Bible may be centuries older than thought

Jan. 8, 2010 at 7:42 PM

HAIFA, Israel, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- A recently deciphered inscription suggests writing of the Bible began during the era of King David, four centuries earlier than previously thought, experts say.

The ink inscription on clay is the oldest Hebrew writing yet found, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Friday.

Found in an archaeological dig at Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Elah Valley in Israel, it was dated to the 10th century B.C.

The inscription relates to "slaves, widows and orphans," said Gershon Galil, a professor at Haifa University who deciphered the early form of Hebrew.

Such subjects are typical of biblical texts, he said, but almost unheard of in surrounding cultures.

Galil says the inscription disproves the current theory that claims the Bible could not have been written before the sixth century B.C. because Hebrew writing did not exist until that time.

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