Speculating on the identity of an individual that lived millennia ago based on the occurrence of a name, and location alone seems to have become a popular pastime with the pseudo-scholarate, to the chagrin of scholars who have spent lifetimes researching these subjects. It never seems to account for the natural inflow and out flow of the given population with regard to a given or known history. Having said this we can turn our attention to “Dominus Flavit”, the “Christian Cemetery”. The ossuary that has stirred the most controversy is that of “”Simon bar Jonah332”.

On December 23, 1950, Pope Pius XII announced to the world that the ancient grave and relics of St. Peter had been located in the “Red Wall” below the high altar of St. Peters Basilica. He confirmed the authenticity of the relics with these words: “New investigations, most patient and accurate, were subsequently carried out with the results that we, comforted by the judgment of qualified, prudent and competent people, believe are positive. The relics of Saint Peter have been identified in a way we believe convincing.333” Within a few years the discoveries of the ossuary by Father Bellarmino Bagetti would be public embroiling a controversy that has dragged on. The problem is the name written on the ossuary was written in charcoal, and is in fact the only ossuary to survive that was not engraved in stone.

The argument put forth by Stephen Pfann from the University of the Holy Land that the name on the ossuary is “bar Zillai” not “bar Jonah” has a credible amount of merit, and is equally exciting. The naming of the Cemetery at Dominus Flevitt as a “Christian” cemetery is misleading. As noted earlier there were no “Christians” at Jerusalem due to their [Christiani/Nazarene] association with the Temple. It is at Dominus Flevitt that a foreign term, proselyte shows up334. In the next paragraph Professor Pfann gives the history of the [bar Zillai] family.

 What is notable in bold is the upholding of the “right of inheritance of the Kohenet” and that David told Solomon to provide for this family in perpetuity. The history of the Davidic family precludes this and it is “a nice sentiment”. The notable thing is that the family “bar Zillai” if buried here shows a tie to the presumed Davidic family with priority, the Nazarene or relatives of Jesus the Christ. “During the reign of King David, in the midst of his turmoil with Absalom, a rich Gileadite by the name of Barzillai came to David’s aid.

 He provided David and his weakened troops with food and supplies, allowing David’s troops to gain the upper hand and defeat the army of Absalom (2 Sam 17:27–29). David, deeply indebted to Barzillai, invited the aged man to take up residence near his palace in Jerusalem so he could be looked after in an honorable way. However, Barzillai asked the king to convey his offer to a younger member of his family, Chimcham by name, and David complied (2 Sam 19:31–40).

David directed Solomon to make sure that the family would continue to be provided for in perpetuity (1 Kgs 2:7). Later, a member of one of the priestly families married one of the descendents of this family, one of the “daughters of Barzillai,” and adopted (or was ascribed) the name for his family. After the return from exile in Babylon, the Barzillai priestly family was denied their right to be inscribed in the priestly register because of the current issue over ethnic mixture (Ezra 2:61-63 = Neh 7:63-65).6[6] However, the priestly (and likely non-priestly) descendents bearing the Barzillai name continued to live in Jerusalem”335. 335

Has St. Peter returned to Jerusalem? The final resting place of Simon Peter and the Family of Barzillai By Stephen Pfann. Ph.D. -University of the Holy Land 336 Burial Cave Reveals:Names, Testimonies of First Christians by Jean Gilman 337 Burial Cave Reveals:Names, Testimonies of First Christians by Jean Gilman

The tradition of the return of Jesus first on the Mount of Olives was common in the first century. That there are more than one hundred ossuaries in the cemetery attests to this belief. “As Prof. Finnegan wrote: “[In these tombs], there are signs that can be [considered] Christian, and names that are frequent or prominent in the New Testament… It surely comes within the realm of possibility that at least this area in particular is a burial place of families, some of whose members had become [the very first] Christians.336″As noted in the article some of the names referenced only occur in the New Testament.

What is missing generally from all such articles is the parsing of Tacticus. The Christiani are the Netzerim or in this case Nazarene. They are not Christian and especially in the sense we use the word. As an example:“For their whole church (i.e. Jerusalem) consisted then of believing Hebrews who continued from the days of the apostles until the siege which took place at this time; in which siege the Jews, having again rebelled against the Romans, were conquered after severe battles.” (Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History Book III, Chapter 5:2) James again speaks for this [Ecclesia] in Acts 15:17 the Apostle Peter cites “And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. “ The Netzer James agrees but concludes at the same time “Christians are not Jews”, in chapter 21:20 …”glorify the Lord that many thousands of Jews that believe are zealous toward the law ““…but the gentiles observe no such thing.” “The first catacomb found near Bethany was investigated by renowned French archaeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau as he investigated the tomb, he found inscriptions, including the names of “Eleazar”(=”Lazarus”), “Martha” and “Mary” on three different coffins.”337 Ms. Gilman has made the identification based on location [near Bethany], dating, and the occurrence of the name of Martha and Mary (Miriam) who are the sisters of “Lazarus”.

