Review of Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae, Volume II: Caesarea and the Middle Coast, 1121-2160

21 January 2013

Review of Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae, Volume II: Caesarea and the Middle Coast, 1121-2160, edited by W. Ameling, H. M. Cotton, W. Eck, B. Isaac, A. Kushnir-Stein, H Misgav, J. Prince, and A Yardeni. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2011.

This epigraphic series (of volumes) will definitely be one the most important of the twenty-first century, certain to be used profitably and cited for decades to come. The entire corpus is slated to consist of nine volumes, organized according to major geographic divisions and major historical periods in ancient Judaea-Palestine. The chronological periods that constitute the focus of these volumes are the late fourth century BCE (i.e., beginning with the rise of Alexander the Great) to the early seventh century CE (i.e., to the rise of the Prophet Muhammad). The languages included in this series are Greek and Latin as well as Hebrew, Phoenician, the various Aramaic dialects (e.g., Jewish Aramaic, Samaritan, Nabataean, Northern Syriac and Southern Syriac), Thamudic, Safaitic, Armenian, and Georgian. It is also important to note in this connection that Early Arabic inscriptions are in the process of being collected and edited by Moshe Sharon for the Corpus Inscriptionum Arabicarum Palaestinae (and so they are not included in CIIP). The basic geographic parameters for the nine volumes are as follows: Jerusalem (and its surroundings); the Middle Coastline (including especially Caesarea and its surroundings), the Southern Coastline; the Northern Coastline (including especially the Galilee, along with Acco); the Golan Heights; Samaria; Judaea (without Jerusalem); Idumaea; the Negev; a final volume focusing on milestones from the entire territory. Parts of modern Syria and Jordan which were at different times part of the administrative unit which included Iudaea/Palaestina (i.e., Batanea, Aurantis and the Peraea) are not included in this series since they belong to territories covered by the Inscriptions Grecques et Latines de la Syrie or de la Jordanie, respectively. CIIP I. Part 1 (focusing on Jerusalem) was published in 2010 and contains inscriptions numbered 1-704. CIIP I. Part 2 (focusing on Jerusalem) was published in 2012 and contains inscriptions numbered 705-1120 (this volume, that is, CIIP I. Part 2, will be reviewed separately). That is, volume one consists of two parts, each published as a discreet volume, but classified as “volume one” (because all of the inscriptions hail from Jerusalem and its environs).

The volume herein reviewed is CIIP II, and contains inscriptions numbered 1121-2160. The lion’s share of the inscriptions in this volume come from Caesarea and its environs (inscriptions 1128-2107), while some of them (namely, inscriptions 1121-1127) )come from Apollonia-Arsuf (located on a sandstone ridge in the north-west section of the modern town of Herzliya, some seventeen kilometers north of Jaffa and thirty-four kilometers south of Caesarea), some of them (namely, inscriptions 2108-2114) come from Castra Samaritanorum (Khirbet Qastra, a site that is about three kilometers south-east of Sycamina and extends across several terraces on the lower slopes of Mount Carmel), some of them (namely, 2115-2145) come from Dor (near the modern site of Tantura, on a headland off the coast between Mount Carmel and Caesarea, more than eleven kilometers south of Tel Megadim and more than nine kilometers south of ‘Atlit), some of them (namely, inscriptions 2147-2160) come from Sycamina (= Shikmona = Tell es-Samaq, a settlement about one kilometer south of the promontory of Mount Carmel) and one inscription (inscription number 2146, called the “Seal of Georgius”) was found at Mikhmoret ( a site located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea around eight kilometers north of Netanya and around eleven kilometers south of Caesarea).

For the site of Caesarea, there are subdivisions, something that is quite useful because so many inscriptions hail from this site. The major categories of inscriptions are: (A) Res Sacrae (Pagan Inscriptions, Synagogue Inscriptions, Christian inscriptions); (B) Imperial Documents, (C) Emperors; (D) Imperial Officials and the Two Praetoria (Governors and Senators, Praetorium of the Governor; Equestrian Officials; Praetorium of the Procurator and the Late Antique Governor); (E) Bathhouse; (F) Military People; (G); Decuriones and Inscriptions of the Colonia Caesariensis; (H) Varia; (I) Funerary Inscriptions; (K) Instrumentum Domesticum (Defixiones; Amulets and Rings, Weights, Lead Seals, Ostraca, Dipinti, and Graffiti); (L) Fragments, both Latin and Greek; (M) Vicinity of Caesarea (Binyamina, Crocodilopolis, Hadera; Kefar Shuni, Ramat , Hanadiv).

