• Moabite Stele Translation in Alphabetic Akkadian Shows Early-Jewish / Phoenician Religious Debate Over a Drought (980 BCE)

    David Olmsted (see profile)
    Alphabetic Akkadian, Biblical archaeology, Near Eastern Archaeology, Pagan Studies
    Akkadians, Religions, Mediterranean Region, History, Ancient, Magic
    Item Type:
    Online publication
    Ancient Alphabetic inscriptions, drought, Exodus, Yahweh, Akkadian, Ancient Israel and Judea, Ancient Israelite religion, Ancient Mediterranean religions
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    The Moabite Stele text is a line by line philosophical/religious debate. It was written in Alphabetic Akkadian which was the common trading language of the ancient Mediterranean as evidenced by a growing corpus of texts. The Moabite text is also the earliest archaeological linguistic evidence of Jewish (Judahite) culture yet discovered. This is evidenced by its use of the word “Yahweh,” its description of Ba’al as an opponent, and its developing legalistic framework evidenced by using the word “sin.” Additionally, it supports in a general way the exodus tradition out of Egypt through Moab. The stele’s letter style is a direct descendent of Minoan Linear A in a lineage separate from the Phoenician and Philistine letter styles. This sort of cultural contact could only have occurred earlier in Egypt where the Minoans were trading. The Stele’s Jewish / Phoenician debate foreshadows the conflict between Elijah and Phoenician born Queen Jezebel during the next drought of 840 BCE. Yahu (short form of Yahweh) is mentioned in all its linguistic variants by both sides of the debate as YH, IH, EH, I’, and EA. Yahu is not unique to the Jewish tradition as it is also found in most other Alphabetic Akkadian texts throughout the Mediterranean. Also mentioned in the Moabite Stele are the deities Hu, Su, Ayu, Atu, Ba’al, and Alu.
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago


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