Saturday, January 29, 2011
What did the Stone Tablets look like?
I am doing some research into the interpretation of the stone tablets which Moses brought down from Sinai, and came across an interesting tangent. Try imagining Moses at and advanced age (or Even Charleton Heston in his prime) walking down a steep mountainside with those two stone whoppers! He then throws them down with enough force to smash them.
We could say that God gave Moses superhuman strength (the text does not indicate such), or we could look for a reasonable interpretation, even if it means relinquishing some of our favourite images.
Writing on stone was very common in Egypt of the late Bronze Age. Hundreds of examples have been found. Papyrus was very expensive, so for scrap paper or scribal excersizes, pottery shards and stone flakes were used instead. Here is but one example, recovered at the Valley of the Kings (Deir el-Medina).
Stone flakes of this size could contain around twenty lines of text on both sides, could be easily carried, and easily broken.