report: cuneiform tablet preserving portion of a law code discovered at hazor

Tel Hazor, IsraelWhere was this in 2006 when I was digging there? lol.

Potentially great news: according to Dr. Jack Sasson:

Hazor Law Code Fragments

The Selz Foundation Hazor Excavations in Memory of Yigael Yadin have
recovered two fragments of a cuneiform tablet preserving portions of a
law code at Hazor.

The text parallels portions of the famous Law Code of Hammurabi, and,
to a certain extent even the Biblical “tooth for a tooth”. The team is
presently working its way down towards a monumental structure dating
to the Bronze Age, where more tablets are expected to be found.

The tablet is currently being studied at the Hebrew University. More
details to follow as soon as possible.

The excavations are sponsored by the Hebrew university and the Israel
Exploration Society, and take place in the Hazor National Park.

Now this has the potential of being something big. Drs. Amnon Ben-Tor, Sharon Zuckerman, and the excavation team have been looking for some sort of text archive for some time there. But to uncover a law code, well, that will get scholars and sensationalists alike buzzing.

Congrats to the excavators. Now that the story has broken, I’d love to see some photographs and some preliminary comments from the excavation team. A blog would be a great way to show some images to scholars and get their initial feedback.

The next question is: how long until a major news outlet gives us some sensationalist headline like ‘Biblical Law Code Found in Israel’ or ’10 Commandments Discovered?’ and who will be the guilty party?

More on the Hazor excavation here.

UPDATE:  See photos here.

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5 Responses

  1. i’m sure you’ve just given a number of folks an idea bob… ;-)

  2. well then let me tell them: don’t do it! hammurabi’s law code existed long before the biblical law codes, and were most likely incorporated into the biblical codes. thus, these are not ‘biblical’ law codes in the sense that the excavators have unearthed copies of an early bible, nor have they proved that the bible’s laws are ‘authentic’ with this discovery. rather, they’ve potentially unearthed a copy of a law code similar to that of the law codes that preceded and potentially were incorporated into the hebrew bible’s subsequent law codes.

  3. Why is it okay to make these wildly speculative negative statements, yet not okay to make equally wildly speculative positive statements of relationships? You haven’t seen the tablets. How can you say anything about them? Excuse me, but, your agenda is showing!

  4. what agenda? if the tablets are written in cuneiform, and were excavated from a stratum dating somewhere between the late bronze and bronze age, then it must predate the biblical text whether one accepts an early date (1000 BCE) or a late date (400 BCE) for the biblical law codes. either way, it predates the biblical law codes. therefore, it can’t be a copy of the bible, which had not yet been written or compiled.

    if they are indeed law codes, they predate the bible. if there is congruency between the law codes and text of the bible, then it is a case similar to that of hammurabi’s law code, portions of which appear to have been adopted by the authors of the bible into the law biblical codes.

  5. [...] Duane Smith, Robert Cargill, and basically anyone else watching Jack Sasson’s list closer than I am at the moment) [...]

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