Biblical Archaeology Review 34:1, January/February 2008

A New Dead Sea Scroll in Stone?

Bible-like Prophecy Was Mounted in a Wall 2,000 Years Ago

By Ada Yardeni

IF it were written on leather (and smaller) I would say it was another Dead Sea Scroll fragment—but it isn’t. It is written on gray-colored stone! And it is 3 feet high and 1 foot wide!

Otherwise, it strongly resembles in many respects what we have come to expect from fragmentary Dead Sea Scrolls. It is clearly dated by the shape and form of the letters (paleography) to sometime between the late first century B.C.E. and early first century C.E.—around the turn of the era, the same period as the scrolls. This dating is confirmed by the Hebrew of the text (post-Biblical and pre-Mishnaic).

One would expect that an inscription on stone would be engraved, as are the inscriptions on stone ossuaries (bone boxes) like the now-famous ossuary inscribed “James son of Joseph brother of Jesus.”a But this text is not engraved. It is written in ink, just like the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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