Scholar’s Study: The Great Tekhelet Debate

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In the Archaeological Views column “The Great Tekhelet Debate—Blue or Purple?” (BAR, September/October 2013), Baruch and Judy Taubes Sterman of the Jerusalem-based Ptil Tekhelet Foundation suggest that God’s chosen color for the ancient Israelites was a sky-blue derived from murex dye. In a letter to BAR, Professor Zvi C. Koren, director of the Edelstein Center for the Analysis of Ancient Artifacts at the Shenker College of Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan, Israel, criticizes the Stermans’ analysis, to which the Stermans responded. In a letter published on January 2, 2014, Koren replied to the Stermans’ letter. Read about tekhelet and follow the correspondence between Baruch and Judy Taubes Sterman and Professor Zvi C. Koren in Bible History Daily:

What Color Was Tekhelet?

Regarding the Color of Tekhelet by Zvi C. Koren

Baruch and Judy Taubes Sterman Respond

Zvi C. Koren’s Reply to the Stermans’ Response

BAS Library Members: Read “Archaeological Views: The Great Tekhelet Debate—Blue or Purple?” by Baruch and Judy Taubes Sterman as it appeared in the September/October 2013 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

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  • Dee says

    It is a very interesting study to study Tyre and this industry of the murex snail. How many needed for an ounce for example and while one is on the way through it don’t forget Lydia, the seller of purple in the New Testement. This is thought to be cloth dyed with this dye hence she brought great wealth to those she worked for. people don’t seem to like their money threatened. While it is true that we seem unable to determine the exact color it is also true that thr history of purple being a royal color comes from this snail dye, whatever color it was. It likely was a blue and I have seen speculation thatt it was mixed with red from something else to gain different shades. we may find in the end thst the red came from a different part of the snail. e.g. the shell or a different gland. Happy hunting.

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