June 15th 2012, 06:39 AM #1
A Bowl... Bearing "Christ"... from the Second Century BC?
This morning, I discovered a story on Windows Live Messenger talking about the discovery of remains speculated to be of John the Baptist... but that's not what I'm here about. There was another story about the discovery of a bowl in Egypt bearing the name "Christ"... but as I read it, I raised an eyebrow:
Does the world's first known reference to Christ refer to him as a magician? An inscription on a bowl uncovered from the underwater ruins of Alexandria in Egypt reads "DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS," which archaeologists translate to mean either "by Christ the magician" or "the magician by Christ." The bowl dates to between the late second century B.C. and the early first century.
If the word "Christ" does indeed refer to the biblical Jesus Christ, then it would be the first known written reference to Christ and might provide evidence that Christianity and paganism at times intertwined in the ancient world. The archaeologists who discovered the bowl think that a magus could have practiced fortune telling rituals with the bowl and used the name Jesus to legitimize his supernatural powers. At the time, the people of Alexandria were likely aware of stories about Jesus' miracles, such as turning water into wine and multiplying loaves of bread.
The link to the story, if you wish to read it yourself:
By my calculations, Jesus took on physical form when He was born in 6 BC. Based on Luke's narrative, He began His Earthly ministry during the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar's reign as Emperor of Rome; Tiberius was in power from 14 - 37 AD; counting 14 AD as the first year he was on the throne, the fifteenth year would be 28 AD. Jesus' execution occurred on the Passover of 32 AD and He rose from the dead on the following Sunday. To me it doesn't seem very likely, as not that many people He knew even existed: the church was just a minority at the time.
Furthermore, it seems odd that a bowl would actually say something about Jesus approving fortune tellers and such, given the Torah's condemnation of such methods in Deuteronomy 18 and beyond that with the episode involving King Saul and the psychic at Endor... no, not the one from Star Wars.
I'm no linguist, but perhaps translation could really mean "Magician by annointing", given that christos means "annointed" in ancient Greek.
This is just my two cents that I'm tossing in. Personally, I think it's most likely a forgery.
June 15th 2012, 11:26 AM #2
Re: A Bowl... Bearing "Christ"... from the Second Century BC
The dating would be based on the style of pottery. Pottery shards are quite commonly used for dating archaeological sites, because styles and manufacturing methods/materials changed over time. The word "Christ" was an existing Greek word used to translate "Messiah." It would not have been commonly understood as its primary referent today, Jesus, before the Christianization of the Greek-speaking Roman Empire.
The following tWebber says Amen to One Bad Pig for this useful Post:
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