Bible Archaeology

The Miriam, Daughter of Yeshua, Son of Caiphas Ossuary

Arutz Sheva reports  on the recovery of the ossuary belonging to Caiaphas’ granddaughter:

3 years ago  an ancient inscribed sarcophagus was turned over to the Theft Prevention Unit of the Antiquities Authority. It was discovered by grave robbers who plundered and ancient Jewish tomb site, from the period of the second temple. The sarcophagus probably came from a burial cave in the area of the Elah valley, on the Yehuda plains.

Scientists from the antiquities authority determined that the sarcophagus was for bone interment, a practice common from the first century BCE to the second century CE. The front of the sarcophagus bears the aramaic inscription “Miriam, daughter of Yeshua, son of Kipa, priest of Ma’azyah from the house of Imri”.

One of the family members, the High Priest Yehosef Ben Kipa was famous for his involvement in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Ma’azyah was the name of the 24th priestly service shift at the temple. Members of this family signed the convention mentioned in the book of Nehemiah (10,9). The House of Imri refers to the priestly family of Miriam, or to the location she came from.

The authenticity of the sarcophagus and inscription were verified using the technology called ESEM/EDS (Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope / Energy-Dispersive Spectrometer).

Caiaphas was the High Priest at Jesus’ trial (Matt 26:57-68).

And here is the Israel Antiquities Authority press release:

HTDr Jim West

The Telegraph also covers the news:

Israeli scholars say they have confirmed the authenticity of a 2,000-year-old burial box bearing the name of a relative of the high priest Caiaphas of the New Testament.

The ossuary bears an inscription with the name “Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphas, priest of Maaziah from Beth Imri.”

An ossuary is a stone chest used to store bones. Caiaphas was a temple priest and an adversary of Jesus who played a key role in his crucifixion.

The Israel Antiquities Authority says the ossuary was seized from tomb robbers three years ago and has since been undergoing analysis. Forgery is common in the world of biblical artefacts.

The IAA says in Wednesday’s statement that microscopic tests have confirmed the inscription is “genuine and ancient.” 

UPDATEMore on the 2,000-year​-old burial box:

Israeli scholars have confirmed the authenticity of a 2,000-year-old burial box that appears to bear the name of a relative of the high priest Caiaphas mentioned in the New Testament, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Wednesday.

The find offers support for the existence of the biblical Caiaphas, who appears in the New Testament as a temple priest and an adversary of Jesus who played a key role in his crucifixion.

The ossuary — a stone chest used to store bones — is decorated with the stylized shapes of flowers and bears an inscription with the name “Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphas, priest of Maaziah from Beth Imri.”

The ossuary was seized from tomb robbers three years ago, the government antiquities body said in a statement. Because it “was not found in a controlled archaeological excavation and because of its special scientific importance,” the statement said, it has been undergoing lab tests since then.

The tests, which used powerful microscopes to inspect layers of buildup on the box and inscription, were carried out by two scholars, one from Tel Aviv University and the other from Bar Ilan University, the statement said. The research indicated that the inscription is “genuine and ancient.”

Careful tests were necessary because forgery is common in the world of biblical artifacts, where a brisk black market exists and where antiquities linked in some way to the Bible can fetch millions of dollars.

A similar ossuary — bearing the inscription “James son of Joseph brother of Jesus” — is currently at the center of a fraud trial under way in Israel.

The James ossuary was exhibited to widespread acclaim as the only known archaeological link to Jesus, but lab tests run by the Israel Antiquities Authority indicated the inscription was fake. An Israeli collector has been charged with forging the ossuary and other biblical antiquities, and a verdict is pending. The collector says the box is authentic.

The scholars believe the Miriam ossuary was plundered from a tomb in the Valley of Elah, southwest of Jerusalem.

The word “maaziah” on the inscription refers to a subset of the priestly caste. Scholars believe “Beth Imri” refers either to a priestly family or to the family’s village of origin.

The above was here:

HT:   Joseph I Lauer

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