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2,000-Year-Old Coal Lump Found to Contain Biblical Text

The website Western Journalism is reporting on something awfully cool.


Back in 1970, during excavations taking place in En-Gedi, Israel, where lived a sizable Jewish community from roughly 800 B.C. to about 600 A.D., a burnt scroll was discovered. It turns out that the community was wiped out by a fire. Anyway, the scroll has always looked to be like a lump of charcoal, and, as such, has not been able to be read by anyone…until now.

Scientists at the University of Kentucky, using a technique they developed known as “virtual unwrapping,” which allows for an examination of the scroll’s contents without the need for it to be physically unwrapped or opened, have discovered something rather amazing: that this burnt scroll, this “lump of charcoal,” contains an early…VERY early…version of the first couple of chapters of the Book of Leviticus.

“We were amazed at the quality of the images — much of the text is as readable as that of unharmed Dead Sea scrolls,” said biblical scholar Michael Segal of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

Continued Segal, “… we now have evidence that this text was being used from a very early date by Jews in the land of Israel.”

Dead Sea scrolls expert Emanuel Tov, also of Hebrew University, said, “We have never found something as striking as this. This is the earliest evidence of the exact form of the [early] text.”

And you thought the only news these days is bad news.

By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large