Thursday, December 18, 2003

Zechariah inscription at "Absalom's Tomb"

A couple more items of interest on Paleojudaica, articles from the Christian Science Monitor and the Jerusalem Post on the discovery of the Greek inscription ("This is the tomb of Zechariah, martyr, very pious priest, father of John") at the traditional site of Absalom's Tomb:

Grave Discovery

New find, old tomb, and peeks at early Christians

The second (Christian Science Monitor) is all about Joe Zias and has a picture of him alongside the cast made; the first (Jerusalem Post) focuses on Emile Puech and Shimon Gibson without even mentioning Zias. There's an odd contradiction here too. In the first article, Puech says "'They [Zechariah and the old man], were both priests and that might be why they were buried there,' says Puech, noting that the tomb lies directly on the path from the Old City to the Kidron burial area." (The "old man" referred to here is Simeon, whose name is also found here, apparently a reference to the man in Luke 2.25-35). In the second, we read "Foerster discounts that Zacharias was buried at the site, saying that during the 1st century those monuments belonged to the Jewish priestly families of Jerusalem, and Zacharias did not belong to such a family." Do we know that? If Zechariah is an historical figure, Luke may imply that he and Elizabeth lived in or near Jerusalem (Luke 1.5-25), though when Mary visits Elizabeth, she goes εἰς πόλιν ἰούδα (to a town / city of Judah).

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