Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Archaeology series 2: The Caiaphas ossuary

Brief notes on the ossuary :

* Language: Aramaic

*Medium: limestone

*Approximate Size: 37 centimeters high, 75 centimeters long

*Length: 1 line of writing that reads Yehosef bar Kayafa' (Josesph son of Caiaphas)

* Was discovered in a Second Temple Tomb in 'The Peace Forest', a park in Jerusalem by park excavators in December 1990. It was found with many other ossuaries in the tomb some others of which were also inscribed with "Caiaphas". Thus it was likely a family tomb. The 'Joseph son of Caiaphas' ossuary was the most eleborately decorated.

*The excavation was conducted under Zvi Greenhut Israel Antiquities Authority and is currently located at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

In the New Testament:

So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, “What are we to do? For this man [Jesus] performs many signs. If we let him go on thus, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.”

But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all; you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.”

He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation. (Jn. 11:47-51, RSV)

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