indicates a
                    separate scribal tradition than the ones we know about (and
                    therefore, in my opinion, definitely not part of a united empire).
                    I think it is most reasonable to suppose that scribal institutions
                    (along with the basic petty state borders and other institutions)
                    survived through Iron I than not. They may have less visibility
                    in the archaeological record, and the people might have found
                    themselves in frameworks much more nomadic and less urban
                    than during the LBA, but there is no reason to believe that the
                    institutions did not survive. Institutions, even today, are very
                    resilient (how often does a beauracracy disband of its own will?)
                    A more pertinent example is Middle Assyria. Kuhrt notes (The
                    ANE, p. 349) that Old Assyrian institutions such as the limmu-
                    ship were retained through the 'dark period' into the Middle
                    Assyrian period. Rather, I think the belief that after the LBA
                    there were no political institutions into which the peoples of the
                    early Iron Age aligned themselves is somewhat far-fetched. It
                    is probably partly based on the biblical description of the
                    Judges, when there was "no king." Thus, it was common to
                    see the settlers in the highlands as representing the Israelites,
                    who had begun settlement, and even if that is now considered
                    maybe only half-historical or unrelated at all to the later
                    kingdoms of Judea and Samaria, the idea that these people
                    were tribes who settled and had no political framework is still
                    maintained. For example, twin settlements are analyzed in this
                    period as to their ability to exist by dependence on one
                    another. As I said, to me it seems more likely that political
                    and basic beaurocratic institutions survived, including an
                    office of a scribe. This scribe probably kept accounts of
                    inventory more than anything else and literature is highly
                    unlikely to have existed in this period in written form. But
                    annals may have existed, and these annals could provide
                    the data for later writers. This is now getting into the "may
                    have" and "could have," which means that other evidence
                    is needed. That is, if we want to argue that the Davidic/
                    Solomonic history is based on any contemporary records
                    we need to show several things:
                    1) there existed a scribal office at this time
                    a) a scribal office may have survived from an earlier
                    political framework
                    b) there is physical evidence for the existence of a
                    scribal office at this time
                    2) this scribal office very reasonably wrote annals

                    Naaman's discussion of the issues here reconstructs
                    annals only for the 9th century. The inscriptions, even
                    as they are meagre, form the basis for 1(b). But there
                    is still a need to show 1(a), using a reasonably good
                    example for survival of political institutions, and also
                    2, using a good example of annals that date this early.

                    Yitzhak Sapir
                  • Brian Roberts
                    That individual could be a student or? R. Brian Roberts Amateur Researcher in Biblical Archaeology Peter T. Daniels wrote: The Tell
                    Message 9 of 16 , Nov 1, 2007
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                      That individual could be a student or?

                      R. Brian Roberts
                      Amateur Researcher in Biblical Archaeology

                      "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@...> wrote:
                      The Tell Zayit abecedary certainly doesn't look like something written by someone who had a fine grasp on what he was doing!
                      --
                      Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...

                      ----- Original Message ----
                      From: Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir@...>
                      To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 12:34:43 PM
                      Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Tel Zayit in the news

                      On 10/29/07, Peter T. Daniels wrote:
                      > From the article:
                      >
                      > "One reason for the buzz was that the stone suggests the earliest Hebrew
                      > Scriptures could have been written down in that era -- hundreds of years
                      > earlier than many scholars had believed.
                      >
                      > Are the "many scholars" unaware that literary texts were being recorded
                      > centuries earlier than the Tell Zayit abecedary?

