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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’

Did You Hear The One About The Statue of Palestine? #PalestinianClaims

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

You know the expression, that “fatal cup of beer” ? The one where you know you’ve made the mistake, you’ve had just that last one too many … Well, the Palestinian Authority has just drained the last drop.

The PA delegation to UNESCO has demanded a full session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property – to force the “return” of the Dead Sea Scrolls “stolen” by Israel.

The Palestinian Authority insists the Dead Sea Scrolls are part of “Palestinian heritage.”

For real.

Now, if you, the reader, are especially energetic and hop over to the Twitter social networking site, typing in #PalestinianClaims, you will see some more of the latest Very Important Palestinian [Authority] claims – the most recent tweeted by users who are simply being helpful and all.

But in case you don’t have time or inclination, we have brought a sampling of the bounty here for your amusement.

For instance, one tweet: “All we have to kill Jews are rocks…”

Qassam rocket being loaded by Palestinian Authority terrorists in Gaza to attack Israelis.

Qassam rocket being loaded by Palestinian Authority terrorists in Gaza to attack Israelis.

And, for those who indulge in ancient history: ‘an appeal to @UNESCO, demanding that the damn Trojans will give them back their horse.”

Or a tweet from Israeli writer and commentator Shlomi Ben Meir: “Famous Palestinian leader, dreaming of establishing a Palestinian state. Famous quote: ‘If you will it, it’s not just #PalestinianClaims”.

From investigative journalist Y Mikarov: ‘BREAKING. Palestinians claim they are the ones exiled from Egypt and will now celebrate Passover [Minus Gefilte Fish].’

And from the NGO, ‘Stand With Us,’ the edgy query, ‘Palestinians claiming Dead Sea scrolls as Palestinian – what next? Famous Palestinian wall of China?’

Or, ‘Meet William al Sheik-Speare, a famous Palestinian writer’ from BevL

But the best is from the shores of America and the keyboard of Arsen Ostrovsky: ‘Wow, did you hear the one about the Statue of Palestine?’

Hana Levi Julian

Palestinian Authority Demands “Return” of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

Don’t fall off your seats on this one.

Following their success in erasing the Jewish historical connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount at UNESCO, the Palestinian Authority has decided to ramp it up a bit, according to a report on IBA’s Reshet Bet.

At UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property, the Palestinian Authority delegation to UNESCO is now demanding the “return” of the “stolen” Dead Sea Scrolls.

PA representative Dr. Munir said the Dead Sea Scrolls are from the Palestinian Authority territories and are part of the Palestinian heritage!

The PA wants a full session dedicated to this at the next UNESCO meeting of the committee.

Munir also complained to the committee that antiquities were stolen from the Rockefeller Museum (in eastern Jerusalem) and moved to the western side of Jerusalem (the Israel Museum).

Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, David Sharma Hacohen, whom Netanyahu recently recalled to Israel following the previous anti-Semitic UNESCO vote, said from Jerusalem,

“This is just another example of their provocation and chutzpa in attempting to rewrite history. In any case, just like the Temple Mount and Kotel, the Dead Sea Scrolls will stay in our hands, while the Palestinians will be left with their hidden dreams.”

Sharma-Cohen used the word “Ganuz” in Hebrew, playing on the Hebrew name for the Dead Sea Scrolls “HaMegilot HaGenuzot” – The Hidden Scrolls.

The Dea Sea Scrolls website describes the scrolls as follows:

The most well-known texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls are the ancient religious writings found in eleven caves near the site of Qumran… [in the eastern Judean desert]

Scroll dates range from the third century BCE (mid–Second Temple period) to the first century of the Common Era, before the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. While Hebrew is the most frequently used language in the Scrolls, about 15% were written in Aramaic and several in Greek. The Scrolls’ materials are made up mainly of parchment, although some are papyrus, and the text of one Scroll is engraved on copper.

About 230 manuscripts are referred to as “biblical Scrolls”. These are copies of works that are now part of the Hebrew Bible.

We have no doubt that UNESCO will fully support the PA’s historical revisionism.

Next they’re going to demand we return the Palestinian Talmud.

