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Archaeology & History

'Nazareth Inscription' Jesus link now in doubt

By T.K. Randall
April 26, 2020 · Comment icon 10 comments

Did the tablet pertain to Jesus, or was it about someone else entirely ? Image Credit: Julius von Klever
An inscribed stone tablet dating back 2,000 years may not be about Jesus' body as was previously believed.
Known as the 'Nazareth Inscription', the tablet is inscribed with a warning in Greek writing that threatens grave robbers (or anyone caught desecrating graves) with capital punishment.

It was acquired by German collector Wilhelm Froehner in Paris in 1878, however aside from a note indicating that it had "come from Nazareth", its history has remained something of a mystery.

Due to its age and its links to Nazareth, researchers have long speculated that it may have been created by Roman authorities in response to the disappearance of Jesus' body from his tomb, something that was seen as evidence that he had risen from the dead.

Now however, a new geochemical analysis of the tablet has called this idea into doubt.
By studying samples of powdered marble for stable carbon and oxygen isotopes, scientists have been able to trace the origins of the tablet itself to the Greek island of Kos.

This suggests that, rather than being about Jesus, it was actually created after locals desecrated the tomb of Nikias - an unpopular official who died on the island sometime in the 30s B.C.

"We believe that it is the first time stable isotope chemistry has ever been used to establish the provenance of an inscription, period," said lead study author Kyle Harper from the University of Oklahoma.

"We got lucky twice over. First, it was a very direct match with a rather unexpected marble quarry, so we could really pinpoint its origins on Kos."

"Second, it happened that we know of an episode of tomb violation that was very famous in the exact right period. I would have never hoped for such a remarkable alignment."

Source: Live Science | Comments (10)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by freetoroam 3 years ago
How words  can create a story and how beliefs can change that story. It is amazing how today they do these tests  
Comment icon #2 Posted by Piney 3 years ago
There was a type of  Jewish "magician-priesthood" running around Palestine stealing bodies for ceremonial magic. So this crap was common. 
Comment icon #3 Posted by Seti42 3 years ago
There's no evidence that Jesus even existed. Everything we 'know' about him was written hundreds of years after his supposed death. Sorry, Christians...But there's a really good chance your key figure is a myth or at best, an amalgam of many teachers/prophets living in the period.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Jon the frog 3 years ago
No kidding...
Comment icon #5 Posted by jaylemurph 3 years ago
Suetonius wrote about Jesus while Jesus was still alive; Tacitus wrote about him just a few decades after Jesus died.  Find me more respected historians.  I’m not saying Jesus was real. I’m not saying he wasn’t. I’m not even saying could-have-been-Jesuses like Mithras or Adonis weren’t thick on the ground in first-century Palestina. I am saying you should be aware of what history actual says before you go citing it half-cocked.  —Jaylemurph 
Comment icon #6 Posted by qxcontinuum 3 years ago
This affirmation is not accurate. Historically Jesus existed and he did things ppl have spoke about, enough to make Roman's writing about years later.  You don't expect Facebook and tweeter like publicity 2000 years ago right in times when no one was able to read and write. However even so, some ancient manus survived and references are plainty online.   
Comment icon #7 Posted by DieChecker 3 years ago
I've never understood the need some have to find actual evidence if Jesus. Isnt it enough to "Love thy Neighbor as thyself" without needing something to bolster your belief?
Comment icon #8 Posted by qxcontinuum 3 years ago
This modern trend started as a response to those contradicting his existence. Up to that point everyone just believed or not w/o necessity to confirm or infirm believes. 
Comment icon #9 Posted by hetrodoxly 3 years ago
I'm not sure many historians would agree, i wouldn't attempt to try or want to prove the divinity of Jesus, but the fact that none Christian authors not only mention him but not always in a good light is a good indicator he existed, Josephus  a Jewish historian wrote about him in the 1st century.
Comment icon #10 Posted by hetrodoxly 3 years ago
It was radical for the time, maybe even for today. Love for Enemies 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 B... [More]

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