Thursday, January 07, 2021

Greek tombstone found in the Negev

GREEK EPIGRAPHY: Ancient Greek inscription found by chance in the Negev. The stone was found by a "Project 500" worker from the Parks and Nature Authority while cleaning and preparing nature paths in the Nitzana National Park (Hannah Brown, Jerusalem Post).
The inscription was deciphered by Dr. Leah Di Segni of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and it refers to “Blessed Maria, who lived an immaculate life” and died on February 9. The stone dates from the late sixth-early seventh centuries CE.
I saw the text of the inscription before I read any of the articles. I assumed the object was a talisman honoring the Virgin Mary. But it turns out to be an epitaph on a tombstone in a cemetery. Nonetheless, it sounds as though Maria's epitaph is meant to evoke her namesake.

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