My paper on the Mesha stele has been published in the latest issue of Semitica.
I was recently interviewed by the Times of Israel about this paper and its implications for the controversy surrounding the House of David.
This research was first presented at an international conference on the Mesha stele at the French research center in Jerusalem last November.
Thanks to new imaging techniques applied to the Mesha stele and its squeezes, the decipherment of this major inscription is significantly improved. In this essay, I present three case studies, in lines 4, 12 and 31 respectively. In line 4, the reading “kings” is to be preferred; in line 12, the reading “city” is confirmed; in line 31, the mention of the “house of David” remains hypothetical but is the most probable reading. With the Tel Dan inscription, the Mesha stele might be the earliest historical witness of a ruler named David who, in the ninth century BCE, was remembered as the founder of a Judahite dynasty.
This paper is published in Semitica 61, which is available in hardcopy and electronic version.
You can also download a version with high-resolution pictures here.