Mysterious 1st Century Graffiti: Vestiges of A Magical Mystery Tour Most Have Forgotten

TaborBlog | 3/26/2019 | Staff
chicana948 (Posted by) Level 3
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A first century CE mikveh or ritual bath was was uncovered in 2015 just south of the Old City and east of Hebron road in the Arnona neighborhood of Talpiot as a result of construction of a kindergarten. At the time of its discovery Shimon Gibson and I were been invited by the IAA to visit this newly discovered site. We spoke with the excavators and were able to examine the graffiti inscriptions firsthand. Here are two links with videos and photos, one in HaArtez the other from Arutz Sheva.

You can get a good idea of the inscriptions, some cut into the plaster, others made with smeared soot or mud, in this Youtube video, if you can stand the “creepy” music–but maybe it is somehow appropriate:

Speculation - Experts - Significance - Inscriptions - Assertions

I find it somewhere between amusing and predictable that speculation by the various experts evaluating the “significance” of these inscriptions range from assertions that they are nonsense, “secular,” or have no meaning at all. I am quite sure these symbols in the mikveh have to do with mystical ideas of death, rebirth and the heavenly world that we can document precisely in Jerusalem during the late 2nd Temple from literary as well as inscriptional sources. Folks need to get out their copies of some of the publications of Goodenough, Danielou, Testa, Saller, and Bagatti on Jewish/Christian symbols to put this find in its proper context. For example, here is a plastered wall of a Jerusalem tomb I will not identify, lest it get defaced, but notice the striking similarities in motif and symbolism–and remember this is a tomb not a mikveh.

We also have similar symbols in the Talpiot patio tomb, not far from the Jesus “Family” tomb, as well as within the many ossuaries in the Dominus Flevit necropolis on the Mt of Olives. This...
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