Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pomegranate Inscription: Forgery or Authentic?

For more than a decade the pomegranate had been on display in the Israel Museum and was widely believed to be the only surviving relic from Solomon's Temple. The inscription on the shoulder of the pomegranate reads: "(Belonging) to the Temple (literally, house) of Yahweh, Holy to the Priests."

In 2005 a committee of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Museum found the inscription to be a forgery, claiming that the forger artificially stopped short of an ancient break in the pomegranate when he engraved the letters. If that is true, the inscription is a forgery. But if the letters do go into the ancient break, the inscription must have been engraved before the break occurred and the inscription is authentic.

You don't have to know Hebrew or be an expert in ancient Hebrew epigraphy to look at the pictures and see whether the letters stop short of the break or go into the break.

Photographs and reports at Biblical Archaeological Review.

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