Bible may have been written earlier than believed
When the Bible was written has long been a point of debate among scholars.
Researchers from Tel Aviv University say that they have compelling evidence the Old Testament was scribed sooner rather than later, reports the New York Times.
Much of the current thinking on the matter places the Bible's transition from being an orally transmitted history to a documented one after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and the subsequent exile of the Jews.
However, the researchers found evidence that high levels of literacy existed in the region before the fall, and not necessarily after.
According to Discovery News, their insights came from computer analysis of texts written by soldiers of varying ranks.
The inked ceramic shards were discovered some time ago during an excavation not far from the Dead Sea, and, based on dating, were created prior to Nebuchadnezzar's blighting of the Kingdom of Judah.
Writing on them communicates military missions and requests for supplies, and their recent study indicates they were written by at least 6 distinct individuals.
While the messages relayed were not religious in nature, they do show that both high and low levels of military personnel possessed the ability to communicate through written words.
The scholars believe that suggests the existence of an educational system, one that would have made the creation of at least portions of a physical Bible probable.