Has a new stash of old Jewish texts been discovered?

Word is out that some very old Jewish texts, including copies of scripture, have been found in an Afghanistan cave along the Silk Road. The discovery reportedly includes passages from Isaiah, an unknown history of the kingdom of Judea (the Maccabees?) a funerary dirge for an unnamed individual, and writings from a Jewish sage who died in the mid-10th century A.D.

You can read about it in the Jerusalem Post.

“We know today about a couple of findings,” Haggai Ben- Shammai, professor emeritus of Arabic language and literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was quoted as saying. “In all, in my opinion, there are about 150 fragments. It may be the tip of the iceberg.”

If this information is correct, the earliest possible date for these copies would likely be the latter half of the 10th century A.D., assuming all of the scrolls are around the same age.

The Silk Road was a trade route that connected the Middle East and western world with China. Merchants, including Jewish businessmen, used it for centuries. One of its most famous travelers was a guy named Marco Polo, who introduced the Far East to Europeans at the beginnings of the Italian Renaissance.

These particular texts were reportedly moved from Afghanistan to Pakistan and then sold to a variety of antiquities dealers. If these fragments and/or scrolls can be examined and verified by scholars, they may provide a wealth of fresh information.

Exciting contemplation: What else is still out there, hidden in some desert and awaiting discovery?

About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister with the North Terrace Church of Christ and has participated in multiple archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke leads informative, meaningful tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
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