Guest / Limited Access /

Evidence of Israel's United Kingdom?
Just days after the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of what is apparently a third-century church in Meggido, another significant find was reported at Tel Zayit, about an hour south of Jerusalem.

The fancy word for the find is abecedary, but what that basically means is an inscription of the alphabet. The New York Times reports that it may be "the earliest known specimen of the Hebrew alphabet," "an important benchmark in the history of writing," and "the oldest reliably dated example of an abecedary."

There are artifacts of Semitic writing that predate the 10th century B.C., which is the date that Pittsburgh Theological Seminary's Ron E. Tappy (who led the dig) puts on the find. But here's what may be even more controversial than the date:

The inscription was found in the context of a substantial network of buildings at the site, which led Dr. Tappy to propose that Tel Zayit was probably an important border town established by an expanding Israelite kingdom based in Jerusalem.
A border town of such size and culture, Dr. Tappy said, suggested a centralized bureaucracy, political leadership, and literacy levels that seemed to support the biblical image of the unified kingdom of David and Solomon in the 10th century B.C.
"That puts us right in the middle of the squabble over whether anything important happened in Israel in that century," Dr. Stager said.
A vocal minority of scholars contend that the Bible's picture of the 10th century B.C. as a golden age in Israelite history is insupportable. Some archaeological evidence, they say, suggests that David and Solomon were little more than tribal chieftains and that it was another century before a true political state emerged.
Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Weblog
Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
Previous Weblog Columns:
Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueThe Benedict Option’s Vision for a Christian Village
The Benedict Option’s Vision for a Christian Village
How to conserve and strengthen the American church.
RecommendedBiblical Archaeology’s Top 10 Discoveries of 2016
Biblical Archaeology’s Top 10 Discoveries of 2016
A glimpse at the important excavation work revealed this year.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickThe Benedict Option’s Vision for a Christian Village
The Benedict Option’s Vision for a Christian Village
How to conserve and strengthen the American church.
Christianity Today
Alphabet Coup
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2005

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.