WRITERS OF THE BIBLE MAY HAVE BEEN FAR MORE NUMEROUS THAN PREVIOUSLY BELIEVED BY A SERIES OF INSCRIPTIONS DATING TO 600 BC
Analysis of a series of inscriptions on 2,600-year-old ceramic shards found during excavations at a fortress in the Israeli desert has shown they were written by at least six authors at different levels in the Judean military. It suggests literacy was much more widespread than had been believed. They contain a series of military commands regarding the movement of troops and the provision of supplies.
Using computerized imaging processing and machine learning, researchers have discovered the 16 inscriptions were written by at least six different authors. They are some of the most important historical and religious documents to have ever been discovered, giving a rare and detailed insight into Biblical times.
Advanced digital tools are also being developed to suggest new ways of joining these together by looking for connections between images, text and matches between fragment edges.The project will also assist attempts to translate the scrolls as they are fitted together, helping researchers unravel the secrets they contain.
Experts estimate there around 20,000 fragments of scrolls being scanned as part of the project but there could be many more.
This, they say, suggests writing, and so reading, within the Judahite military was common place as a way of issuing commands and recording information.
They argue this also suggests literacy was widespread throughout the kingdom of Judah - and this may have set the stage for the compilation of the hefty biblical works. It supports the idea that the Hebrew Bible was a massive composition of texts by many authors which were then gathered together rather than a single literary work.
Professor Israel Finkelstein, archaeologist at Tel Aviv University who led the work, told MailOnline: 'Biblical texts carry ideological and theological messages and as such were probably meant to be known to the population.
'Hence there has been an ongoing discussion on literacy in ancient Israel/Judah. 'Our work shows that late-monarchic Judah (around 600 BC) had an educational infrastructure which was suitable for compilation of texts and use of the written-word medium to convey ideological messages.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3534317/Is-bible-ANTHOLOGY-Inscriptions-2-600-year-old-shards-ceramic-suggests-literacy-common-Judah-thought.html#ixzz4685gnBju
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