Ladies’ Week

Boy, what a backlog! I decided to cram, what under normal circumstances would be 3 separate blogs, into 1. In case anybody asks how I spent my extra hour (thanks to Daylight Savings Time) this year, I spent it with 3 terrific ladies!

Jane Cahill:

In the previous blog, I summarized my impression of Ms. Cahill’s lecture on Jerusalem–particularly archeology of the City of David in the 10th century.

She was kind enough to send a transcript of her 9,000-word lecture to me, so now I can read it & refer to it over & over! Here’s a snippet of her opening, & the concluding questions she said people should ask themselves when reading Biblical critics (i.e., Minimalists):

“Based in part on the date ascribed to these [silver, Ketef Hinnom] amulets, some commentators have concluded that the Bible’s historical narrative was composed no earlier than the late 7th c. BCE, and that, consequently, its descriptions of the United Monarchy ruled by David and Solomon from Jerusalem in the 10th c. BCE have little or no historical value. All such commentators rely on archaeological evidence from Jerusalem to support their conclusions. I plan to spend the next 45 minutes describing that evidence, and another 10 minutes explaining why even non-archaeologists should know that evidence should not be cited in support of arguments that the United Monarchy did not exist or that Jerusalem was not its capital.”


“Contrary to assertions that 10th c. Jerusalem lacked monumental architecture, the stepped rampart and the large stone structure that it supported, built in the 12th c. and built over in the 10th, is arguably the MOST monumental structure built in any ancient city in Israel before the Greco-Roman period.”


“In short, any argument that the United Monarchy could not have existed because Jerusalem lacks evidence of either monumental architecture or significant occupation ascribable to the 10th c., disregards the evidence, and sound principles of archaeological interpretation that led seasoned stratigraphers like Kenyon and Shiloh to conclude that infrastructural features such as the fortification and water supply systems remained in use for long periods of time.”


“(1) Does the commentator have first hand knowledge of the subject? Does the commentator rely on primary or secondary evidence? Does the commentator engage all or most of the evidence? None of the commentators who have concluded that Jerusalem could not have served as capital of an Israelite United Monarchy have excavated in Jerusalem, examined the relevant pottery and artifacts, or analyzed them in print.”


“(2) Are the commentator’s analogies and comparisons appropriate? Does the commentator’s use of rhetorical devices outweigh the use of well reasoned logic?”


“The argument now is that radio carbon dates from sites in the northern kingdom substantiate not only the ‘low chronology,’ but also the conclusion that Jerusalem was no more than an impoverished village during the 10th c. BCE. Yet, none of the radio-carbon dates come from Jerusalem, and none come from loci or strata with pottery comparable to that used to date the stepped rampart, the houses built above it, or any of the other features ascribable to the 10th c. occupation.”


“[E]ven non-archaeologists should be able to recognize many of these views as based on straw man and paper tiger rhetorical arguments that ill befit possessors of the bully pulpit. The next time you read an archaeological commentary, ask yourself the questions I’ve just outlined. If the answers to any of these questions is “yes,” then a red flag should rise; if the answer to all of them is “yes,” that flag should wave.”

All I can say is: Cahill for president!

Lori Palatnik:

I first heard/saw “Lori Almost Live” back in February, & enjoy her fresh, lively perspective very much. Something in her discussion on September 9th (“Here Comes the Judge” at the 2:10 & 2:30 marks) stopped me in my tracks though:

“Avinu Malkeinu – my Father, my King”

Note the popularity of the 4 possible English transliterations per Google:

“Avinu Malkeinu”–39,400
“Avinu Malkenu”–15,900
“Aveinu Malkeinu”–94
“Aveinu malkenu”–25

Actually, the Hebrew translation is, “Our Father, our King”. It’s the opening words of each verse of a Jewish litany of supplication that is recited in synagogues with special devotion during the Ten Days of Penitence (except on the Sabbath), which mark the beginning of the new religious year. Reform Jews recite the prayer only on Rosh Hashana & Yom Kippur, the first & last day of the 10-day observance.

Here’s the full text & translation of the folk song that’s the last verse of the Avinu Malkeinu prayer (omitted if Yom Kippur falls on the Sabbath):

Avinu Malkeinu,
Chaneinu V’aneinu,
ki ein banu ma’asim.
Assei imanu ts’dakah vachesed,

Our Father, our King,
Hear our voice, Lord our God,
pity and be compassionate to us,
and accept–with compassion and favour
–our prayer.

Marjo C.A. Korpel:

Nearly a year old now, Marjo Korpel published the first reference to the LMLK Research website in a peer-reviewed, academic journal (albeit not a very widely distributed one): Journal for Semitics vol. 15 #2, “Seals of Jezebel & Other Women in Authority”.

See Figs. 3 (LMLK Dotcom ID# 073; currently H2D #67) & 6 (Redondo ID# 4; currently S4L #26) plus f/n 36 on p. 361 where she mentions the website (unusual for a scholar not to credit each photo).

It actually sets another milestone, too, being the 300th member of the LMLK Publications Bibliography!

As for her text, in section 2, pp. 352-3, she says:

“To identify the owner of a jar of wine or oil, a seal could be impressed on its handle. Figure 3 shows a very interesting specimen. The groove of the ring or the stamp in which the stone was embedded is clearly visible. Behind the winged sun with six rays faintly the word “lmlk” is readable. So the jar was the property of a king. … In Figure 5 you see another seal of Hezekiah on which a winged scarab is engraved, again an Egyptian religious symbol. In this case too the same kind of seal has been found on jar handles with the inscription LMLK ‘(Belonging) to the king’ (Fig. 6).”

Here’s where a little expertise comes into play. The imaginary “groove” she’s talkin’ about is nothing more than a raised mound of clay caused by the deep depression the stamper made with the seal. At this point in time, there is no indisputable trace of a ring-groove on any of the 800+ handle photos I’ve scrutinized (including hundreds of handles I’ve examined in person–both provenanced & unprovenanced specimens). For one thing, LMLK seals, which ranged from about 29x21mm to 37x24mm, seem a bit too big to have been worn as rings designed for dunking into wet clay on a regular basis; besides, the setting would’ve made the overall size even bigger!

But then again, what do I know about fashion?

The evil Queen Jezebel might have worn rings that big, but what about the typical priest or government official?

Song of the week: “Jezebel” by Sade (click the song title to visit Amazon; click here for a 26-second sample; 328kb).
G.M. Grena


One Response to “Ladies’ Week”

  1. G.M. Grena Says:

    See Dr. Peter van der Veen’s comments at the Blogspot version of this page.

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