Some of the scrolls are on display at the Shrine of the Book in the Israel Museum, a few are being held in Jordan.

Perhaps, the PA is still looking for anything to put in their empty museum.

Jewish Press News Briefs

2000 Years of Jewish Culture Exhibition at London’s Shapero Rare Books

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

Bernard Shapero of Shapero Rare Books and Sandra Hindman of Les Enluminures are delighted to present 2000 Years of Jewish Culture: an exhibition of books, manuscripts, art, and jewelry.

A selling show, it is the first of its kind ever staged in the UK in a private space, and, accordingly, it will be marked by the publication of a fully illustrated catalogue. The exhibition encompasses every aspect of Jewish life, including philosophy, religion, literature, photography, fine art and jewelry.

Curator Bela Goldenberg Taieb said that “each of the assembled artifacts – the oldest of which is a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls – is representative of a particular field of endeavor, and as such they collectively offer a truly compelling picture of the Jewish contribution to world culture.”

The exhibition, featuring more than 100 objects, will be arranged over the basement, ground and first floor of Shapero’s Mayfair premises. It presents several important rare books, the subjects of which span the tenth to the twentieth centuries, including first editions of some important examples of Anglo-Judaica.

Bernard Shapero said that “the whole exhibition shows the positive side of Judaism. There’s no Holocaust material or anti-Semitic material, which forms a large part of collecting in this field.”

From November 2 to 19, at Shapero Rare Books, 32 St. George Street, London W1S 2EA

Gallery Talk: Beatriz Chadour-Sampson “Jewish Wedding Rings,” Thursday November 3, 7 PM.

JNi.Media

American, Israeli Archaeologists Attack Authenticity of ‘Jerusalem Papyrus’

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

The authenticity of a rare and important find that was exposed in an enforcement operation of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery recently, and touted as the earliest extra-biblical source to mention Jerusalem in Hebrew writing, has come under attack by two respected archaeologists.

Christopher Rollston, a renowned classics scholar teaching at George Washington University, wrote in his blog last week that “the fact that the papyrus itself has been carbon dated to the 7th century BCE certainly does not mean that the writing on the papyrus is ancient. In fact, it really means nothing. After all, ancient papyrus is readily available for purchase online (check the web and see!), thus, no modern forger worth his or her salt would forge an inscription on modern papyrus. Rather, he or she would purchase some ancient papyrus online and then write a text on it.”

Such forgeries are frequent, writes Rollston, and so “for anyone to conclude that this (or any) inscription must be ancient because the papyrus is ancient is quite naïve.”

Professor Aren M. Maeir, an archaeologist from Bar Ilan University, wrote on his blog on Friday that he is “not sure that it is real or a fake, but various issues are problematic. I would very much like it to be authentic – but first – doubts must be dispelled.” Prof. Maeir added that a better authentication is paramount “in light of the strong indications that many of the recently acquired fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls may be fakes – indicating that there are some very good forgers working out there – some of whom seem to have an in-depth knowledge in epigraphy, paleography and related issues.”

Speaking at the ninth annual conference on archaeological discoveries in Jerusalem and its environs that was held at the Hebrew University last week, Prof. Maeir attacked the IAA for its premature announcement before thoroughly examining not only the papyrus, but the ink as well. “I believe you, but not everyone will believe,” he said. “How do we know that it’s not fake [and intended to be sold on] the antiquities market?”

Prof. Rollston points out that “the Jerusalem Papyrus is from the antiquities market and it has been floating around on the market for a few years now. It was not found on an actual archaeological excavation. I saw some good images of it a few years ago in Jerusalem.” He cautions that “there are many modern inscriptional forgeries on the market, as I have argued in various publications, for some fifteen years now. … The money that modern forgers and dealers can make on modern forgeries is astronomical, consistently in the five and six figure range. The motivation is strong. In this case, this papyrus was seized, but that does not mean that it could not have been produced in the modern period with the intent of marketing it.”

Prof. Maeir makes a similar point: “The lack of sufficient details on how the papyrus was obtained, due to the need of the IAA Anti-theft Unit to protect its sources, is understood from an operational point of view (and I fully believe them about this), but it creates an aura of secrecy and lack of credibility around this. And if in fact the papyrus was known for several years to other scholars as well, this makes the background of its discovery even more obscure.”

