According to a report published in The Jerusalem Post, several ancient Jewish scrolls were found in a cave in Afghanistan. Below is an excerpt from the report:
According to Arab Affairs correspondent Ehud Yeari, if validated the scrolls may be the most significant historical finding in the Jewish world since that of the Cairo Geniza in the 19th century.
“We know today about a couple of findings,” Haggai Ben-Shammai, Professor Emeritus of Arabic Language and Literature at Hebrew University was quoted as saying. “In all, in my opinion, there are about 150 fragments. It may be the tip of the iceberg.”
The scrolls, which were part of a geniza, a burial site for sacred Jewish texts, date from around 1,000 years ago and are in Arabic, Judeo-Arabic and ancient Persian.
One scroll, whose replica was shown to the cameras, is apparently a dirge written for an important person whose identity has not been determined.
“Where has he gone?” read the text. ”His family members are now alone.”
Besides the song of mourning other texts said to be found include an unknown history of the ancient kingdom of Judea, passages from the book of Isaiah and some of the works of Rabbi Saadia Gaon, a medieval sage.
In addition, rings with Jewish names like Shmuel Bar Yosef inscribed in Hebrew on them have surfaced.
What fascinates me about this discovery is the “unknown history of the ancient kingdom of Judea” and the “passages from the book of Isaiah.”
I wonder what is meant by this “unknown history of the ancient kingdom of Judea.” Is this a reference to the southern kingdom or does it refer to the post-exilic or inter-biblical community of Israel?
Also, it will be interesting to compare these “passages from the book of Isaiah” with our present Masoretic Text and with the Isaiah Scroll from the Dead Sea community and see whether the texts are similar or whether they differ from the Masoretic Text.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary