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The Tell Dan Inscription

"A large fragment of an ancient Aramaic inscription was discovered by archaeologists during excavations at the site of Tel Dan in northern Israel in July, 1993. The dig was conducted by the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology (Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem). The announcement of the find took the scholarly community by storm for it was claimed that the fragment contained the earliest reference to the House of David (the ruling dynasty of ancient Judah) outside the Bible. Scholars, however, were divided over whether the claims could be substantiated as many opposed reading the enigmatic word bytdwd as "House of David"... George Athas (the site administrator) has recently re-examined the fragments and arrived at a fresh new reading and interpretation of the text. His findings were submitted to the University of Sydney in the form of a doctoral thesis in 1999. This new research will transform the way scholars have seen and dealt with the Tel Dan fragments. The new findings will be published here in the very near future. Among some of his conclusions are that the fragments do belong to one stele, but that their current display configuration (as in the b/w image above) is incorrect. George also found extra letters on the fragments which demand a new reading and show that Hazael was not the author of the inscription. Furthermore, a new and more plausible hypothesis about the enigmatic bytdwd is offered. Stand by for further details."

Author(s):  Athas, George
Format:  Article