Miriam, the Granddaughter of Caiaphas

Israeli archaeologists have announced the discovery of an ossuary (a stone box used for a secondary burial of bones) containing the bones of a members of the family of Caiaphas, the high priests mentioned in the New Testament in relation to the crucifixion of Christ.

The ossuary contains an Aramaic inscription saying: “Miriam Daughter of Yeshua Son of Caiaphas, Priests of Ma’aziah from Beth Imri.”  According to the archaeologists, the ossuary and its inscription are genuine and ancient.  The ossuary was found in a burial cave in the area of the Valley of Elah, in the Shephela.

Below is an excerpt from The Jerusalem Post:

The high priest Yehosef Bar Caiaphas is known for his involvement in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, but the prime importance of the inscription is the discovery that the Caiaphas family was related to the Ma’aziah priestly course, one of the 24 divisions of Kohens that took turns maintaining the schedule of offerings at the Temple in Jerusalem.

This is the first reference to the Ma’aziah course in an epigraphic find from the Second Temple period, which was the last of the twenty-four priestly courses that served in the First Temple.

The list of courses was formulated during King David’s reign and appears in the Bible in I Chronicles 24:18.

The article in The Jerusalem Post has a video showing the ossuary and the inscription.  The video also shows Dr. Boaz Zissu, from the Department of the Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, discussing the importance of the discovery.

Read the article and make sure that you watch this informative video.  Visit The Jerusalem Post here.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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