Archive for the ‘archaeology’ Category

I posted earlier how archaeology has confirmed over 50 real people from the bible.  It was one of the most popular articles published by Biblical Archaeology Review by Lawrence Mykytiuk, associate professor of library science and the history librarian at Purdue University holding a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Semitic Studies and is the author of the book Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004).  He has followed up that article with “New Testament Political Figures Confirmed.”  Mykytiuk starts by exclaiming, “For a collection of writings usually seen as religious, the New Testament mentions a surprising number of political figures, in connection with court trials, dates of important events and even political murders.” He plans to do a follow up article on nonpolitical figures in the New Testament whose existence is confirmed outside its page.  The list of political figures include:

  • Augustus
  • Tiberius
  • Nero
  • Herod the Great
  • Herod of Antipas
  • Pontius Pilate

Seventeen other political figures are listed with the dates they ruled, mention of them in the New Testament, a sample of evidence in historical writings, and evidence in inscriptions.  He also discusses “almost real people” (that is figures that are not certain but are reasonable) and people not clearly documented outside the New Testament. Mykytiuk has also written on confirmation of Jesus outside of the New Testament. Here is a partial screen shot of the current article on political figures in the New Testament:

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 11.55.39 AM

He concludes his article in the magazine stating that “All 23 of the political figures discussed in this article are clearly identifiable in sources outside the New Testament, confirming this facet of its historical reliability.”

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

12th Dead Sea Scroll Cave Found!

Bethsaida

53 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically

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Possible birthplace of three of Jesus’ disciples has been discovered: Bethsaida.  The apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip are mentioned in John 1:44 with the city of Bethsaida.  Here is a quick video of the discovery:

 

The National Geographic article titled “The Real Story Behind the ‘House of Jesus’ Apostles’ Discovery” states that:

The “lost home of Jesus’ apostles” has just been found, according to a recent Israeli newspaper report. Yet while the actual discovery is not nearly as sensational as many headlines suggest, the new results are adding very interesting fuel to an ongoing debate about the location of one of the most important cities in the New Testament.

While this discovery is not definitive, it will push the discussion about the location of the the ancient city of Bethsaida.  The discovery was found on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilea as pictured below:

bethsaida

Two of Jesus miracles: 1. Healing the blind man  (Mark 8:22) and 2. Miraculously feeding of the 5,000 multitude with five loaves and two fish  (Luke 9:16).

Another video on Bethsaida.

 

Articles:

The Real Story Behind the ‘House of Jesus’ Apostles’ Discovery” by Kristin Romey National Geographic | August 7, 2017

The Lost City of Jesus’ Apostles Has Just Been Found, Archaeologists Say” by Noa Shpigel and Ruth Schuster Haaretz | August 8, 2017

Is this unearthed fishing village the birthplace of three of Jesus’ apostles?” by Michele Chabin Religious News Service August 7, 2017

Archaeological Discovery: Home of 3 of Jesus’ Disciples Possibly Found” by  Michael Gryboski ChristianPost | August 7, 2017

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 8.32.51 PM.pngThe Tower of Babel is recorded in Genesis 11:1-9.  Critical scholars have traditionally viewed this story as mythical and not historical. There just seemed to not be enough corroborating evidence.

But, recently the Smithsonian Channel’s show titled Secrets aired its first episode of season four titled “The Tower of Babel” which seemingly supports the biblical record.

The episode focused on the Tower of Babel Stele (i.e., stone tablet) from the Schøyen Collection which is the private collection of Norwegian businessman Martin Schøyen. Joseph M. Holden, author of The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Biblestates that “according to most critical scholars, this event [i.e., the Tower of Babel] found in Scripture is mythical and certainly could not have taken place in Mesopotamia, where it is said to have occurred.  Originally, support for this notion was found in the fact that no extra-biblical Mesopotamian record existed that documented such an incredible event.” That is until, apparently, now:

 

On the website of the Schøyen Collection the commentary section on the Tower of Babel Stele states: “Here we have for the first time an illustration contemporary with Nebuchadnezzar II’s restoring and enlargement of the Tower of Babel, and with a caption making the identity absolutely sure. We also have the building plans, as well as a short account of the reconstruction process.”  Apparently the ziggurat in Bablyon was originally built during the time of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC).

