Vendyl Jones (1930–2010)

Vendyl Jones, a Baptist minister turned amateur archaeologist who spent a career in Israel searching for the Ark of the Covenant, passed away in December. He was 80 years old.

Often rumored to be the inspiration for Indiana Jones, “Vendy” Jones spent more than four decades scouring the Judean desert for the Ark as well as the priceless treasures listed on the famous Copper Scroll, thought by many to record the locations of the hidden treasures of the Jerusalem Temple.

While Jones found neither the Ark nor any of the tons of gold and silver mentioned in the Copper Scroll, he did manage to find more than 600 pounds of a unique reddish powder in a Judean desert cave, a substance that he said might have been the qetoret (or incense) used during Temple rituals and observances. During another expedition, his volunteers helped archaeologists Joseph Patrich and Benny Arubas uncover a small first-century C.E. juglet containing an oily liquid that some, including Jones, speculated was the oil used to anoint the priests and kings of ancient Jerusalem.*

Despite his Baptist background, Jones eventually became a Noahide, a follower of the Jewish tradition that all non-Jews (i.e., all mankind), as descendants of Noah, are obligated to obey the seven laws given by God to Noah after the flood. The seven laws, most of which are similar to the Ten Commandments, are found in the Talmud.


*A picture of the oil-filled juglet was published in Joseph Patrich, “Hideouts in the Judean Wilderness,” BAR, September/October 1989.

Posted in Archaeologists, Biblical Scholars & Works.

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  1. Elizabeth says

    Became a Noachide *IN 1956! That’s not eventually, and should not have been slid in there like it is of no importance. It was his WHOLE LIFE! Any Christians seeking answers to where exactly their religion roots from are highly encouraged to do so. Ask WHY and feel empowered with knowledge. Don’t just accept it because you’re born into it, you deserve to know answers. May G-d bless you in your journey.

  2. Sarah says

    Many people were angry about a long existing truth, what dad stood for was nothing new to him or history. Noahides were not recognized after Mohammad’s learning with Jewish scholars, and his followers then forming the basis of the the religion on what was passed down, as was the similar forming of Christianity. Judaism is unique in that the nation in formation, heard the voice of G-d saw the pillar of smoke, and immediately received Torah from Hashem, to Moshe and the people. However, anytime with or without recognition of rabinical courts, if one believed in G-d, Torah and Israel, he stood on the basis of understanding what was a G-d fearing Noahide. Vendyl’s son Gershom in his own learning found Dad had always been a Noahide, and from there Vendyl went on to re-establish the Noahide practice as a recognized religion. All non-jews are considered obligated to the basic laws of Noah, whether practicing the seven laws or not. What G-d establish with the Jews were laws as a separation, not to say it cancelled the Noahide laws with something better, but strictly for Israel to be shelters of truth which is Torah. Torah is everything. The system of coding about stars, about the roads of life, the influences in the world, the powers that exist under His domain.and how the soul of each of us can be raised when we fall, and how we can humble ourselves when we are blessed. Vendyl didn’t always say things to convince you of something, but he always said things to encourage learning. Many converts, or Jewish returnees came from learning with Dad, though he didn’t not promote it (even for his own children). He believed G-d loved all men. Many came against him and he laughed away hate and left his door and phone open to all. May his memory be great, and may those who studied under him pursue truth which he always told me was in many placed but it must be “pursued”. And I will say, as an independent thought, “that there is nothing…nor any religion, court of law, medical field, banking system, study of stars etc. that Torah does not shed it’s light upon.
    May we all pursue truth in peace and with wisdom!
    Sarah Chaya Richardson

  3. Billy says

    Hi Sarah, although we have never met I am your dads first cousin, once removed. I always treasured his visits to GATESVILLE. His interest and knowledge of family history was interesting ad well. I took him a couple of times to Fort Hood to show him where our great great grandparents lived and where they are resting. Sorry it has taken this long to say that I loved your dad and to say hi to you.

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