Sunday, December 15, 2013

From NYT:
They figured out her first name, but not her father’s. They know where and when she died, but not her age or the cause of death. They could not tell whether she was married.

This is a detective story, but not the ripped-from-the-headlines kind. The woman died more than 1,600 years ago, in what is now Jordan. The detectives are a few students at Yeshiva University in Upper Manhattan and a professor who is sometimes called the Jewish Robert Langdon, referring to the fictional Harvard professor of iconology in the Dan Brown books and the movie “The Da Vinci Code.”

All they had to go on was the woman’s tombstone. And at first, they did not even have that, just photographs of it.

Here are the facts of the case:

In March 2012, the professor, Steven Fine, who is also the director of Yeshiva’s Center for Israel Studies, wrote an article for the magazine Biblical Archaeology Review about Jewish tombstones in the ancient city of Zoar, which most scholars say was on the Dead Sea. It was such an oasis, according to one account, that a sixth-century mapmaker drew a grove of palm trees as a symbol for it.

Dr. Fine soon heard from one of the magazine’s readers, the Rev. Carl Morgan of Woodland United Fellowship, a church in Woodland, Calif.

Pastor Morgan, who also has a doctorate in archaeology, emailed a tantalizing photograph: an image of a tombstone like the ones Dr. Fine had discussed in his article. Pastor Morgan said it was in the collection of the Woodland Museum of Biblical Archaeology, which occupies part of the church’s campus, about 20 miles from Sacramento. A private collector had given it to the museum, Pastor Morgan said.

“It had not been translated,” he recalled in a recent telephone interview. “I knew Dr. Fine could translate it.”

...From the beginning, the Yeshiva students were confident they could make sense of the Aramaic inscriptions; Talmudic Aramaic is virtually the same as the Aramaic on the tombstone. They also know Hebrew. Mr. Friedman said the first few words were straightforward, and Ellie Schwartz, a senior, recited them: “ ‘Here rests the soul of Sa’adah, daughter of something.’ We don’t know the ‘something.’ ”

Going by the format of other ancient tombstones, they felt certain the missing word was the name of the woman’s father and wondered if it was Phineas, but they said they could not be sure. “We have the P,” Dr. Fine said. “We thought there was an N, but we’re stuck because whatever it is, it’s been scratched away. You get to the point where ‘I can’t know’ may be the most learned answer you can give.”

If the father’s name was elusive, so was another basic fact about the woman, whose name means “divine help.”

“They don’t mention her age,” Mr. Friedman said. Dr. Fine said Christian tombstones from that area carried ages, but Jewish tombstones did not. That was simply the custom of the day, he said.

But the students could date the stone, based on the parallel dating systems inscribed on it. One referred to the Temple in Jerusalem, destroyed by the Romans in the year 70. (That system was used by Jews in Greece until World War II, Dr. Fine said; the last place the system was used, he said, was Corfu, before the Nazis rounded up the Jews who lived there and sent them to Auschwitz.) The other system was based on the number seven. By comparing the two systems, they could say with certainty that she died 362 years after the destruction of the temple.

And then there were the symbols painted on the tombstone. Mr. Schwartz said the group assumed one was the Ten Commandments, because in the photographs from the museum, it looked like a tablet with writing on it. Dr. Fine knew better. “It’s an incense shovel,” he said — a symbol of ceremonies in a temple.
Yes, there were once Jews in Jordan. Not a single one today, though.

(h/t Ronald)

EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz





For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts in recent years


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Interesting Blogs


#PayForSlay Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria Alice Walker American Jews AmericanZionism Amnesty Amnesty 2022 analysis anti-semitism anti-Zionism antisemitism apartheid Arab antisemitism arab refugees Arafat archaeology Ari Fuld art Ashrawi ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz Bernie Sanders Biden history Birthright book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence CAIR Campus antisemitism Cardozo cartoon of the day CEDAW Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision CJ Werleman Clark Kent coexistence Comix Community Standards conspiracy theories COVID-19 Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum David Miller Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Ellen Horowitz Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Fake Civilians 2019 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features Fervent Embrace fisking flood libel flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry Ghassan Daghlas gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF IfNotNow IJ Benjamin Ilan Pappe Ilhan Omar impossible peace incitement indigenous Indonesia infographic international law interview intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya James Zogby jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter Joe Biden John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Judith Butler Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Know How to Answer Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Mairav Zonszein Malaysia Marc Lamont Hill Marjorie Taylor Greene max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Lynk Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Naftali Bennett Nakba Nan Greer Nasser al-Lahham Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO Nick Cannon NIF Noah Phillips norpac NSU Matrix NYT Occupation offbeat olive oil Omar Barghouti Omri Boehm Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB philosophy poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals RealJerusalemStreets reference Reuters Richard Falk Richard Landes Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Sarah Schulman Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians Seth Rogen settlements sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shelly Yachimovich Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Sovereignty Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman Tlaib TOI Tomer Ilan Trump Trump Lame Duck Test Tunisia Turkey UAE Accord UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra vaccination Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks Winstanley work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zionophobia Ziophobia Zvi

Best posts of the past 6 months


A new, better definition of antisemitism

Blog Archive