Talk:Siloam inscription

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Why is the mysterious word spelled "Zada"? Isn't it better to spell it ZDH, since we don't know its vowels? --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 14:47, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

Likely from Aramaic “azad” meaning “to be gone/missing/empty/void” [1] and subsequently feminized (denoting negative space) to become “zadah” or Zada. By this logic, the inscription reads: “…called to his counterpart, (for) there was a ‘void’ in the rock, on the right…” Azad is also an Aramaic loanword to Arabic, Farsi and Old Persian, wherein it means “free” (as in “freedom”) which may derive from the notion of free/empty space. This approach may also illuminate the original meaning of Ohr Mazd, name of the Zoroastrian deity, which could arguably then be rendered as “light from the void.” Imahd (talk) 17:12, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

inscription type[edit]

Should mention the fact that it's conspicuously not a conventional ancient middle eastern royal building inscription (e.g. "I king X of Y built Z..."), as would have been expected for an inscription found in that location... AnonMoos (talk) 15:37, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

Keep in mind that this water diversion project was conducted in a hurry (due to the looming threat of an Assyrian siege[2]) and that it was a stealth project crucial to the security of the city, specifically its access to potable water. Not something one would want Assyrian spies to uncover. The inscription was also located in an area that was not visible to the public. (Can't find my ref for the last point.) Imahd (talk) 18:30, 2 December 2015 (UTC)


See Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Archaeology#Paleo-Hebrew.2FPhoenician. Oncenawhile (talk) 11:03, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

Drsmoo, you state that the comment about the text being referred to historically "as Phoenecian is ... untrue". Can you prove this? Oncenawhile (talk) 11:04, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
I suggest you read the works from around the time of the discovery, many of which are at Siloam_inscription#Bibliography. Schick, Sayce and Waterman all refer to the inscription as Phoenician.
  • Schick (1880): "Phoenician Inscription in the Pool of Siloam"
  • Sayce (Oct 1881): "...the inscriptions of Mesha and of Siloam represent two different forms of the Phoenician alphabet..."
  • Waterman (1882): "...the ancient inscription in old Phoenician characters..."
Oncenawhile (talk) 11:17, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Paleo Hebrew is an accurate description of the language used. Thankfully, descriptions and characterizations become more accurate over time. The text is Paleo-Hebrew. Paleo-Hebrew uses the Phoenician alphabet/characters and evolved out of Phoenician in the way that languages generally evolve out of one another. It is, however, distinct as the language of this place/time period. It was referred to as Hebrew in the time period you posted, as well as, more importantly, being referred to as Hebrew today. The current arrangement of the text is the best for reducing, rather than increasing, confusion. From the Waterman source, which seemingly was selectively quoted from
"The inscription is the oldest Hebrew record of the kind yet discovered. It is an early contemporaneous specimen of the language of the old Testament, written in that ancient form of Phoenician alphabet already known to us from the Moabite stone."..."It not only gives us the Phoenician alphabet in a more archaic form than any previously known, but it brings before us the Hebrew Language as it was actually spoken in the age of kings"
Paleo-Hebrew is the correct description of the language, and conforms with the popular, contemporary description of the language of this region and time period.Drsmoo (talk) 19:33, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
You are getting confused between language and script. These are two different things. We are having this conversation in the English language, but we are using a script most commonly referred to as Latin.
You wrote above that "Paleo-Hebrew uses the Phoenician alphabet/characters". So I think we are in agreement. The clarification of this that you removed from the article is needed.
Oncenawhile (talk) 21:05, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Paleo-Hebrew is clear as to the script being used. Just as articles describing works in the English language have no need to specify Latin script. Drsmoo (talk) 23:22, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
The subjects of articles on works in the English language are all described by their sources as being in English. The situation here is that the key original sources all described the script at Phoenician. We should explain this to readers and not hide from it. Oncenawhile (talk) 07:01, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
They describe it as being early Hebrew wth Phoenician characters. Fortunately, there is a well established word for that very situation, that word is "Paleo-Hebrew" Drsmoo (talk) 07:41, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
You are wrong - the term "Paleo-Hebrew" refers to the script, not to the language. This term was invented in the 1950s, hence the confusion when reading original sources regarding an artifacts discovered in the 1880s. Oncenawhile (talk) 22:45, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
I'm glad you've acknowledged that the script is Paleo-Hebrew. Describing it accurately is not confusing. Drsmoo (talk) 04:27, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
No. Even modern sources call the script Phoenician, as did all the sources prior to the mid-1950s. You clearly have a preference for one term, but that doesn't give you the right to whitewash others. Oncenawhile (talk) 16:02, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Fortunately I'm doing nothing of the sort. The text is: "written in Hebrew using the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet, [2] [3] [4] a regional variant of the Phoenician alphabet." 23:42, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

Niels Lemche[edit]

The material in the footnote doesn't seem to be out of line, but it should be kept in mind that he's a famous "minimalist" ... AnonMoos (talk) 08:12, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

However, the phrase "poor companion" merely reflects his personal subjective disappointment that it's not a classic royal building inscription. Others might find the fact that it's not a classic royal building inscription to be highly interesting. AnonMoos (talk) 08:28, 2 July 2015 (UTC)