Archaeologists in Israel believe they have found an artifact with a link to the biblical Judges during a dig in the foothills of Judea.
According to the Israeli Antiquities Authority, the writing was Early Alphabetic, also known as “Canaanite, and its use dates between the 12th and 10th centuries BC. The findings were reported in the Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology.
The shards were discovered at a site at Khirbet el Rai, which is about 45 miles southwest of Jerusalem. A team of archaeologists has been excavating the site since 2015.
Professor Yossef Garfinkel of the University of Jerusalem said they determined the date of the artifact by using radiocarbon dating, examining the typography of the shards and conducting a petrographic analysis of the pottery.
Professor Christopher Rollston, an epigrapher from George Washington University who worked on the shards, told theTimes of Israel that “The reading Yeuba’al is the most logical and reasonable reading, and I consider it quite definitive.” He added, “This script is well known and nicely attested, so we can read it with precision.”
Epigrapher and historian Michael Langlois explained to the Times of Israel that this discovery, along with others like it, has sharpened our understanding of the period of the judges and given greater clarity to when the book of Judges was written. He said, “For decades, there were practically no inscriptions of this era and region. To the point that we were not even sure what the alphabet looked like at that time. There was a gap. Some even argued that the alphabet was unknown in the region, that there were no scribes, and that the Bible must therefore have been written much later.”
Langlois added, “These inscriptions are still rare, but they are slowly filling the gap; they not only document the evolution of the alphabet, they show that there was, in fact, continuity in culture, language and traditions. The implications for our understanding of biblical history are vast — and exciting!”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Keni1, this is a stock image
Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”