BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

Early Christian Symbol of Jesus Discovered

Discovery of ancient shipwrecks brings underwater treasures to light

Early Christian Symbol of Jesus Discovered in ring discovered in ancient shipwreck site

Gold ring and gem bearing a depiction of the Good Shepherd Credit: Dafna Gazit, Israel Antiquities Authority

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) recently announced an incredible find—the discovery of not one but two ancient shipwrecks off the coast of the ancient port city of Caesarea. The earlier shipwreck dates to the Roman period (c. 300 C.E.), while the other was a vessel from the Mamluk period (c. 1400 C.E.). The ships had sunk at the same place in Caesarea’s harbor more than a millennium apart. Within the wrecks, the IAA discovered a treasure trove of ancient artifacts, including coins, statues, pottery, and jewelry. Most remarkable of all, however, was an octagonal gold ring set with a green gemstone carved with an image of the Good Shepherd, one of the earliest known Christian symbols for Jesus.

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Both ships were discovered in shallow water near the ancient harbor. The archaeologists suggest the ships “may have been anchored offshore after getting into difficulty or fearing stormy weather.” Amongst the hoard of finds from the Roman ship were hundreds of bronze and silver coins, a small bronze Roman eagle, an intricately carved red gemstone, and the golden ring of the Good Shepherd. The green gem of the latter was masterfully worked with an image of a young shepherd wearing a tunic and holding a lamb on his shoulder. The image is one of the earliest known Christian symbols associated with Jesus. This unique ring gives a hint as to its original owner, who was likely a wealthy Christian living in Caesarea, the same city where the Apostle Peter baptized the first gentile (Acts 10:10) and where Paul was put on trial (Acts 23–24). The red gemstone, which would also have originally been set in a ring, bore a carving of a lyre known in both Roman and Jewish traditions. From the Mamluk ship, the IAA uncovered nearly 600 coins and, between the two wrecks, archaeologists also found dozens of bronze bells, pottery vessels, nails, lead pipes, and a large iron anchor.

Hoard of Roman coins discovered off the coast of Caesarea Credit: Dafna Gazit, Israel Antiquities Authority

Over the years, the coastline of Israel and especially the area around Caesarea has revealed many incredible finds, such as gold coins,  Roman statuesCrusader swords, and even Phoenician statues associated with the practice of child sacrifice. According to IAA Director-General Eli Eskozido, “Israel’s coasts are rich in sites and finds that are immensely important national and international cultural heritage assets. They are extremely vulnerable, which is why the Israel Antiquities Authority conducts underwater surveys to locate, monitor and salvage any antiquities.”

A treasure from two ancient shipwrecks was found by the IAA in Caesarea
 

 


Read more in Bible History Daily:

Crusader Sword Discovered

Phoenician Shipwreck Located off Coast of Malta

Roman Ships Discovered off Turkish Coast

Copper Ingots Found in Ancient Shipwreck off Turkish Coast

Thonis—A Major Egyptian Port Swallowed by the Sea

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5 Responses

  1. Patrick Tilton says:

    Were Christians the only group that celebrated a ‘Good Shepherd’ figure in antiquity? I’m not sure exactly how far back the Corpus Hermeticum goes, but as I recall there’s a figure in those dialogues named POIMANDRES, which means ‘shepherd’. Might such a figure have been a somewhat common character across several cultures? I’m not saying this ring wasn’t a depiction of Christ as the Good Shepherd — it may very well be such — but it seems to me that other rival mystery religions might also have been using similar tropes in their iconography.

  2. marta mikey frid says:

    Jesus died in 30 CE. These didn’t belong to Jesus

  3. Anthony Owen Gresham says:

    The good shepherd figure is not unique to Christianity. In his book Mythic Image Joseph Campbell included pictures of Jesus, Hermes and Mithras all as good shepherd figures.

  4. Obvious symbolism of the Kings of Judah in the green precious stone like nophek – נפך the signet stone of the Tribe of Judah on the Israelite Hoshen, Jesus as Davidic King descended from King David the shepherd boy from Bethlehem, and gold like in the time of King Solomon. Perhaps, the signet ring of the Bishop of Caesarea in the lineage of Bishops from the first Bishop of Caesarea, the Jewish tax-collector, Zacchaeus of the Gospels, and fits with the legacy of his wealth donated to the early Jewish-Christian community that fully accepted Gentile-Christians into the newly forming Christian movement. Is it Eilat Stone, i.e. King Solomon Stone, nophek-נפך? I’m surprised the IAA didn’t determine the stone before publication. A great find that so powerfully attests to the rise of Early Jewish-Christianity in the symbolism of the Jewish King and Messiah, Son of David, Son of God.

