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Ancient books, manuscripts, texts, inscriptions and other documents

Bible origins


The Old Testament was based on the Torah, which is generally accepted to be derived from the true history of the Semitic peoples. The Sumerians were one of the Semitic races, and their Epic of Gilgamesh is thought to be a direct antecedent of the Torah. The Epic is about a thousand years older (in written form - it almost certainly goes back even further as an oral tradition), and has many striking points of similarity with the OT.

Here are some of the salient points of two stories from the Epic - see if they remind you of anything!

The Flood

Bryn Mawr Classical Review


Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR) (ISSN 1055-7660) publishes timely open-access, peer-reviewed reviews of current scholarly work in the field of classical studies (including archaeology). This site is the authoritative archive of BMCR's publication, from 1990 to the present. Reviews from August 2008 on are also posted on our blog.

This is free to join their mailing list to get recent scholarly reviews on classical studies to include archaeology.

Ancient Egypt & Mesopotamia


Pyramid Texts

The Pyramid Texts were funerary inscriptions that were written on the walls of the early Ancient Egyptian pyramids at Sakkara.

These date back to the fifth and sixth dynasties, approximately the years 2350-2175 B.C.E. However, because of extensive internal evidence, it is believed that they were composed much earlier, circa 3000 B.C.E.

The Pyramid Texts are, therefore, essentially the oldest sacred texts known. 

Mayan Writings


First off let me thank the powers that be for adding this forum. I think it would be a good idea to create a thread for each ancient civilization and their writings. That way we are not searching through a 50 page thread for a particular civilization. Lets start with this one:

Dresden Codex

The Ancient Maya Codices