Seal Controversy: From Temech to Shlomit
The most beautiful act of scholarship is a public change of mind in view of new or overlooked evidence. It was what distinguished the great W. F. Albright from many of his contemporaries and successors in ancient Near Eastern studies. In the magnanimous spirit of Eilat Mazar’s decision to change her reading of the so-called Temech seal, let me follow up with a confessional note about my own errors, which some readers have caught and (inshallah) some have yet to catch.
I would like to thank a few careful respondents for criticisms of my article, each of which I find particularly relevant to my stated concern that the immediacy of the information age has hastened scholarly analysis at the expense of (a) thoroughness and (b) the opportunity for collaborative vetting to avoid certain elementary mistakes before they reach print. Many of us are indebted to collegial readers who notice those little errors before they go to press. In the haste to respond to BAR’s request for a quickly-written analysis of Mazar’s reading, I have made a few similar mistakes in my reply. In place of a rewrite, I have asked the editors of BAR to retain these mistakes in the original article so that I may isolate them and emphasize exactly how these missteps sometimes creep into a new brand of Internet scholarship governed by the media’s culture of instant gratification and how a wonderful community of attentive readers actually allows for a kind of instant peer review that traditional print media sometimes belabor.
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