IAA/Exhibit and photo by Israel Museum

Proof of authenticity. Although a few scholars questioned Schechter’s conclusion that the twins’ fragment preserved the original Hebrew of Ben Sira, Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin quieted any lingering doubts in the 1960s, when at Masada he found 26 first-century B.C.E. leather fragments inscribed with seven columns of Ben Sira in Hebrew. The Masada text closely matches that of the twins’ Ben Sira, confirming that their fragment was not, as skeptics had claimed, a medieval translation into Hebrew from Greek, Syriac or Persian.