The controversial "Gospel of Jesus' Wife" ancient papyrus is not a modern-day forgery, according to newly published research in the Harvard Theological Review which insists that the fragment where Jesus supposedly mentions His wife dates between the sixth to ninth centuries CE.
The Harvard Theological Review states that the papyrus and the carbon ink have gone through "extensive testing" over the past few years, which has included analysis of the handwriting and grammar, as well as two radiocarbon tests to determine the date of the document.
"Microscopic and multispectral imaging provided other significant information about the nature and extent of the damage and helped to resolve a variety of questions about possible forgery," the update states. more >>
A new study conducted by Liverpool scientists suggests the Shroud of Turin proves Jesus was crucified with his hands over his head in a "Y" shape, rather than to the sides in a "T" shape, as traditionally depicted in Christian art. The scientist leading this recent study says this new crucifixion would be "very painful" and likely cause asphyxiation for the victim.
Scientists at the Liverpool John Moores University in the U.K. announced their findings at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences earlier this year. They argue that the Shroud of Turin, believed by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus, shows an image of a man with blood stains streaking down his arms. Matteo Borrini, who led the shroud study at the John Moores University, argues that these stains could only have been obtained if the victim's arms were hung over his head in a "Y" shape, instead of the "T" shape that is so prevalent in Christian art.
The scientists reached their new conclusion after having scientist Luigi Garlaschelli of the University of Pavia, Italy, act out different crucifixion poses with donated blood dripping down his arms via a cannula. more >>
The Israel Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday that it has uncovered a "spectacular" 1,500-year-old Byzantine monastery, complete with a prayer hall and intact floor mosaics, in southern Israel. The monastery, suspected of being used for Christian worship in the 6th century, was discovered as part of a salvage excavation before construction of a new highway in the Negev Desert.
The IAA said Tuesday that the Byzantine structure is 65 feet by 115 feet, and has four rooms, including a prayer hall and a dining room. The floors of the structure are lined with intact, colorful mosaics featuring classic Byzantine motifs, including flora, animals, baskets, and geometric patterns mixed in with blue, green, yellow, and red colors. The blue and red are historically associated with Christianity, but the green and yellow colors are more rare, perhaps indicating the stones that were regionally available at the time.
The mosaics also contained discretely hidden cross images meant to represent Christianity. The crosses were hidden into the design of the mosaics in order to honor an edict that prohibited crosses from being artistically created on floors where they would be easily stepped on. more >>
Crowds reportedly swarmed a Spanish church to view an ancient goblet after historians claimed they have identified it as the Holy Grail, the cup from which Jesus Christ sipped at the last supper before the crucifixion.
"It was in a very small room where it was not possible to admire it to the full," said Raquel Jaén, director of San Isidro Basilica in the city of León. Thousands of people have reportedly tried to visit the church this past week.
The chalice, made out of agate, gold and onyx and encrusted with precious stones, became famous after two historians recently published a book claiming it was the mythical goblet of Christ, AFP reported. more >>
Israeli authorities have uncovered 11 stolen burial boxes containing bones and believed to be from the time of Jesus in Jerusalem.
The Israeli Antiquities Authority announced Monday that they had recovered 11 burial boxes last week when police noticed a suspicious transaction taking place between two cars at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The antiquities authority confirmed that suspects were trying to sell the burial boxes to Jewish merchants at the checkpoint; the thieves most likely raided the boxes from a burial cave in Jerusalem, authorities said.
As LiveScience reports, the boxes, also known as ossuaries, are suspected of being 2,000 years old and are covered in Hebrew inscriptions, as well as some paint remnants. They are filled with bones and possibly pottery that was buried with the deceased. more >>
British scientists have recently discovered a unique tattoo of the Archangel Michael on a 1,300-year-old female mummy from Egypt.
The British Museum announced its discovery earlier this week, saying that the female mummy was from 700 A.D. and discovered in 2005 on the banks of the Nile, in what is now Sudan. The female, suspected to be aged 20 to 35 at the time of her death, was wrapped in linen and woolen cloth at the time of her burial.
After conducting advanced Computed Tomography (CT) scans, researchers discovered a tattoo on the mummy's upper right inner thigh with the letters "M-I-X-A-H-A" spelled out, meaning "Michael" in Ancient Greek. It is suspected that the women lived in one of the many Christian communities that dotted the Nile, and perhaps had the tattoo as a form of protection, either from sexual attacks or to protect a pregnancy. more >>