Church unearthed in Israel may hold Zechariah tomb

Feb 02, 2011
A man looks at a Byzantine period church decorated with an impressive mosaic floor after it was discovered following excavations in Horbat Midras, near the Israeli town of Beit Shemesh. Israeli archaeologists unveiled on Wednesday the remnants of a newly discovered Byzantine-era church they suspect is concealing the tomb of the biblical prophet Zechariah.

Israeli archaeologists unveiled on Wednesday the remnants of a newly discovered Byzantine-era church they suspect is concealing the tomb of the biblical prophet Zechariah.

The church, with intricate and well-preserved mosaic floors, was discovered on the slopes of the Judaean hills at Horbat Midras, the site of a Jewish community in , southwest of Jerusalem.

Underneath is a second layer of mosaics dating from the , with a cave complex still further below which think could be Zechariah's tomb.

"Researchers believe that in light of an analysis of the Christian sources ... the church at Horbet Madras is a memorial church designed to mark the tomb of the prophet Zechariah," the Israel Antiquities Authority said.

A statement noted, however, that more work is needed to confirm the hypothesis.

A Jewish prophet of the late sixth century before Christ, Zechariah is associated with the book of the Old Testament that refers to four horsemen and other visions prefiguring the coming of God in judgement.

The church at Horbat Midras was discovered after a gang of tomb raiders was found to be in possession of the church lintel -- part of the door structure -- which they said came from an underground location.

"Following the discovery, an was carried out with the aim of revealing the secrets of the monumental building which the lintel belonged to," added the statement

"There is no doubt the discovery is extraordinary and of great importance in terms of research, religion and tourism," it said.

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User comments : 7

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Moebius
4.2 / 5 (6) Feb 02, 2011
I hope there are some records in there and they don't disappear. Religious people shouldn't be doing science that involves religion, especially their own.
Argon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 03, 2011
"Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?" Zechariah 1:5
mrcircumspect
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 03, 2011
Moebius: Many of the worlds greatest thinkers, philosophers and scientists were and are men of some form of faith. A religious option in a person doesn't always preclude clarity of perception or insight. Einstein was very religious in his later life. Show a little space ...
Moebius
not rated yet Feb 03, 2011
I said science involving religion, like archeology. Einstein didn't research anything that had to do with his beliefs. Do you honestly think a devout Jew that uncovers an irrefutable manuscript that refutes his beliefs isn't going to destroy it? (I used Jew as an example, the same goes for christians too)
Ethelred
5 / 5 (4) Feb 07, 2011
Einstein was very religious in his later life.
No he wasn't. He sometimes used religious terms but he was never religious.

Ethelred
jsovine
not rated yet Feb 10, 2011
Do you honestly think a devout Jew that uncovers an irrefutable manuscript that refutes his beliefs isn't going to destroy it?


There are too many copies of both old and new testament documents for a single manuscript to refute long-held beliefs. Not to mention Jewish oral tradition.

It will never be a question of whether these were their original beliefs, rather, whether their beliefs were validated in reality.

Only time will tell.
Moebius
not rated yet Feb 11, 2011
There are millions of copies of the bible around today, that doesn't mean they can't be refuted by an earlier version. Same goes for the ones you mention. What we think we know today is constantly modified by new discoveries of the past. That's what archeology does.