I just received this from the JTS Bible department listerv from my former Bible M.A. adviser:
Are you tired of doing the NY Times crossword puzzles or sudoku puzzles (at the evil level) during the summer? Here is a puzzle you might want to consider working on while on the beach or in Vermont. It comes from someone who has just visited Russia. She wants to know what the accompanying text is (part of her letter to me is underneath). If anyone has some success in solving the text, let me know. There is no prize, but the “winner” will be acknowledged with great acclaim at the next Bible Dept Lunch.
[email from person who found the book] Recently while visiting on of the countries of the former USSR I was approached by someone with a question: the family was in possession of what they believe is an ancient Jewish religious book/scripture and they were interested in finding out exactly what this book meant. Several experts from Russia attest that the language is neither Arameic, nor Hebrew, and that the red frame around the words is uncharacteristical of ancient Jewish religious writings. And this is as far as anyone got… The cover of this book is wooden and the pages appear to be made out of pergament.
*Since 3 people on the listerv already figured it out, I wanted to see if any Jewschooler wants to try an solve it. The winner will have the option of writing a guest post related to archeology and modern relevance. (Here are some leads for you). The contest will end by Shabbat of next week. Go for it!