(CNN)The earliest known stone inscription of the Ten Commandments is being auctioned in Beverly Hills on November 16, with an opening bid of $250,000 -- and a stipulation that any owner must put the tablet on public display.Background and comments are here and here.
Described as a "national treasure" of Israel, the stone was first uncovered in 1913 during excavations for a railroad station near Yavneh in Israel and is the only intact tablet version of the Commandments thought to exist.
"The tablet's significance is testament to the deep roots and enduring power of the Commandments that still form the basis of three of the world's great religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam," says David Michaels, director of ancient coins for Heritage Auctions, who will be conducting the sale.
"Its surface is worn, battered and encrusted in places, but running a gloved finger over it does produce, in some people, a particular thrill of touching a piece of Bible history."
Buried for centuries
The two-foot-square (0.18 square meter), 115-pound (52 kg) marble slab is inscribed in an early Hebrew script called Samaritan and most likely adorned a Samaritan synagogue or home in the ancient town of Jabneel, Palestine, which is now Yavneh in modern Israel, according to Michaels.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Samaritan Decalogue tablet to be auctioned today
EPIGRAPHY: Earliest known stone version of Ten Commandments up for auction (Georgia McCafferty, CNN).