Earliest Alphabetic Writing

Earliest Alphabetic Writing

(Clay, finger-sized objects with engravings or inscriptions. Image credit: Courtesy of Dr. Glenn Schwartz)

Rachel Wallach writes in her online article, “Alphabetic writing may have begun 500 years earlier than believed: Inside one archaeologist’s mission to rewrite the history of writing“, that archeologist Glenn Schwartz believes discoveries at Umm el-Mara in modern Syria may mean that the history of alphabetic writing may need to be updated:

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Announcement of the Discovery of a Section of Wall in Jerusalem, possibly dating to the period of the Babylonian Invasion

Announcement of the Discovery of a Section of Wall in Jerusalem, possibly dating to the period of the Babylonian Invasion

(photo credit: KOBI HARATI/CITY OF DAVID, from The Jerusalem Post)

The Jerusalem Post and other outlets are carrying this news. The announcement comes on on the eve of the Ninth of Av, a day marking terrible calamities in Jewish history (the fall to the Babylonians in 587/586 BCE, the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, and several others), and this news release may have been timed due to the discovery’s connection with the first destruction of Jerusalem on that date.

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Jumping to Conclusions: ‘This’ does not necessarily mean ‘that’ in the discovery of an ancient name.

Jumping to Conclusions: ‘This’ does not necessarily mean ‘that’ in the discovery of an ancient name.

The Jerubbaal inscription. (photo credit: DAFNA GAZIT/ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY)

This past week it was announced by the Israeli Antiquities Authority that a 3,100 year piece of pottery was excavated at Khirbat er-Ra‘i, near Qiryat Gat, in Israel. The excitement is that the name Jerubaal/Yerubaʿal is inscribed on the fragment, which is a name used for Gideon in the Book of Judges (Judg 6:32; 7:1; 8:29, 35-9:2; 9:5, 16, 19, 24, 28, 57; 1 Sam 12:11), and this is the first time that name has been discovered in material dating from the period of the Judges.

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The Emancipation Proclamation

The Emancipation Proclamation

January 1, 1863

A Transcription

By the President of the United States of America:

A Proclamation.

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

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What Did Jesus Look Like?

What Did Jesus Look Like?

Joan Taylor has written a really good post over at ASOR’s Ancient Near East Today website discussing the issue what Jesus may have looked like. She first discusses the issue that most of our contemporary and iconic images of Jesus date from the Byzantine period or later, beginning some 300 years after Jesus and reflecting more the images and ideals of periods and cultures different from that of Jesus:

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