An Ancient Papyrus May Be the Oldest Known Hebrew Document to Mention Jerusalem. But Is It Genuine?

Oct. 28 2016

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has recently announced that it has obtained a papyrus fragment from 7th or 8th century BCE whose text reads “From the female servant of the king, from Na’arat [a place near Jericho], two wineskins to Jerusalem.” If authentic, it would join a handful of Hebrew papyri predating the destruction of the First Temple. But a few respected experts have raised the possibility that it could be a forgery, written on genuinely ancient papyrus in an antique style. The scholar and blogger Jim Davila cautiously makes the case for its authenticity:

On general principles I would be tempted to file an unprovenanced 7th-8th century BCE Hebrew papyrus that happens to mention Jerusalem under “likely too good to be true.” But . . . the radiocarbon dating of the papyrus [that confirms its age] is important. It is not entirely impossible that a forger would be able to get hold of a blank papyrus fragment dating to the 7th-8th century BCE, but it seems very unlikely. And even then, how would the forger be sure enough of the date to make the script of the Hebrew match so well? So I think it is very probable that the papyrus and the inscription on it are genuine and that we should proceed with that as our preliminary conclusion, as the IAA is doing. . . .

[A]ncient blank papyrus is not terribly hard to come by, but the cases [of forgeries on ancient material that] I remember hearing of involve papyrus from late antiquity and the Byzantine era. There are far fewer papyri surviving from as early as the 7th-8th century BCE. Is it really likely that a forger got a blank piece of papyrus this ancient along with a context that told the exact age of the papyrus so the forger could fake the Hebrew script accordingly?

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Read more at PaleoJudaica

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, First Temple, History & Ideas

 

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy