Cathy Meadows, M. A., Clinical Psychology
Could Jesus Have Been as Big a Pagan as Merlin Was, Philisophically?
By Jennifer Viegaupdated 7:23 a.m. PT, Wed., Oct. 1, 2008
A team of scientists led by renowned French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio recently announced that they have found a bowl, dating to between the late 2nd century B.C. and the early 1st century A.D., that is engraved with what they believe could be the world's first known reference to Christ.
If the word "Christ" refers to the Biblical Jesus Christ, as is speculated, then the discovery may provide evidence that Christianity and paganism at times intertwined in the ancient world.
The full engraving on the bowl reads, "DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS," which has been interpreted by the excavation team to mean either, "by Christ the magician" or, "the magician by Christ."
"It could very well be a reference to Jesus Christ, in that he was once the primary exponent of white magic," Goddio, co-founder of the Oxford Center of Maritime Archaeology, said.
He and his colleagues found the object during an excavation of the underwater ruins of Alexandria's ancient great harbor. The Egyptian site also includes the now submerged island of Antirhodos, where Cleopatra's palace may have been located.
Both Goddio and Egyptologist David Fabre, a member of the European Institute of Submarine Archaeology, think a "magus" could have practiced fortune telling rituals using the bowl.
The Book of Matthew refers to "wisemen," or Magi, believed to have been prevalent in the ancient world.
Fabre concluded, "It should be remembered that in Alexandria, paganism, Judaism and Christianity never evolved in isolation. All of these forms of religion (evolved) magical practices that seduced both the humble members of the population and the most well-off classes."
"It was in Alexandria where new religious constructions were made to propose solutions to the problem of man, of God's world," he added. "Cults of Isis, mysteries of Mithra, and early Christianity bear witness to this."
The bowl is currently on public display in the exhibit "Egypt's Sunken Treasures" at the Matadero Cultural Center in Madrid, Spain, until November 15.
© 2008 Discovery Channel