The So-Called Jehoash Inscription: A Post Mortem

Posted in: Ancient Near East Today, ASOR
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02003Jehoash tablet By: Ed Greenstein At the turn of 2003 the Israeli press published a front-page article, announcing the authentification by the Geological Survey of Israel of what appeared to be a royal inscription of King Jehoash of Judah (circa 800 BCE). If genuine, the inscription reports on a refurbishing of the Jerusalem Temple (the Temple of Solomon) in close conformity with the account that is presented in 2 Kings 12. If genuine, the inscription would be proof positive that there actually was a great temple in Jerusalem in the monarchic period, a fact that has been challenged in recent scholarship. But the inscribed stone, roughly the size of a tablet computer, was not discovered in a controlled archaeological excavation. Instead, it came to light through an antiquities collector, who claimed it was from the environs of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem but had no documentation to support that assertion. A full geological analysis of the stone tablet was published in December 2012, arguing that it and the lengthy, fifteen-line inscription it bore were genuinely ancient. The authors allowed for the possibility that the mineral coating of the inscription, its patina, including imbedded gold globules and signs of burning, could have been produced artificially. Carbon 14 testing showed the tablet to be hundreds of years later than the period of

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