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

Are We Prepared to Raze the Edifice?

By André Lemaire

The dating of the Siloam Inscription proposed by Rogerson and Davies would not only change the interpretation of one of the most famous monuments of ancient Jerusalem. It would also change the dating of other Hebrew inscriptions of the First Temple period, since the Siloam Inscription is the cornerstone of Hebrew paleography for this period.

So do Rogerson and Davies present a truly revolutionary interpretation? Does it have any basis?

The water channel known as Hezekiah’s Tunnel (commonly dated to 701 B.C.E. as part of the Israelite defenses against the Assyrian king Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem) is itself dated by the Siloam Inscription, which was carved in the wall near the southern entrance. If the Siloam Inscription dates to the second century B.C.E., as Rogerson and Davies propose, Hezekiah’s Tunnel was not dug by Hezekiah.

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