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News Link • Religion: Believers

Possible Earliest Evidence of Christianity Resurrected from Ancient Tomb

• Wynne Parry via

In an ancient tomb located below a modern condominium building in Jerusalem, archaeologists have found ossuaries — bone boxes for the dead — bearing engravings that could represent the earliest archaeological evidence of Christians ever found. 

The tomb has been dated to before A.D. 70, so if its engravings are indeed early Christian, they were most likely made by some of Jesus' earliest followers, according to the excavators.

One of the limestone ossuaries bears an inscription in Greek that includes a reference to "Divine Jehovah" raising someone up. A second ossuary has an image that appears to be a large fish with a stick figure in its mouth. The excavators believe the image represents the story of Jonah, the biblical prophet who was swallowed by a fish or whale and then released.

Together both the inscription and the image of the fish represent the Christian belief in resurrection from death. While images of the Jonah story became common on more recent Christian tombs, they do not appear in first-century art, and iconographic images like this on ossuaries are extremely rare.

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