The Secrets episode on the Smithsonian Channel states that there is “some very compelling evidence the Tower of Babel was real.”  Professor Andrew R. George, featured in the episode and the professor of Babylonian history at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, states that “This is a very strong piece of evidence that the tower of Babel story was inspired by this real building.”

Related Articles on The Tower of Babel Stele:

Evidence for Bible’s Tower of Babel Discovered” | The Christian Post May 9, 2017

Ancient Babylonian Tablet Provides Compelling Evidence that the Tower of Babel DID Exist” | Ancient Origins May 8, 2017

Smithsonian Channel Spotlights Stone Tablet Believed to Confirm Biblical Tower of Babel” | Christian News Network May 7, 2017

Tower of Babel Discovered? Ancient Tablet Describes Mesopotamian Structure Built By ‘Multitudes’ ” | Breaking Israel News May 8, 2017

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

50 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

12th Dead Sea Scroll Cave Found!

 

 

 

dssA twelfth cave has been found!  Craig Evans, of Houston Baptist University reports its importance:

The last Dead Sea Scrolls cave, linked to the ruins on the marl shelf at the mouth of Wadi Qumran, was discovered in 1956, bringing the total number of caves to eleven — eleven caves containing the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, ceramic jars, and a number of other artifacts.

For sixty years archaeologists and looters have been searching for a twelfth cave. Would another one ever be found? Most didn’t think so. This is what makes the announcement from Hebrew University so astounding: A twelfth cave has been discovered!

In 1947 one of the most significant archaeological discoveries ever found was the Dead Sea Scrolls.  This short video is a great summary of the discovery:

 

Eleven caves were discovered containing artifacts, some included scrolls of the Hebrew Scripture (i.e. The Old Testament) and other writings, and some did not.  This discovery, the first in over 60 years to discover a new scroll cave and to be properly excavated, apparently contained at one time Dead Sea scrolls.  Christian Post reporter Stoyan Zaimov, writes:

Since being discovered in a series of findings between 1947 and 1956, nearly 900 manuscripts and thousands of fragments containing biblical text, written on animal skin and papyrus in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, have been analyzed by researchers.

Dov Smith at Phys.org reports:

Numerous storage jars and lids from the Second Temple period were found hidden in niches along the walls of the cave and deep inside a long tunnel at its rear. The jars were all broken and their contents removed, and the discovery towards the end of the excavation of a pair of iron pickaxe heads from the 1950s (stored within the tunnel for later use) proves the cave was looted.

 

Johnston and Evans fills in the backstory of the Dead Sea Scrolls at FoxNews.com:

Bedouin shepherds in a cave near Khirbet Qumran made this amazing discovery in 1947, about one mile inland from the western shore of the Dead Sea.

By 1956, a total of eleven caves had been found at Qumran; however, no caves have been discovered since, until now.

Here are some short videos on this discovery:

 

 

 

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

50 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

Bible History Daily has an updated list of 50 [update] 53 people in the bible who have been confirmed archaeologically.  It is not an exhaustive list.  It does not include Caiaphas or Pontius Pilate or anyone from the New Testament because it focuses on the Hebrew Bible.  The list of 50 53 comprises mainly kings, pharaohs, and officials.  It is a nice list of names which also includes who they were, when the reigned, and where in the bible they are mentioned. Here is a quick screen shot of the list:Screen Shot 2016-12-14 at 8.42.46 AM.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purdue University produced a video of professor Lawrence Mykytiuk and his research:

 

 

An article at purdue.edu on his research was also published.  Here is a taste of the article:

Lawrence Mykytiuk cannot document that everything in the Bible took place. What the Purdue University Libraries professor can do is show you that many of the people written about did, in fact, exist.

 “While some would put their hand on the Bible and really mean it when they take an oath, a few revisionist academics would throw it out and say, ‘That’s creative writing.’ I was looking for concrete, objective evidence outside of the Bible that would help build the case,” said Mykytiuk, an associate professor of library science.

