[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53: in his death?

Jack Kilmon jkilmon at historian.net
Tue May 18 22:15:49 EDT 2004

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Lisbeth S. Fried" <lizfried at umich.edu>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2004 8:28 PM
Subject: RE: [b-hebrew] Isaiah 53: in his death?

> Dear All,
> These are very interesting but bewildering.
> What sense is it that a rich man would
> have the same sort of grave as a criminal?
> I thought criminals were buried away from
> everyone else.
> Liz Fried
> A2

The only forensic remains of a 1st century crucifixion is the young man
(Yehohanan) from an ossuary in the cave tombs of Giv'at Ha-Mivtar.  His legs
had been shattered from the crurifragium so he was certainly considered a
criminal by the Romans.  He had a proper ossilegium.  The ruling for this
was that criminals who had been executed by the Jewish (not Roman) court
(Jesus apparently was convicted by both) could not be buried in the FAMILY
tomb...in this case, like a criminal in a borrowed tomb (of a rich
man)...until the flesh had decayed from the body.  At that point, the bones
are considered sinless and can be moved to the "proper" tomb.  The decay of
the flesh was necessary for the criminal's atonement.

TB Sanh 47b

L. Y. Rahmani (1961) Jewish Rock Cut Tombs in Jerusalem.
   `Atiqot 3:93-120
L. Y. Rahmani (1994) A Catalog of Jewish Ossuaries. Appendix A.
S. Lieberman (1965) Some Aspects of Afterlife in Early Rabbinic Literature.

Jesus' father may have been buried in the family tomb but Jesus body had to
decompose to bones before it could be moved there.


Jack Kilmon
San Marcos, Texas

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