Inscription with "Christ" found on bowl in Alexandria

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A team of scientists led by renowned French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio recently announced that they have found a bowl, dating to between the late 2nd century B.C. and the early 1st century A.D., that, according to an expert epigrapher, could be engraved with the world's first known reference to Christ.

Editorial note: ABR has received a variety of feedback on this discovery. It seems very likely this is not a reference to Jesus Christ, since it appears to have been discovered in some sort of pagan temple. We have posted this news here for your information only, not as an endorsement of any particular translation or interpretation of the artfiact.  For further comments, please see ARTIFAX, Autumn 2008, pg. 14. More about ARTIFAX can be found at:

Franck Goddio/ Hilti Foundation, photos: Christoph Gerigk

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10/21/2008 8:53 PM #

Obviously the inscription reads DIA CHRHSTOU instead of DIA CHRISTOU. You can see that in the photo. Chrestos was a common slave name. The reverse side labels him as a magician. This is not a reference to Christ at all.

David Lanier - 10/21/2008 8:53:28 PM

10/22/2008 8:25 AM #

RE: David Lanier

So, let me get this straight. . . some of the world's foremost experts in archaeology have and are examining this artifact and have offered at least 3 possible explanations.  But, without seeing it, touching  it or examining it, you can assert that none of the 3 explanations applies.  

You are truly amazing.  Perhaps you are the magician to which the vessel refers.

Joe - 10/22/2008 8:25:41 AM

10/23/2008 1:54 PM #

Surely the first question to be resolved is the date of the inscription rather than the bowl. Taking it to be the same as given for the bowl (roughly 2 BC to 1 AD), then who is referred to? David Lanier has made a good point, although at that early date, there was no received spelling, hence many of the variant spellings in the early New testament Manuscripts (much later than 1 AD obviously!). However a reference to the Lord Jesus is immediately ruled out on Biblical and historical grounds. The ruling Herod at the Saviour's birth died 4 BC, certainly no later than the spring of 3 BC, therefor Jesus would still be quite young even in 1 AD. I am of course using  corrected calendar dates.

Ian McClean - 10/23/2008 1:54:21 PM

10/24/2008 8:14 PM #

Didn't the article say late 2nd CENTURY BC to 1st CENTURY AD? That's a lot larger range than 2 BC-1AD.

Debi Costine - 10/24/2008 8:14:55 PM

11/6/2008 8:08 AM #

Thank you for the above correction. Yet my argument is valid up to at least 8 AD. (Space does not permit detailed discussion of dates) A further point is that the Lord Jesus did not engage in any public ministry before the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, which encompasses 28/29 AD. The bowl could not therefore be inscribed with any reference to the Saviour before then. Factor in the time needed for the Lord's fame to spread and we are now very close to the limit of what could reasonably be regarded as early 1st century AD (taking 40 to 60 AD as mid-century). I know it is only my opinion, but I greatly doubt the bowl was inscribed as late as this.

Ian McClean - 11/6/2008 8:08:22 AM

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