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Archive for July, 2008

Yet More Hebrew Tattoos You Do Not Want!

10th July 2008

People never learn. Think before you ink! I came across a couple more examples of incorrect Hebrew tattoos. I can’t believe people don’t double and triple check foreign tattoos with someone they know understands the language before they get their skin scarred for life.

For more of my blog posts on incorrect Hebrew tattoos, click here.

The first example comes via The Aramaic Blog (the original tattoo is posted here). This nice looking tattoo is supposed to read “Yahweh/the LORD is my banner” and is more than likely taken from Exodus 17:15.


The first error with this Hebrew tattoo is all too common: the Hebrew is written backwards. For those who do not know, Hebrew is written from right to left, not left to right as English. Thus, this tattoo is essentially gibberish. It means nothing. To add insult to injury, there are also a couple spelling errors in the tattoo: there is an extra vav in the divine name Yahweh (יהוה) and the noun “banner” (נס) has an extra yod.


The second example comes from a google search. This poor fellow went through a couple tattoo sessions to get a nice picture of a lion head tattooed and then topped it off with what he thought was the Hebrew name “Judah” (get it? “Lion of Judah”; see Genesis 49:9 and Revelation 5:5). The problem is that he should of double-checked his Hebrew since it is written backwards and misspelled.


I’m not quite sure how he got the spelling wrong. It should be yod-heh-vav-dalet-heh (יהודה) and he has (backwards) yod-heh-dalet-vav-heh (יהדוה); he has the dalet and vav mixed up.


All this goes to show that if you decide to get a Hebrew tattoo, you really need to get the spelling double-checked before you get it inked. While there are a number of web sites that will do translations, I would be careful with which one you use.

Since I first posted on incorrect Hebrew tattoos, I have got at least half a dozen requests every week asking to double-check this or that spelling. While I am not opposed to do this, I just don’t have the time, so most of the emails have gone unanswered. My wife had a brilliant idea, however. While I am not willing to take the time to check out a spelling or provide the Hebrew for a tattoo for free, I may be persuaded to do it for a very nominal fee. If you are interested, just send me an email to “tattoos AT” and we can talk.

Posted in Hebrew, Tattoos | 2 Comments »

Some Biblical Studies Carnival Business

9th July 2008

Current Biblical Studies Carnival

I trust everyone is aware the latest Carnival is online at Jim Getz’s Ketuvim blog. Make sure to check it out if you haven’t already.

Upcoming Biblical Studies Carnivals

I have worked on the schedule for upcoming Biblical Studies Carnivals. Here is the schedule thus far:

I have a potential opening for December 2008 (I have sent an email but am still awaiting a reply) and 2009 is wide open. If you would like to volunteer to host a Biblical Studies Carnival, please let me know. If you have volunteered in the past by somehow never got in the schedule, I apologize. Please send me an email and you will receive priority! I will also give preference to those who have not yet done a Carnival (and how about some women bibliobloggers? I have asked those I am aware of; please volunteer if you are interested).

Submitting Posts to the Biblical Studies Carnival
I would like to encourage all of the regular Bibliobloggers — and everyone else out there to regularly submit posts for consideration for the Biblical Studies Carnivals. Submitting one of your own posts or a post of a blog you read makes the Carnival a lot easier to pull together. To submit a blog post for inclusion to the Biblical Studies Carnival you may do one of the following:

  1. Send the following information to the following email address: biblical_studies_carnival AT If you’re not sure whether a post qualifies, send it anyway and the host will decide whether to include it.
    • The title and permalink URL of the blog post you wish to nominate and the author’s name or pseudonym.
    • A short (two or three sentence) summary of the blog post.
    • The title and URL of the blog on which it appears (please note if it is a group blog).
    • Include “Biblical Studies Carnival [number]” in the subject line of your email
    • Your own name and email address.
  2. Use the submission form provided by Blog Carnival. (This is probably the easier option if you only have one nomination.) Just select “biblical studies carnival” and fill in the rest of the information noted above.

For more information, please see the Biblical Studies Carnival Homepage.

Posted in Biblical Studies Carnival | Comments Off

Knohl, “Gabriel’s Revelation” Tablet, and the Resurrection

8th July 2008

gabrielsvision2.jpgI just came home from the lake and noticed that many news sources are carrying a story about a paper that Professor Israel Knohl presented at an Israel Museum conference on his interpretation of the so-called “Gabriel’s Revelation” tablet. Knohl argues that the best reading of line 80 of the text is “In three days you shall live, I Gabriel, command you”, and that this text is a pre-Christian reference to the death and resurrection of a Jewish leader.

The tablet was actually discovered a decade ago and has been dated by paleography to the end of the first century B.C.E. The provenance of the tablet is unfortunately unknown since it was purchased from an antiquities dealer. It is claimed it was found near the Dead Sea.

Here is an excerpt from the news story from The Independent:

Using other lines in the text that refer to blood and slaughter as routes to righteousness, along with the overall context of the Jewish revolt against the Romans at the time, Professor Knohl suggests that it refers to the death and resurrection of a Jewish leader.

The tablet, known as Gabriel’s Vision of Revelations because it contains an apocalyptic text ascribed to the angel, has attracted the intense interest of scholars. It came to light after it was bought from a Jordanian antiquities dealer by an Israeli-Swiss collector, David Jeselsohn, who kept it in his Zurich home. The location of the original discovery is not clear, though it may have been in Jordan on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea.

Two Israeli scholars, Ada Yardeni and Binyamin Elitzur, published a detailed analysis of the Hebrew script, which is written rather than engraved in the stone, last year, dating it towards the end of the first century BC. But when it came to the crucial line 80 in the script, which clearly begins “in three days”, the scholars concluded that the next word was illegible.

Professor Knohl argues that the word is “Hayeh” or “live” in the imperative. He goes on to outline his conjecture that the messianic figure could be a rebel leader against the Roman-backed monarchy of Herod named Shimon, who the historian Josephus says was killed by one of Herod’s military commanders.

He will claim today that the interpretation vindicates a theory which he had already expounded in a book in 2000, namely that the idea of a suffering messiah existed before Jesus.

Claiming that the idea that Jesus died to redeem the sins of all mankind was in large part generated by St Paul, who wanted Jesus to be a messiah “of the gentiles”, he said yesterday that the earlier Jewish tradition would have seen his death as necessary “to cause God to defeat the enemy, to liberate Jerusalem from the Roman occupation”. He added: “He was fighting for the liberty of the Jewish people. That is how I see it.”

Not all scholars at today’s conference are likely to be convinced, however. Professor Lawrence Schiffman, Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University, said that a single detail of a “phenomenal” text was being used to create a “media experience”.


I have not read the article by Yardeni and Elitzur, nor have I seen the tablet (or a picture or transcription of it), so I can’t really comment on whether Knohl’s reading is plausible. What I can say is that this reading, if correct, does nothing to diminish the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus. If anything, this reading only shows once again that the early church is clearly rooted in the first century Jewish community.

UPDATE: BAR has a special news report that includes the article Yardeni published in the January/February 2008 issue of BAR (“A New Dead Sea Scroll in Stone?”) as well as her transcription of the Hebrew text and English translation.

Posted in Archaeology, Discoveries, Inscriptions | 2 Comments »

Happy Canada Day, Eh!!

1st July 2008

canada_flagHappy Canada Day to all of my fellow Canadians.

While it may be uncharacteristic of Canadians to be so bold, but I personally think that Canada is the best place to live in the whole wide world. :-)

If you are interested, check out my post from last year where I highlighted the Top Ten Canadian Biblical Scholars.


Posted in Canada Day, Holidays | Comments Off