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Episode 30

Deir Alla Inscription
Fri, 2017-Jun-02 17:58 UTC
Length - 2:42

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Welcome to random Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of a random Wikipedia page every day.

Our random article today is Deir Alla Inscription.

The Deir 'Alla Inscription (or Bal'am Son of Be'or Inscription) was discovered during a 1967 excavation in Deir 'Alla, Jordan. The excavation revealed a multiple-chamber structure that has been destroyed by an earthquake during the Persian period, on the wall of which was written a story relating visions of the seer of the gods Bal'am, son of Be'or, who may be the same Bal'am mentioned in Numbers 22–24 and in other passages of the Bible. However, the Deir Alla inscription describes Bal'am in a manner which differs from the one in the Book of Numbers, in that rather than being a prophet of Yhwh, he is associated with Ashtar, a god named Shgr, and "Shaddayin" (שדין, apparently gods and goddesses). It also features the word "Elohin" (perhaps with different vowels, like "ilāhīn"), taken to mean "gods" in the plural rather than the Hebrew deity.

The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies describes it as "the oldest example of a book in a West Semitic language written with the alphabet, and the oldest piece of Aramaic literature." Though containing examples of Aramaic, such as the word bar "(son of [Beor])" rather than the Canaanite ben, it also has many elements of Canaanite languages, leading some to believe it was written in a dialect of Canaanite rather than an early form of Aramaic. The inscription has been dated to 880–770 BCE; it was painted in ink on fragments of a plastered wall - red and black inks were used, red apparently to emphasize certain parts of the text. In all, 119 pieces of ink-inscribed plaster were recovered. The wall, near the summit of the tell, was felled by a tremor.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 17:58 UTC on Friday, 02 June 2017.

For the full current version of the article, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deir_Alla_Inscription.

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Abulsme Productions also produces Curmudgeon's Corner, a current events podcast.

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