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All Books and Software: Ancient Levant / Biblical Archaeology: Israel / Palestine / Canaan - History, Archaeology, and Literature: West Semitic Seals, Inscriptions, and Writings

Biblical Period Hebrew Seals, Bullae and Handles
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Biblical Period Hebrew Seals, Bullae and Handles

The Josef Chaim Kaufman Collection, volume 2

by Robert Deutsch


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This book is the second volume recording biblical-period epigraphic material from the Josef Chaim Kaufman collection. The first volume published by the author, Biblical Period Hebrew Bullae, printed in Jerusalem in 2003, consists of 516 bullae and 2 seals. The present volume includes 387 specimens: 88 seals, 248 bullae, and 51 stamped handles. Of the 88 seals, 84 are Hebrew, one is anepigraphic (Judean), one is Hebrew Phoenician, one is Hebrew Aramaic, and one is Moabite. Two additional Hebrew seals were presented in the first volume (nos. 44f and 109a). Six seals were previously published, and 82 seals are presented here for the first time. The Hebrew seals, including a Moabite example, are to be dated to the end of the 8th century b.c.e., through the beginning of the 6th century b.c.e., before the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II in 586 b.c.e., while the Hebrew Phoenician and the Aramaic seals are dated to the post exilic period in the 5th century b.c.e. The seal collection was formed during the last four decades, since 1967; the seals were purchased one by one from antiquity dealers, mainly in Jerusalem.

The bullae are all Hebrew except for 3 anepigraphic and 2 Hellenistic. They were impressed by 231 different seals, and there are 17 duplicates. The Hebrew bullae are to be dated also to the end of the 8th through the beginning of the 6th centuries b.c.e. All are previously unrecorded. This group of bullae was collected in the last seven years, since the publication of the first volume. Their possible provenance is Khirbet Qeʾila, biblical Keilah (Josh 15:44), located 13.5 km northwest of Hebron. Of the 51 handles, 7 are of the lmlk type, impressed by 7 different seals. The majority, 42 handles, are impressed by 33 different official seals, with 9 duplicates. They are to be dated to the end of the 8th century, before 701 b.c.e., in the time of Hezekiah, king of Judah. The two remaining handles are from the Persian period.

The question of authenticity has been addressed in the first volume (pp. 11–12); nevertheless, some additional remarks can be added. All the items presented in this volume were meticulously examined by the author and were found genuine beyond any doubt. The recent tendency expressed by some scholars, to declare all unprovenanced epigraphic materials “questionable” and therefore worthless, is an approach that is to be unequivocally rejected. The corpus of west Semitic epigraphic material unearthed in controlled excavations is significantly smaller than that from unprovenanced sources. Avoiding most of the historical information just because the material was found by nonprofessional plunders is inconceivable. Consider the Dead Sea Scrolls and the 14th-century b.c.e. el-Amarna cuneiform letters. Documents such as these cannot be ignored simply because they were not found in methodological excavations.

Product Details

Publisher: Archaeological Center -Tel Aviv
Publication date: 2011
Bibliographic info: 316 pages
Language(s): English


Cover: Cloth



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