The rest can be read here.

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

12th Dead Sea Scroll Cave Found!

Bethsaida

23 New Testament Figures Confirmed

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jehu strikes down the prophets of Baal.  “So when they put them to the sword, the guard and the officers cast them out and went into the inner room of the house of Baal and they brought out the pillar that was in the house of Baal and burned it.  And they demolished the pillar of Baal, and demolished the house of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day.” (2 Kings 10:25-27)

Archaeologists of the Israeli Antiquities Authority have found that toilet.  As John Stonestreet reports for his podcast on Breakpoint:

Archaeologists found a “large room that appears to have been a shrine. The room contained two four-horned altars, whose horns had been intentionally damaged.” Excavatiolachish-latrinen leader Sa’ar Ganor “believes that the destroyed altars corroborate biblical references to King Hezekiah’s reforms: his efforts to centralize worship in Jerusalem and abolish it elsewhere.”  As if this weren’t exciting enough, Ganor and his team found something else in the room: a “seat carved of stone with a hole in the center.” In other words, a toilet.

The biblical narrative as recorded in 2 Kings, King Hezekiah oversaw an effort to get rid of the foreign religious practices such as Baal and idol worship that had started up in Judah.  2 Kings 18:4 stated that “He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles.”

According to Richard Gray at The Daily Mail:

Tests at the site showed that while the toilet stone appears to have been installed to desecrate the shrine, it was never actually used.

Archaeologists instead believe it had been placed there symbolically and the inner sanctum of the shrine was sealed shut.

This discovery, along with other recent discoveries, confirms  a great deal of what scripture is telling us about King Hezekiah and his reforms.

Below are some quick videos on the dig site at Lachish and the discovery of the latrine:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3811712/The-wrong-kind-throne-Toilet-discovered-2-800-year-old-shrine-reveals-Biblical-tale-desecration-religious-sites-King-Hezekiah.html#v-5012507555831041899

 

 

Resources:

The Wrong Kind of Throne” by Richard Gray, Dailymail.com, Sept 28, 2016

Ancient City Gate and Shrine from Hebrew Bible Uncovered” by Laura Geggel, LIveScience, Sept 28, 2016

No Pooh-Poohing Biblical History” by John Stonestreet, Breakpoint Commentaries, Oct 13, 2016

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

f2-largeOne of the earliest manuscripts of the Old Testament was revealed by researchers at the University of Kentucky.  This scroll, which contains portions of the book of Leviticus, was discovered in 1970, but was unreadable because it suffered from fire damage 1,500 years ago.  Modern technology made it possible to scan and “virtually” unwrap it without actually touching it and destroying it in its fragile state.  This video from the Wall Street Journal explains the process:

 

Emanuel Tov of the Hebrew University explains its importance,”For scholars, the scroll brings the good news that the text has not changed for 2,000 years.”

Breaking News Israel reports:

This week, incredible cutting-edge technology allowed archaeologists to finally read the contents of a burned 1,500-year-old scroll found near the Dead Sea in 1970. The remarkable discovery of verses from the Book of Leviticus, which matched, letter for letter, the Hebrew text still in use today, is the first instance of one of the Five Books of Moses ever found in a Holy Ark.

On Wednesday, researchers in Kentucky and Jerusalem announced in the Science Advances journal the success of new technology called ‘virtual unwrapping’. A complicated and difficult process based on the technology used in medical CT scans, researchers said it “represents a significant leap forward in the field of manuscript recovery, conservation, and analysis”.

The technique allowed scientists to read the Ein Gedi Scroll, a charred, ancient parchment discovered in an ancient destroyed synagogue on the shores of the Dead Sea more than forty years ago which has sat on a shelf, untouchable and indecipherable, ever since.

The scroll contains the first eight verses of Leviticus and dates from either the 1st or 2nd century CE and when compared to the Torah used today it is identical.  This is the earliest discovery of an Old Testament manuscript since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.

