Saturday, July 09, 2022

Another LBA Canaanite curse inscription?

NORTHWEST SEMITIC EPIGRAPHY? 3,500-year-old stone is inscribed with curse on Jerusalem governor, claims professor. Expert claims to decipher ancient script on tablet he believes was used in voodoo ceremony; Antiquities Authority awaits further ‘scientific research and publication’ (MICHAEL HOROVITZ, Times of Israel).
A professor at the University of Haifa claimed on Wednesday that he had deciphered a 3,500-year-old stone tablet discovered in Jerusalem more than a decade ago, contending that the artifact’s inscription was a curse against the city’s governor at the time.

If the finding is confirmed, it is among the earliest inscriptions discovered to date in Jerusalem.

The stone was used in a voodoo ceremony, according to Prof. Gershon Galil, head of the Institute for Biblical Studies and Ancient History at the university, that was likely carried out by priests or other important figures in the city who were feuding with the city’s highest-level official, a statement released by the institute stated.


I have been busy in the last week and have mostly been blogging from my reserves. But I see the news has been busy too.

There has been much attention to this story. I link to the ToI article because it includes both a good photo and a drawing of the artifact. The claims reported are extravagant. I am skeptical.

Christopher Rollston has published a response on Jim West's blog: Chris Rollston Responds to Gershon Galil: A Guest Post. Déjà Vu…Gershon Galil’s Sensational New Claims: A Response from Chris Rollston.

Professor Rollston not only questions the claims about the content and significance of the "inscription," he doubts that it is an inscription at all. Some of his concerns also occurred to me as I read the reports. But he covers the issues more thoroughly and more authoritatively than I could.

We are still waiting for the peer-reviewed publication on the supposed Mount Ebal curse tablet. We can add the supposed Jerusalem curse inscription to our waiting list.

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