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Ancient Mesopotamia
Assyria Nineveh
Arslan Tash Til Barsip
Iran Palace of Darius
Phoenicia Arabia Palmyra
Syrian coast
Ougarit Byblos

Stele of the Priest Si Gabbor
AO 3027
Sully Levant room C
Under a long inscription in Aramaic,
this funerary stele shows a figured scene
with a priest seated at a banquet.
The worship of the moon-god, Sin in Akkadian,
was already well-established in the region
of Aleppo in Syria.
In the long dedication, the deceased sum up
his life and states his desire to die well
and enjoy peace in the hereafter without
his remains being desecrated.

Stele of the Priest Si Gabbor

Very few inscriptions have been found on tombs of Israelite origin, and they are characterised by their absence of decoration. Among the Greek words translated on tombs, tafos emphasises the idea of burial (as in Matthew 23:29), while mnemeion (memorial, remembrance tomb, as in the text of John 5:28) stresses the perpetuation of the deceased person’s memory. A263, A264
The importance accorded to burial
by the Hebrews is indicative of their concern with having their memory live
on in ‘the memorial tombs’ (John 5:28, mnemeion) A287 or having their name inscribed in the ‘book of remembrance’. - Malachi 3:16.
The fundamental notion of memory implied in the original words gives particular meaning to the words of the thief who asked Jesus:
“Jesus, remember me when you come
into your Kingdom.” -
Luke 23:42 (New Living Translation)

Death in the Bible

Funerary Steles

AO 3026-7

Sully Levant room C

The steles bear inscriptions in Aramaic.
This is one of the three languages
in which the Bible was written
(see notably Ezra 4:8 to 6:18).
As an ancient Semitic language,
it has a lot in common with
Hebrew A288 as its alphabet
is formed of the same letters
with the same names.
We can note the difference between the ancient forms of Aramaic and Hebrew in Genesis 31:47. The expressions are not identical, even if the two names both signify: “Witness Heap [servant of]”.
What language was Jesus speaking? Specialists are divided in their opinion on this question. Jesus Christ could very well have used a form of Hebrew and an Aramaic dialect.


Carte Chronologie Stèle de Si Gabbor et la mort dans la BibleIvoires Arslan Tash et HazaëlAntiquités EgyptiennesAntiquités Romaines Haut de page