[b-hebrew] Possible archeological find in Israel

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Tue Aug 17 15:08:33 EDT 2004

Reported by today's Israel Line

Cave Possibly Used by John the Baptist Found

Archaeologists announced on Monday that they had found a cave in the Judean Hills leading to the oldest baptismal site discovered to date - a huge water cistern decorated with evocative wall carvings where they believe John the Baptist anointed many disciples, HA'ARETZ reported. During a tour of the cave at Kibbutz Tzuba, south of Jerusalem, archaeologists presented the ancient wall decorations, as well as a stone they believe was used for ceremonial foot washing. They also reported sifting about 250,000 pottery shards from the cave, the apparent remnants of small water jugs used in baptismal ritual. The oldest shards are from the mid-second century B.C.E.
"The site we've uncovered is seemingly the connecting link between Jewish and Christian baptism," said British archaeologist Shimon Gibson, who heads the private Jerusalem Archaeological Field Unit and supervised the dig. However, others said there was no actual proof that John the Baptist ever set foot in the cave, located about four kilometers from Jerusalem's Ein Kerem neighborhood, birthplace of the preacher and the site where, Christian tradition holds, he baptized Jesus. The discovery, if confirmed, would be among the most significant breakthroughs for biblical scholars in memory.

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