White limestone

Roman province of Palaestina

Late Roman-Byzantine period

Third – fourth centuries CE

Width- 72 cm, height- 37 cm, thickness 21.5 cm

The translation of the fragmentary three ¬line inscription written in Greek is- “The One God- Bring help to […] gorios and his son Ky[rill?]os”.

Only the upper margin of the text is fully preserved. Letters have been lost primarily on the damaged left side; there could be as many as three or four letters missing. The bottom of the stone has broken off, and the last line of text is worn to a greater extent than the first two. Consequently, the inscription may have been longer. The back of the stone is unworked.

The present inscription does not have the normal features of Christian or pagan pieces, either symbols or wording, and based on formulaic similarities with other Jewish texts both in and outside Palaestina, it is most probably Jewish. In any case, the inscription is clearly not funerary, but an acclamation, set up in a synagogue. If the dedication is a Jewish inscription, the missing name could be Paregorios, which was a common name for Jews of the period; three persons by this name, including two with the title “rabbi”, were found at Beth She’arim. The son’s name can be restored with a greater measure of certainty, since there are Jews named Kyrillos attested in the land of Israel and in the Diaspora (and the name could also be a variation of Kyrios, also attested). JP


References- Di Segni 1994.

Joan Goodnick Westenholz. Three Faces of Monotheism. Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem, 2007. pp. 42-43.