The long and hotly debated topic regarding the age of many of the Old Testament writings is beginning to come into clearer focus as researchers deploy new tools and methods of analysis. A study conducted by “Tel Aviv University, and published in the Proceedings of the [US] National Academy of Sciences this week,” is shedding new light, as well as exposing critical information about the debate putting many long held ideas about the time period into perspective.
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“Using cutting-edge computerized image processing and machine learning tools, the TAU team analyzed 16 inscriptions unearthed at an excavation in the remote fort of Arad,” they deduced that the analyzed texts were written by at least six different authors rather than just one.
While many scientists have held to the belief that many of the books of the Old Testament were written between the 6th and 7th century BCE, under the assumption that Hebrew didn’t go back any further, new data suggest that it may be centuries older than that- somewhere closer to 586 and 200 BCE.
What this means is that,”widespread literacy was required for this type of massive undertaking, and it provides empirical evidence of that literacy in the final days of the Kingdom of Judah.” In a kingdom of around 100,000 people, we can conclude that many of them were literate. Literacy in Jerusalem it seems was not just available to higher classes of citizens, which is something long believed to be the case.