Handwriting study finds clues on when biblical texts written


JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli mathematicians and archaeologists say they have found evidence to suggest that key biblical texts may have been composed earlier than what some scholars think.

Using handwriting analysis technology similar to that employed by intelligence agencies and banks to analyze signatures, a Tel Aviv University team determined that a famous hoard of ancient Hebrew inscriptions, dated to around 600 BC, were written by at least six different authors. Although the inscriptions are not from the Hebrew Bible, their discovery suggests there was widespread literacy in ancient Judah at the time that would support the composition of biblical works.

The findings, released Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an American scientific journal, contribute to a longstanding debate about when biblical texts first began to be compiled: did it take place before or after the Babylonian siege and destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC and the exile of its inhabitants to Babylon?



Interesting. I think they were begun prior.


I don’t have time to read the article due to a toddler.

I thought one reason the Jewish Canon rejected some of the writings found in the Christian Canon was because they were written after the Exile.

Which texts are they referring to in the article?


"Israeli mathematicians and archaeologists say they have found evidence to suggest that key biblical texts may have been composed earlier than what some scholars think.

Can a sentence contain so many qualifiers and remain a sentence? As usual, another astounding leap of faith by the secular press.


Pax Christi!

Composed? Or copied?

Different authors? Or copyists?

God bless.



We report our investigation of 16 inscriptions from the Judahite desert fortress of Arad, dated ca. 600 BCE—the eve of Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of Jerusalem.



But, what if the texts were written earlier? What are the ramifications, if any?


So we have evidence that more military were literate, so biblical texts, that were not at all part of this, are now authored at a different time.

This is odd logic.
Since when does literacy rate dictate date a document is written?


Skeptics have attempted to undermine the authenticity of OT texts, saying they were written much later than believed. One of their arguments was that literacy was very very limited until much later for the Israelites. This finding gives more credence to the belief that literacy was much more widespread than believed.

As noted above. The claim is that since literacy was so low, the OT texts must have been written much later. It’s a desperate argument from those who are skeptical.


I always believed the biblical texts were written in a sort of ‘automatic writing’ method…with the Holy Spirit actually doing the ‘writing’, so why would the individual persons literacy level matter at all?


In that case the literacy level wouldn’t matter. Although with that logic, I would think handwriting, writing style, even language wouldn’t matter.

I think most scholars approach it from the perspective that each author’s experience, voice, vocabulary, etc can be found in the different scriptures. This provides a pretty simple explanation for differences in areas such as these. If differences in these areas do not reflect the individual authors, them we are faced with the question of why the Holy Spirit is inconsistent.


Plenty of biblical scholars at my school. Yes, they all approach it in the way you’ve stated. The Holy Spirit guides, but does not do the actual writing. The different genres, etc. can tell us much about the time period and show us a change of author.


That’s kind of what I intuited. I’m just unfamiliar with the debates in this area.


God uses humans to transmit His revelation, but He doesn’t override their free will, personality, and nature. Just as a flathead shovel will produce a different hole than a rounded shovel, so too will a different human author produce a different style of gospel/letter/poem/etc.

The different shovel will produce a different style of hole, but both shovels produce a hole. Different “tool” that God uses, different style in the result. :slight_smile:


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