Biblical Archaeology Review 44:5, September/October 2018

Strata: Dever Prize Winner Sheds Light on Ammonite Inscription

Discovered in 1961, the Amman Citadel Inscription remains the longest Ammonite inscription available to us today. With eight lines of text, it dates to the ninth century B.C.E. and mentions the Ammonite god Milcom. Unfortunately, this important inscription is incomplete, which makes its interpretation challenging. In particular, one of the most frustrating problems of the text lies in the difficulty of interpreting line 5.

Andrew Burlingame, the winner of the 2018 Dever Prize, presents a new interpretation of the fifth line in his article “Line Five of the Amman Citadel Inscription: History of Interpretation and a New Proposal.”1 In this study, he draws on lexical data from the Temple Scroll, found at Qumran, and an Ugaritic ritual text from Ras Shamra. The resulting interpretation identifies line 5 as part of a command to place a door on an interior sanctuary of the building commemorated in this inscription (very likely a temple).

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