A team of archaeologists in Israel claim to have found the earliest archeological evidence of Christianity—a burial site known the “Patio Tomb” located in Talpiot, a southern Jerusalem neighborhood. Philologos, writing for the Jewish Daily Forward , details the putatively Christian discovery:


The evidence for the Christian nature of the Patio Tomb has both a pictorial and a linguistic side. The picture is on an ossuary (a small stone coffin in which bones were deposited after the deceased’s flesh decomposed in the earth) photographed in the tomb, with a carved drawing of a large fish from whose mouth the figure of a man is emerging — clearly, a depiction of the story of Jonah, which early Christians read as a foreshadowing of Jesus’ resurrection.

Summing up the linguistic evidence:


This would leave us with the alternatives of reading the entire inscription to mean something like, “I, almighty YHVH, raise from the dead,” or “I, almighty YHVH, raise up to heaven,” or, “Almighty YHVH, raise up Agabos! [the name of the man buried in the ossuary],” or, “Almighty YHVH, raise up, raise up!” In all these cases, Tabor argues, we are looking at an invocation of the resurrection of the deceased, one never before found on any Jewish ossuary, and in conjunction with the “Jonah drawing,” a likely indication of the Christian faith of the buried man and his next of kin, who may have been contemporaries of Jesus.

For further analysis and interpretation of the evidence, see the full article here .

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