Wednesday, April 06, 2022

The stylus that wrote the Mount Ebal amulet?

ANNOUNCEMENT: New details emerge about Katy archaeologist's ‘curse tablet’ that could shake up Biblical timeline (Claire Goodman, Houston Chronicle).

More news relating to the Mount Ebal amulet. The most important new detail:

Stripling last week revealed that his team has just recovered an iron stylus at the dig site, which they believe to be the writing instrument used to scratch the text into the lead.
The article does not include a photograph of the iron stylus. Presumably it was found during the wet-sifting of the dirt gathered from the site in 2019. If so, there is no stratigraphic context. Maybe it was the writing instrument used to inscribe the amulet. I would like to see the reasoning.

Reportedly Craig Evans (a Professor of Christian Origins) has seen the scans of the amulet and agrees with Professor Stripling's claims. Okay, but they should show it to a professional epigrapher who specializes in such inscriptions.

The article says that the amulet dates to c. 1400 BCE, which is the earliest date I have seen mentioned yet.

I don't know any biblical scholars who think the Book of Job is the earliest book in the Bible. Maybe some do. I don't think many.

All the metal "defixios" (i.e., defixiones) or curse tablets I know of come from the sixth century BCE and later, many centuries after the supposed date of this amulet. Is this the earliest one ever discovered? I have commented on this point earlier.

Both Stripling and Evans imply that other scholars think that writing didn't exist in the time of Moses. No one thinks that. The Ugaritic texts and Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions show that Northwest Semitic was already being written in alphabetic scripts in that time frame. Even if all the claims about the amulet turn out to be true, it has no bearing on the Documentary Hypothesis. (Christopher Rollston has already made this point, but it bears repeating.)

Background here and links.

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