-Are you a God?
- they asked the Buddha.
- No.
- Are you an angel, then?
- No.
- A saint?
- No.
- Then what are you?


"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure of
the universe"-Albert Einstein-

Om Mani Padme Hum

Matthew 25:40

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 7 1-6

1. Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ancient Library of Ebla - Possibly the Oldest Discovered to Date

The Ebla tablets were found in Syria. There are as many as 1800 complete clay tablets, and thousands of fragments and minor chips. They were found in the palace of the city of Ebla, Syria, by Italian archaeologist Paolo Matthiae and his team in 1974–1975. The excavation at Tell Mardikh, resulted in finding the tablets,some still on their shelves. They date to between 2500 BC and the destruction of the city around 2250 BC. They may be the oldest and the largest library yet found in the middle east.  Two languages appeared in the writing on the tablets: Sumerian, and an unknown language that used the Sumerian cuneiform script as a phonetic representation of the locally spoken Ebla language. It was initially identified as pre-Canaanite by Giovanni Pettinato, who first deciphered the tablets, as it predated the Semitic languages of Canaan, like Ugaritic and Hebrew. Pettinato later decided to call it "Eblaite", the name by which it is known as today.
The tablets were found just where they were when their shelves were burned in the final destruction of  the library. The books was kept in two rooms, one smaller room had only business records engraved on round tablets, a larger room held both ritual and literary books, and texts for teaching scribes. Many of the tablets were preserved by the fire that destroyed the building. They had been stored upright in wooden shelves.  The burning shelves collapsed, preserving the order of the clay tablets.
The tablets decribe Syria and Palestine in the Early Bronze Age, including the first known references to the "Canaanites", "Ugarit", and "Lebanon". The tablets show that Ebla was an important trade center. The focus was on business records, and inventories of Ebla's business and political activities and policies with other cities, and logs of the city's imports and exports. They reveal that Ebla produced among other things beers. One named "Ebla."  There also appears to be a trade network system between cities in Syria, grouping the region into a community, as shown in the tablets.
There are lists of ordinances, edicts, treaties. There are lists of  place names, including a standardized list also found at Abu Salabikh, possibly ancient Eresh, it was dated to 2600 BC. Other texts include hymns, rituals, epics, and proverbs.  Many tablets have both Sumerian and Eblaite inscriptions with  three bilingual lists showing words in both languages. This allowed scribes and scholars a better understanding of the Sumerian language, which at that time was still a living language.
Until this discovery of these tablets there were no bilingual dictionaries of Sumerian and other languages, making pronunciation and phonetics of the language difficult. The only tablets written in just Sumerian are probably used for training meaning that this was a school for scholars or scribes. With the dictionaries, were lists of Sumerian words and their pronunciation in Eblaite.
Rituals like the release of a scape goat were immediately recognized as ancient Near Eastern parallels to Hebrew practice in the first millennium, recorded in Leviticus 16.
The application of the Ebla tablets to places or people from the Bible resulted in controversies, as to whether or not the tablets references confirmed, the existence of Abraham, David, Sodom and Gomorrah among others. These claims coupled with delays in  publication of the texts, became an academic crisis.  Now though the consensus is that Ebla's role in biblical archaeology is minimal.

Lee Murray

No comments:

Post a Comment