Presented by: Dr. Ahmad Al-Jallad (Ohio State University)
About the Lecture:
The Safaitic inscriptions constitute the largest epigraphic corpus in Jordan. The term refers to the northern most branch of the South Semitic alphabet, a sister of the Ancient South Arabian script (musnad). The inscriptions, concentrated in the Syro-Jodanian Basalt Desert (the Ḥarrah), record the lifeways of the regions inhabitants some 2000 years ago. While the exact chronological limits of Safaitic are not known, scholars have assumed that the documentation ends around the 4th c. CE as there are no mentions of Christianity. This lecture will present a new inscription, discovered during the 2019 summer campaign of the Badia Surveys. It records an invocation to a new divinity, attested for the first time in Safaitic, that should likely be identified as Jesus. After the discussion of its reading and interpretation, I will explain the ramifications of this discovery on the history of Christianity in the region and the background of Quranic ʿysy.