Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Oldest Biblical Manuscripts Ketef Hinnom dating from around 600 BCE.

Oldest Biblical Manuscripts Ketef Hinnom dating from around 600 BCE.

The two paleo-Hebrew Ketef Hinnom inscriptions are famous for being our oldest biblical manuscripts. (Yet they contain even more readings than the famous priestly blessing of Numbers 6.) The present analysis provides the most reliable readings to date. They clarify two points of dispute: the date and nature of the artifacts. The authors support the thesis that these inscriptions constitute amulets with apotropaic functions and date them to the end of the seventh or the beginning of the sixth century BCE. Just as important, readers will find here an inside look at how epigraphers use state of the art technology to bring new readings to light.

The scrolls found in Ketef Hinom, as displayed in the Israel Museum

Ketef Hinnom (Hebrewכָּתֵף הִינוֹם katef hinom, "shoulder of Hinnom") is an archaeological site southwest of the Old City ofJerusalem, adjacent to St. Andrew's Church, now on the grounds of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.
The site consists of a series of rock-hewn burial chambers based on natural caverns. In 1979 two tiny silver scrolls, inscribed with portions of the well-known apotropaic Priestly Blessing of the Book of Numbers and apparently once used as amulets, were found in one of the burial chambers. The delicate process of unrolling the scrolls while developing a method that would prevent them from disintegrating took three years. They contain what may be the oldest surviving texts from the Hebrew Bible, dating from around 600 BCE.

Mechon Mamre

Here you will find the Hebrew Bible (Tana"kh) and the RaMBaM's Complete Restatement of the Oral Law (Mishneh Torah):  Together these give God's full guidance for both Jews and Gentiles in all times and places detailing what God expects us to do and not do.  Through the study and observance of these two guides to Torah (God's instructions) we can all live richly rewarding lives and avoid painful errors.  Both our online and offline Bible and Mishneh Torah texts have been carefully prepared, and they are as accurate as found in the very finest printed editions.  (Additional materials are also provided, but they are not the heart of this site.)
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