But while Prof. Maeir is urging a more substantial effort to prove the age of the ink on the papyrus, Prof. Rollston insists even that would not necessarily prove anything, since “the capacity is present for faked inks to be produced in the modern period that yield an ancient C-14 date. Moreover, of course, a clever forger might simply purchase some ancient inscription on the antiquities market (e.g., one with mundane content and so not a high-value inscription) and then carefully scrape the ink from that inscription and then mix that (dry) ink with water and then use that ink in a modern-forgery with sensational content.”

Prof. Shmuel Achituv of Hebrew University argued against the fraud accusation by both scholars, telling Ha’aretz he believes the fact that the papyrus was folded over when it was seized goes a long way to suggest it is not a forgery. “Would a forger purchase an ancient, dry and brittle papyrus, write on it text in a font that fits the seventh century BCE, and then fold it up and tie it with a rope, risking his entire effort would be damaged?” Prof. Achituv asked.

Achitov also suggested that two Hebrew words on the papyrus, “Yerushalma” and “Na’arata” (“her maidservant”) are rare and would not have been used by a forger, “even if he is well versed in Scripture. If I were a forger, I’d pick a more impressive text,” he said.

Both critics of the papyrus each have a possible personal agenda in this debate, which does not necessarily mean that they’re wrong. Prof. Maeir objects to what he terms the “geopolitical considerations” which, as he told students at Brigham Young University in Utah, “played a large role in early excavations shortly after the state of Israel was formed in 1948. Many archaeologists were looking specifically to help establish the ancient legitimacy of Jewish claims to the land of Palestine, which had been occupied by the Turks for centuries before World War I.”

Prof. Rollston was fired from the Emmanuel Christian Seminary in Tennessee after clashing with the seminary leadership over his controversial column in the Huffington Post condemning female discrimination in the Bible. The seminary argued that he would offend students and turn off donors. Rollston wrote, back in 2012, that “gender equality may not have been the norm two or three millennia ago, but it is essential. So, the next time someone refers to ‘biblical values,’ it’s worth mentioning to them that the Bible often marginalized women and that’s not something anyone should value.”

JNi.Media

IAA Plans to Excavate Judean Desert Caves, Save Scrolls from Robbers

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

The Israel Antiquities Authority is promoting a national plan for comprehensive archaeological excavations in the Judean Desert caves, and for rescuing the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are among the earliest texts written in the Hebrew language. The plan is carried out in cooperation with the Heritage Project in the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs, and Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev (Likud).

Israel Hasson, director-general of the IAA, said in a statement, “Tor years now our most important heritage and cultural assets have been excavated illicitly and plundered in the Judean Desert caves for reasons of greed. The goal of the national plan that we are advancing is to excavate and find all of the scrolls that remain in the caves, once and for all, so that they will be rescued and preserved by the state.”

Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev said in a statement, “The antiquities robbers are plundering the Land of Israel’s history, which is something we cannot allow. The Dead Sea scrolls are an exciting testament of paramount importance that bear witness to the existence of Israel in the Land of Israel 2,000 years ago, and they were found close to the Return to Zion and the establishment of the State of Israel in the Land of Israel. It is our duty to protect these unique treasures, which belong to the Jewish people and the entire world. I will work to increase the punishment against those that rob our country’s antiquities.”

The cave where the archaeological excavation is being conducted is situated c. 80 meters from the top of the cliff and c. 250 meters above the base of the canyon. Photographic credit: Guy Fitoussi, courtesy of the IAA Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery.

The cave where the archaeological excavation is being conducted is situated c. 80 meters from the top of the cliff and c. 250 meters above the base of the canyon. Photographic credit: Guy Fitoussi, courtesy of the IAA Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery.

