Archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar. of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, recently announced that a clay seal impression, known as a bulla, has the name Isaiah on it. This means her team may have uncovered the first actual evidence of the existence of the prophet Isaiah beyond the Bible itself.
“Because the bulla has been slightly damaged at the end of the word nvy,” she wrote in the most recent Biblical Archaeology Review, “it is not known if it originally ended with the Hebrew letter aleph, which would have resulted in the Hebrew word for ‘prophet’ and would have definitively identified the seal as the signature of the prophet Isaiah. The absence of this final letter, however, requires that we leave open the possibility that it could just be the name Navi…the name of Isaiah, however, is clear.”
Mazar surprised the world in 2015 with another find at the Ophel site near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, it was a clay seal, or bulla, of Israel’s King Hezekiah. This bulla was less than ten feet from the recent find, of which she wrote, “[If] this bulla is indeed that of the prophet Isaiah, then it should not come as a surprise to discover this bulla next to one bearing King Hezekiah’s name given the symbiotic relationship of the prophet Isaiah and King Hezekiah described in the Bible.”
Digging in the biblical acropolis of First Temple Period in Jerusalem for much of the last 30 years, Mazar’s archeological finds include uncovering structures, a city gate, royal treasures, towers, a royal ‘bakery’ and the seals of both King Hezekiah and this possible seal of Isaiah, along with dozens of other seals.
Mazar started working this site along with her grandfather prof. Benjamin Mazar in 1986–87, on behalf of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Since that time, she has conducted several seasons of excavation at the site as funding has been available.