Articles/Videos:

“Researchers Reconstruct Early Version of Old Testament Text From Burned Scroll,” Robert Lee Hotz | Wall Street Journal, Sept 21, 2016

“Burned Mystery Scroll Digitally Unraveled Reveals Bible Unchanged for 2,000 Years,” Adam Berkowitz | Breaking Israel News, Sept 21, 2016

“Computers Decipher Burnt Scroll Found in Ancient Holy Ark,” Michael Greshko | National Geographic,  Sept 21, 2016

“Scientists Use ‘Virtual Unwrapping’ to Read Ancient Biblical Scroll Reduced to ‘Lump of Coal’ “ Ian Sample | The Guardian, Sept 22, 2016

“From Damage to Discovery Via Virtual Unwrapping,” William B Seales, et. al | Science Advances, Sept 21, 2016

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

 

 

A palace has been discovered at the biblical city of Gezer that dates to the 10th century BC, the era usually associated with King Solomon.  Gezer has been excavated off and on since the 1990s, but this past season of archaeological efforts has produced evidence of a Philistine presence in the city as recorded in the Old Testament.

In the Haaretz (Israel’s oldest daily newspaper), Philippe Bohstrom reports that:

[An] American archaeological team . . . found a layer featuring Philistine pottery, lending credence to the biblical account of them living in the city until being vanquished by King David.

This past season of excavation has revealed a Philistine link to Gezer as recorded in 2 Samuel 5:25 which states that “David did as the Lord commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba to Gezer” as well as in 1 Chronicles 14:16.  The Haaretz article goes on to report that pottery discovered there is Philistine:

According to the Old Testament, the city was also associated with the Philistines in David’s time: the king broke their power “from Geba to as far as Gezer” (2 Samuel 5:25; 1 Chronicles 14:16). This excavation season has proved the Philistine link too, when the archaeologists revealed a layer with Philistine bichrome pottery.

The rest of the article can be found here: King Solomon-era Palace Found in Biblical Gezer

As of right now there is still no evidence of which Israelite king lived there or if any did, but somebody of importance did because “the edifice is significantly larger than the size of ordinary houses of the time.” (source)

At International Business Times Janice Williams reports on the Gezer discovery:

Archaeology Proves the Bible is a True Story? King Solomon Era Palace Found in Israel

At taste of this article:

Although archaeologist are unsure if Solomon ever visited the site, they named the compound “Solomon’s Palace” because of his biblical tradition of building grand projects at Hatzor, Megiddo and Gezer. There is also a passage in the Bible (1 Kings 9: 16-17) that says Egypt’s monarch gave the city of Gezer to Solomon as a dowry for his wife, after which Solomon rebuilt the city.

Tel Gezer

Other articles related to this discovery:

Archaeology Discovery: 3,000-Y-O Israeli Site Supports Old Testament Account of Philistines | Christian Post

New Finds From An Old Geezer | Baptist Today

Solomon’s Palace Discovered in IsraelChristianity Today

Archaeologists Link Remains of a Destroyed Palace to the Reign of King Solomon | News Corp Australia Network

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

 

 

 

Possibly the first Philistine cemetery has been discovered at Ashkelon, Israel.  They have been excavating this known Philistine city for decades, but have just recently uncovered a burial site which could answer many questions concerning the origins and life of the Philistines, the biblical archenemy of the Israelites.  Ashkelon, was a major Philistine city in the ancient world dating from the 12th to the 7th centuries B. C.  Over 200 individuals have been discovered in this cemetery.  They began digging is Ashkelon in 1985 and this discovery is a nice end cap to the several decade long expedition.

Here is a quick video on the discovery:

 

Some articles on the discovery:

“Discovery of Philistine Cemetery May Solve Biblical Mystery,” National Geographic | July 10, 2016

Possibly the first discovery of its times National Geographic reports:

An unrivaled discovery on the southern coast of Israel may enable archaeologists to finally unravel the origins of one of the most notorious and enigmatic peoples of the Hebrew Bible: the Philistines.

The discovery of a large cemetery outside the walls of ancient Ashkelon, a major city of the Philistines between the 12th and 7th centuries B.C., is the first of its kind in the history of archaeological investigation in the region.