The standard entry for each inscription consists of the following sorts of data: a descriptive title and approximate date (e.g., “Corinthian capital with Greek monograms, 5- 6 century CE,” or “List of the twenty-four priests courses in Hebrew, 4-5 century CE”), reference to the find spot, a black and white photograph, readings (and for the Hebrew and Aramaic inscriptions a transliteration as well), a hand-drawing, a translation, a brief but detailed commentary, and rather copious reference to the most relevant secondary literature. It is important to note that within this volume, there are a fair number of inscriptions never before published. Also, some of the inscriptions that are included in this volume are now lost, but normally there were photos available of even these inscriptions and so these inscriptions are included in this volume, along with an accompanying photo (see p. vii). This fine volume also contains some really good discussions of things such as demographics (e.g., Jewish presence, Christian presence, Samaritan presence), discussions of roads, discussions of ancient territorial divisions. For sites that have been excavated, there is consistently a brief but very useful discussion of the history of excavation. Of particular importance is the fact that this volume contains an “Index of Personal Names” for Volume One (both parts) and Volume Two.

Readers will notice that the dates that are given for inscriptions are often fairly broad (e.g., “3rd-6th century CE”; or “4th-7th century CE”). This is, of course, a result of the fact that few inscriptions contain (or preserve) date formulae, many do not come from a primary archaeological context, and there are often not sufficient palaeographic benchmarks (diagnostics) within these inscriptions. I should note that most of these inscriptions were (re)collated during the process of the research for this volume (i.e., the person writing the article actually personally collated the inscription, rather than attempting to rely on existing photographs or hand-copies) and the date of the collation (called “autopsy” in this volume) is given within the entry for each inscription that was collated. Methodologically, this is such an important step forward.

Ultimately, I consider this volume to be absolutely superb (there are some minor problems with stylistic consistency, but with a volume of this size, with so many contributors, this is entirely understandable). I recommend the volume very highly and without reservation. Indeed, from my perspective, I would suggest that no scholar can afford to ignore this volume. It is a peerless addition to the resources available for the ancient epigraphic realia.

Christopher Rollston, Visiting Professor of Northwest Semitic Languages and Literatures, George Washington University.

Visiting Professorship at George Washington University

27 December 2012

I am very pleased to state that I have accepted a Visiting Professorship at George Washington University for the spring semester of 2013. I am very grateful to a number of people for orchestrating this, especially Dr. Eric Cline, Chair of the Department and Classics and Semitics at George Washington University. With regard to courses for the spring semester, I am delighted to note that I will be teaching a course entitled “Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Near East” and a course entitled “Dead Sea Scrolls.” During my post-doctoral appointments at Johns Hopkins University (1999-2001), I taught a number of undergraduate courses and found it very enjoyable; thus, I am very much looking forward to teaching these undergraduate courses at George Washington University. During my time at George Washington University, I will also be completing my monograph (tentatively) entitled “Forging History: A History of Epigraphic Forgeries from Antiquity to the Modern Period,” as well as several Festschrift articles. In short, I am very much looking forward to the coming months.

Most sincerely,

Chris Rollston

A Note of Thanks to Colleagues

27 December 2012

After much reflection, I have voluntarily resigned from Emmanuel Christian Seminary, having come to an amicable resolution with Emmanuel. For all of the support and encouragement I have received from many colleagues throughout the world, from several marvelous colleagues at Emmanuel, from many former students, and from many current students, I am so very grateful. Indeed, all of the support has been consoling, gratifying, and humbling. I wish that I would have been able to reply individually to all who sent notes of encouragement and support to me, but this was not possible. So please allow me to say here, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so very much. I am more grateful than words can express. At this juncture, it is most useful for me to be able to move on with my life, career, research, and writing. I look forward to finding a new and permanent academic home and I happily welcome assistance in that regard. As I depart, I also wish to verbalize my hope that Emmanuel will flourish in the future, as it has in the past.


Christopher Rollston”

Professor Christopher Rollston Collating Inscriptions in the Middle East

28 February 2012

Just Published, _Tel Aviv_ 38:1, including Rollston’s “The Khirbet Qeiyafa Ostracon: Methodological Musings and Caveats.”

11 May 2011


Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University Volume 38, Number 1, 2011

In Memoriam: Anson Rainey
Deborah Sweeney

Judahite Stamped and Incised Jar Handles: A Tool for Studying the History of Late Monarchic Judah Oded Lipschits, Omer Sergi, Ido Koch

The paper probes the distribution of the various stamped and incised Judahite jars with two criteria in mind: (1) their estimated date; (2) the assumption that in addition to Jerusalem, sites that yielded large quantities of stamped handles (mainly Lachish and Ramat Raḥel) served as major collection centres while sites that yielded only a few dozen stamped handles served as secondary administrative centres of the kingdom. Based on their findings, the authors reconstruct the evolution of the royal administrative system in the late 8th through the early 6th centuries BCE.

