Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2009 Hebrew Scroll Find:

Possibly dated within four years of Temple's destruction (c. 74 A.D.):

The IAA press release:
Fifteen lines of Hebrew text, written from right to left and one below the other, can be discerned in the document. In the upper line of the text one can clearly read the sentence “Year 4 to the destruction of Israel”. This is likely to be the year 74 CE – in the event the author of the document is referring to the year when the Second Temple was destroyed during the Great Revolt. Another possibility is the year 139 CE – in the event the author is referring to the time when the rural settlement in Judah was devastated at the end of the Bar Kokhba Revolt.

The name of a woman, “Miriam Barat Ya‘aqov”, is also legible in the document followed by a name that is likely to be that of the settlement where she resided: Misalev. This is probably the settlement Salabim. The name Miriam Bat Ya‘aqov is a common name in the Second Temple period. Also mentioned in the document are the names of other people and families, the names of a number of ancient settlements from the Second Temple period and legal wording which deals with the property of a widow and her relinquishment of it."

The Bibliahebraica.blogspot comments:

"Since the find is unprovenanced, the authenticity of the scroll is officially yet to be determined. After viewing the photo, I strongly suspect it will turn out to be genuine. Finds like this of legal or business documents in Hebrew provide important data for exploring the issues of literacy and the use of Hebrew in Palestine in the 1st-2nd centuries CE. Gone are the days of simplistic models of how Hebrew all but died out, supplanted by Aramaic and Greek. Why use a nearly dead classical language to record a legal transaction? It's intended to be read and the terms understood."

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