The strong suite to an initial identification is that combined, arguments can be made for the point also because of the exclusivity of the cemetery. KJV John 11:4 “When Jesus heard that, he said, this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby”. KJV John 11:36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! 37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? KJV John 11:31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.” Lazarus according to the New Testament, if the status of his “funerary gathering” is taken into account is well known among the Pharisees and priests. With what has been shown with regard to gaining entry into the fraternity of the Pharisee, Lazarus would have had to have been a prince, a priest [ a netzer], or a Pharisee. There is simply no other explanation for the memberships of the Sanhedrims to take notice.

First and obvious is Lazarus’ prominence in his culture. The [Jews] or leaders, or Government is comforting the family. Second the phrase” but for the glory of God”, needs to be paid attention to. Singly the most interesting of the ossuaries –“As Claremont-Ganneau continued to investigate the catacomb, he found additional inscriptions including the name “Yeshua” (=”Jesus”) commemoratively inscribed on several ossuaries. One coffin, also bearing cross marks on it, was inscribed with the name “Shlom-Zion” followed by the designation “daughter of Simon the Priest.”338 338 ibid 339 Sefer Yohassin pg 80

Why should this provoke any interest? The daughter of Simeon b. Gamaliel is [Imma Shalom/Mother Peace] Shlom-Zion, sister to Gamaliel II. The daughter of Simeon b. Netanel the priest is Shlom Zion. Shown earlier because of “Adoptive Marriages” this scenario was the norm and not the exception within the upper classes. “Regarding R. Simeon b. Netanel (the Priest) who was fearful of sin, I have not seen much to expand upon. He was the son-in-law of Rabban Gamliel the Elder and it is enough to mention that he was blessed to be among the five disciples of Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai who were foretold about the World-to-Come”.339 “R’ Chiyya pointed out R’ Shimon bar Rebbe’s deep voice, as a blemish for a Levite; R’ Shimon complained to Rebbe, who pointed out R’ Chiyya’s own speech impediment, substituting “Hey” for “Chet”: Megillah 24”

If the preceding Rabbinical accounts can be taken seriously, it is by itself a good case for Identifying Imma Shalom. What this shows is that Eliezer b. Hyrcannus/ Lazarus [Nahum(Menahem) of Gamzu] has been at least initially identified based on: Dating of cemetery Exclusivity of cemetery Eliezer, Martha, and Mary in same cemetery Location of cemetery in proximity to Bethany Wife of Eliezer b. Hyrcannus’ [Imma Shalom] remains are in this cemetery.

How can this be furthered? If the ossuary has been found for Imma Shalom, a base-line can be established genetically providing there is a sample remaining against known descendents of Gamliel ha Zaken. This also shows without a doubt that the cemetery is [Jewish], not Christian. What is the import of this? “ , but for the glory of God”, “…because he would always say, ‘This too (gam zu) is for the good.’ Therefore his disciple, R. Akiba, learned from him, for he would say, ‘All the works of heaven are for the good’ (see end of Berachoth).”( 340 Sefer Yohassin-R. Abraham Zacuto) (341 Gabriel Roth A RUACH QADIM EXCERPT:PART h: EXPLORING NEW TESTAMENT TRANSMISSION TRENDS) Because of his status and import Eliezer b. Hyrcannus had been raised from the dead a second time, this time by his colleagues. Through the resurrection of this [Lazarus ] the [Nazarene], the Desposyni had regained status. It was the simple applications of Equal Weights and Measures. With this Halachic ruling is shown that the Religion of the Davidic Priest/Kings, Netzerim, Nazarene, and Christiani is Jewish in nature and standing and not “Christian”.

 This can be weighed with the War of 132. Had they not had status again they would not, could not rise to make a stand with “king “bar Koseva in that war. They were kings. Later under Judah the Prince it was the relentless use of the “ban” individually that sealed their fate with the people. If the writings are combed, R. Judah used the ban as a tool to rid Israel of all he considered anti-Talmudic, and a challenge to authority.

“In his classic work, The History of the Talmud, Jewish Talmudic scholar Michael L. Rodkinson wrote: “There were passages in the Mishnayoth concerning Jesus and his teaching…the Messianists… (were) many and considerable persons and in close alliance with their colleagues the Pharisees during the (first) two centuries.”341

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Comments
  1. I always was interested in this topic and still am, thanks for posting .

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