Oct 30, 2016

Papyrus mentions Jerusalem in Hebrew, Real or Forgery?

The rare inscription from the time of the First Temple period.
(photo credit: Shai Halevy, IAA)
Recently, a piece of Papyrus was recovered (from smugglers) that mentions the word "Jerusalem" in Hebrew. It is reportedly the oldest (7th Century BC) mention of "Jerusalem" in Hebrew ever produced thus far. See the the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).
    However, keep in mind that the IAA have a vested interest in declaring that an early manuscript mentions “Jerusalem” for their land claims. Responding, the expert epigrapher Dr. Christopher A. Rollston, George Washington University, is calling for caution and believes it is a forgery. He lists his reasons on his blog. It does not mean it is a forgery, but we do need to be cautious about such finds that are not found in an excavation as they bring large sums of money and many are willing to pay big dollars for such a sensational find. There are certainly lots of other mentions of Jerusalem in other ancient texts, but non so early in Hebrew. However, these can be easily forged by experts.
    A conference, including sessions dealing with this Hebrew papyrus document, was held on October 27, 2016 at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. One of the respondents was the archaeologist Prof. Aren Maeir. He raised some questions about the authenticity of the document. Some of the points he made are included in an article by Nir Hasson in Haaretz, which Maeir reproduced on his Tel Es-Safi/Gath blog where he included another 15 points
    The IAA have responded asking for those claiming it is a forgery to provide proof.
    There will be a presentation on it at ASOR American Schools of Oriental Research next month (Nov, 2016)  in San Antonio. Lets wait and see what more experts have to say. No doubt there will be a large debate over this one, as is so often the case with such a sensational find.

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