Daily Archives: February 5, 2008

Mazar now reads seal as Shlomit

We mentioned here that a seal found in the “City of David Excavation” in Jerusalem had been read by Prof. Eilat Mazar as Temech. In a comment on that page we noted that she had now changed her mind about the reading.

Today, the Jerusalem Post carried an article about this.

Mazar had originally read the name on the seal as “Temech,” and suggested that it belonged to the family of that name mentioned in the Book of Nehemiah.

But after the find was first reported in The Jerusalem Post, various epigraphers around the world said Mazar had erred by reading the inscription on the seal straight on (from right to left) rather than backwards (from left to right), as a result of the fact that a seal creates a mirror image when used to inscribe a piece of clay.

Several other scholars said the reading should be Shlomit.

Mazar said Monday that she accepted the reading of “Shlomit” on the ancient seal, and added that she appreciated the scholarly research on the issue.

“We are involved in research, not in proving our own opinions,” Mazar said.

Shlomit is the name of a woman mentioned in 1 Chronicles 3:19. Several English versions I checked use the spelling Shelomith. Whether the seal has anything to do with the persons named in the biblical text is unknown.