Re: [XTalk] Re: John the Baptist's Cave
----- Original Message -----
From: "Brian Trafford" <bj_traff@...>
Sent: Monday, August 16, 2004 9:21 PM
Subject: [XTalk] Re: John the Baptist's Cave
> The press releases (from AP and other new sources) are related to
> the upcoming publication of a book by the chief archaeologist of
> this find, Shimon Gibson, entitled _The Cave of John the Baptist_.
> The find itself dates back to March 2000, with an article appearing
> on the web site for the University of North Carolina back in April
> 2000 (the connection to JBap was already being proposed at that
> time) which can be read at:
> A more recent article appeared on the web site of The Foundation for
> Biblical Archaeology, and includes pictures. It can be seen at
> From my readings, the evidence looks reasonable that the site was
> used for ritual washings, possibly in the 1st Century (something
> required by observant Jews of the period, and not just for baptism),
> but the connection to JBap seems to be based on some 5th Century
> drawings, and traditions held by the Orthodox (who built a church
> over the site sometime in the 6th Century). From this it looks like
> the probable connection of the cave to JBap is tenuous.
> Brian Trafford
> Calgary, AB, Canada
It is important to keep in mind that the drawings and baptismal area in the
cave appears to correspond with the 4th and 5th century Byzantine
inscriptions in the Kidron Valley tomb also connected to JB and also
examined by Gibson.
The 4th and 5th centuries were times of intense "sacred site" pilgrimages
which included Constantine's mother. Many sites were manufactured to curry
favor. I would need to see some substantive connection, first of the cave
to the 1st century and secondly as a mikveh rather than a cistern which,
unless fed by a spring is not "living" water..and thirdly to JB.