Oldest Church?

We need to take great care with these kinds of things until the archaeologists work through it all (remember the ossuary thought to be James’? Turned out to probably not be.)

Okay, with that in mind, recently what is believed to be the oldest church building was discovered in, of all places, Armageddon! That should give Jack Van Impe an aneurism or something.

Other inscriptions name a Roman army officer, Gaianus, who donated money to build the floor, and a woman called Ekoptos who “donated this table to the God Jesus Christ in commemoration”. The table is believed to have served as an altar.

Some of the rational for dating the building so early is because of the symbolism. There are no crosses but there are two fish in a circle. That could indicate an early date but then again, all they have is the floor of the building. Crosses might have been part of the decoration of the walls. Another interesting thing about the site is that a “table” was found that is presumed to be used for Communion. If that is true, then there is evidence that the early church (end of the 2nd century) did not refer to it as an altar. That could say something about early sacramentology and when the tradition of a sacrifice developed.

Also from the Guardian, “Some specialists remain sceptical about the latest discovery. ‘I think this is a little myth to boost tourism,” said Michel Piccirillo, a respected biblical archaeologist. “The idea that it is ancient comes from the pottery and the shape of the letters on the inscriptions, but this is not definitive.'” Yea, well if it is a little “myth to boost tourism” then they really blew it. “Unfortunately for Israel’s beleaguered tourism industry, the find was made behind the walls of one of the country’s maximum security prisons.” So much for boosting tourism in Israel. Oh well, the prison can always be moved, right?

(HT: Joe Thorn)

Print This Post Print This Post


  • Proof that Christ came to set the captives free.

  • Very clever!

Join the Discussion

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>