Talk about great timing. Just this past Wednesday in my Ancient Israel class at Western Washington University I covered some of the hokey “evidences” put forth by less-than-reputable Christian archaeologists in defense of Jebel el-Lawz as the true location of Mount Sinai. In briefer terms, the Ron Wyatt (see here also) and Robert Cornuke nonsense (see here, here, and here). Cornuke’s adventures (if they occurred) at Jebel el-Lawz, you may recall, were chronicled in a book by Howard Blum (“The Gold of Exodus”) that got reviewed in Biblical Archaeology review under the wonderful title, “Yahoos in Arabia.”
Now, mind you, I do think a good case can be made for Jebel el-Lawz as the location of Mount Sinai (though I’m not married to it). I just think real scholars like Frank Moore Cross of Harvard (now retired) are the people to pay attention to for a defense of that view).1
So now we have the latest archaeo-fiasco. The Jebel el-Lawz view is sullied once more by Christian archaeological amateurism and perhaps fakery. This time it’s an alleged “Yahweh inscription” from Jebel el-Lawz. You can read about the inscription and the claims surrounding it in this debunking by Gordon Franz. It includes a picture (hand drawing) of the object. The lettering on the inscription, which some experts consider a fake, is not epigraphic Hebrew, nor proto-Sinaitic. It’s Old South Arabian script. You can click here to check a South Arabian alphabet and follow the discussion of the letters more easily.
- Note that in saying this, I’m telegraphing the fact that I am not persuaded against Cross’s position by the Jebel el-Lawz debunking by Gordon Franz, the same fellow to whom I’ve directed readers of this post for the Yahweh inscription debunking. I don’t think the Jebel el-Lawz location is without problem, but Franz’s arguments against it aren’t that compelling since they have other answers than the conclusions he draws. It’s just too bad that Jebel el-Lawz gets colored as silly because of people like Wyatt and Cornuke. ↩