Ancient Image of Jesus Found in Egypt Tomb

Painting of curly-haired figure thought to date to 6th or 7th century

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 1, 2014 1:18 AM CDT | Updated May 1, 2014 4:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – Archaeologists exploring the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchu believe they have uncovered one of the earliest images of Jesus ever found. The figure painted on the wall of a hidden room deep in an ancient tomb shows "a young man with curly hair, dressed in a short tunic and with his hand raised as if giving a blessing," the lead researcher says, according to the Independent. Experts are now trying to decipher inscriptions around the figure, which they believe was painted by Coptic Christians in the sixth or seventh century.

Other digs in the area have uncovered temples dedicated to Osiris, the Egyptian god of the afterlife, but the Christian paintings were found in an underground stone structure that archaeologists describe as exceptional. The structure is "incredibly good, but we don't know what it is," the lead researcher tells the Local. Almost 50 tons of rock had to be moved to get to the tomb, and archaeologists are still excavating another mysterious structure connected to the tomb by a set of worn steps. (Another recently excavated Egyptian tomb may contain the skeletal remains of the deceased scribe's many wives.)

This could be one of the earliest images of Jesus ever found, researchers say.   (University of Barcelona)
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