New Find Adds Centuries to Age of Bible

Artifact from 1000 BC shakes up timetable
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2010 2:16 PM CST
Archeologist Yossi Garfinkel displays a ceramic shard bearing Hebrew inscription.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – The discovery last year of Hebrew writing on a piece of pottery from the 10th century BC may mean the Bible is hundreds of years older than previously thought, researchers say. Similarities in language and content indicate that portions of the Hebrew Bible were written before the commonly accepted date of 600 BC, scholars say.

The artifact “indicates the Kingdom of Israel already existed in the 10th century BCE,” an Israeli professor tells LiveScience. “At least some of the biblical texts were written hundreds of years before the dates presented in current research.” The text “uses verbs that were characteristic of Hebrew,” and its commandments regarding the treatment of slaves, widows, and orphans resemble those in Isaiah, Psalms, and Exodus.

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