The Jerusalem Stone Inscription

A 2,000-year-old stone inscription with the first full spelling of Jerusalem.

Archaeologists are constantly finding artifacts and inscriptions in Israel that serve to illuminate some aspects of life and culture in ancient Israel. These discoveries at times clarify or confirm historical events as they appear in the Old Testament. A few discoveries introduce unknown men and women who lived in Israel, but whose names do not appear in the Old Testament.

One important archaeological discovery happened last winter when archaeologists discovered a stone with an inscription. This archaeological discovery is important because the stone mentions the name of the city of Jerusalem written in full for the first time. The inscription also introduces Hananiah son of Dodalos, a Jew who lived in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.

The following article about the stone inscription was written by James Rogers and was published by Fox News:

Ancient inscription discovery thrills archaeologists in Israel

By James Rogers

A unique 2,000-year-old stone inscription unearthed in Israel has thrilled archaeologists.

The find is the first full spelling of “Jerusalem” on a stone inscription, archaeologists recently confirmed. The artifact was found last winter during an excavation in the area of Jerusalem’s International Convention Center, known as Binyanei Ha’Uma.

Part of a stone column, the inscription mentions Jerusalem, written in Hebrew letters, and uses the same spelling as today, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Written in the ancient Aramaic language, the inscription reads: “Hananiah son of Dodalos of Jerusalem.”

It is thought that Hananiah was an ancient artist-potter.

Experts have dated the find to the Second Temple Period, or the First Century A.D. “First and Second Temple period inscriptions mentioning Jerusalem are quite rare,” said Dr. Yuval Baruch, Jerusalem regional archaeologist of the IAA and Prof. Ronny Reich of Haifa University, in a statement. “But even more unique is the complete spelling of the name as we know it today, which usually appears in the shorthand version.”

“This is the only stone inscription of the Second Temple period known where the full spelling appears. This spelling is only known in one other instance, on a coin of the Great Revolt against the Romans (66-70 CE),” they added.

The experts note that, while Jerusalem appears 660 times in the Bible, only five mentions, of a relatively late date, have the full spelling.

The inscription is now on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

The way the name Jerusalem is written makes this inscription a unique discovery. As mentioned in the article, the name of the city of Jerusalem is written in full. Seldom does the name of Jerusalem appear written with its full spelling.

NOTE: For other articles on archaeology, archaeological discoveries, and how they relate to the Bible, read my post Can Archaeology Prove the Bible?.

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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