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Caiphas's Ossuary

bone box Caiphas's Ossuary

"Caiaphas, who’s name means "searcher" was appointed high priest (after Simon ben Camith) by the procurator Valerius Gratus, under Tiberius, 18 A.D.. He continued in office from A.D. 26 to 37, when the proconsul Vitellius deposed him. He was the president of the Jewish council (Sanhedrim) which condemned the Lord Jesus to death, Caiaphas declaring Him guilty of blasphemy. Caiaphas was the official high priest during the ministry and trial of Jesus." Click here for more information.


Caiphas Ossuary

Caiphas' Ossuary


"Joseph, son of Caiaphas, commonly known simply as Caiaphas in the New Testament, was the Roman-appointed Jewish high priest of the temple in Jerusalem from 18 to 37 A.D., played a key role in the trial and execution of Jesus Christ. Caiaphas accused Jesus of blasphemy, a crime punishable by death under Jewish law.

But the Sanhedrin, or high council, of which Caiaphas was the presiding authority, did not have the authority to execute people. So Caiaphas turned to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, who could carry out a death sentence. Caiaphas tried to convince Pilate that Jesus was a threat to Roman stability and had to die to prevent a rebellion.

The especially beautiful ossuary is twice inscribed "Joseph, son of Caiaphas" and held the bones of a 60-year-old male. The limestone ossuary measures 37 cm high by 75 cm long and is housed in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem." For the reference click here.

Ossuary Caiphas 2Ossuary of Caiphas

A dump truck accidentally smashed through the roof of a tomb in November, 1990, during some work in the Jerusalem Peace Forest, leading to the discovery of the ossuary which contained the bones of the High Priest in the time of Jesus. The Jerusalem Peace Forest is located on the southwest side of old Jerusalem, across the Hinnom Valley from Mt. Zion. Here, on the slope of the hills is a large cemetery from the late Second Temple era (1st century BC to 1st century AD). Rock-cut burial chambers used by Jews in this period contained typically four burial niches, shelves cut into the sides of the chamber; ossuaries are also characteristic of and unique to the period.

An ossuary is a stone bone box, used for secondary burials. Initially the body is laid to rest in a burial niche. After decomposition, the bones were collected and placed in an ossuary, making the burial niche available for a subsequent burial. Tombs belonged to families, so subsequent burials were normal. Two of a dozen ossuaries in the tomb contained a form of the name Qafa', or Caiaphas. Several of the ossuaries were decorated with traditional carved rosettes, zig-zag patterns, and other designs. The most intricately carved ossuary was decorated with two circles each containing five rosettes, and twice carved into an undecorated side appears the name, "Yehosef bar Qafa'" (Joseph son of Caiaphas). The ossuary contained the remains of six people: two infants, a child aged two to five, a boy aged 13 to 18, an adult female and a man about 60 years old. The latter are believed to be the bones of Caiaphas, before whom Jesus was brought for questioning (Matt 26:3, 57; Luke 3:2; John 11:49, 18:13, 14, 24, 28; Acts 4:6). Click here for the reference.


Archaeology Proves the Bible Again