“First-Ever Philistine Cemetery Unearthed at Ashkelon,” Bible History Daily | July 10, 2016

Five known Philistine cities have been discovered, revealing artifacts, but this discovery reveals the Philistines themselves:

Now Ashkelon has yielded the Philistines themselves.

Directed by Lawrence E. Stager, Dorot Professor of the Archaeology of Israel, Emeritus, at Harvard University, and Daniel M. Master, Professor of Archaeology at Wheaton College, the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon discovered the Iron Age cemetery in 2013 and began excavating it extensively in 2014. Three seasons of significant investigation have revealed previously unknown details of the Philistines in death—and life. First of all, the cemetery provides a window into Philistine burial practices.

“Story of Philistines Could be Reshaped by Ancient Cemetery,” The New York Times | July 10, 2015

This site has seemingly been undisturbed for several millennia according the the NYT:

After more than 30 years of excavating the remains of a Philistine city, a team of archaeologists says it believes it has found a cemetery belonging to the ancient people on the outskirts of Ashkelon in Israel.

The team has unearthed skeletons and artifacts that it suspects had rested for more than 3,000 years in the cemetery, potentially offering clues to the Philistines’ lifestyle and perhaps providing some answers to the mysteries of where the Philistines came from. Much has remained unknown about their origins.

“When we found this cemetery right next to a Philistine city, we knew we had it,” said Daniel Master, an archaeologist from Wheaton College in Illinois. “We have the first Philistine cemetery that’s ever been discovered.”

Any great discovery is not without its criticism. Questions about it being the first discovery is under discussion.  Live Science reports:

[E]xperts not affiliated with the excavations are not yet convinced of the claim, saying that the identity of the people buried at the Ashkelon cemetery is not clear-cut and the finding itself has not been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Further muddying the waters, other burials found in known Philistine cities, though never confirmed, also have dibs on the title of “first-discovered Philistine cemetery.”

“First Ever? Discovery of Philistine Cemetery Draws Criticism” Live Science | July 14, 2016

Another quick video on the discovery from CNN:

Here are other posts I have reported on concerning biblical archaeology:

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

Israel ostraca literacyWho would have thought that a shopping list on some pottery fragments would reveal when the Old Testament was possibly written.

Here is the issue: Some skeptics state that low literacy rates in ancient Israel  would prohibit the Old Testament from being written prior to the Babylonian captivity and that it was invented during the Jewish exile to solidify their Jewish identity, indicating that the events  never really occurred but were fabricated or legendarily developed.

Significance: This discovery and new research is challenging the scholars wanting to push the early Old Testament composition to after the Babylonian captivity.  Skeptics have attributed the writing of several biblical texts such as Joshua, 1 and 2 Kings, and the early Old Testament to after the siege of Jerusalem.  This theory “holds that the biblical texts were written as a result of the exile to Babylon, when the composers began to think about their past and put their history to parchment.”  This discovery begins to poke holes into the idea that major portions of the Hebrew scripture were written during or after the exile to Babylon, but actually written during the late 7th century BC.

 

Here is a link to another video on this subject.

If you want to explore the issue in more depth here are some articles:

“Discovery: Ancient Inscriptions Suggest Hebrew Bible Older Than Many Believed” | The Stream – This excerpt is the best single article to get the facts as well as the significance of this discovery as it relates to biblical reliability:

Israeli mathematicians and archaeologists say they have found evidence to suggest that key biblical texts may have been composed earlier than what some scholars think.

Using handwriting analysis technology similar to that employed by intelligence agencies and banks to analyze signatures, a Tel Aviv University team determined that a famous hoard of ancient Hebrew inscriptions, dated to around 600 BC, were written by at least six different authors. Although the inscriptions are not from the Bible, their discovery suggests there was widespread literacy in ancient Judah at the time that would support the composition of biblical works.

