James Tabor’s ‘Jonah’ Findings

1181 A.D. Depiction of Jonah Being Tossed Overboard


A Jonah-related tomb inscription has been somewhat verified:

Ancient ‘bone box’ called oldest Christian artifact

By Jennifer Welsh

Published April 20, 2012

Long-unrecognized lettering confirms that first-century artifacts found within an ancient Jerusalem tomb are the earliest representations of Christianity ever found, researchers say.

Two Hebrew scholars who examined photographs showing the inside of the tomb agree that markings on an ossuary — a box made to hold human remains — are stylized letters that spell out the name of Jonah, the researchers said Thursday (April 19). Jonah was the Old Testament prophet whose story of being swallowed by a great fish was embraced by the early followers of Jesus…

Researchers led by James Tabor of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte did not enter the tomb themselves but instead used a remote camera to explore it…The Hebrew scholars’ translation of the stylized letters on the ossuary have yet to be published.  http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/04/20/ancient-bone-box-called-oldest-christian-artifact/#ixzz1sd1ZDheZ

The tomb itself, though not likely to be that of Jonah (it seems to be much too recent, though sometimes bones were moved and sometimes dating is off), does give information that certainly seems to be related to Jonah.

James Tabor once taught Greek and Hebrew part-time at Ambassador College, which was part of the old Worldwide Church of God. While I do not know Dr. Tabor well, we have spoken in the past as well as have communicated via email. More will probably be learned and clarified about this Jonah-related find in time.

The Bible, of course, has an entire short book related to Jonah, and here is some of what it says:

15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging…17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:15, 17)

10 So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. (Jonah 2:10)

Jesus also referred to this incident involving Jonah:

40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. (Matthew 12:40-41)

Jesus’ referral to Jonah indicates, to many, that the story was literally true and not simply an allegory (it also indicates that Jesus would be in the grave for a full three days and three nights–hence blasting the Good Friday to Easter hypothesis).

Dr. Tabor’s findings may stir more interest in that subject.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

The Bible: Fact or Fiction? This is a booklet written by Douglas Winnail that answers if the Bible is just a collection of myths and legends or the inspired word of God.
Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading.
Biblical Archaeology This is a website that has more information on biblical archeological as is sometimes known as the Bib Arch site.
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
What Happened in the Crucifixion Week? How long are three days and three nights? How does Jonah fit into this? Was Palm Sunday on a Saturday? Did Jesus die on “Good Friday”? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter?

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