Last week, the IAA took a first step in the plan by commencing a complicated and extraordinary archaeological excavation in search of scrolls in Nahal Tse’elim. A team from the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery accompanied by researchers from the Caves Research Center of the Hebrew University and hundreds of volunteers from across the country is participating in the excavation, which is taking place with the support of the Heritage Project in the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs. The excavation is being directed by archaeologists Dr. Eitan Klein, Dr. Uri Davidovich, Royee Porat and Amir Ganor. For many years, IAA inspectors have been proactively enforcing the law in the desert, during the course of which they have made a number of seizures and foiled bands of antiquities robbers that sought to become rich through the detrimental exposure of items of great historical importance. However, these actions are a mere drop in the ocean and the IAA stresses that only by excavating all of the scrolls in the ground and transferring them to the state, will it be possible to ensure their well-being and preservation for future generations.

In November 2014, inspectors of the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery apprehended a band of robbers, residents of the village of Sa‘ir near Hebron, in the act of plundering the contents of the Cave of the Skulls in Nahal Tse’elim. The suspects who were caught “red-handed” were arrested on the spot, interrogated, and later sentenced and served a prison sentence, and are required to pay the State of Israel a fine of $25,000. At the time of their arrest they were in possession of important archaeological artifacts that date to the Roman period, c. 2,000 years ago, and the Neolithic period, c. 8,000 years ago.

Access to the cave is complicated and for safety’s sake requires the use of rappelling equipment. Photographic credit: Yoli Shwartz, courtesy of the IAA.

Access to the cave is complicated and for safety’s sake requires the use of rappelling equipment. Photographic credit: Yoli Shwartz, courtesy of the IAA.

In 2009 an ancient papyrus that was written in Hebrew and dates to the Year Four of the Destruction of the House of Israel (139 CE) was seized. The papyrus was confiscated in a joint operation by the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery and the Israel Police during a meeting with antiquities dealers in which the papyrus was offered for sale for the amount of $2 million. The investigation of the robbers revealed that this papyrus had also been discovered in Nahal Tse’elim. The contents of it, which mention the towns and settlements in the area of the Hebron hill-country, suggest that the papyrus was part of an archive of documents belonging to Jews who fled to the desert from the Hebron area after the Bar Kokhba uprising. Now, the IAA hopes to find similar documents.

The Cave of Skulls, where the excavation is taking place, is located about 80 yards from the top of the cliff, and about 750 ft above the base of the canyon. Because of the difficulty in reaching the site, the IAA obtained a special permit from the Nature and Parks Authority to construct an access trail, which requires the use of rappelling equipment for the safety of the participants in the excavation. More than 500 volunteers and field personnel from Israel and abroad were required for the undertaking, and they are sleeping and living in a camp in desert field conditions. Many requests by individuals offering to participate have been denied because of the lack of infrastructure to provide for such a large group of archaeologists, volunteers and interested parties. The current excavation season will end in another two weeks, assuming this will be sufficient time in order to extract the valuable archaeological information from the cave.

The ancient text that dates to the Year Four of the Destruction of the House of Israel (139 CE), which was seized in a joint operation by the Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery and the Israel Police. Photographic credit: Shai Halevi, courtesy of the Leon Levy Digital Library, IAA.

The ancient text that dates to the Year Four of the Destruction of the House of Israel (139 CE), which was seized in a joint operation by the Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery and the Israel Police. Photographic credit: Shai Halevi, courtesy of the Leon Levy Digital Library, IAA.

According to Amir Ganor, director of the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery, “The excavation in Nahal Tse’elim is an operation of extraordinary complexity and scope, and one that has not occurred in the Judean Desert in the past thirty years. Despite the rigorous enforcement actions taken against the antiquities robbers, we still witness acts of severe plundering that unfortunately are possible in such large desert expanses. There are hundreds of caves in cliffs in the area, access to which is both dangerous and challenging. In almost every cave that we examined we found evidence of illicit intervention and it is simply heart-breaking. The loss of the finds is irreversible damage that cannot be tolerated.”

Israel Hasson, director-general of the IAA, added, “It is exciting to see the extraordinary work of the volunteers, who have lent a hand and participated in the excavation in complicated field conditions, out of a desire to join in an historic undertaking and discover finds that can provide priceless information about our past here. The time has come for the state to underwrite broad action so as to rescue the cultural assets of enormous historical importance while they still remain in the caves. Substantial amounts need to be allocated which will allow the IAA to embark upon a large-scale operation for studying the desert, including the caves, and excavating the artifacts. After all, the Dead Sea scrolls are of religious, political and historical importance to Jews, Christians and all of humanity.”

