Aramaic was the everyday language used by the Jews in the period of the Mishnah and Talmud, but some of them also spoke and read Greek, and thus there are also funerary inscriptions in that language. The two Aramaic inscriptions mention individuals referred to as "rabbis" who were buried in the western cemetery of Zippori; their names have not yet been deciphered.There is also a good photo of the Jose inscription.
According to Dr. Motti Aviam of the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology, the importance of the epitaphs lies in the fact that these reflect the everyday life of the Jews of Zippori and their cultural world. Researchers are uncertain as to the meaning of the term "rabbi" at the time when Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nasi resided in Zippori together with the Tannaim and after him by the Amoraim - the large groups of sages that studied in the city’s houses of learning.
One of the surprises in the newly discovered inscriptions is that one of the deceased was called "the Tiberian". This is already the second instance of someone from Tiberias being buried in the cemetery at Zippori. It is quite possible that Jews from various parts of Galilee were brought to Zippori to be buried in the wake of the important activity carried out there by Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nasi. Another possibility is that the man moved to Zippori and died there, but wanted to be remembered as someone who originally came from Tiberias.
In the second Aramaic epitaph the word le-olam (forever) appears for the first time in inscriptions found at Zippori. The term le-olam is known from funerary inscriptions in Bet She‘arim and elsewhere and means that the deceased’s burial place will remain his forever and that no one will take it from him. Both inscriptions end with the Hebrew blessing shalom.
The Greek inscription mentions the name Jose, which was very common amongst Jews living in Israel and abroad.
Thursday, January 28, 2016
More on the Tzippori inscriptions
IAA PRESS RELEASE: 1,700-year-old funerary inscriptions exposed in Zippori. Three 1,700 year old funerary inscriptions written in Aramaic and Greek were recently revealed in the ancient cemetery in Moshav Zippori in the north. The two Aramaic inscriptions mention individuals referred to as "rabbis" who were buried in the western cemetery of Zippori; their names have not yet been deciphered. The English press release contains some details not found in the Arutz Sheva article noted yesterday. Excerpt: