Topics Semitic Origins of the NT
Archaeological Evidence of a Semitic New Testament
By Jeff A. Benner
For many years it has been taught that Greek and Aramaic were the languages of Israel during the Second Temple period (530 BC to 70 AD). However, over the past fifty years more and more evidence has surfaced that the language of the Jews in Israel during this time was in fact Hebrew. Below are some of discoveries supporting this theory.
In 135 CE Shimon Ben Kosiba (Simon Bar Kockba) lead the final revolt against the Romans. The image below is a fragment of a parchment which begins, "From Shimon Ben Kosiba to Yeshua Ben Galgoula and to the men of the fort, peace..." This is a letter from Shimon himself to one of his leaders in the revolt and it is written in Hebrew.
All coins minted in Israel during the second Temple period include inscriptions written in Hebrew. The coin on the left is written in the late Semitic script bearing the inscription "yerushalem" (Jerusalem). The coin on the right is written in the middle (paleo) Hebrew script with the word "sh'ma" (hear).
The many scrolls and thousands of fragments uncovered in the Dead Sea Caves were written from between 100 CE and 70AD. Some of these scrolls and fragments are of Biblical book but others are works concerning day to day business. Of all of these scrolls and fragments, approximately 90% are written in Hebrew while only 5% are in Aramaic and 5% in Greek. While most of the Hebrew inscriptions use the late Hebrew script, some of them use the more ancient early (paleo) script such as the image below which is a portion of the book of Leviticus.
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Related Pages by Jeff A. Benner
|The Living Words (Book)|
A study of Hebrew words in the Old and New Testament from their original Hebraic perspective.