Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ancient Israelite Alphabet Discovered: You Heard it Here First

Scholars suggest -- but are they sure? -- that the presence of writing from the 10th century BC means Israelites may have been literate as far back as the 10th century BC. I love how they scramble to find someone who has as little to say as possible to fill in that much-needed quote:

Christopher Rollston, a professor of Semitic studies at Emmanuel School of Religion in Johnson City, Tenn., who was not involved in the find, said the writing is probably Phoenician or a transitional language between Phoenician and Hebrew.

"We have little epigraphic material from the 10th century in Israel, and so this substantially augments the material we have," he said.

Could they have gone further out of their way to get someone on the record? He teaches where, exactly? In case you're keeping score, "not involved in the find" and "augments the nothing we have now" are my picks for Key Phrase of the Story. Unless, of course, you happen to be interested in the discovery itself. Which the reporter seemed not to be.


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