Archaeologists announced this week the discovery of a 3,000-year-old Hebrew inscription. It is merely the latest of a series of dramatic archaeological finds in Israel in recent months.
Archaeologists have discovered a 40-pound stone containing the oldest known example of the Hebrew alphabet. The stone, inscribed with the Hebrew alphabet written out in its traditional order, was found in the wall of a building dated from the 10th century BCE in Tel Zayit, ancient Judea, south of Jerusalem. The building itself was part of a network of structures at the site, indicating an important border town connected to a centralized kingdom.
The discovery was made by Dr. Ron Tappy, a professor at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, on the last day of a five-week dig at Tel Zayit. "This is very rare," he said, "This makes it very historically probable there were people [3,000 years ago] who could write." In an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Tappy said, "All successive alphabets in the ancient world, including the Greek one, derive from this ancestor at Tel Zayit."
In addition to constituting an important contribution in understanding the history of writing, the inscription helps to counter claims that the Bible could not have been written by Jews in ancient times, experts said. The find, in its context, suggests literacy levels that support Biblical writings of a unified Jewish kingdom.
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