Jewish and Christian Tombstones from ancient Zoara/Zoora
Dec 1, 2014 6:00:00 PM
The Biblical town of Zoar, referred to as Zoora in a 6th century CE map, is located by modern Ghor es-Safi, at the southeastern shores of the Dead Sea in Jordan. Regular and illegal archeological excavations that took place in the 1980s and 1990s in the site brought to light an impressive number of Greek and Aramaic epitaphs inscribed on stone, dating to the 4th–6th centuries CE. Gravestones inscribed in Greek belong to Christian burials, while the fewer stones inscribed in Aramaic were attributed to Jewish burials. This is a major discovery, not only as these texts are of exceptional quality and unusual character, but also for their sheer number: the corpus of newly-discovered epitaphs from Zoara/Zoora comprises 386 Greek and ca. 50 Aramaic inscriptions. Such figures are unparalleled in most of the cities or towns in the Roman Near East.