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The Aramaic Inscription from a Cave Complex at Abraham’s House, Mount of Olives and the Hasmonean Calendar—A New Reading and Interpretation

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
Authors:
Matthew Morgenstern Department of Hebrew Language, Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv Israel

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8526-941X
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Chanan Ariel Department of Hebrew Language, Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv Israel

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7883-2144
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Abstract

This article presents a new reading and interpretation of the Aramaic burial inscription from the “Abraham’s House” complex. Rather than representing a curse, we propose that the inscription records the year in which the loculus was completed. Moreover, we suggested that year 99 is counted not from Hyrcanus’ death but rather from the time of his accession to high public office, either as king or as high priest. The use of a continuous numbering system extending back to a foundation date rather than the regnal years of an individual ruler is paralleled by the Seleucid calendar, and also echoes traditions found in Hebrew and Greek sources that such a system was current amongst the Hasmoneans. The identity of Hyrcanus and the implications for the dating of the inscription are also discussed.

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