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January 17, 2017 / 19 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘inscription’

Ancient Inscription Identifies Gargilius Antiques as Roman Ruler on Eve of Bar Kochva Revolt

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

University of Haifa researchers have made an important discovery underwater: a rare inscription from the period preceding the Bar Kochva revolt offers for the first time the definite identification of Gargilius Antiques as the Roman prefect of Judea at that time. The inscription was found in a University of Haifa underwater excavation at Tel Dor, on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, about 20 miles south of Haifa.

“For the first time, we can state with certainty the name of the Roman prefect of Judea during the critical period leading up to the Bar Kochva revolt,” stated Prof. Assaf Yasur-Landau of the University of Haifa, who is directing the underwater excavation with Dr. Gil Gambash, head of the Marine Civilizations Department at the University of Haifa, who helped him interpret the inscription. “In addition, this is only the second time that the name ‘Judea’ has appeared in any inscription from the Roman period,” he added.

Tel Dor, identified as Biblical Dor, was an active community until at least the fourth century CE. It has been first excavated as early as the first half of the twentieth century. Since 2003, the excavation has been led by Dr. Ayelet Gilboa of the University of Haifa and Dr. Ilan Sharon of the Hebrew University, together with Prof. Rebecca Martin of Boston University and Prof. Yasur-Landau.

Anchors, earthenware, and many other items have already been found in the inlets at Dor, but it is doubtful that anything prepared the researchers for their latest discovery. In January, Ehud Arkin-Shalev and Michelle Kreisher, two research students from the Coastal Archeology laboratory at the University of Haifa, found a massive rectangular stone within the area of Dor Nature Reserve. Even before they took it out of the water they could see that the stone bore an inscription. After consulting with Kobi Sharvit, the director of the Marine Archeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Yigal Ben Ari, head of the Coastal District in the Nature and Parks Authority, it was decided to remove the inscription from the sea as quickly as possible to prevent it being damaged or covered by sand.

After a complicated engineering operation to remove the artifact, the researchers realized that they were looking at a hewed rectangular stone 33.46 inches high and weighing more than 1,323 pounds. The stone bore a seven-line inscription in Greek, and, according to Prof. Yasur-Landau, “probably formed the base of a sculpture from the Roman period. As far as we know, this is the longest inscription found underwater in Israel.”

Dr. Gambash joined in the task of deciphering the inscription. The work on the eroded stone has not yet been completed, but the researchers have already made two exciting discoveries. First, and most importantly, the inscription mentions the name Gargilius Antiques, and states that his position was prefect of Judea. Antiques’ name also appears in a similar inscription that was found some 70 years ago, but in that case the finding did not include the name of the province where he served as prefect. An academic debate followed, with some scholars arguing that the inscription stated that Antiques was the prefect of the province of Syria, while others were convinced that it clearly identified him as prefect of Judea. The newly-found inscription proves beyond all doubt that Gargilius Antiques was the Roman prefect of Judea during the period leading up to the outbreak of the Bar Kochva revolt in 131 CE.

But the identification of Antiques’ position is not the only exceptional feature of this finding. To date, the name “Judea” has only been found in one other Roman inscription – a famous item from Caesarea that mentions the name of the prefect Pontius Pilate.

Immediately after the Bar Kochva revolt, the Romans decided to abolish the province of Judea and to obliterate any mention of its name. The province was united with Syria to form a single province called Syria Palaestina, from 135 to about 390. So the newly discovered inscription dates to just before Judea ceased to exist as a province under that name.

After the inscription has been fully deciphered, the researchers will turn to examining its historical context. “Together with the inscription that was found around the time the State of Israel was established, we have here two sculptures honoring and lauding the prefect Antiques,” note the researchers, adding: “The question is – why? Do these inscriptions mark two different significant events, or was it usual practice to erect a new sculpture for the patron of the city without any special reason?”

The inscription was revealed to the public for the first time on Wednesday, as part of a special exhibition entitled Via Maris, in the Younes & Soraya Nazarian Library at the University of Haifa. It is part of the fourth annual Haifa Conference on Mediterranean Research, which is devoted this year to the history of the Mediterranean. The exhibition and the conference were organized by Dr. Gil Gambash and Historian Dr. Zur Shalev, to mark the upcoming inauguration of the Haifa Center for Mediterranean History (HCMH).

JNi.Media

Ancient Arabic Inscription Identifies the Dome of the Rock with the Jewish Temple [video]

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

A team of archaeologists revealed the existence of a 1000-year-old text, dated to the beginning of the Islamic era, which indicates that the Muslims perceived the Dome of the Rock as a reestablishment of the earlier Jewish Temple. They referred to it as “Bayt al-maqdis” in the inscription, which derives from the biblical Hebrew terminology as ‘Beit Hamikdash’, known as the Hebrew reference to the Holy Temple. This unique find is located in the central mosque at the village of Nuba, next to the city of Hebron. Its significance lies in the fact that it is dated to the early Islamic Period, and it sheds light on the sanctification process of Jerusalem and especially of the Temple Mount to the Muslems.

