Five-Letter Inscription Inked 3,100 Years Ago May Be Name of Biblical Judge

The ‘Jerubbaal’ inscription, written in ink on a pottery vessel, discovered at Khirbet el Rai. (Dafna Gazit, Israel Antiquities Authority)

(The Times of Israel) — Inked 3,100 years ago during the era of the biblical judges, an extremely rare five-letter inscription discovered in the lush Judean foothills could be a missing link in the development of Early Alphabetic (also known as Canaanite) writing used during the 12th-10th centuries BCE.

If correct, this would be the first hard evidence of a name from the biblical stories of the judges that is on an artifact contemporary to the period.

The inscription was published Monday as part of the second issue of the Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology (JJAR) — a new open-access online journal — edited by Bar-Ilan Prof. Avraham Faust, Hebrew University Prof. Yossef Garfinkel, and Hebrew University researcher Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu.

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