The Siloam Tunnel inscription: Historical and linguistic perspectives

Gary A. Rendsburg, William M. Schniedewind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The present article seeks to answer two questions: a) who the builders of the Siloam Tunnel were; and b) how one explains the three linguistic peculiarities of the relatively short Siloam Tunnel inscription. The historical, archaeological and linguistic evidence suggest that the tunnel was constructed by individuals who emigrated to Jerusalem from southern Samaria (Ephraim) and Benjamin in advance of the Assyrian invasion of the land. At least three - if not four - linguistic features in the inscription are associated with the Hebrew dialect of this border region, straddling the domains of the kingdom of Israel to the north and the kingdom of Judah to the south. This finding, in turn, suggests that a literate individual from within the group of builders was responsible for the epigraph.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-203
Number of pages16
JournalIsrael Exploration Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology


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