The text on the rock quotes:

“In the name of Allah, the merciful God This territory, Nuba, and all its boundaries and its entire area, is an endowment to the Rock of Bayt al-Maqdis and the al-Aqsa Mosque, as it was dedicated by the Commander of the Faithful, ̒Umar iben al-Khattab for the sake of Allah the Almighty”

The village of Nuba is mentioned in the inscription text as an endowment to the Rock of Bayt al-Maqdis [The Holy Temple] and the al-Aqsa Mosque. The text also notes that the one who did the dedication was ̒Umar iben al-Khattab, the Arab ruler who conquered Jerusalem from the Byzantines in 638 AD.

Assaf Avraham and Peretz Reuven, the archeologists who presented the existence of the inscription last week in the Conference on ‘New studies in the archaeology of Jerusalem and its region’ that was held at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, pointed out that this text is, in fact, testimony that at least one of the names of the Dome of the Rock in the first centuries of Islam was “Bayt al-Maqdis” which preserves the Hebrew name “Beyt ha-Miqdash” (literally the “House of Sanctuary”).

“The choice to use the name ‘Bayt al-Maqdis’ was not original,” says Assaf Avraham. “Using this name derived from the deep influence of Jewish tradition on the development of Islam in its earliest days.” In an article that was published in the Conference pamphlet, early evidence was presented in the form of quotes by Moslem believers who, it appears, entered and prayed within a place of worship at the Temple Mount, which was named “Bayt al-Maqdis” For example:

“I would regularly pray with Ibn-Dahar in Bayt al-Maqdis, when he entered, he used to remove his shoes.” “Anyone who comes to Bayt al-Maqdiss only for the sake of praying inside it – is cleansed of all his sins.” “I entered Bayt al-Maqdis and saw a man taking longer than usual for his bows.” “The rock that is in Bayt al-Maqdis is the center of the entire universe.”

“Early Islamic literature shows that religious rituals were conducted within the Dome of the Rock at the beginning of the Islamic era” says Assaf; “These rituals were inspired by ancient traditions which took place within The Biblical Temple as is documented in the bible and in ancient Jewish literature”. An ancient Muslim source describes and stresses this point:

“Every Monday and Thursday morning the attendants enter the bath house to wash and purify themselves. They take off their clothes and put on a garment made of silk brocade embroidered with figures, and fasten tightly the girdle embellished with gold around their waists. And they rub the Rock over with perfume. Then the incense is put in censers of gold and silver. The gate-keepers lower the curtains so that the incense encircles the Rock entirely and the scent clings to it.”

These well documented and detailed procedures bear similarities to rituals that were practiced in the Jewish Temple, and were probably derived from them.

The Nuba inscription implies that the building of the Dome of the Rock marks the re-construction of the biblical Holy Temple, in essence, one of the most significant acts in the early history of Islam, a new world view that asked to glorify Jerusalem’s position as the world’s religious center for Islam.

When cross-referenced with other Muslim traditional literature of the time, it becomes clear that the Dome of the Rock’s structure was named Bayt Al-Maqdis in which prayers were conducted traditionally. It was the holiest structure within the Temple Mount and it was perceived as a renewed temple.

This unique revelation bears importance and relevance today considering Unesco’s latest resolution which ignores the Jewish affinity to the Temple mount.

Video of the Day

Ancient Muslim Inscription Confirms Dome of the Rock’s Jewish Temple Origin

Friday, October 28th, 2016

The ninth annual conference on archaeological discoveries in Jerusalem and its environs that was held at the Hebrew University this week revealed the existence of an ancient Muslim inscription testifying to the fact that the original name of the Dome of the Rock, Qubbat al-Sakhrah, was “Beit al Maqdis” بيت المقدس — “Beit Hamikdash” in Hebrew, aka the Jewish Temple — during the early Muslim era, Makor Rishon reported Friday.

According to archaeologists Assaf Avraham and Peretz Reuven, the inscription is dated to the 10th century CE, about a thousand years ago. It is located above a mihrab-prayer niche inside an active mosque in the village of Nuba, located seven miles north-west of Hebron. It is unknown when it was placed there, but it certainly throws a fresh light on the process by which Jerusalem became holy to the Muslims and the inspiration that Islam drew from Jewish sources regarding the holiness of the Temple Mount compound and the Jewish temple that once stood at the spot where today stands the Dome of the Rock shrine.

