Monday, February 27th, 2012

I’ve been sitting on this report for several months now….

The Merneptah Stele, dated to between 1210 – 1205 BC, has long been thought to contain the earliest extra-biblical reference to “Israel.”  However, there may be a reference to Israel in an artifact that is ~200 years older than Pharaoh Merneptah’s stele, but has been lying unnoticed in a museum storeroom for nearly 100 years.

University of Munich Hebrew scholar and Egyptologist, Manfred Görg, recently discovered a small granite slab in the storeroom of the Egyptian Museum of Berlin that he and a couple of colleagues argue contains a reference to Israel that predates the Merneptah Stele by ~200 years.[1]

The 18” x 15.5” fragment is believed to have been part of a pedestal for a statue. It contains two wholly preserved and one partially preserved Egyptian “name rings.”  Pharaohs would often record their exploits by listing in rows the names of all the cities or peoples they conquered. The name of the city was written in a round-edged rectangle, and above this name ring was a pictorial representation of the people of that city – consisting of a head and upper torso.


I am known for posting regularly and responding to comments, but over the past two weeks I have only posted one new post and have not been able to respond to the many comments that have been coming in on the various posts. Where have I been? Working. Unfortunately, blogging doesn’t pay the bills, and my work schedule has been hectic. And when I say hectic, I mean the working-through-the-night kind of hectic. I’ve been living off of 3-4 hours of sleep for the past three weeks. Things have let up a little bit, so I’ll begin posting more regularly again, but I can’t guarantee I’ll always be able to respond to comments (and I won’t even attempt to catch up on the old ones).