16 February 2010

Hebrew origins - recent evidence

A pottery shard found in 2008 may be the earliest known text in an early form of Hebrew and dates to the 10th century BC. The western gate of Khirbet QeiyafaThis is around the time of King David and would push the archaeological record of the language back by about 400 years from the previous oldest recorded sample.

The new evidence may also support the idea that parts of the Bible were written far earlier than previously thought. The piece of pottery recently unearthed at Khirbet Qeiyafa carries an ink inscription. As recently interpreted by Gershon Galil it closely resembles several Bible passages from Exodus, Psalms, and Isaiah. Earlier translations are less clear.

Gershon Galil's version reads
You shall not do [it], but worship the [Lord]. Judge the sla[ve] and the wid[ow] / Judge the orph[an] [and] the stranger. [Pl]ead for the infant / plead for the po[or and] the widow. Rehabilitate [the poor] at the hands of the king. Protect the po[or and] the slave / [supp]ort the stranger.

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