Christians may have copied Jewish rites

Jul 21, 2005

Scientists say radiocarbon dating of organic material from the catacombs of ancient Rome indicates Christians might have copied Jewish burial customs.

Leonard Rutgers of Utrecht University in the Netherlands said he and his research team discovered one of the Jewish complexes pre-dates its Christian counterparts by at least 100 years.

Writing in the journal Nature, Rutgers said his team collected the organic samples from chambers in the Jewish Villa Torlonia catacomb and dated them to between 50 B.C. and A.D. 400, consistent with the chronological layout of the underground so-called "city of the dead."

Rutgers said the new evidence indicates the Villa Torlonia catacomb came into use more than a century before the building of the earliest Christian catacombs.

The researchers argue it is possible early Christian funerary practices were influenced by Jewish customs -- which could also explain the physical similarities between the oldest Christian underground cemeteries and the Jewish Villa Torlonia.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Dinosaur footprints set for public display in Utah

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Dinosaur footprints set for public display in Utah

Aug 22, 2014

A dry wash full of 112-million-year-old dinosaur tracks that include an ankylosaurus, dromaeosaurus and a menacing ancestor of the Tyrannosaurus rex, is set to open to the public this fall in Utah.

Fossil arthropod went on the hunt for its prey

Aug 22, 2014

A new species of carnivorous crustacean has been identified, which roamed the seas 435 million years ago, grasping its prey with spiny limbs before devouring it. The fossil is described and details of its lifestyle are published ...

User comments : 0