Oldest known writing discovered

The oldest known writing was recently discovered by Ephrat Greenwald in the Shiloah water tunnel in Jerusalem. It was probably written by a highly skilled scribe who prepared tablets for the royal household of the time. This tablet is most likely part of a message that would have been sent from the king of Jerusalem, possibly Abdi-Heba, back to Egypt. To learn more see

Why is archeological evidence so exciting to me? Dr. Eilat Mazar, of the Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology and the Shalem Center says this new discovery acts as a counterpoint to some who have used the lack of substantial archeological findings from that period until now to argue that Jerusalem was not a major center during that period. It also lends weight to the importance that accrued to the city in later times, leading up to its conquest by King David in the 10th century B.C.E., she said.

Aside from proving the facts of history to anyone else, it puts us in touch with our past. In the same way that a therapist will look at the person’s history and the imprint it has on the person now, looking at our nation’s history informs us of who we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going. And just as the individual can either view the past as a heavy weight keeping him or her stuck in the past or as a wealth of information to learn from and understand where he or she needs to go from here, so too the Jewish nation can learn from its past to understand where we need to go from here and how God is guiding us towards our destiny.

As Huston Smith writes in The World’s Religions (p. 283) in contrast to other views of history, “Both of these views are vastly different from the Biblical claim that God is found within the limitations of the world of change and struggle, and especially that he reveals himself in events which are unique, particular, and unrepeatable. For the Bible, history…is the arena of God’s purposive activity.”

Batya Yaniger

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