Cuneiform fragments being examined
The Cyrus Cylinder held and exhibited by the British Museum is written in Babylonian Cuneiform and dates to the conquest of Babylon and the neo-Babylonian Empire by Cyrus the Great who ruled the Medo-Persian Empire in the 6th century BCE.
The cylinder has often been described as a bill of rights, and displays a pluralistic view of world religions that characterized the Medo-Persian Empire. In this declaration, Cyrus returns national religious treasures to the Babylonians, in a similar way to the edict of Cyrus recorded in the Biblical book of Ezra 1.
The cylinder has been missing some pieces of the edict, as can be seen on the official photographs provided by the British Museum. Now the discovery of cuneiform fragments among other holdings of the museum that could be from the cylinder has heightened interest in the artifact. The fragments are to be studied and published firstly, before being put on display in Iran, a nation which traces its descent from ancient Persia.
Section of Joshua from Codex Sinaiticus found as bookbinding in St Catherine's library
The Codex Sinaiticus considered the oldest and most complete example of the Bible was found in St Catherine’s Monastry, Mt. Sinai in the mid 19th century by Constantine Tischendorf. Subsequently, additional pages have been found in the past decades. Now another missing section has been identified in the binding of another book in St Catherine’s Library.
The Independent, a UK newspaper reports:
The use of old codices for bookbinding is not unusual as the quality of the old parchment was ideal for the task. But it also speaks to the way in which the monastry valued older codices, in this case a codex that has not been far from the center of textual considerations of the Bible since it was found, a little over a century ago.
Politics and Archaeology
An exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, of the Dead Sea Scrolls, provided and sponsored by the Israeli Antiquities Authority is the subject of diplomatic moves by Jordan. The Government of Jordan has requested that Canadian Government seize the scrolls presently in Toronto which “Jordan claims were illegally taken by Israel in 1967.”
At the heart of the issue is an international agreement signed in 1954. Toronto’s Globe and Mail reports:
Canada has not responded positively to the request, but the action by the Jordanians probably spells the end of any traveling exhibits from Israel, without some prior guarantee that the objects will be safely returned to the IAA.
The action by Jordan is not a denial of the Jewish character of the Scrolls, but rather who really owns the material.
H/T James Davila, PaleoJudaica
Add content here.