Jesus Christ's Earliest Image Believed Found in Egyptian Tomb

Thursday, 01 May 2014 10:07 AM

By Nick Sanchez

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An ancient image found by Spanish archeologists in an Egyptian tomb may be one of the earliest depiction of Jesus Christ ever found.

Egypt's Minister of Antiquities, Mohamed Ibrahim, broke the news last week, saying the image likely dates to the 6th or 7th century, and may have been created by Coptic Christians, The Daily Mail reports.

Over 45 tons of rock and dirt were removed from the ancient tombs that were likely built for a writer, as many scribe tools were found, and a number of priests. The stone tablet containing the image of the alleged Jesus is faded, but appears to depict a curly-haired man with what may be a crown of thorns giving a blessing.

It's an exciting discovery, said Josep PadrĂ³, head of the joint team from the Catalan Egyptology Society and the University of Barcelona. He described the painting as "incredibly good, but we don't know what it is."

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Because of the "five or six coats of paint on the walls, the last of which was from the Coptic period of the first Christians," he said, "We could be dealing with a very early image of Jesus Christ."

The city of Oxyrhynchus where the tomb was uncovered is a common archeological hotspot, famous for the thousands of papyri found there containing ancient texts.

PadrĂ³, who has been in the field for 20 years, said the team believes the tomb may be a temple dedicated to Serapis, the Hellenistic form of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the afterlife.

The team still has much digging to do in the roughly 26-foot-long by 13-foot deep tomb, and is currently working diligently to read and translate the text surrounding the image of the possible Jesus.

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