  5. Please consider, when the man referred to as Jesus was never called by that name when he walked the earth. He was known as Yeshua HaMashiach. “JESUS” is a name of Greek origin, coming from IZEUS or IOSEUS. Now, IZEUS means something like “The Son of Zeus” while ZEUS is a feared Greek deity!
    Calling Him by any other name than Yeshua is deceitful. Do salvation seekers, therefore, see what danger there is in turning from YESHUA to Jesus? Search on the Council of Nicaea and you will read what the editors want you to read.
    Elohim sent a malach (angel) to give the Hebrew name for His Son—a name that was already known and revered by all malachim (angels) in Heaven, to his would-be parents” on Earth so mankind would never make a mistake in this, in naming him differently when he was born or in ever referring to him by some other name throughout mankind’s history on Earth. This Hebrew name is “YESHUA”, which means “Salvation”.
    “HaMashiach” means “The Anointed One” because Elohim tells us so; but what does “Messiah” mean? Man may think the English word “Messiah” and the Greek “Christos” both mean “The Anointed One” in much the same way that “HaMashiach” in Hebrew does. But then, that would be man telling himself so, and not Elohim!
    I am just sharing what an ex-Jesuit had us research. It’s all fraud and deception from the beginning as was the Founding of America by the Masons.

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5 Responses

  1. Patrick Tilton says:

    Were Christians the only group that celebrated a ‘Good Shepherd’ figure in antiquity? I’m not sure exactly how far back the Corpus Hermeticum goes, but as I recall there’s a figure in those dialogues named POIMANDRES, which means ‘shepherd’. Might such a figure have been a somewhat common character across several cultures? I’m not saying this ring wasn’t a depiction of Christ as the Good Shepherd — it may very well be such — but it seems to me that other rival mystery religions might also have been using similar tropes in their iconography.

  2. marta mikey frid says:

    Jesus died in 30 CE. These didn’t belong to Jesus

  3. Anthony Owen Gresham says:

    The good shepherd figure is not unique to Christianity. In his book Mythic Image Joseph Campbell included pictures of Jesus, Hermes and Mithras all as good shepherd figures.

  4. Obvious symbolism of the Kings of Judah in the green precious stone like nophek – נפך the signet stone of the Tribe of Judah on the Israelite Hoshen, Jesus as Davidic King descended from King David the shepherd boy from Bethlehem, and gold like in the time of King Solomon. Perhaps, the signet ring of the Bishop of Caesarea in the lineage of Bishops from the first Bishop of Caesarea, the Jewish tax-collector, Zacchaeus of the Gospels, and fits with the legacy of his wealth donated to the early Jewish-Christian community that fully accepted Gentile-Christians into the newly forming Christian movement. Is it Eilat Stone, i.e. King Solomon Stone, nophek-נפך? I’m surprised the IAA didn’t determine the stone before publication. A great find that so powerfully attests to the rise of Early Jewish-Christianity in the symbolism of the Jewish King and Messiah, Son of David, Son of God.

  5. Please consider, when the man referred to as Jesus was never called by that name when he walked the earth. He was known as Yeshua HaMashiach. “JESUS” is a name of Greek origin, coming from IZEUS or IOSEUS. Now, IZEUS means something like “The Son of Zeus” while ZEUS is a feared Greek deity!
    Calling Him by any other name than Yeshua is deceitful. Do salvation seekers, therefore, see what danger there is in turning from YESHUA to Jesus? Search on the Council of Nicaea and you will read what the editors want you to read.
    Elohim sent a malach (angel) to give the Hebrew name for His Son—a name that was already known and revered by all malachim (angels) in Heaven, to his would-be parents” on Earth so mankind would never make a mistake in this, in naming him differently when he was born or in ever referring to him by some other name throughout mankind’s history on Earth. This Hebrew name is “YESHUA”, which means “Salvation”.
    “HaMashiach” means “The Anointed One” because Elohim tells us so; but what does “Messiah” mean? Man may think the English word “Messiah” and the Greek “Christos” both mean “The Anointed One” in much the same way that “HaMashiach” in Hebrew does. But then, that would be man telling himself so, and not Elohim!
    I am just sharing what an ex-Jesuit had us research. It’s all fraud and deception from the beginning as was the Founding of America by the Masons.

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