Quote of the Month

As Chris Rollston notes in the preceding post-

This inscription does *not* constitute evidence for widespread literacy, neither at Qeiyafa, nor in the region generally. One inscription with a personal name and patronymic simply cannot carry that sort of freight. There has sometimes been a desire on the part of some to view an inscription, or a handful of inscriptions, as evidence for widespread literacy. This is a very romantic view of the evidence. In reality, however, the lion’s share of epigraphic evidence from the Iron Age is connected in some fashion with officials and officialdom (Rollston 2008b; Rollston 2015), just as it is in the rest of the ancient Near East at this time period.

I wish everyone who kept blathering on about how these Qeiyafa inscriptions proved widespread literacy (and thus some sort of Davidic Kingdom) would realize how truly absurd that claim is and how bizarre the leap from a pot scrawled with various words to a full blown kingdom is.

2 thoughts on “Quote of the Month

  1. joezias 21 Jun 2015 at 2:58 pm

    True, how true and interesting that in the 11th cent there was a class of professional scribes or perhaps a guild.


  2. Brian Colless 30 Jun 2015 at 8:27 am

    Yes, Jim, we must not make mighty leaps like that, though we now have a number of such inscriptions coming to light, and they are rather widespread; and the Izbet Sartah ostracon is a statement about literacy: “I am learning the signs ….”
    An interesting picture is emerging of a sophisticated use of the early linear alphabet (as a syllabary as well as a consonantary) in Israel in Iron Age I. And the syllabic Qeiyafa ostracon reveals kingship at the end of line 4.


Comments are closed.