Sunday, September 09, 2007

Romans 13:3 from 4-5 c.


During this past summer we (Biblical Language Center) had Greek students in a semi-immersion environment where we visited a few interesting sites together. At Caesarea in a seven-room office for administrative records (taxes?) we find two mosaics that repeat a verse from Romans 13:3, presumably to encourage cooperation. They are only one verse, repeated in two of the rooms. They do not add to our text type information, but they should be preserved in NT textual databases.

In the spelling of one of the mosaic inscriptions ΦΟΒΙΣΘΑΙ was thoughfully spelled by the ancient mason/artist so that Erasmians would pronounce the word correctly. (OK, -smile- maybe that wasn't his motive.)

Since the inscription makes use of a NT text we may be reasonably confident that it is post-Constantine and pre-Islam, say 325-600 CE. Archaeologically the area is dated to 300-600CE.

There are several other short inscriptions of general interest around the city and still in situ, one is a house blessing for Sivanus "for the salvation of Sivanus (spelled ΣΗΛΒΑΝΟΥ) and Nonia". (see attached images 3 and 4, with sea in background)

Another is a note of thanks (where 'they give thanks' is ΕΥΧΑΡΙΣΤΟΥΝΤΕ, not uploaded), and there is a general prayer for the continued peace for Christians ΔΙΑΜΕΙΝΗ Η ΕΙΡΗΝΗ ΤΩΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΙΑΝΩΝ. (also attached)


  1. Interesting. You don't happen to have bigger pictures that I could use in my text-critical class I'll be teaching in the near future?

  2. Oh, silly me. I just noticed that you get a bigger one by clicking the image.

  3. hi. i was wondering if you could tell me what the sixth letter of the third line on your first picture is. i am a greek student and i can't figure out a translation because of that letter. thanks much