Comment on the Announcement of a New Herodian Inscription Found in Jerusalem

By David M. Jacobson
Department of Classics
KCL, London
October 2018

I believe that the name in this inscription in square Hebrew or Jewish script should be read HNNYH BR DYDLWS, i.e, Hananiah Bar Daidalos and not HNNYH BR DWDLWS, or Hananiah Bar Dodalos, as proposed by the excavators. In other words, the waw in the patronymic should be replaced by a yud. The two letters are rather similar in form in the Herodian form of the script. A “yud” is frequently used for the dipthong ai (Greek) or ae (Latin), as in the transliteration in Hebrew from the Latin or Greek of Caesar, which is rendered QYSR.

Daidalos (Daedalus in Latin) was a fabled master craftsman in Greek mythology, so would have been a fitting name for someone who is likely to have worked, like his son Hananiah, in a pottery factory adjacent to where the inscribed column drum was found. This point is made in the Ha’aretz article, although the form Dodalos is accepted for the inscription. This is really not warranted, as explained.

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