Tell Qudadi and Tel Gerisah: Two Early Bronze II Sites on the Yarkon River Ram Gophna, Yitzhak Paz

Tell Qudadi and Tel Gerisah are two multi-period sites located on the Yarkon River. Recent research has revealed that they were the only settlements along the central Coastal Plain that were inhabited during the Early Bronze Age II. Tell Qudadi and Tel Gerisah could have played important roles as an outpost and as a main inner anchorage site, respectively, in maritime activities between Old Kingdom Egypt and the North Levantine coast.

An Egyptian Mortuary Cult in Late Bronze II Canaan Katia Charbit Nataf

The paper re-examines the significance of the banquet scenes depicted on the Late Bronze Age II Megiddo and Tell el-Far>ah ivories. The author attempts to identify and link a set of characteristics on the panels—the lotus flower, the drinking vessels, the musical instruments and the Delta papyrus marshes—to the Egyptian goddess Hathor. She then proceeds to explore the hypothesis that mortuary Hathor worship, a direct legacy of Egyptian cultic belief, was adopted by the Canaanites during this period. The archaeological context of such a cult is discussed.

The Khirbet Qeiyafa Ostracon: Methodological Musings and Caveats Christopher Rollston

The Qeiyafa Ostracaon is an important inscription from the late stage of Early Alphabetic. Regarding its language, some have argued that it is written in Hebrew. This article, however, contends that there are no discernable diagnostic features in the ostracon that mandate such a conclusion. Furthermore, the article also emphasizes that the script of this inscription is certainly not Old Hebrew, nor is it the immediate precursor of the Old Hebrew script. Rather the Old Hebrew script derived from Phoenician. Thus, there is some distance between the script of this inscription and the Old Hebrew script. Finally, the article contends that it would be difficult (because of the dearth of
data) for grand proposals about statecraft and literacy to be made on the sole basis of this ostracon.

Textual and Historical Notes on the Eliashib Archive from Arad Nadav Na’aman

The first part of the article discusses in detail some letters addressed to Eliashib, possibly the commander of the fortress of Arad.
New readings and interpretations are suggested for Ostraca Nos. 3, 5, 10, 12 and 18 and their structure and contents are clarified. The second part of the article offers new solutions for some problems in the history of the Negev in the late years of the Kingdom of Judah. It suggests that the elite troops of Kittiyim were hired by one of the last kings of Judah and sent to the Negev in an effort to curtail the Edomite danger. However, the efforts to defend the Negev failed and its centres were destroyed some time before the Babylonian 588–587 BCE campaign against the Kingdom of Judah. The heavy destruction brought about by the Edomites was deeply engraved in the collective memory and provides the background for the distinctive negative attitude to Edom in biblical prophecy of the exilic and post-exilic periods.

Egypt and the Levant in the Iron Age I–IIA: The Ceramic Evidence Shirly Ben Dor Evian

Traditionally, relations between Egypt and the Levant in the early phases of the Iron Age have been reconstructed based on the scant historical record and on biblical descriptions. This article introduces a new facet of Egyptian regional intervention into the
discussion: the presence of Egyptian pottery at Iron Age sites in Israel.

The Babylonia–Elam Connections in the Chaldaean and Achaemenid Periods—Part I Ran Zadok

The paper discusses the political and economic connections between Babylonia and Elam during the periods of the Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid empires (626–539 and 538–332 BCE respectively). It is based on both published and unpublished sources in Neo/Late-Babylonian as well as in Neo-Elamite and Royal Achaemenid Elamite. These are mostly implicit, as pertinent chronicles and royal inscriptions are rare.
Therefore, the evidence for political history is minimal whereas the socioeconomic information is much more detailed. Nevertheless, even this information is chronologically uneven as most of it refers to the Chaldaean and early Achaemenid period with very few sources about the late Achaemenid period (483–332 BCE). An appendix is devoted to workmen from upper Mesopotamia and Syria (‘Assyrians’) in Elam including Arabians. They were—at least partly—subjects of the Neo-Babylonian empire before its demise.

Editors: Israel Finkelstein, Benjamin Sass Editorial Board: Nadav a’aman, Oren Tal, David Ussishkin Managing Editor: Myrna Pollak

Tel Aviv is Published by Maney Publishing for The Emery and Claire Yass Publications in Archaeology of The Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University

For more information, visit our website at http://www.tau.ac.il/humanities/archaeology/publications/pub_telaviv.html