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MemberApril 20, 2021 at 10:44 am
Hello, Tess. Great question. I will paste–and modify slightly–my answer to that question as posed to me several days ago by an archaeologist in Spain: After looking at the ostracon and reading the journal article, I do have a lot to say about it. I already rec’d approval from Scott Lanser to publish an article this fall in Bible and Spade. I will go into greater detail there than here. By the way, I have been waiting for an inscription such as this (i.e. end of LB I or early LB II) for years now. I actually was hoping we would find one at Shiloh first [where I am the dig’s epigrapher], but maybe it’s better this way, because if we find one, then I would not be dismissed [as one who embraces biblical historicity] by publishing on it and stating that an alphabetic inscription in Canaan dates to this time.
The inscription undoubtedly is Hebrew, no matter what anyone tries to tell us, and the likelihood is extremely high that it dates to the end of LB I or the very beginning of LB IIA, and based on a conquest date of 1406 BC, the ostracon’s inscription probably was placed on the potsherd between 1406 and 1375 BC. Therefore, since 1446 BC is the latest date of any of the PCH inscriptions at Serabit, the ostracon represents a view into the ‘evolution’ of the script about 50+ years later.
Hoflmeyer is the champion of the view that opposes Bietak and his valid insistence on an offset in the radiocarbon dating going backwards in time from 1400 BC. I speak in detail about this is my new book (Origins of the Hebrews), which hopefully will be published in summer, but Hoflmeyer represents the younger generation and its insistence on ‘scientific data only.’ [Insert 5-hour explanation here. Also, here is one of my favorite lines: the great thing about being young is that you still know everything.] The bottom line is that the 14C material just BELOW the ostracon easily could be off about 50 years, due to the offset. Therefore, he almost certainly has dated it slightly too early. There also is depositional rationale for dating the inscription slightly earlier, due to mistaken interpretation on the part of the archaeologist [not the epigrapher, who is Misgav. I will save this discussion for the B&S article].
. . . Again, I will be discussing all of this in my article, where I also will make the claim that it is Hebrew, but not from the perspective that the words are strictly Hebrew and cannot represent any other Semitic language.
My argument will come from a historical perspective, mainly that . . .
Tim, this is a Hebrew inscription, and it fits perfectly with everything I say in my book about the history of the script and the history of the Hebrews. Finally, they are incorrect about this being the earliest alphabetic inscription from Canaan and being the missing link. It only provides CONFIMATION of the missing link (which actual ‘missing link’ Albright published, BTW). So, I am going to ruffle a lot of feathers, as we say. LOL