Biblical Archaeology Review 29:3, May/June 2003
Assessing the Jehoash Inscription

The Paleographer: Demonstrably a Forgery

By Hershel Shanks

Was it too good to be true? In recent months, the world learned of an inscribed tablet apparently written by Jehoash, the ninth-century B.C.E. king of Judah. But almost immediately, questions were raised about its authenticity.

After examining the text of The Jehoash Inscription, Frank Moore Cross, professor emeritus at Harvard and America’s leading expert in ancient Semitic inscriptions, to cite one notable example, has concluded that the inscription itself “leaves little doubt that we are dealing with a forgery, and that, fortunately, it is a rather poor forgery.”

In a manuscript submitted to the Israel Exploration Journal, published for scholars in the field, Cross explains in highly technical language why he has reached this conclusion.

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