Friday, October 31, 2008

Oldest Hebrew text ever found?


Archeologists have found what they are decribing as the oldest hebrew text ever, on a 3000 year old pottery shard. The date was established by carbon dating. That would set its origins from around the time of Kind David. It was found in the Valley of Elah, near Beit Shemesh, in the dig of an ancient fortress believed to be one used by David in his fight against the people of Pleshet.

It's written in proto-Canaanite characters, and includes the words "שופט" (judge), "עבד" (slave), and "מלך" (king).

What apparantly makes it Hebrew is that according to Yosef Garfinkel, the lead archeologst studying it, it includes a "three-letter verb from the inscription meaning 'to do,' a word he said existed only in Hebrew."

All the articles say the same thing, but I can't find what that 3 letter word is, despite looking through several Hebrew articles about this find. Maybe I missed it? Here's one of the Hebrew articles.

Side issue: While looking through the articles about this, I came across Reuters' description. Apparantly, they found it important, in an article about an archeological find, to bring up the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

"The dig's uncovering of the past near the ancient battlefield in the Valley of Elah, now home to wineries and a satellite station, could have implications for the emotional debate over the future of Jerusalem, some 20 km (12 miles) away."

Apparantly, as far as Reuters is concerned, anything to do with Israel has to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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