Clay print from seal may be first ever extra-biblical reference to the prophet Isaiah

February 23, 2018 by Bob Yirka, Phys.org report
Credit: Biblical Archaeology Review 44:2, March/April May/June 2018

Author and archaeologist Eilat Mazar has published an article in Biblical Archaeology Review suggesting that a small piece of clay with a seal imprint on it (called a bulla) might be the first-ever extra-biblical reference to the prophet Isaiah. In her article, she gives a historical overview of both King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, followed by an overview of the locations in which both people were believed to have lived and worked—specifically temples in Jerusalem that have been under excavation for many years. Researchers found a bulla believed to have been created using one of King Hezekiah's seals in one of these temples just three years ago. Another bulla has been the object of scrutiny ever since, and now, Mazar is suggesting the possibility that it came about from a seal belonging to the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah was a Jewish prophet who lived approximately 2,700 years ago, and who has long been linked with King Hezekiah. It was Isaiah, according to the Hebrew Bible, who encouraged the King to fight the Assyrians who had attacked Jerusalem in 701 BC, rather than allow them to surrender—he promised that God would not let Jerusalem be captured. The second bulla under study was found close to (just 3 meters away) the one believed to be created by the King's seal, offering some bit of hint at its source. But more important is a word found on the imprint, "Yesha'yahu," which is Hebrew for Isaiah.

Unfortunately, another important part of the print has been lost. It starts with "nvy." Nobody knows what it means, but Mazar notes that if the letters were followed by "aleph," the whole thing would form the Hebrew word for prophet. Thus, the seal would have been used to make bullas as a form of receipt from the prophet Isaiah. Mazar does not know if the remaining parts of the bulla will be found, but notes that nvy by itself could be part or all of a personal name, one that did not belong to the prophet. On the other hand, she further notes, there are places in the Hebrew Bible where nvy is used as an apparent abbreviation for prophet.

Explore further: First seal impression of an Israelite or Judean king ever exposed in situ in a scientific archaeological excavation

More information: Is This the Prophet Isaiah's Signature? Biblical Archaeology Review 44:2, March/April May/June 2018. members.bib-arch.org/biblical- … eology-review/44/2/7

Related Stories

Ancient Bethlehem seal unearthed in Jerusalem

May 23, 2012

Israeli archaeologists have discovered a 2,700-year-old seal that bears the inscription "Bethlehem," the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday, in what experts believe to be the oldest artifact with the name of ...

Prophet's ancient seal provides insights from antiquity

October 30, 2014

When a personal artifact of a religious leader is discovered nearly 1,700 years after its use, the object provides invaluable historical insights. Zsuzsanna Gulacsi, professor of Comparative Cultural Studies, has been studying ...

King David palace may have been found

August 6, 2005

An Israeli archaeologist says she has uncovered in East Jerusalem what might be the palace of the biblical Old Testament King David.

King David's palace found, says Israeli team

July 21, 2013

(AP)—A team of Israeli archaeologists believes it has discovered the ruins of a palace belonging to the biblical King David, but other Israeli experts dispute the claim.

Recommended for you

Chinese Cretaceous fossil highlights avian evolution

September 24, 2018

A newly identified extinct bird species from a 127 million-year-old fossil deposit in northeastern China provides new information about avian development during the early evolution of flight.

Ancient mice discovered by climate cavers

September 24, 2018

The fossils of two extinct mice species have been discovered in caves in tropical Queensland by University of Queensland scientists tracking environment changes.

The first predators and their self-repairing teeth

September 24, 2018

The earliest predators appeared on Earth 480 million years ago—and they even had teeth capable of repairing themselves. A team of palaeontologists led by Bryan Shirley and Madleen Grohganz from the Chair for Palaeoenviromental ...

Fat from 558 million years ago reveals earliest known animal

September 20, 2018

Scientists from The Australian National University (ANU) and overseas have discovered molecules of fat in an ancient fossil to reveal the earliest confirmed animal in the geological record that lived on Earth 558 million ...

20 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

TheGhostofOtto1923
2.2 / 5 (10) Feb 23, 2018
Eilat Mazar is a religionist fanatic who has exaggerated and fabricated evidence in the past. Here she claims to have found the mythical Isaiah's signet ring. Soon she will find jesus' rosary beads.

What an exciting future awaits us.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.4 / 5 (10) Feb 23, 2018
In related news...

