A New Reference to a Biblical Figure
This story in The Times looks very interesting. It's another one of those occasions when the discovery is made long after the excavators leave the field.
The British Museum yesterday hailed a discovery within a modest clay tablet in its collection as a breakthrough for biblical archaeology – dramatic proof of the accuracy of the Old Testament.
The cuneiform inscription in a tablet dating from 595BC has been deciphered for the first time – revealing a reference to an official at the court of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, that proves the historical existence of a figure mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah.
This is rare evidence in a nonbiblical source of a real person, other than kings, featured in the Bible.
The tablet names a Babylonian officer called Nebo-Sarsekim, who according to Jeremiah xxxix was present in 587BC when Nebuchadnezzar “marched against Jerusalem with his whole army and laid siege to it”.
The rest of the story is here. I've been working for some years on a list of extrabiblical references to biblical people. I'm not ready to share it, but I can tell you that it is long.
The stupid quote of the story goes to renowned scholar Geza Vermes, who said, according to the reporter, "the Biblical story is not altogether invented." My response: there is not a fraction of evidence that it is invented at all. Many scholars have many theories, but these are possible only because of the lack of evidence. The more evidence, the less room for scholarly ideas about the invention of the Bible. This observation is not based upon the above story, but upon years of study in the land of Israel. The liberal case gets weaker the more I know.