“Handwriting Dating to the Seventh Century B.C. Analyzed” | Archaeology – a quick summary from Archaeology:

The analysis suggests that at least six different people, ranging in rank from the commander of the fort down to the deputy quartermaster, had written these texts. All of the writers used proper spelling and syntax. Similar ostracons have been found at other border forts, suggesting that writing was widespread, at least within the Judahite army. Israel Finkelstein [of Tel Aviv University] thinks the ancient kingdom of Judah may have had an educational system, since literacy was not limited to the elite. “This is really quite amazing, that in a remote place like this, there was more than one person, several people, who could write,” he told Live Science. Finkelstein also claims that if literacy were widespread at the time, it would support the idea that portions of the Bible could have been compiled before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.

New Evidence on When Bible Was Written: Ancient Shopping Lists” | The New York Times – Essentially scholars analyzed a shopping list, but has impact on possible biblical composition dates:

The requests for wine, flour and oil read like mundane, if ancient, shopping lists. But a new analysis of the handwriting suggests that literacy may have been far more widespread than previously known in the Holy Land around 600 B.C., toward the end of the First Temple period. The findings, according to the researchers from Tel Aviv University, could have some bearing on a century-old debate about when the main body of biblical texts was composed.

Algorithmic Handwriting Analysis of Judah’s Military Correspondence Sheds Light on Composition of Biblical Texts – Proceedings of the National Academy of Science – A portion of the abstract:

By using novel image processing and machine learning algorithms we deduce the presence of at least six authors in this corpus. This indicates a high degree of literacy in the Judahite administrative apparatus and provides a possible stage setting for compilation of biblical texts. After the kingdom’s demise, a similar literacy level reemerges only ca. 200 BCE.

“The Bible Is Really Old, Handwriting Analysis Reveals” | Live Science -A quick selection of this article:

The shards, found at a frontier fort dating to around 600 B.C., were written by at least six different people, suggesting that literacy was widespread in the ancient kingdom of Judah, said study co-author Israel Finkelstein, an archaeologist and biblical scholar at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

“We’re dealing with really low-level soldiers in a remote place who can write,” Finkelstein told Live Science. “So there must have been some sort of educational system in Judah at that time.”

The writing shows that the kingdom had the intellectual resources to write and compile large chunks of the Old Testament during this period, he added.

“Parts of Bible may have been written earlier than expected, archaeologist say” | The Guardian:

Israeli mathematicians and archaeologists say they have found evidence to suggest that key biblical texts may have been composed earlier than some scholars think.

Using handwriting analysis technology similar to that employed by intelligence agencies and banks to analyze signatures, a Tel Aviv University team determined that a famous hoard of ancient Hebrew inscriptions, dated to around 600 BCE, were written by at least six different authors. Although the inscriptions are not from the Hebrew Bible, their discovery suggests there was widespread literacy in ancient Judah at the time that would support the composition of biblical works.

So, never look down on your shopping list again.  It just might turn up centuries later to tell us something about you.

Resources: Some books on the reliability of the Old Testament.

On The Reliability of the Old Testaement by K. A Kitchen –  Kitchen is professor of Egyptology and Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Archaeology at the University of Liverpool.  He concludes this monumental study with “What can be said of historical reliability? Here our answer – on the evidence available – is more positive.  The periods most in the glare of contemporary documents – the divided monarchy and the exile and return – show a very high level of direct correlation (where adequate data exist) and of reliability.  . . . In terms of general reliability – and much more could have been instanced than there was room for here – the Old Testament comes out remarkably well, so long as its writings and writers are treated fairly and evenhandedly, in line with independent data, open to all.” (499-500)

The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable and Relevant by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. –  The amazon.com description: “In this thought-provoking book Walter C. Kaiser Jr. makes the case that the Old Testament documents are both historically reliable and personally and socially relevant. He begins by looking at the origins of the Old Testament books and how well their texts were preserved. Next he explores Old Testament history, giving close attention to the book of Genesis, the patriarchal narratives, and the chronicles of the kings of Judah and Israel. He then surveys the larger questions of the trustworthiness and authority of the various Old Testament genres: historical narrative, wisdom and prophecy. Lastly, Kaiser probes the relevance of the Old Testament for Christian faith today.”