Lecture by Dr. Alan Millard

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‘The Lord said to Moses, “Write this in a book”‘ (Exodus 17: 14). Moses is the first person the Bible reports could write. Writing was 2,000 years old by his time, so what script would he have used – Babylonian cuneiform, or Egyptian hieroglyphs, or another one? Many examples of ancient Hebrew writing have been discovered in Judah from the days of Isaiah and Jeremiah but only a smaller number from earlier years. They raise such questions about the use of writing as ‘Did Israelites only write short messages and their names, or did they write books?’ and ‘Who could read and write in ancient Israel?’ Then there is the question of how early in their history the Israelites could write their records, rather than relying on oral tradition. This lecture will explain how discoveries in the Holy Land are helping to answer these questions and consider if it matters whether Moses could write, or not.

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