"In the name of Allah, the merciful God This territory, Nuba, and all its boundaries and its entire area, is an endowment to the Rock of Bayt al-Maqdis and the al-Aqsa Mosque, as it was dedicated by the Commander of the Faithful, ̒Umar iben al-Khattab for the sake of Allah the Almighty"

“In the name of Allah, the merciful God
This territory, Nuba, and all its boundaries
and its entire area, is an endowment to the Rock
of Bayt al-Maqdis and the al-Aqsa Mosque,
as it was dedicated by the Commander of the Faithful, ̒Umar iben al-Khattab for the sake of Allah the Almighty”
Photo by: Assaf Avraham

Participants in the Jerusalem conference were particularly excited by this revelation in light of two recent UNESCO resolutions which disavowed any connection between Jewish history and the Temple Mount. One participant reminded the forum that the Mufti of Jerusalem already admitted that the Dome of the Rock stands on the same spot as Solomon’s Temple, “but here we have an archaeological find that proves it,” he said.

According to both researchers, in the early Muslim era the Dome of the Rock was the site of worship services that were influenced by the ceremonies of the Jerusalem Temple: cleansing, incense, anointing the Foundation Stone with oil and surrounding it with curtains inspired by the divine parochet. The shrine, built around the Foundation Stone, just like the two Jewish Temples, was completed in 691 CE, by an architect named Yazid Ibn Salam, who was either Jewish himself or had Jewish aides.

There is a theory that Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik originally had the Dome of the Rock built as a shrine for the Jews, while Al Aqsa, the mosque on the southern end of the Temple Mount, was built for Muslims.

There is a trend where Muslims have recently begun referring to the entire Temple Mount compound, which they also call al-Haram ash-Sharif (“The Noble Compound”), as Al Aqsa.

David Israel

2700 Year-Old Inscription in City of David Excavations

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Archaeological excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the area of the Gihon Spring in the City of David, in the Walls around Jerusalem National Park, have unearthed a layer of rich finds including thousands of broken pottery shards, clay lamps and figurines. Most intriguing is the recent discovery of a ceramic bowl with a partially preserved inscription in ancient Hebrew. While not complete, the inscription presents us with the name of a seventh century BCE figure, which resembles other names known to us from both the Biblical and archaeological record (see examples below) and providing us with a connection to the people living in Jerusalem at the end of the First Temple period.

This fascinating find will be presented at Megalim’s Annual Archaeological Conference which will take place on Thursday, August 29th in the City of David.

The most similar name to our inscription is Zechariah the son of Benaiah, the father of the Prophet Jahaziel. The name Zechariah the son of Benaiah appears in 2 Chronicles 20:14 where it states that Jahaziel, son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, prophesized before the Biblical King Jehoshaphat before the nation went off to war against the ancient kingdoms of Ammon and Moab.

 

Pottery Sherd of a Bowl from the end of the First Temple Period, bearing the inscription "ryhu bn bnh". Photo: Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority

Pottery Sherd of a Bowl from the end of the First Temple Period, bearing the inscription “ryhu bn bnh”. Photo: Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority

 

Israel Antiquity Authority archaeologists Dr. Joe Uziel and Nahshon Zanton, who discovered the bowl while excavating remains associated with the First Temple period destruction, explained that the letters inscribed on the shard likely date to the 8-7th centuries BCE, placing the production of the bowl sometime between the reign of Hezekiah and the destruction of Jerusalem under King Zedekiah. The archaeologists also explained that the inscription was engraved on the bowl prior to firing, indicating that the inscription originally adorned the rim of the bowl in its entirety, and was not written on a shard after the vessel was broken.

While the purpose of the inscription on the bowl is unclear, archaeologists have posited that the bowl may have contained an offering, likely given by the individual whose name was inscribed on the bowl, or alternatively given to him. Inscription Analysis

The first letter of the ceramic bowl’s partially preserved inscription in ancient Hebrew script is broken and is therefore difficult to read, but appears to be the letter ר. The next three letters יהו constitute the theophoric suffix (the component in which the name of the deity appears as part of the first name, such as Yirme-yahu and Eli-yahu, etc). These letters are followed by בנ (the son of) after which appears the patronymic name composed of the three letters בנה. According to archaeologists Uziel and Zanton, “If we consider the possibility that we are dealing with an unvowelized or ‘defective’ spelling of the name בניה (Benaiah), then what we have before us is the name “…ריהו בן בניה”

Many of the first names mentioned in the Bible contained the theophoric component יהו, as is the case of this inscription from the City of David. Besides the biblical references, other examples of this have also been found in archaeological excavations, written on a variety of objects such as seals, bullae, pottery vessels or even carved on rock. Noteworthy among the many names that end with the theophoric suffix יהו are several prominent examples that were previously discovered in City of David by Professor Yigal Shiloh, such as Gemar-yahu the son of Shaphan, Bena-yahu the son of Hoshayahu, etc. which were also found in the destruction layer and the ruins of the Babylonian conquest.

 

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/2700-year-old-inscription-in-city-of-david-excavations/2013/08/18/

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