Why “Isaiah” of the Isaiah Bulla is not the Prophet Isaiah


Remnant of Giants

In an article published this month in Biblical Archaeology Review, Eilat Mazar claims that she may have discovered “a seal impression of Isaiah the prophet, adviser to King Hezekiah”. The discovery was made from wet-sifted material originally uncovered from outside the building at Ophel, Jerusalem in 2009, within an archaeological layer dated ca. 700 BCE. The excavations have been taking place behind the 1949 Green Line, so are illegal in terms of international law.

Isaiah bulla from Ophel, Jerusalem, with hypothetical identification of other letters by Eilat Mazar

In her BAR article, Eilat Mazar expresses some caution in identifying the “Isaiah” of the seal impression (‘bulla’) with Isaiah the Prophet. The top line of writing clearly reads “leyesha‘yah[u]” (Hebrew: לישעיה[ו]; [belonging] “to Isaiah”). But there is more debate about the bottom line, on which the letters n-b-y are fairly clear. This would usually be the place for…

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