Daily Archives: 22 Aug 2019

An Editor Who Should Have Been Fired

Tell Us More, Christopher: The Ataroth Inscription

Yes, tell us more.

A 2,800-year-old inscribed stone altar, found within a Moabite sanctuary in the ancient city of Ataroth in Jordan, may shed light on an ancient biblical war.

The altar bears two inscriptions. The words are in the Moabite language and script, while the numerals in the inscriptions are in Hieratic (an Egyptian writing system). The altar appears to date to a time after Mesha, king of Moab, successfully rebelled against the Kingdom of Israel and conquered Ataroth (sometimes spelled Atarot), a city that the Kingdom of Israel had controlled. By this time, Israel had broke in two with a northern kingdom that retained the name Israel and a southern kingdom called Judah.

The Hebrew Bible mentions the rebellion, saying that before Mesha rebelled, Moab had to give Israel a yearly tribute of thousands of lambs and a vast amount of ram wool. The rebellion is also described in the so-called Mesha stele discovered in 1868 in Dhiban, Jordan, which claims that Mesha conquered Ataroth and killed many of the city’s inhabitants.

One of the two inscriptions written on the altar appears to describe bronze that was plundered after the capture of Ataroth. “One might speculate that quantities of bronze looted from the conquered city of [Ataroth] at some later date were presented as an offering at the shrine and recorded on this altar,” the researchers wrote in the journal article.

The second inscription on the altar is fragmentary and harder to understand. Part of it appears to say (in translation) that “4,000 foreign men were scattered and abandoned in great number,” while another part of the inscription mentions “the desolate city.”

“Much remains unclear about this inscription,” the researchers wrote, noting that this inscription may discuss events that occurred during Mesha’s rebellion against Israel and capture of Ataroth.

The inscribed altar provides confirmation that the Moabites succeeded in taking over Ataroth, said study co-author Christopher Rollston, a professor of northwest Semitic languages and literatures at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

The altar also shows that, 2,800 years ago, the Moabites had skilled scribes who used their own script. The inscriptions on the altar “are the earliest evidence we have so far for a distinctive Moabite script,” Rollston told Live Science, noting that the inscription discovered in 1868 used the Hebrew script to write the Moabite language.

“We often talk about the sophistication of the scribal education of ancient Israel, and rightfully so, [but the inscriptions on the altar show] that ancient Moab had some gifted scribes as well,” Rollston said.

This merits further discussion.

Here’s the official essay title and abstract:

An inscribed altar from the Khirbat Ataruz Moabite sanctuary
Adam L. Bean, Christopher A. Rollston, P. Kyle McCarter and Stefan J. Wimmer

Abstract: A cylindrical stone incense altar inscribed with seven lines of text in two separate inscriptions was discovered in a cultic context during 2010 excavations at Khirbat Ataruz in Jordan. The two short inscriptions are written in Moabite language, using an Early Moabite script datable to the late 9th or early 8th century BCE. Both inscriptions also employ Hieratic numerals. Inscription A appears to tabulate small quantities of metal, possibly for some purpose relating to the cultic context of the inscription. The longer Inscription B appears to be potentially dedicatory and/or commemorative in focus, but remains largely enigmatic. These inscriptions provide a new important historical witness to the period after the Moabite conquest and occupation of Khirbat Ataruz/Atarot described in the Mesha Inscription.

Signs of the Times

A Generation of Vipers

School officials in southern California are reportedly reopening an investigation into a group of high school students seen giving Nazi salutes on video, after more racist video and images surfaced on Wednesday.

The initial video obtained by the Daily Beast shows members of the boys’ water polo team at Pacifica high school in Orange county in an empty room that administrative officials say was later used for an athletic banquet. The video, which according to the Daily Beast was taken before an awards ceremony late last year, showed about 10 boys in a stiff-arm salute while singing a Nazi marching song.

The Garden Grove Unified school district said in a statement that the footage had been recorded last November but that administrators hadn’t become aware of the video until March. It said the students had been unsupervised at the time. The district said on Monday that administrators had “addressed the situation with all students and families involved”, but it failed to specify what disciplinary actions it took.

The Los Angeles Times reported that since Monday, officials said, several other videos showing students engaged in hate speech have surfaced. Those videos will be examined as part of the district’s reopened investigation.

More.  Parents who teach their kids to hate are raising a generation of vipers.

The Impact of Jesus in First-Century Palestine: Textual and Archaeological Evidence for Long-standing Discontent

Although the archaeological evidence indicates a prosperous and thriving Galilee in the early first century CE, the Gospel texts suggest a society under stress, where the rich were flourishing at the expense of the poor. In this multi-disciplinary study, Rosemary Margaret Luff contributes to current debates concerning the pressures on early first-century Palestinian Jews, particularly with reference to socio-economic and religious issues. She examines Jesus within his Jewish environment in order to understand why he rose to prominence when he did, and what motivated him to persevere with his mission. Luff’s study includes six carefully-constructed essays that examine Early Christian texts against the wider background of late Second Temple Judaic literature, together with the material evidence of Galilee and Judea (Jerusalem). Synthesizing a wide range of archaeological and textual data for the first time, she offers new insights into the depth of social discontent and its role in the rise of Christianity.

More, including the TOC, here.

The STEP Bible is Now Available for the iPhone

Just search for ‘Step bible’. It’s the second result.  You can download the desktop version here or use the online version here.  It is the best free bible software available.  I require it for my Biblical studies classes.

When Gym Members act Like Christians

If Only They Would Talk to An Expert…

A Challenge for the Advocates of the Second Amendment

Second amendment advocates, without looking, name an amendment (and its theme) besides the 1st, 2nd, or 5th. GO!

See, you don’t care about the Constitution, you just care about your guns.