New Paper on Tel Burna – relating to its possible identification of Libnah

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Aharon and myself have just received the proofs of our article entitled “From Lebonah to Libnah” which discusses the sites of Lebonah (near Shiloh, see Judges 21:19) and Libnah.

See here for the announcement. Below is the full bibliographic details with abstract of the paper.

2019: McKinny, Chris; Tavger, Aharon. 6. “From Lebonah to Libnah: Historical Geographical Details from the PEF and other Early Secondary Sources on the Toponymy of Two Homonymous Sites.” Pp. 107-122. Exploring the Holy Land – 150 Years of the Palestine Exploration Fund , edited by D. Guervich and A. Kidron. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom.

Charles Warren’s Map of Philistia – showing Tel Burna as “Tell Bulnard”


“There are three instances of toponyms based on לבנ in the Bible. These include Libnah/Laban of the wilderness Sinai wanderings (Num 33:20; Deut 1:1), Lebonah of Ephraim (Judg 21:19), and Libnah of the Judean Shephelah (e.g., Josh 10:29-31). Notably, the latter two are possibly preserved in Arabic toponyms from 19th century Palestine. These toponyms were recorded with varying spellings in such cartographic projects as the Van de Velde’s Map of the Holy Land (1854, 1858, 1865), Warren’s unpublished Reconnaissance of the Plain of Philistia (1867), and Conder and Kitchener’s Survey of Western Palestine (1882, 1883, 1880), the latter two which were conducted under the auspices of the Palestine Exploration Fund. Using these and other cartographic sources as the basis for our discussion, we will analyze the etymology and site identifications of Lebonah of Ephraim and Libnah of the Shephelah in connection with their occurrences in the various post-biblical sources with the purpose of understanding the linguistic development of the לבנ toponyms from the biblical period to pre-modern times. Our analysis shows that the toponymic history of these sites corroborates the current identifications of Lebonah with el-Lubban and Libnah with Tell Bornat.”

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