Monday, December 15, 2014

Figure 99

Romans 13:3 mosaic from Caesarea Maritima Photo courtesy of Ferrell Jenkins,
One of two mosaics at Caesarea Maritima quoting Romans 13:3. This is the shorter version. The original mosaic is on display at the Kibbutz Sdot Yam Museum.

John McRay, the retired professor emeritus of NT and archaeology at Wheaton College Graduate School, states:
While I was excavating at Caesarea on the coast of Israel in 1972, we uncovered a large mosaic inscription of the Greek text of Romans 13:3. A shorter one had been found in 1960 by an Israeli archaeologist, Abraham Negev. The two texts, dating to at least the fifth century, are part of a mosaic floor of a large public building (perhaps a praetorium or archives building) and are identical to that passage in the Greek New Testament. These are as old as some of our oldest manuscripts of the New Testament.1.
The building has been identified as “a revenue office in a public building.”  The sign located at the site of Caesarea Maritima identifies the building as “Byzantine government offices where clerks recorded tax revenues.”2.
The pair of Greek medallion mosaics translate as:
“Do you wish to have no reason to fear the authority? Then do what is good”—one stops here, the other continues to include—“and you will receive its approval.”3.

 1. John McRay, “Archaeology and the Bible: How Archaeological Findings Have Enhanced the Credibility of the Bible,” 4Truth.Net of the Southern Baptist Convention, September 28, 2013; Clayton Miles Lehmann and Kenneth G. Holum, The Greek and Latin Inscriptions of Caesarea Maritima, ed. Robert J. Bull and David Larrimore Holland, BASOR: Supplemental Studies. Issue 19. The Joint Expedition to Caesarea Maritima 5 (Missoula, Mont.: Scholars Press, 1975), 100–101 (and Pl. LCIV: nos. 88 and 89); Kenneth G. Holum, “Caesarea Palaestinae: Inscriptions of the Imperial Revenue Office,” in The Roman and Byzantine Near East: Some Recent Archaeological Research, ed. John H. Humphrey, Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplement Series 14 (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Journal of Roman Archaeology, 1995), 333–345.
2. Ferrell Jenkins, “Have No Fear of the Authorities,” Ferrell’s Travel Blog: Commenting on Biblical Studies, Archaeology Travel and Photography, September 10, 2010.
3. Peter M. Head, “Additional Greek Witnesses to the New Testament,” in The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis. Second Edition, ed. Bart D. Ehrman and Michael W. Holmes (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 445 

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