An Ancient Scroll, Containing a Passage from Leviticus, Has Been Deciphered

July 21 2015

In 1970, archaeologists discovered a scroll in the ark of an ancient synagogue in Ein Gedi. The scroll was severely burned in a fire, rendering it unreadable. Now, using cutting-edge technology, experts have deciphered the text. Whitney Harder writes (with video):

It turns out that part of this scroll is from the beginning of the book of Leviticus, written in Hebrew and dated by C14 analysis . . . to the late 6th century CE. To date, this is the most ancient scroll from the five books of the Hebrew Bible to be found since the Dead Sea scrolls, most of which are ascribed to the end of the Second Temple period (the 1st century BCE and the 1st century CE). . . .

The Ein Gedi scroll was scanned with a micro-computed tomography machine. . . . The scanning process is x-ray-based and completely non-invasive, as the Ein Gedi scroll is badly damaged from fire and cannot be physically opened. . . .

This is [also] the first time in any archaeological excavation that a Torah scroll was found in a synagogue.

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More about: Archaeology, Biblical Hebrew, History & Ideas, Leviticus

Is There a Way Out of Israel’s Political Deadlock?

On Tuesday, leaders of the Jewish state’s largest political parties, Blue and White and Likud, met to negotiate the terms of a coalition agreement—and failed to come to an agreement. If none of the parties in the Knesset succeeds in forming a governing coalition, there will be a third election, with no guarantee that it will be more conclusive than those that preceded it. Identifying six moves by key politicians that have created the deadlock, Shmuel Rosner speculates as to whether they can be circumvented or undone:

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More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Election 2019, Israeli politics