JNi.Media

Archaeologists Discover that Ancient Dead Sea Scroll Is Chapter of Leviticus

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Archaeologists have learned a pleasant surprise: One of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls that never has been understood turns out to be a 1,500-year-old copy of the beginning of the Book of Leviticus (VaYikra).

Modern technologies made it possible for the first time to read the contents of the burnt scroll that was found 45 years ago inside the Holy Ark of the ancient synagogue at Ein Gedi excavations, on the western shore of the Dead Sea.

This is the first time in any archaeological excavation that a Torah scroll was found in a synagogue, particularly inside a Holy Ark.

The extraordinary find, presented at a press conference Monday, was the conclusion of efforts during the last year that brought the Biblical verses back to life after state of the art and advanced technologies preserved and documented the Dead Sea scrolls.

The scroll of the first chapter of Leviticus, was written in Hebrew and was dated by Carbon 14 analysis to the late sixth–century CE, making it the most ancient scroll from the five books of the Hebrew Bible to be found since the Dead Sea scrolls, most of which are ascribed to the end of the Second Temple period (first century BCE-first century CE).

The Israel Antiquities Authority Israel’s Merkel Technologies Company last year cooperated to perform high-resolution 3-D scanning of some Dead Sea Scrolls fragments and phylactery (tefillin) cases by means of a Micro-CT scanner.

The fragment of the Ein Gedi scroll was scanned along with the phylacteries and phylactery cases. The Israel Antiquities Authority then sent the outcome of these scans to University of Kentucky Professor Brent Seales, who developed digital imaging software that allows to virtually unroll the scroll and visualize the text.

This enabled the first eight verses of the Book of Leviticus to suddenly became legible:

The Lord summoned Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying:

Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When any of you bring an offering of livestock to the Lord, you shall bring your offering from the herd or from the flock.

If the offering is a burnt-offering from the herd, you shall offer a male without blemish; you shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, for acceptance in your behalf before the Lord. You shall lay your hand on the head of the burnt-offering, and it shall be acceptable in your behalf as atonement for you.

The bull shall be slaughtered before the Lord; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer the blood, dashing the blood against all sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. The burnt-offering shall be flayed and cut up into its parts.

The sons of the priest Aaron shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the parts, with the head and the suet, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar. (Leviticus 1:1-8).

Dr. Sefi Porath, who discovered the scroll in the 1970 Ein Gedi excavations, said, “The deciphering of the scroll, which was a puzzle for us for 45 years, is very exciting. Ein Gedi was a Jewish village in the Byzantine period (fourth–seventh century CE) and had a synagogue with an exquisite mosaic floor and a Holy Ark.

“The settlement was completely burnt to the ground, and none of its inhabitants ever returned to reside there again, or to pick through the ruins in order to salvage valuable property. In the archaeological excavations of the burnt synagogue, we found in addition to the charred scroll fragments, a bronze seven-branched candelabrum (menorah), the community’s money box containing c. 3,500 coins, glass and ceramic oil lamps, and vessels that held perfume.

“We have no information regarding the cause of the fire, but speculation about the destruction ranges from Bedouin raiders from the region east of the Dead Sea to conflicts with the Byzantine government.”

Jewish Press Staff

Oldest Set of 10 Commandments Showing in Israel

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Israel’s national museum has opened a rare exhibit that includes the world’s oldest copy of the Ten Commandments.

The exhibit presents objects from “pivotal moments in civilization.” Among the items is a 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scroll in which is inscribed a complete copy of the Ten Commandments.

This particular manuscript has never before been shown in Israel, and was only displayed briefly abroad.

The Dead Sea Scrolls comprise a collection of ancient Biblical manuscripts – some in fragments – discovered in a cave along the northern shores of the Dead Sea.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/oldest-set-of-10-commandments-showing-in-israel/2015/05/05/

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