Ancient Bethlehem seal discovered

Interesting news from Jerusalem, where archaeologists have discovered a 2,700-year-old seal that bears the inscription “Bethlehem.”

The finding is significant because it would seem to prove that Bethlehem was not just the name of a fabled biblical town, but a real place. Outside of biblical references, there are no other records of Bethlehem from that era.

Ancient seal inscribed with "Bethlehem."

The seal dates back to the period of the first biblical Jewish Temple, between the eighth and seventh century B.C., at a time when Jewish kings reigned over the ancient kingdom of Judah and 700 years before Jesus was born.

The seal was written in ancient Hebrew script from the same time. Pottery found nearby also dated back to the same period, he said.

Shmuel Achituv, an expert in ancient scripts at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University who did not participate in the dig, told The Associated Press that the discovery was the oldest reference to Bethlehem ever found outside of the Bible. Apart from the seal, the other mentions of Bethlehem, Achituv said, “are only in the Bible.”

The find lends credence to those who consider the Bible an accurate history book, rather than a spiritual guide of parables.

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In other news, I am doing a story on the Catholic church’s move to possibly restrict annulments. See the story here.

The U.S. is home to just 6 percent of the world’s Catholic population but accounting for roughly two-thirds of the 60,000 annulments issued by church courts each year.

For my story, I am looking for someone who has received an annulment from the church, or tried to get one.

Contact me at 771-2024, or by email at jhilton@ydr.com.

About John Hilton

I grew up in Susquehanna County, Pa. and graduated Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism/political science in 1998. After working for nearly three years for a weekly paper in upstate New York, I came to southcentral Pennsylvania. I spent 13 years as a reporter and editor for The Sentinel in Carlisle and joined the York Daily Record as religion reporter in September 2011.
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