It's been an interesting year when it comes to Biblical relics. Back in March, The Blaze covered a filmmaker's claim that two nails from Jesus' burial were recovered in the High Priest Caiaphas' supposed tomb. Now, an ancient burial box that was uncovered by antiquities looters may provide useful insight into Caiaphas' life, potentially leading to more robust information about Jesus Christ's death.
Before continuing, it would probably be prudent to discuss the High Priest's significance. In the Bible, Caiaphas is written about as the key figure who organized the plot to kill Jesus Christ, thus discoveries surrounding him are certainly noteworthy. Apparently, this unique find contains a mysterious inscription that could provide details about the home of Caiaphas' family. LiveScience.com's Jennifer Welsch has more:
The burial box, also called an ossuary, was discovered in 1990, but the inscription was just recently verified as legitimate (and not the result of forgers trying to increase an artifact's value) by Yuval Goren of Tel Aviv University and Boaz Zissu of Bar Ilan University. The box is made of limestone, is covered in decorative rosettes and has an inscription.
According to Fox News, the Israel Antiquities Authority confiscated the box from looters and then passed it along to Goren, who has been leading the efforts to authenticate it over the past few years.
Unfortunately, because it made its rounds in the illegal ossuary trade, researchers aren't able to trace the exact area where it was discovered. That being said, they believe it to have potentially originated in the Valley of Elah, located in the southwest of Jerusalem.
Interestingly, the inscription names the deceased within the context of three generations. Aside from showcasing these names, it provides a potential residence. The inscription reads: "Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphus, priest of Maaziah from Beth Imri." Welsch further explains what these words may mean:
The Maaziah refers to a clan that was one of 24 orders of high priests during the second temple period, Goren said. While there are some records of the Caiaphus family in Talmudic sources (the central texts of Judaism) that detail their lives after they spread into the Galilee in A.D. 70, the reference to Beit Imri gives new insight into the family's location prior to their migration.
While Beit Imri may refer to yet another priestly order, researchers seem to believe that it is most likely a geographic location (most likely Caiaphus' family's village). As was the case with the nails, some may be skeptical of this finding, but Goren claims that there is no doubt that "the inscription is authentic."
According to researchers, the ossuary spent thousands of years in the ground; the microbes, algae and lichen that appear on it cannot be replicated or forged. If this information checks out, researchers may be able to better triangulate information surrounding Jesus' death. This, according to some, may simply be one more piece of the historical puzzle.