A lead seal from the sixth century depicting Jesus was recently discovered in excavations by the Antiquities Authority in the Old City of Tiberias.
The other side of the seal has a cross with an abbreviation of the name “Christos.”
This is the first time a seal with the image of Jesus has been discovered in excavations in Tiberias. A number of similar seals have been found in Caesaria, which in ancient times was the capital of the province.
Two sides of the coin
The rare seal was discovered by two volunteers, employees of the American and British embassies.
Professor Yizhar Hirschfeld of the Hebrew University, who is in charge of the dig, notes that the seal shows an important church official.
"The church here was
stronger than we thought. This also shows that Judaism and Christianity met here and lived together in harmony,” he says.
In February of this year, a tenth century C.E. coin was discovered in the excavations in Tiberias that depicted Jesus on one side, and had the Greek inscription “Jesus the Messiah, King of Kings” on the other.
Professor Hirschfeld belives that the coin was issued in Istanbul in honor of the first millennium. He notes that the fact that the Jesus coin was found in a dig in Tiberias indicates that the Crusaders continued going to Tiberias even in the Muslim period (the tenth century C.E.).
Tiberias is the only site in Israel where such coins have been found.