Herodotus Returns


Oldest Hebrew writing discovered, may change writing date of Bible
January 9, 2010, 7:04 am
Filed under: Bible, Texts | Tags: , , ,

A pottery shard excavated in the place where David supposedly slew Goliath, may be inscribed with the oldest known Hebrew writing, dating back 1000 years before the Dead Sea scrolls.

A 3,000 year-old inscription discovered at a site where the Bible says David slew Goliath has been deciphered, showing it to be the earliest known Hebrew writing, Israeli archaeologists said on Thursday.

The pottery shard with five lines of text in the proto-Canaanite script that was used by Hebrews, Philistines and others in the region was discovered 18 months ago.

The writing was decrypted by Gershon Galil of the University of Haifawho “has shown this is a Hebrew inscription,” said a statement from the university.

“The discovery makes it the earliest known Hebrew writing,” the statement said.

Carbon-dating has shown the inscription dates back to the 10th century BC, making it about 1,000-years older than the Dead Sea scrolls.

“This text is a social statement, relating to slaves, widows and orphans,” said Galil, adding that both the words and the concepts used were specific to the Hebrew language and society.

The shard was found near the gate of a site known as Elah Fortress, about 30 kilometres (18 miles) west ofJerusalem, in the valley where the battle between David and Goliath is said to have taken place.

Finding such an early example of Hebrew makes it possible the Bible could have been written several centuries before the current estimates, the statement said.

“The inscription is similar in its content to biblical scriptures, but it is clear that it is not copied from any biblical text, the statement said.



Babylonian Tablet: Noah’s Ark Was Circular Raft, Made of Reeds
January 2, 2010, 6:26 am
Filed under: Bible, Texts | Tags: , ,

A text recently translated from ancient Babylonian is the first to give a physical description of the ark.

According to newly translated instructions inscribed in ancient Babylonian on a clay tablet telling the story of the ark, the vessel that saved one virtuous man, his family and the animals from god’s watery wrath was not the pointy-prowed craft of popular imagination but rather a giant circular reed raft….

“Wall, wall! Reed wall, reed wall! Atram-Hasis, pay heed to my advice, that you may live forever! Destroy your house, build a boat; despise possessions And save life! Draw out the boat that you will built with a circular design; Let its length and breadth be the same.”

The tablet goes on to command the use of plaited palm fibre, waterproofed with bitumen, before the construction of cabins for the people and wild animals.

It ends with the dramatic command of Atram-Hasis to the unfortunate boat builder whom he leaves behind to meet his fate, about sealing up the door once everyone else is safely inside: “When I shall have gone into the boat, Caulk the frame of the door!”

More on the ark-raft.