Wednesday, October 08, 2008

New(-ish) evidence of early Jesus worship

It seems that it was unearthed back in 2003-05, but I've only just heard about the discovery of a third-century Christian prayer hall in Megiddo, a town in Israel. The remarkable thing about the site (apart from being discovered under a high-security prison still in use) is that it contains well-preserved mosaics complete with inscriptions. In one, a benefactor, Gaianus, is described as a centurion and in another a woman called Akeptous is said to have "offered this table in memorial of the God Jesus Christ".

This is remarkable physical evidence of the beliefs and social composition of early Christian communities in Palestine (more discussion here). In particular, it is yet another refutation of the ludicrous idea (made popular through The Da Vinci Code) that Jesus' divinity was a novel idea pushed on the church by Constantine at Nicea.

This find was brought to my attention by the work of John Dickson and Greg Clarke from the Centre for Public Christianity (CPX), who are putting together a documentary called The Life of Jesus, looking at evidence for the historical Jesus and early Christianity and filmed on location in the Middle East. They are posting short pieces about their experiences on the road here.
Image by N. Davidov, IAA, taken from here. H/T Moffitt for pointing out the SydAng article.


psychodougie said...

just for accuracy's sake, John Dickson did make a Doco 'the Christ Files' - they're now making 'the life of Jesus'.

but a fascinating find (5 years isn't really all that bad - considering how much of the DSS for example is available even now!)

hopefully this series will gain some exposure - maybe James Cameron would be happy to throw his name in for this one, like he did for the Jesus family tomb.

byron smith said...

Oops - you're right. Corrected. Thanks!