[b-hebrew] Moses' writing? [was: The New Testament]

rochelle altman willaa at netvision.net.il
Tue Oct 24 04:20:23 EDT 2006

The entire first part is more of the same, so let's get to the final item::

>What format and size of documents did Moses use when he wrote Torah in
>the 15th century BC? What is your evidence? What writing substrate did
>he use: leather, papyrus, or what? What is your evidence?

Moses didn't write the Torah, remember? It was supposed to have been 
written by god -- and if he did write it, then he used stone. It was Joshua 
who was told to make a 'mishneh'  -- on what material? Well, certainly not 
watermarked paper. Silver, bronze, and copper, though were used for 
documents such as treaties, or anything that was supposed to be "permanent" 
and that was not "carved in stone."   (Amusing just how far back in time 
that saying goes.)

BTW, The Romans learned the hard way that bronze is not so permanent when 
the building and the wall of the Senate burned and they had to replace all 
those agreements written on bronze tablets.

The 10C were supposed to be tablets. Tablets were made of stone, so that's 
a non-starter as a  question. From the extant evidence -- of which we 
find  a couple hundred on both sides of the ANE
If the tablets were written in the tradition of the eastern side of the 
ANE, then they were arch-topped -- which arch -- full round, half round, 
flattened -- who knows. (The triangle topped tablets are the symbol of 
Tanit,  the tophets are loaded with examples, so that shape arch is not on.)

Size? again, from the immense quantity of extant evidence found on both 
sides of the ANE and from later Greek and Roman use, laws, followed by 
documents issuing from a government, were always the largest size... what 
size? Depends upon whether we are talking wall tablet or stele. For Roman 
use, we should also include papyrus.

The 10C were supposed to be on wall tablet size... so, large... how large, 
definitely more than 17 inches in height...how much more, who knows.... but 
they did have to fit in a carry-case called the ark.

Width? Which tradition? Greek tablets were written with the horizontal 
wider than the vertical measurements (see the Gortyn temple wall for an 
example -- the Zoilos inscription is an apt example of an oath tablet in 
the Greek tradition). Egyptian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Samalian, Phoenician, 
Etruscan, Roman, etc. were written with the vertical height larger than the 
horizontal. So, most likely vertical height greater than horizontal width. 
Suggest you look at Hammurabi's stele to get an idea of  the general shape 
of law codes in the ANE.

I'm suggesting Hammurabi rather than one of the multitude of Egyptian 
examples because the shape meant different things depending on which side 
of the ANE you're on.To the Egyptians, the shape is the symbol of the tree 
of life. To the Akkadians (and those that followed) it meant the person was 
under a god's protection.

Script: all I can do is tell you what is speculated in the literature -- of 
which there is a very large amount. 15th BCE: Siniatic; 13th BCE -- Phoenician.

You want to see the evidence? Remember, I've been collecting this stuff for 
more than 50 years...there are hundreds of examples just from the ANE and 
down through the 1st century BCE... when we get to CE, we get into the 
millions.  There are more than 250,000 examples in one Late Medieval 
cemetery -- can't use all of them now can I. You'll have to wait until I 
finish organizing the blurry book on the subject  -- this i going to take a 
lot of picking and choosing to fit into a single volume -- and then finish 
writing it up to see the evidence for yourself.. I've given you a few 
examples to look at so you get an idea.

Incidentally, if you want to know where the double tablet comes from, look 
at Syrian MSS, then Gothic, and then the Amianitus from the 8th CE.

Now, shall we get back to BH?

Dr. Rochelle. I. Altman

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list