"At least half – and as much as 90 percent – of the sports-memorabilia business is counterfeit," Halpern. "People shouldn't question whether the item they purchase is fake – but whether they can actually go out and purchase a real one."

and

"For centuries, some Christians have venerated the bodies and possessions of saints, but more often than not, there's no way to tell whether something is St. Peter's skull or a really old potato... [a] revelation came in 1825, from British geologist William Buckland, who, while on his honeymoon, made an examination of the relics and determined them to be "non-human... "In Sicily, they will fight you if you tell them the bones belong to a goat," said Paul Koudounaris... The head of St. Catherine is on display in Siena, and vials of breast milk straight from the Virgin Mary's teat occasionally pop up. There are even rumors about the Holy Foreskin, a taut, wrinkly piece of the tiny Baby Jesus Himself."
flashgordon
3.4 / 5 (5) Feb 23, 2018
Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Feb 24, 2018
Interesting passage...

"Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (KJV)

" 7 I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster" (NIV)

-Another revealing example of how translators can change the meaning of bible verses entirely. Apparently the NIV people didn't like the idea of their god creating evil, so they simply changed it.

"I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll." Rev22

-Take heed liars and adulterors-
sirdumpalot
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 24, 2018
Eilat Mazar is a religionist fanatic who has exaggerated and fabricated evidence in the past. Here she claims to have found the mythical Isaiah's signet ring. Soon she will find jesus' rosary beads.

What an exciting future awaits us.


Not many people wrote in those days, it doesn't have to be mythical that the guy shouting 'do this cause God says so', after which that action succeeds, in a society pegged to the cult of God, gets remembered and written about. Though this is reaching for straws really!
sirdumpalot
2.8 / 5 (4) Feb 24, 2018
Interesting passage...

"Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (KJV)

" 7 I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster" (NIV)

-Another revealing example of how translators can change the meaning of bible verses entirely. Apparently the NIV people didn't like the idea of their god creating evil, so they simply changed it.

"I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll." Rev22

-Take heed liars and adulterors-


Lol, God wouldn't be omnipotent if he did not create evil. He'd also not be omnipresent if he could not be within evil. Basically the notion of God is so broad it lacks any ability to distinguish any thing, whilst claiming to explain all!
IronhorseA
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 24, 2018
Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.


And in the mean time, he sits on his lazy butt leaving us to pick up his mess.
rrwillsj
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 25, 2018
Frankly I find arguing with corybantic stuporstitious to be a tedious chore and waste of time.

However, the deity has been nagging me to confront those preaching ignorance and pusillanimous bigotry.

Hope this makes you happy, kid!

The deity refuses to accept any responsibility for this chaotic universe. The deity does not remember creating this cosmic kludgefest and resents such a ridiculous accusation. Otherwise there wouldn't be so much failure, resulting in most worlds being uninhabitable.

As for your benighted persons? You got a feeble free will on top of millions of years of monkey instincts. The deity wants you all to stop ordering it about. Stop dictating your greedy demands to stuff reality into the tiny box of your limited intellects.

What you think you are observing is just a temporary phenomena. Temporary as to eventually disintegrate within a few hundred billion years or so. Local as eventually to span a few hundred billion or so parsecs.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (2) Feb 25, 2018
Zypper says
Even blind chicken can find its corn soon or later. And those who follow your posts wouldn't miss the fact, you're antireligious fanatic as well
Thankyou.
We are living in ocean of black & white stances of ignorants instead of balanced attitude of people who are really motivated to find the truth
Truth is, religion is a lie.

What makes you think you're worthy to spend eternity sitting at the right hand of god? Because he revealed to you and you alone the miracle of the wavy aether we all swim in?

Maybe he just made you infinitely dense.

Didja ever thinka that zypper?
Rational_Thinker
3.4 / 5 (5) Feb 25, 2018
@TheGhostofOtto1923 - rather that's just your worldview, which is also a religion. Just, you hold to a different religion that's all. Nothing more, nothing less.

Ultimately, everyone holds to a religion. All debate is down to how we pick the right religion. We know this to be true because most so called "non-religious" foam at the mouth when their supposed "non-religious" stance is deemed to be a "religion in off itself"
Rational_Thinker
3 / 5 (4) Feb 25, 2018
NB: I wasn't specifically thinking of "TheGhostofOtto1923" when writing the above, only using to illustrate the principle. It is true for everyone.

No such thing as "non-religious". if fact, I'd go as far as to say that is what defines humanity.

The supposed "non-religious" stance reduces "thought" to a mere listing of data. data without interpretation is just noise. By selecting the "right data" and excluding "inconvenient data" once can prove the moon is indeed made from Cheese.

Everyone interprets data through their worldview, which as often as not has to be put in place first as a statement of faith, and then gets used to organize the facts available in order to "prove" what they set out to prove was right.

This is so universally true that the Romans just Abbreviated it to QED. All arguments are circular arguments. This is a circular arguments.
dudester
3 / 5 (2) Feb 25, 2018
Of course the English language evolves, like everything in the Universe does-- admittedly my supposition. But the KJV was a translation from the early 17th century when many words we still use today meant something different then. For instance, suffer the little children where suffer means allow not to go through some pain or anguish. Also see common proverbs such as waste not, want not where want means to run out of something and therefore go painfully without-- not something you have a desire to possess or purchase but not necessarily a life or death need.

