Thursday, 12 June 2008

Jordan Cave May Be Oldest Church

In a recent press release, reported by the BBC, archaeologists claim to have uncovered evidence of the oldest Christian church – a cave (serving as both home and meeting place) at Rihab in Jordan, dating perhaps to before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. While I’m not going to get overly excited (too often have such finds turned out to be less sensational or convincing than first claimed), this one could shed light on the practices of the early church and take back by well over a century our material evidence of Christian places of meeting. If the dating is correct, this may be a refugee congregation from Jerusalem after the persecution recorded in Acts 8:1. Were any of the seventy Christians who met here among the 500 eyewitnesses of the resurrection, we wonder? We await the official archeological publication and scholarly interaction.

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