Archaeologists Found Physical Evidence of the Existence of Prophet Isaiah

Archaeologists announced they found the first physical evidence of the existence of Prophet Isaiah, The Daily Beast says with the reference to the recent article in Biblical Archaeology Review magazine. The evidence itself comes in the form of a small piece of clay (an impression left by a seal), a mere 0.4 inches long, which appears to bear the inscription “Isaiah the prophet.”

The item was found during the excavations of the trash heap in Jerusalem. The debris contained figurines, pottery fragments, pieces of ivory, and some clay seal impressions, known as bullae. These impressions were created when the owners of the seals stamped their seals into the soft clay and include the mark of King Hezekiah.

According to Eliat Mazar, an Israel archaeologist, “alongside the bullae of Hezekiah there were 22 additional bullae, among these was the bulla of “Yesha‘yah[u] Nvy[?],” which is most straightforwardly translated as “Isaiah the Prophet.” Given the importance of Isaiah to religious history, this seal impression is of great significance to Jews and Christians alike.
According to the Book of Isaiah, Isaiah was an 8 century BC prophet during the reign of King Hezekiah. Isaiah began prophesying during the reign of King Ussiah and appears to have lived through the reigns of Kings Jotham, Ahaz, and the first 14 years of the reign of Hezekiah. “People loved him so much that they even wrote “The Ascend of Isaiah” – a story about his martyrdom and ascend to Heaven”.

Now, for the first time, we have an example of what might be his signature. Not only is this proof that Isaiah existed (not something scholars truly disputed), but also the evidence of his role in 8 century BC Jerusalem society. Not everyone who had a seal was of elevated high status (as they were a means of solidifying identity), but the Bible does describe Isaiah as a counselor of the king to whom the monarch would turn for advice. The discovery of his seal impressions in close proximity to that of King Hezekiah confirms the picture of a court prophet that we get from the Bible” – the article says.
Mazar acknowledges in her article that there are some problems with the seal. Some of the letters that appear to have broken off. Additionally, most seals identify their owner with reference to their father “X, the son of Y.” The inscription on the Isaiah’s seal does not correspond to this format. According to Mazar, the inscription on the seal states his profession – prophet.

Robert Cargill, the editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, told The Daily Beast that this was a “carefully written, responsible article” and that the magazine was careful not to claim definitively to have found the seal of Isaiah. He added that he personally believes that Mazar found the seal of Isaiah and said that it was “the first archaeological and non-biblical reference to the prophet”.

Source: http://www.bogoslov.ru/text/5741693/index.html