Archaeologist claims to find oldest Hebrew text in Israel, including the name of God

Lovin Jesus

Well-Known Member
Archaeologist Dr. Scott Stripling and a team of international scholars held a press conference on Thursday in Houston, Texas, unveiling what he claims is the earliest proto-alphabetic Hebrew text — including the name of God, “YHWH” — ever discovered in ancient Israel. It was found at Mount Ebal, known from Deuteronomy 11:29 as a place of curses.

If the Late Bronze Age (circa 1200 BCE) date is verified, this tiny, 2-centimeter x 2 centimeter folded-lead “curse tablet” may be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries ever. It would be the first attested use of the name of God in the Land of Israel and would set the clock back on proven Israelite literacy by several centuries — showing that the Israelites were literate when they entered the Holy Land, and therefore could have written the Bible as some of the events it documents took place.

“This is a text you find only every 1,000 years,” Haifa University Prof. Gershon Galil told The Times of Israel on Thursday. Galil helped decipher the hidden internal text of the folded lead tablet based on high-tech scans carried out in Prague at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

Based on epigraphical analysis of the scans and lead analysis of the artifact, Stripling and his team date the curse tablet (or defixio) to the late Bronze Age, before or around 1200 BCE. If this dating is verified, it would make the text centuries older than the previous record holder for oldest Hebrew text in Israel and 500 years older than the previously attested use of the tetragrammaton YHWH, according to Galil. Writing in a similar alphabet was discovered in the Sinai Peninsula dating to the beginning of the 16th century BCE.



Well-Known Member
Hmm very encouraging wording. :oops:

Glad to know what the text looks like for YHWH. I would have thought it was a stick figure kicking his dog and dropping his leaf blower.

I love how things still keep coming to light. I think it would be fun to be an archeologist but then again I wouldn’t have patience for the tediousness of it.

Everlasting Life

Through Faith in Jesus
Interesting aspect from the OP:

......The curse tablet was discovered in earth originally taken from a cultic site at Mount Ebal, near biblical Shechem and today’s Nablus. Mount Ebal appears in Deuteronomy 11:29 as a place of “curses” and is revered by some Christians and Jews as the place where the biblical Joshua built an altar as commanded in Deuteronomy 27. It is described in Joshua 8:31 as “an altar of unhewn stones, upon which no man had lifted up any iron.”....

......“As soon as I saw it [the tablet], I knew what it was because these curse tablets are known. My heart almost jumped out of my chest,” said Stripling.

In addition to the fact of an early — if not the earliest — Hebrew inscription found in the Land of Israel, Galil told The Times of Israel that this find sets to rest the ongoing academic discussion of whether the Israelites were literate.

Galil told The Times of Israel that the text is largely written in an archaic proto-Canaanite script, with some letters coming from hieroglyphs. The latest date of the epigraphic analysis would put it circa the 12th century, while some elements are dated to even earlier.

The majority Hebrew-language text, he posited, was written by Israelites as an internal legal document, a form of social contract, warning the person under contract what would happen if he did not fulfill his obligations.

According to the researchers, it reads: “Cursed, cursed, cursed – cursed by the God YHW./ You will die cursed./ Cursed you will surely die./ Cursed by YHW – cursed, cursed, cursed.”

Galil said the structure is a parallel chiastic, which is found elsewhere in the Bible, as well as in other Near Eastern texts of the period and even earlier. But until now, researchers have held that the Bible was only written down — if not composed — hundreds of years after the posited dating of this text.

“Now we see that someone could write a chiastic” in the 12th century BCE. No longer should the conversation be about whether the Israelites were literate during the time of King David, he said....