Archaeologists say that the recent discovery of an ancient marble slab found on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee proves the existence of an ancient Jewish settlement in the area.
According to jns.org, the large slab is dated from around 500 C.E. and has an Aramaic inscription in Hebrew script. It was discovered while archaeologists worked on an excavation site in the spot of the ancient town of Kursi.
The Hebrew script on the slab suggests that there was a Jewish or Jewish-Christian community in the region around 500 C.E. since the Hebrew alphabet was used by Jews and some Christians during this time.
Only two words engraved on the slab were able to be read. The first was the word “Amen” and the second was the word “Marmaria,” which is thought to possibly refer to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Professor Michal Artizi, who supervised the excavation, said that archaeologists thought that Jews had inhabited Kursi, but the slab provides proof.
“It is a rarity to discover proof of a Jewish presence on the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee. Up to now, we had nothing proving that Jews settled on the lake’s shores during that era, other than in the town of Migdal,” Artzi said.
Jns.org reports that Kursi is associated with the town of the Garasenes or Gadarenes which is mentioned in the New Testament as the place where Jesus met a man with a legion of demons and commanded the evil spirits to go into a herd of swine (Matthew 8:28-34).
Publication date: December 18, 2015