A recent find by archaeologists during a tomb exploration in Jerusalem uncovered what could be the earliest archaeological evidence for Christianity in Jerusalem. One ossuary, an object similar to a coffin or sarcophagus, contains a four line Greek Inscription that refers to God “raising up” someone. An ossuary next to it depicts an inscription of an individual in the mouth of a large fish – perhaps a reference to the Biblical figure Jonah, akin to other examples of early Christian art.
The ossuaries have been sent to the Israeli State Collection and are waiting authentication. If the ossuaries prove to be authentic (there are many fakes, most famous the Jesus Ossuary and the James Brother of Jesus Ossuary), then they would represent (by centuries) the earliest evidence for Christianity. The objects would predate the gospels by centuries.
Internet giant Google has enabled scholars to post a chunk of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the most important documents to Biblical scholars aside from the Old and New testaments. The announcement has generated a great deal of excitement amongst professional and lay scholars alike – providing ready access to the materials to the public for free.
Biblical scholarship and archaeology is all a twitter (literally and figuratively) over a new ossuary authentication as belonging to the family of Caiaphas. The full inscription reads: ”Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphus, priest of Maaziah from Beth Imri.”
Ossuary forgeries are common place in Israel and, especially with the recent high profile case of the “Ossuary of James,” professional antiquities dealers, collectors, and scholars are often hesitant to identify historically relevant boxes. Still, Profesor Goren of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Archaeology feels confident of its identity.
To learn more about this finding, read the full article at Science Daily.