                      I think part of the issue is that (as I understand it), the main
                      catalyst for the
                      current debate over the historicity of the Solomonic Empire, was a book by
                      Jamieson-Drake, "Scribes and Schools in Monarchic Judah: A Socio-
                      Archaeological Approach." There, he argued that scribal schools could
                      not have existed prior to the 8th century BCE in Judah, because Judah
                      lacked the resources normally associated with states that have scribal
                      schools. Prior to his work, the Solomonic period was relatively a consensus
                      among scholars. His work may not have (at least in retrospect) destroyed
                      that consensus, but it definitely made it an issue of discussion. The
                      abecedary is one more evidence of scribal schools that one can place on
                      the balance. That's what it means "could have been written down in that
                      era -- hundreds of years earlier than many scholars had believed." It's
                      not that literature was not written beforehand, or letters sent from Jerusalem
                      to Egypt, but many scholars believed that in Iron Age I and IIA there were no
                      scribal schools. It is somewhat naive (of course) to think that now that there
                      is more and more evidence for scribal schools in this period, we can
                      immediately assume the historicity of the Davidic/Solomonic state.

                      This topic is also being discussed at the biblical-studies list, but you need
                      to be a member to view the posts.




                      __________________________________________________
                      Do You Yahoo!?
                      Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
                      http://mail.yahoo.com

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Brian Roberts
                      Kevin, So what are our options for interpretation? They re certainly severely limited. R. Brian Roberts Amateur Researcher in Biblical Archaeology Kevin P.
                      Message 10 of 16 , Nov 1, 2007
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                        Kevin,

                        So what are our options for interpretation? They're certainly severely limited.

                        R. Brian Roberts
                        Amateur Researcher in Biblical Archaeology

                        "Kevin P. Edgecomb" <kevin@...> wrote:
                        Peter T. Daniels wrote:
                        > The Tell Zayit abecedary certainly doesn't look like something written by someone who had a fine grasp on what he was doing!

                        To which I add:
                        Nor are large rocks typically associated with scribal schools as student practice surfaces.

                        The most anyone can deduce from the Tel Zayit abecedary is that the one who scrawled it knew the alphabet somewhat imperfectly, from whatever source, and that it is imperfect evidence for the existence of that particular alphabet. It's so shoddily scratched, however, that it seems relatively useless as a datum for paleography, and also places a question mark over even the order of letters in the inscription.

                        The implication appears to be that an alphabet could only be learned in a scribal school, but this needs to be argued, not simply asserted.

                        Regards,
                        Kevin P. Edgecomb
                        Berkeley, California




                        __________________________________________________
                        Do You Yahoo!?
                        Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
                        http://mail.yahoo.com

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Brian Roberts
                        Yitzhak; Brilliantly-framed points. I literally could not have said it better myself. Best, R. Brian Roberts Amateur Researcher in Biblical Archaeology Yitzhak
                        Message 11 of 16 , Nov 1, 2007
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                          Yitzhak;

                          Brilliantly-framed points. I literally could not have said it better myself.

                          Best,

                          R. Brian Roberts
                          Amateur Researcher in Biblical Archaeology

                          Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir@...> wrote:
                          On 10/31/07, Peter T. Daniels wrote:
                          > The Tell Zayit abecedary certainly doesn't look like something
                          > written by someone who had a fine grasp on what he was doing!

                          Well, this assessment means that we know what he meant to be
                          doing or should have been doing. Do we?

