Non-Safi: Excellent argument for the inauthenticity of the “Jehoash Inscription”

In light of the result of the famous trial of Oded Golan, Robert Deutsch, etc., and the enormous amount of discussions about these results, once again the question of the authenticity of the Jehoash Inscription has been repeatedly discussed. Putting aside the question of the physical examination of the object, a new article by my colleague Ed Greenstein quite clearly demonstrates that from an analysis of the language of the inscription it is quite clearly a modern forgery, in which most of the text is taken from the biblical text, with some additions from some other, bona fide inscriptions, along with several misuses of biblical Hebrew terms according to modern Hebrew usages.
He quite clearly takes apart V. Sasson’s and C. Cohen’s claims that linguistically it is ancient.

Greenstein, E. L. 2012. Methodological Principles in Determining That the So-Called Jehoash Inscription is Inauthentic. Pp. 83–92 in Puzzling Out the Past: Studies in Northwest Semitic Languages and Literatures in Honor of Bruce Zuckerman, eds. M. J. Lunderg, S. Fine and W. T. Pitard. Leiden: Brill.


14 thoughts on “Non-Safi: Excellent argument for the inauthenticity of the “Jehoash Inscription”

  1. I’m jealous! You got to read this at least 2 months before it’s going to be available to the least of us mortals! I’m thrilled to see Dr. Zuckerman get this honor he deserves for all of his work over the years.


  2. Uri Hurwitz

    It would be good if the arguments against and for ancient authenticity of the text were lined up clearly side by side.

    As far as I remember, Chayim Cohen’s argument, after a very careful analysis of the language, was that it could be ancient, not that it was.

    The physical examination of the tablet and the writing is not something that could be put aside. If it is modern, the argument stops. If it is not modern, all arguments about forgery evaporate.

    Now to my main point – where can one read the Greenstein article without shelling out 275 bucks?



      1. Uri Hurwitz

        Hi, with careful forethought I wrote: ” ..the physical examination of of the tablet and the writing…”

        There are scientific tools for measuring antiquity of inscriptions.




    1. Uri, surely you must be aware that the scientists who performed the original geologic analysis concluded that it was ancient, so are you suggesting that they ignored the writing region? Unless I missed or am forgetting something, the thrust of the arguments I’ve read have been that the stone’s patina is either ancient, or it was faked along with the inscription.


      1. Michael Welch

        Dear Mr. Hurwitz and Mr. Grena, Hi!!! Dr. Amnon Rosenfeld and other scholars have determined that the patina covering the inscription is ancient and that the letters themselves are ancient. The linguistics being poorly formed adds to its authenticy because it fits right into what the archaeological record of Jerusalem and the Bible says about the ninth century B.C. Dr. Jane Cahill West calls the Kingdom of Judah at this time a “rump state.” The ninth century B.C. houses that have been excavated in Jerusalem show that at this time the floors, of the previously built tenth century United Monarchy houses, were just built up. In other words, there were no new urban houses being built like there were during the United Monarchy. Also Dr. Reich and Dr. Shukron found many clay bullae from the ninth century B.C., but not Paleo-Hebrew bullae. The scribes and the tribes were mostly in Israel. The oddness of the letters on the Jehoash Tablet and the language mistakes fit right in with a weak Judah during this time. With Much Gratitude and Admiration, Michael


  3. deutschr

    Forgeries on the market
    I can only re-circulate what I posted back in 2003
    Thu, 06 Feb 2003 09:00:30

    The inscription of “Jehoash king of Judah – Sensation or forgery?”
    (is the question) as appeared in the news paper HaAretz and elsewhere

    It is an embarrassing forgery ! (is the answer)


    For a non professional eye the inscription is another Phoenician or Hebrew texts. Yet, an epigraphist is struck by this accumulation of styles and chronologically non co-existent characters. The inscription is not Phoenician, or Moabite nor Hebrew, but a hybrid chimera.

    To name only a few “scribal errors”, the letter “mem” appears in many variants some copied from the “ivory pomegranate”, other from ostraca, some from vine decanters, or the Moabite stone, etc.

    The letter “yod” reveals the same phenomena, some are cursive and some are lapidary.
    The letter “bet” is marked inclined or vertical, some have open angles and some are of 90 degree.
    The same is valid for the letters “alef”, “kaf”, “sade”, etc. The inclination and the width of several letters are incorrect, especially the letters “shin”, “pe” and “gimel”.

    All the above (and many more), point toward a very poor forgery !

    Drs. Ilani and Rosenfeld, who wrote the paper “verifying the authenticity of the inscription” did in fact something completely different. They analyzed the materials deposited on the surface of the stone and not the age of the inscription. Such a technic was not invented yet ! One may insert an item in a soil for several months or even years and achieve such an effect as detected.

    As to the provenance of this piece, since the stone is probably from Jordan, as stated by the geologists, I suppose it was made in Jordan and smuggled into Israel. Since the peace agreement between the two countries hundreds of forgeries surfaced in the antiquities market in Jerusalem brought by Israeli and Jordanian tourists from Jordan.

    Is this a kind of a “virus attack” against the Israeli archaeology and history or is it connected with the Arab “Entifada” ?



    1. Uri Hurwitz

      …”or is it connected with the Arab “Entifada” ?

      Robert ”

      The first ltetter of the Arabic word is the equivalent of the Heb. Aleph with a “hiriq”.
      Thus the usual English transliteration of this word begins with the letter “I”.

      Ezov Haqqyr


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  5. Aren
    You mentioned my name, and others under “etc.”. What exactly we have to do with the Joash inscription ?
    I like to remind you that I WAS THE FIRST in 2004 to appear on the national TV condemning the authenticity of the Joash inscription.
    My name was called in vain !

    Robert Deutsch


    1. arenmaeir

      Robert – I though that originally you have been involved in the trial but then very early on exonerated from any connection. If even that is not so – then I apologize!


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