As previously mentioned, yesterday, the Second International Conference of the Jeselsohn Epigraphic Center for Jewish History, “Epigraphy and Daily Life – From the Bible to the Talmud”, in memory of Professor Hanan Eshel (z”l), was held at Bar-Ilan University.
At the day long meeting, a long list of very interesting lectures were presented, covering a wide range of periods and topics.
While I was there at the beginning and end, I did miss a few hours in the middle due to commitments during the day. Nevertheless, most of the papers that I heard were very interesting and presented new and very important materials. Among the papers that I heard, here are some of the things that I felt were especially noteworthy:
1) A paper by Shmuel Ahituv (BGU – read by Esti Eshel) on the inscriptions form Kuntillet Ajrud. Shmuel and Esti have prepared them for publication (will appear soon thru Yad Ben Zvi) and they summarized some of their conclusions. This included: 1) That the inscriptions in “Phoenician script” from the site were in fact Judahite (as opposed to the Israelite ones in Israelite script); 2) They believe that the Asherah refers to an object and NOT to a female deity, partner of YHWH – as opposed to most scholars who have dealt with this topic.
2) Ami Mazar spoke about seven 10th and 9th century inscriptions from Rehov and their importance of the topic of writing during this period.
3) Uzi Leibner (HU) spoke about the very interesting Aramaic inscriptions from the mosaic floor of the very interesting synagogue at Kh. Hamam (near the Arbel).
4) Larry Schiffman (NYU) gave an excellent overview of Hanan’s contribution to Dead Sea Scrolls research.
All told, it was a very interesting day, and as someone noted, Hanan would have immensely enjoyed hearing the lectures – hope he did!