Biblical Archaeology Review 11:6, November/December 1985

Queries & Comments

A Line, a God, a Stick or a Snake? Professor Jamme Comes Down on Professor Anati, Who Replies in Kind

To the Editor:

It takes a lot of imagination and obsession to understand the photograph in Emmanuel Anati’s article (“Has Mt. Sinai Been Found?” BAR 11:04) as depicting “a stick-like figure of a man with upraised arms praying before a simple vertical abstract line.” (In the caption and later in the article the “arms” are replaced by “hands.”)

It is very simple to publish a bare statement, such as that these petroglyphs “seem to display religious themes,” without any proof.

What kind of “religious themes” does the author have in mind? It is fortunate that the author does not suggest that the petroglyph represents some scene from a phallus cult.

The man is not “praying before” (as the caption says) or “standing before” (as the text says) the line, since the man is viewed frontally, and the line is to his right.

Why should a “worshipper” (as he is called in the text) with upraised, outstretched arms have his arms connected to each other (tied?) by a crossbar?

Why should a “praying” man be shown with his legs wide apart?

What kind of deity or demon might be stylized as a short, vertical bar half the length of the human figure?

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