                          Regarding the comments by Kevin and especially Victor, I wish I
                          learned enough to be as ignorant of these matters as Victor. In any
                          case, I do not think the inscription proves the Davidic/Solomonic
                          empire. However, I do think it (together with other inscriptions from
                          the 10th - early 9th century BCE) show that in this period, before
                          the rise of regional states like Omri and Moab, there were likely
                          petty states whose king employed a scribe. That we today can
                          learn to write and teach others does not mean that literacy was so
                          accessible. The scribes had an important social function and
                          would not have taught it to just about anyone who wanted. What
                          to us may seem like a scribe who barely manages to scratch the
                          alphabet may have been a scribe who had little experience
                          working with engraving on stone, as opposed to writing on
                          papyrus. A different order of the letters probably indicates a
                          separate scribal tradition than the ones we know about (and
                          therefore, in my opinion, definitely not part of a united empire).
                          I think it is most reasonable to suppose that scribal institutions
                          (along with the basic petty state borders and other institutions)
                          survived through Iron I than not. They may have less visibility
                          in the archaeological record, and the people might have found
                          themselves in frameworks much more nomadic and less urban
                          than during the LBA, but there is no reason to believe that the
                          institutions did not survive. Institutions, even today, are very
                          resilient (how often does a beauracracy disband of its own will?)
                          A more pertinent example is Middle Assyria. Kuhrt notes (The
                          ANE, p. 349) that Old Assyrian institutions such as the limmu-
                          ship were retained through the 'dark period' into the Middle
                          Assyrian period. Rather, I think the belief that after the LBA
                          there were no political institutions into which the peoples of the
                          early Iron Age aligned themselves is somewhat far-fetched. It
                          is probably partly based on the biblical description of the
                          Judges, when there was "no king." Thus, it was common to
                          see the settlers in the highlands as representing the Israelites,
                          who had begun settlement, and even if that is now considered
                          maybe only half-historical or unrelated at all to the later
                          kingdoms of Judea and Samaria, the idea that these people
                          were tribes who settled and had no political framework is still
                          maintained. For example, twin settlements are analyzed in this
                          period as to their ability to exist by dependence on one
                          another. As I said, to me it seems more likely that political
                          and basic beaurocratic institutions survived, including an
                          office of a scribe. This scribe probably kept accounts of
                          inventory more than anything else and literature is highly
                          unlikely to have existed in this period in written form. But
                          annals may have existed, and these annals could provide
                          the data for later writers. This is now getting into the "may
                          have" and "could have," which means that other evidence
                          is needed. That is, if we want to argue that the Davidic/
                          Solomonic history is based on any contemporary records
                          we need to show several things:
                          1) there existed a scribal office at this time
                          a) a scribal office may have survived from an earlier
                          political framework
                          b) there is physical evidence for the existence of a
                          scribal office at this time
                          2) this scribal office very reasonably wrote annals

                          Naaman's discussion of the issues here reconstructs
                          annals only for the 9th century. The inscriptions, even
                          as they are meagre, form the basis for 1(b). But there
                          is still a need to show 1(a), using a reasonably good
                          example for survival of political institutions, and also
                          2, using a good example of annals that date this early.

                          Yitzhak Sapir




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                          Do You Yahoo!?
                          Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
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                        • Peter T. Daniels
                          Exactly. Not someone who knew what he was doing yet. -- Peter T. Daniels grammatim@verizon.net ... From: Brian Roberts To:
                          Message 12 of 16 , Nov 1, 2007
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                            Exactly. Not someone who knew what he was doing yet.
                            --
                            Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...

                            ----- Original Message ----
                            From: Brian Roberts <r.brianroberts@...>
                            To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Thursday, November 1, 2007 1:10:27 PM
                            Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Tel Zayit in the news

                            That individual could be a student or?

                            R. Brian Roberts
                            Amateur Researcher in Biblical Archaeology

                            "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@verizon. net> wrote:
                            The Tell Zayit abecedary certainly doesn't look like something written by someone who had a fine grasp on what he was doing!
                          • Niels Peter Lemche
                            Before starting anything, it would be wise to define what you mean by the word scribal schools. One ABC and many schools? May I refer you to Karel Van der
                            Message 13 of 16 , Nov 1, 2007
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                              Before starting anything, it would be wise to define what you mean by the word "scribal schools." One ABC and many schools?

                              May I refer you to Karel Van der Toorn's Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible. He is historically speaking rather conservative but has a lot of relevant stuff about the scribal culture of the ANE, of course with a special emphasis on conditions in Palestine. He knows his Mesopotamian stuff. It was published by Harvard University Press a couple of months ago.

                              Better than just continuing with modern stereotypes.

                              Niels Peter Lemche

                              -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
                              Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Brian Roberts
                              Sendt: 1. november 2007 18:12
                              Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                              Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Tel Zayit in the news

                              Kevin,

                              So what are our options for interpretation? They're certainly severely limited.

