A 1,500-year-old marble slab found on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee Wednesday provides the first real proof of ancient Jewish settlement in the area, archaeologists say. The large slab, which bears an Aramaic inscription in Hebrew script, was dug up on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee on Wednesday as part of an ongoing excavation in the ancient town of Kursi.
Experts say the slab probably dates to around 500 C.E., when the Hebrew alphabet was used by Jews and some local Christian communities. This suggest that Kursi was either a Jewish community or a mixed Christian-Jewish settlement. Researchers could only discern two words: “Amen” and “Marmaria,” the latter possibly referring to Jesus’ mother, Mary.
Take the sensational claims with a grain of salt. There needs to be a much more thorough study of this inscription before jumping to conclusions. The rest of the article can be found here:
Update: From what I can see, it truly is in Galilean Aramaic. The orthography is what I’d expect to see (the plene spelling in words like סייע [“helps”] and use of ה for final a vowels like what looks like אתרה [“the synagogue” or “the place”] and יקרה ד [“the honor of”]). Unfortunately, it’s so cracked and crumbling it’s hard to make out full sentences. I’m really looking forward to seeing some better pictures.
Time to go back over everything I’ve done and tweak things so that they’re up to snuff with the body of my research. You may see the Gospels section of the site change dramatically over the next month or two as I go back over my old work, and add some new stuff to it.
According to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in honor of Pope Francis’ visit, President Rivlin gave him a copy of what appears to be the Tel Dan Stele — the inscription that famously mentions the “House of David”.
From the article:
The gift was chosen in particular as an expression of the deep roots shared by Judaism and Christianity, and as King David is regarded by both Judaism and Christianity as the founder of the House of David, revered in tradition as being from which would come the redemption of humanity, and from whom the Messiah would be descended.
A colleague of mine, Charles Häberl has directed this delightful animation set to a story in Mandaic Neo-Aramaic. Be sure to turn on captioning for English subtitles if you can’t keep up… I had to…
“Short animation based upon the Neo-Mandaic story “Histoire de Chah Adel” in de Morgan, Jean-Jacques. 1904. Mission Scientfique En Perse Par J. de Morgan, Tome V, Etudes Linguistiques, Deuxieme Partie: Textes Mandaites. Edited by Ernest Leroux. Paris: Imprimerie nationale. Narrated by Nasser Abu Issa Sobbi. Made possible by support from the Encyclopædia Iranica.” (YouTube)