Image from CNN Interractive (now expired) 
The Temple Ostracon
bytyhwh - House of the Lord
Last Updated January 23rd, 1998.
    An ostracon (piece of broken pottery) has turned up, seemingly out of nowhere, containing a receipt of 3 shekels offered to the "House of YHWH" (Yahweh/the LORD) by "Ashyahu the King". CNN Interractive reported the find as perhaps the earliest mention of Solomon's Temple beyond the pages of the Bible.  A bracket chronology of the 9th - 7th centuries BCE was posited.
    However, the authenticity of the ostracon has yet to be proved. The strange circumstances of its find, coupled with other epigraphical questions, lead toward a stance that the ostacon is a forgery. However, as research on the ostracon is in its fledgling stage, judgment must be reserved. Further critical investigation must be done before any firm conclusions are reached for or against its authenticity.
     It is hoped that this website can become a forum for such critical investigation. If you have any comments about the ostracon, any essays, papers, reference, information, or suggestions, please contact George Athas (email below) using the subject heading OSTRACON. All contributions deemed valuable will be published at this site.

A Transliteration and Translation of the Text
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Some issues to think about for contributions (you may wish to ask/answer others, too):

Is the ostracon authentic? What evidence speaks for or against it?
Who was Ashyahu?
What date can we assign it palaeographically?
What can be said about its form and textual alignment?
What significance does the position of SHIN under the missing ZAYIN have?

(Thanks to Dr Reinhard G. Lehmann of Johannes-Gutenberg Universitat Mainz for raising these last two issues.)

[email protected]
George Athas
PhD (cand.) University of Sydney, Australia
Tutor of Hebrew, Moore Theological College, Sydney.

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