Scholars want 'fake' Jehoash inscription reexamined
By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent
The scholarly furor over the so-called Jehoash inscription has broken out again, nine months after an Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) committee pronounced it a forgery. Now four leading scientists demand that a new committee evaluate the inscription.
But four leading scientists have asked Education Minister Limor Livnat for a new committee to be appointed to evaluate the inscription. The group includes Prof. Haim Cohen of the department of Hebrew Linguistics, Bible, and the Ancient Near East of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; Prof. Yoel Kronfeld, of the faculty of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences of Tel Aviv University; Dr. Gabriel Barkay of the department of Land of Israel Studies at Bar-Ilan University; and Dr. Yoel Elitzur of the departments of Language and Land of Israel Studies at Herzog College in Alon Shvut.
The four scholars calling for the establishment of a new committee to consider the authenticity of the inscription claim that the IAA committee was one-dimensional, and that expert opinions and interpretations from Israel and elsewhere were not brought to bear on the evidence. "Scholars who expressed the clear opinion that the inscription was a forgery were invited to the committee, " Prof. Cohen noted, "while those who believed otherwise, such as the two scientists from the Geological Institute, were disqualified." The four scholars also said that "professional errors were made in dealing with the issue, which led to hasty conclusions. "
"There is nothing philological in the inscription that attests to its being a forgery," Prof. Cohen, a philologist, noted. "I can categorically refute all the evidence that my colleagues have brought up in concluding that it is a forgery," Cohen stated. "I can explain everything written there from a linguistic point of view as suited to the biblical period, to the period of Jehoash, the ninth century BCE. And I am not the only philologist who thinks so."
You can find my opinion on some of the philological issues here.