Friday, February 23, 2018

Rollston on the Isaiah bulla

CHRISTOPHER ROLLSTON: The Putative Bulla of Isaiah the Prophet: Not so Fast.
In sum, in light of the fact that there almost twenty people mentioned in the Bible whose names are based on the same root word as the name “Isaiah” (and thus plenty of people walking around with that name or its basic equivalent); and in light of the fact that the word being read as “prophet” is lacking the critically important letter (the alep); and in light of the fact that there are plenty of names in the Bible that begin with nun and bet (and so that second word could be a lot of different things); and in light of the presence of a yod and the absence of the article on this new bullae…I feel obliged to state that we had better be cautious about assuming too much. Of course, the assumption that this is a bulla of Isaiah the prophet is scintillating, but it is certainly not something that we should assume is at all certain. It’s not.
There have been many article on this story since it came out yesterday. I'm not going to try to round them, because they are mostly very repetitive. But Professor Rollston is a professional Northwest Semitic epigrapher and paleographer. His view carries special weight, so read the whole essay.

I am pleased to see that he has come to the same conclusion that I reached yesterday and that he brings in some additional evidence. This bulla may preserve the signature of the prophet Isaiah, but then again it may not. The evidence is not conclusive.

Background here.

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