Just because Isaiah might have actually existed still doesn't prove the existence of god anymore than the possibility that Jesus was a real human being doesn't mean he rose from the dead. You shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater, even though no one throws bathwater out anymore anyway, we let it run down the drain.
Bart_A
3 / 5 (2) Feb 25, 2018
The article claims, "on it might be the first-ever extra-biblical reference to the prophet Isaiah."

This is off course false. There are many, many extra-biblical references to Isaiah, including the famed Jewish historian Josephus.

Maybe the author meant a contemporary reference. But he did not say that.

TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Feb 25, 2018
This is irrelevant to subject, the existence of prophets is testable
So is the existence of jehovah.

"Tel Aviv University archaeologist Ze'ev Herzog wrote in the Haaretz newspaper:

"This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom."

-Perfect gods don't lie. Ie the perfect god of Abraham doesnt exist.

Re prophets, please provide results of tests which indicate Isaiah was real.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Feb 25, 2018
There are many, many extra-biblical references to Isaiah, including the famed Jewish historian Josephus
Josephus was a jewish historian hack who repeated many biblical myths as if they were facts. See the Herzog quote.

Therefore nothing he wrote can be considered reliable.

And no, there are no other extrabiblical refs to Isaiah.
TheGhostofOtto1923 - rather that's just your worldview, which is also a religion
I don't believe in lying gods who will promise me absolutely anything and everything I ever wanted in return for being an ignorant bigot. Which is the sum total of every religion in existence today.

You're not much of a rational thinker are you?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (2) Feb 25, 2018
But the KJV was a translation from the early 17th century when many words we still use today meant something different then
That's not why they changed it. They changed it for the reason I gave you.

NIV is full of such misrepresentations. One favorite is from the quiverfull passage. They changed the wording 'meet the enemy in the gate' to 'contend with their opponents in court', the excuse being that gates were sometimes places where court proceedings were conducted.

But the entire psalm is about reproducing as early as possible - 'children of our youth - in order to produce more warriors for gods army. Like the one that conducted that joshuan genocide in Palestine that destroyed over 200 cities, towns, and villages... raping or slaughtering anyone they could find.

That's the theme of the entire OT - conquest. Nothing about courtroom proceedings until barabbas.

Adulterating the holy book is shamefully common and always has been. Read Bart Ehrmans book 'Forged'.
monstercolorfun
5 / 5 (1) Feb 26, 2018
You realize that dump is common slang for crap? Probably it isn't by crap that you intended to define yourself!
Caliban
4 / 5 (1) Feb 26, 2018
A lot of specifics infered from the appearance of what MIGHT POSSIBLY be a SPECIFIC reference to "the prophet Isaiah".

Unfortunastely, there is no way of knowing, since there is insufficient CONTEXT available from this seal to establish it with any degree of certainty.

This is clear from both the article and the specific quotes from Mazar himself, and thus, it is also clear that this is nothing more, at present --and for all futire time, as well-- to be no more than a clever PR stunt, intended to spur interest(and, therefore, funding) for his contonued employment.

Biblical scholarship and Archaeology are riddled with morally bankrupt hucksters only too happy to abuse the credulity of the faithful to line their own pockets, as is Religion itself. Just ask Benny Hin, Creflo Dollar, Jerry Falwell or Jim Bakker.

For starters.

drrobodog
not rated yet Feb 27, 2018

Everyone interprets data through their worldview, which as often as not has to be put in place first as a statement of faith, and then gets used to organize the facts available in order to "prove" what they set out to prove was right.

I disagree with this statement. Some people realise the bias nature of the human condition, and so throw their worldview along with everyone else's on the BS pile. Then from this base assumption, that everything is BS, they try to find the truth as best able, realising that it is forever an ongoing process. I tell you it's not easy when reason, logic, right, wrong, truth, etc must go on that pile too. In the end my worldview is not something I chose or cherish, it is simply the truth as I have arrived at it from base nothing. You could well convince me of your worldview with simple requirements. The question is could I ever, by any means, convince you of mine?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Mar 03, 2018
This is clear from both the article and the specific quotes from Mazar himself
Mazar is a woman
https://en.wikipe...at_Mazar

-and a fervent religionist whose bible tells her what she has found.

"Mazar's Bible-inspired approach has been a source of contention between her and other secular archaeologists.

"According to Mazar herself, "I work with the Bible in one hand and the tools of excavation in the other...""

"However, Israel Finkelstein and other archaeologists from Tel Aviv University have flagged concern...

"The biblical text dominates this field operation, not archaeology. Had it not been for Mazar's literal reading of the biblical text, she never would have dated the remains to the 10th century BCE with such confidence."

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.