The Balaam text, written in ink on wall plaster, was discovered during archaeological excavations at Deir 'Alla in the Jordan Valley in 1967 and published in 1976 by Brill (Aramaic Texts from Deir 'Alla). The importance of this badly damaged inscription, which is dated either ca. 800 BC or the first half of the 8th century BC, was clear from the beginning and many studies have been published about it since. It was the aim of the International Symposium in Leiden 1989 to evaluate these studies and to advance the understanding of the text by a meeting of scholars who had worked extensively with it. The Proceedings include all the lectures (often reworked and annotated) as well as the prepared responses to them, some short communications and an additional note based on the discussion of one topic. Six different aspects of study of the Balaam text are dealt with: the archaeological context, the palaeography, the general interpretation, the language, interpretation of a number of details, and its relation to Old Testament studies. In this way the book is not just an addition to the current discussions concerning the Balaam text, but it also includes new data and new proposals and well as evaluations and attempts at scholarly agreements.
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