Wednesday, November 29, 2017

4th-century mortar at the tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher

MATERIAL CULTURE: Mortar Found in 'Tomb of Jesus' Cave Dates to Constantine Era One mystery surrounding the tomb had been the origin and date of the marble slab at the bottom of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Haaretz).
Mortar found in the limestone cave at the bottom of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem has been dated to the time of Emperor Constantine, who reigned in the 4th century C.E., National Geographic reported on Tuesday.

Chemical tests of the mortar between the limestone and the marble slab covering the purported tomb date it to around 345 C.E., NatGeo reports. It certainly could be the tomb found by envoys of Emperor Constantine and the Holy Roman Empire around 20 years earlier.

This seems a bit gratuitous:
There is no archaeological evidence whatsoever for the existence of Jesus, let alone for the identity of the person who might have been buried in that cave, if any.
I wouldn't expect much in the way of direct archaeological evidence for the existence of a first-century Palestinian itinerant healer. But there is plenty of textual evidence. What we can say about the historical Jesus which goes beyond his mere existence is, of course, a matter of considerable debate. Likewise, we have no way of being sure who was buried in this tomb. The really interesting thing from an archaeological perspective is that it does seem to be a first-century tomb.

More on the recent repairs at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Holy Sepulchre) is here and links (cf. here.

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