                              R. Brian Roberts
                              Amateur Researcher in Biblical Archaeology

                              "Kevin P. Edgecomb" <kevin@...> wrote:
                              Peter T. Daniels wrote:
                              > The Tell Zayit abecedary certainly doesn't look like something written by someone who had a fine grasp on what he was doing!

                              To which I add:
                              Nor are large rocks typically associated with scribal schools as student practice surfaces.

                              The most anyone can deduce from the Tel Zayit abecedary is that the one who scrawled it knew the alphabet somewhat imperfectly, from whatever source, and that it is imperfect evidence for the existence of that particular alphabet. It's so shoddily scratched, however, that it seems relatively useless as a datum for paleography, and also places a question mark over even the order of letters in the inscription.

                              The implication appears to be that an alphabet could only be learned in a scribal school, but this needs to be argued, not simply asserted.

                              Regards,
                              Kevin P. Edgecomb
                              Berkeley, California
                            • Kevin P. Edgecomb
                              Hi Brian, In the end it s an alphabet. What s there to interpret? What information we could learn would be related to paleography and the order of the
                              Message 14 of 16 , Nov 1, 2007
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                                Hi Brian,

                                In the end it's an alphabet. What's there to interpret?

                                What information we could learn would be related to paleography and the order of the letters. And yet, we can't be certain whether the peculiarity of forms is due to incompetence or the rough surface: it is not a clean sample either way. (I'd go with incompetence either way, myself, as it is certainly possible to format letters properly even on a rough surface.) Likewise the order of letters may be due either to incompetence or an actual different tradition. The options are equivocal. It's safe to say, it seems, that alphabetic writing existed, with the assumption that others were doing it better than whoever scratched this alphabet on a rock. Extending this finding to the existence of scribal schools is unnecessary and not even really indicated, as Yitzhak pointed out, and using it to prove something about the history of a later period is simply anachronistic. I don't think there's much to learn from this Tel Zayit abecedary, if one is being properly cautious and focused on the inscription itself. Sure, it's a neat find, and very interesting to the general history of the alphabet, but it's not really very helpful in and of itself in regard to details. As you say, our options for interpretation are "certainly severely limited."

                                And thank you, Niels Peter, for the infromation that Karel Van der Toorn's book is out now. I'd been waiting for that.

                                Regards,
                                Kevin P. Edgecomb
                                Berkeley, California
                              • funhistory
                                ... The abecedary inscription on the stone is an alphabet, but there is plenty of evidence for other inscriptions having been on it as well-- several fragments
                                Message 15 of 16 , Nov 2, 2007
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                                  > In the end it's an alphabet. What's there to interpret?
                                  > Kevin P. Edgecomb

                                  The abecedary inscription on the stone is an alphabet, but there is
                                  plenty of evidence for other inscriptions having been on it as well--
                                  several fragments are clearly visible, but only 1 was presented in
                                  BASOR 344. Those are open to interpretation. Also the 2 zigzags are
                                  open to interpretation. Also the placement of the stone in the wall is
                                  open to interpretation. Where it might have been before being placed
                                  in the wall is open to interpretation. Also the placement of the
                                  abecedary opposite the concave side (rather than in it) is open to
                                  interpretation.

                                  I have an extensive review of BASOR 344 in preparation with my own
                                  drawing; I'll let you know when it's online (I'll be donating the
                                  drawing to the evil "W").

                                  George Michael Grena, II
                                  Redondo Beach, CA
                                • funhistory
                                  For those interested in ANE paleography, no matter what your geography... And for those who can t get enough, of that fun Zayit-Stone stuff:
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Nov 11, 2007
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                                    For those interested in ANE paleography,
                                    no matter what your geography...

                                    And for those who can't get enough,
                                    of that fun Zayit-Stone stuff:

                                    http://www.lmlk.com/zayit/

                                    G.M. Grena
                                    120 miles northwest of San Diego, CA
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