Scholar Disputes Reading of New Jerusalem “Seal” Inscription

Bible and archaeology news

A Hebrew University scholar has put forward a new interpretation of a tiny, inscribed clay object recovered from the Temple Mount area of Jerusalem, only a week after the discovery was first announced. “I was sitting with my son and looking at the photograph [of the object], and in a moment of intuition, I realized what it could be,” said Shlomo Naeh, professor of Talmudic studies and head of the Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies. According to Naeh, the object was not used to mark Temple items as ritually pure, as originally proposed by archaeologists Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron, but rather was a token given to Jewish pilgrims who purchased their sacrificial offerings in the Temple court. The token’s Aramaic inscription, according to Naeh, should be read dakar a leyehoyariv, which references the offering of a ram (dakar) made on the first day of the week (a, for aleph) when the priestly order of Yehoyariv was on duty in the Temple.

Scholar Disputes Reading of New Jerusalem “Seal” Inscription

A Hebrew University scholar has put forward a new interpretation of a tiny, inscribed clay object recovered from the Temple Mount area of Jerusalem, only a week after the discovery was first announced.

 

Read more about the new interpretation.

Posted in Inscriptions, News.

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  1. Diana says

    I can see having a stamp seal that indicates ritual purity, since one would use the same stamp multiple times. But it seems odd to have one that indicates the day of the week. That would seem to imply that there had to be six other stamps, each identical except for the designation of the day. That seems rather bothersome.

  2. Roberta Paula says

    A stamp indicating the ritual purity of an object doesn’t make sense to me. An object can be marked ritually pure ten minutes before it is put to a use that renders it impure – but the mark would remain. In other words, such a mark would not be useful. By contrast, a token indicating the purchase of a particular sacrificial offering makes some sense. Instead of taking posession of a ram, the purchaser would take a token to be redeemed on the day of the sacrifice. This token might be used multiple times by virtue of the purchaser bringing it back to the vendor to redeem his/her purchase. The vendor might then re-use the token with a different purchaser the following week.


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