Archeologists are claiming they may have found the earliest evidence of Christian iconography in Jerusalem.
“This inscription has something to do with resurrection of the dead, either of the deceased in the ossuary, or perhaps, given the Jonah image nearby, an expression of faith in Jesus’ resurrection,”
The image below was found on a tomb, along with what seems to be a reference to resurrection.
Here is a selection from the full report, you can read the rest here.
We are dealing here with a family or clan that is bold enough to write out the holy name of God in a tomb, with a declaration about “raising up” or resurrection—something totally unparalleled in any of the 900 tombs from the period known in Jerusalem. And further, this is a family that is willing to put an image of a fish and a human, both eschewed by pious Jews as “graven images” on the most prominent ossuary in this wealthy tomb— located at the front of the first niche on the right as one enters the tomb—and fill it with the bones of more than one family member.
Interesting to be sure, but I do have questions.
First off the tie-in with the much debated “Jesus family tomb,” which the same team worked on, strikes me as a bit too convenient. But even if this tomb is as old as their claiming, and if they are correctly interpreting the allusions to resurrection and the Jonah narrative, why does that necessarily mean it was Christian?
It may not follow the typical pattern for Jewish burial in that era, but many groups in Second Temple Judaism believed quite strongly in the resurrection of the dead. That the tomb may couple a reference to resurrection with the Jonah story is intriguing, but I’m not so sure this is the home-run it’s being made it out to be.