Inscription, “Jesus, son of Mary,” found in Jezreel

The inscription was engraved in Greek into a stone originally from the lintel of a Byzantine church

Stone inscribed, "Christ born of Mary"

“Christ born of Mary” Photo: Teach Lang, Israel Antiquities Authority

A stone, engraved in Greek was found at el-Taiyiba in the Jezreel Valley in the Upper Galilee. It had originally been part of the lintel of a Byzantine (5th-century C.E.) church. The church was part of the religious authority of the metropolis of Bet She’an, which included el-Taiyiba. The discovery was announced on January 20, 2020 by the Israel Antiquities Authority. Their excavation was directed by Tzachi Lang and Kojan Haku.

Dr. Leah Di-Segni, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, deciphered the dedication. It read, “Christ born of Mary. This work of the most God-fearing and pious bishop [Theodo]sius and the miserable Th[omas] was built from the foundation – – Whoever enters should pray for them.” Theodosius was the archbishop of Bet She’an.

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The stone was found where it had been repurposed and placed in one of the walls of a majestic building, from the late Byzantine or early Islamic period. The building excavations revealed mosaic floors in two rooms, designed with a geometric pattern. The inscription on the stone was a greeting to visitors, supporting researchers’ conclusions that it had been a dedication to a church, not a monastery. The excavation directors further explained that, “The excavation yielded finds from a variety of periods, shedding light on the long settlement sequence at et-Taiyiba in the valley, and on its status among the local settlements.”


This story originally appeared in Bible History Daily in January of 2021

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