[Avodah] The Historical Bil'am
Micha Berger via Avodah
avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Fri Jul 3 14:44:48 PDT 2015
H/T RYGB, see http://www.livius.org/source-content/deir-alla-inscription
He asks on his blog: Why isn't this more widely known?
The full article includes an image of the instription and a complete
translation. This is just the opening.
Articles on ancient history
Deir 'Alla Inscription
Deir 'Alla Inscription: inscription, found in the Iron Age town
of Deir 'Alla, mentioning the Biblical prophet Balaam.
Deir 'Alla is situated in western Jordan, about eight kilometers east
of the river Jordan, and about a kilometer north of the Jabbok. The
excavators found a very large Bronze Age sanctuary that had suffered in
the period of wide-spread destruction in the thirteenth/twelfth
centuries. Unlike other settlements, which were abandoned, Deir 'Alla
remained in use well into the fifth century BCE. That is remarkable.
Even more remarkable, however, was the discovery of a painted text that
contained a prophecy by Balaam... (The site of Deir 'Alla is,
technically, on the Ammonite side of the river Jabbok.) The text
refers to divine visions and signs of future destruction, in a language
that is close to that of the Bible. For example, we read about the
"Shaddai gods", an expression that is close to the Biblical El Shaddai,
"God Almighty". On the other hand, the setting is not monotheistic: we
read, for instance, about a gathering of a group of gods. The
word elohim, which in the Bible (although plural) refers to one God,
refers to more than one god in the Deir 'Alla text.
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