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Photoplate from F. Cumont, Revue Historique, Jan-Apr. 1930, p. 243.
The Nazareth Inscription is a proclamation of a Roman emperor that was written in Greek on a marble tablet measuring approximately 24 X 15 inches. The tablet was obtained from Nazareth (the hometown of Jesus) by Wilhelm Fröhner in 1878, but remained unknown to the world for more than fifty years until it was purchased by the Paris National Library in 1925.
The Nazareth Inscription is frequently cited as a secular source of early origin that bears testimony to Jesus' empty tomb. It seems to be a response to a request from Jewish leaders who were outraged at what they believed was the theft of the body of Jesus Christ by the apostles who sought to fake His resurrection. The edict is thought to have come from either Tiberius Caesar (A.D. 14-37), who was Roman emperor at the time of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, or from Claudius Caesar (A.D. 41-54) who ruled shortly afterward. Clyde Billington of Northwestern College (Minnesota) dates the inscription to 41 A.D., providing textual evidence and historical synchronisms as strong supporting evidence for its issuance during the early reign of the Emperor Claudius.
Translation from the Koine Greek by Clyde E. Billington:
- 1. EDICT OF CAESAR
- 2. It is my decision [concerning] graves and tombs--whoever has made
- 3. them for the religious observances of parents, or children, or household
- 4. members--that these remain undisturbed forever. But if anyone legally
- 5. charges that another person has destroyed, or has in any manner extracted
- 6. those who have been buried, or has moved with wicked intent those who
- 7. have been buried to other places, committing a crime against them, or has
- 8. moved sepulcher-sealing stones, against such a person, I order that a
- 9. judicial tribunal be created, just as [is done] concerning the gods in
- 10. human religious observances, even more so will it be obligatory to treat
- 11. with honor those who have been entombed. You are absolutely not to
- 12. allow anyone to move [those who have been entombed]. But if
- 13. [someone does], I wish that [violator] to suffer capital punishment under
- 14. the title of tomb-breaker.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Nazareth Inscription: Proof of the Resurrection of Christ? Part I by Clyde E. Billington PhD
- ↑ Edict Of Caesar - The Nazareth Inscription by Former Things
- ↑ Bible Believer's Archaeology Chapter 10: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ. by John Argubright