Biblical Archaeology Review 23:2, March/April 1997
Defusing Pseudo-Scholarship

Spelling Differences and Letter Shapes Are Telltale Signs

By Jo Ann Hackett

The famous Siloam Inscription, originally carved into the wall of Hezekiah’s Tunnel in Jerusalem to commemorate the tunnel’s completion, does not date to the late eighth century B.C.E., as universally accepted until now, but rather to a half millennium later, “strongly suggest” two English scholars in the cover story of the September 1996 issue of Biblical Archaeologist, the semipopular journal of the American Schools of Oriental Research.

If authors John Rogerson and Philip Davies of the University of Sheffield are right, the keystone has fallen from the carefully constructed structure of First Temple epigraphy—and with it such other inscriptions as the inscribed ivory pomegranate supposedly from the Solomonic Templea and the well-known Mesha stela, also known as the Moabite Stone.b “[P]aleographic use of the Siloam Inscription for dating other inscriptions should be abandoned,” our authors unequivocally advise.1 Moreover, if the Siloam Inscription dates to the Hasmonean period, the tunnel itself wasn’t built by the Judahite king Hezekiah, as commonly accepted.

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