Friday, October 31, 2008

For more years than I can recall academia state the Bible is great literature, but come on! It's a work of myths and legends that only a fool would believe.

Like one of my favorite hymns says, "Farther along we'll know all about it, farther along we'll understand why."

There have been so many important and exciting archeological finds recently and with each discovery we come a little closer to discovering perhaps the Bible, The Torah, The Tenach is historically correct. Perhaps the judgement of academia is somewhat hasty.

By Carolynne Wheeler and Gil Rone in Jerusalem

The tiny shard was unearthed at the site where the Bible says the shepherd boy David killed the giant Goliath.

It is said to feature the oldest-ever Hebrew inscription, predating the famous Dead Sea Scrolls by at least 850 years.

Researchers have not yet been able to decipher the full text of its five lines but they have translated the words for "king", "judge", and "slave," suggesting it was written by a trained scribe in the king's court.

The lead archaeologist says the shard and the fortress-city in which it was uncovered are rare evidence of the biblical kingdom of David.

In Christian and Jewish tradition David became a great king of the Jews and founder of Jerusalem.

The experts said the latest finds suggested the area was home to a powerful civilisation rather than a small tribe of little importance.

"This is the revolutionary aspect in our excavations," Yosef Garfinkel, the lead archaeologist in the case and a professor at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, told the Daily Telegraph. "It is the first time in Israel that you have a fortified city from the kingdom of David. This has never been found before."

The pottery shard, with its five lines of inscription in a proto-Canaanite script that is a predecessor of Hebrew, was found during the excavation of the Elah fortress at Khirbet Qeiyafa, just south of Jerusalem.

The fortress is thought to have been a checkpoint guarding a main route between the Israelites and territory controlled by the Philistines. About 600 square metres (718 square yards) have been excavated, revealing the remains of a 10.5-metre-high (11.5 yards) gate and a city wall about 700 metres (765 yards) long.

The pottery shard has been dated to as early as 975 BC, based on burned olive pits found nearby that have been carbon-dated at Oxford University.

Professor Garfinkel said the discovery of the fortress, close to the large Philistine capital of Gath, suggests the Biblical tale of David and Goliath was in fact a metaphor for frequent battles between people of the Elah fortress and the neighbouring Philistines.

The text is written in ink on a pottery shard. It is made up of five lines of text in Proto-Canaanite characters separated by lines. The discovery, by archaeologists Prof. Yossi Garfinkel and Sa'ar Ganor of Hebrew University, is being hailed as one of the most important finds in Israel since the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Carbon-14 dates to King David. The writing predates the Dead Sea Scrolls by about 1,000 years.The writing on the shard seems to be a letter sent from one person to another and archaeologists have still not deciphered it completely.

Preliminary analysis shows that it contains the words "king" (melech), "judge" (shofet), and "eved" (slave), but the terms seem to be parts of names, as in "Achimelech" or "Evedel" (lit. "King's brother," "Servant of God").

Carbon-14 dating as well as chemical analysis of the pottery found at the site shows conclusively that it dates from between 1,000 and 975 B.C. – the time of King David's reign. David – who wrote the Psalms, unified the tribes of Israel and made Jerusalem the capital of the Israeli nation – is considered to be Israel's greatest King, whose reign ushered in the period in which the First Temple was built.

The writing therefore predates the Dead Sea Scrolls by about 1,000 years.

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