Sunday, November 09, 2014

Mazar's Mountain Mistake

This week I added the 162nd entry to my LMLK VIP autograph collection. It's the 3rd signature from Benjamin Mazar, but the 4th if you include his original name, Maisler. This one's in his 304-page 1975 tome, "The Mountain of the Lord" (published by Doubleday & Company, Inc.; Garden City, NY), signed "with best wishes" on June 18th, 1979.

The LMLK content is meager, just a photo caption on p. 55:

"Jar handle bearing seal impression with four-winged scarab; above it appears the word lmlkh ('belonging to the king'), and below, the place-name Socoh. Such an impression, as well as others bearing the place-name of an administrative centre, were stamps by royal officials guaranteeing the capacity of the jar or standard-sized container of oil and wine taxes."

Of course this final phrase is erroneous, as he undoubtedly drafted this book prior to Ussishkin's landmark Lachish excavation, where the capacity of this jar type was shown to be highly variable. However, the bigger problem is in the accompanying photo of a personal-seal handle of EUSOM HGY ("Hosheam Haggai"; Sass/Avigad 668, rotated about 120 degrees counter-clockwise here):

Ouch! Page 304 credits the pictures to Prof. Mazar; "to the Dept. of Antiquities & to the Archeological Museum, Jerusalem; to G. Cornfeld's photographic collection; to photographers Garo Studio, Jerusalem, & B. Carmasin, Tel-Aviv."

G.M. Grena

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