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Nov 12, 2005
Already Skeptics of Ancient Church
Well the sceptics have begun on their assault on the historicity and accuracy of the claims. Check out this self professed Agnosticism/Atheism Blog (the title should indicate where he is coming from) I guess the source should start one thinking. He quotes Joe Zias alot but the New York times mentions he hasn't even seen the site yet and already he is dismissing it. Lets wait at least until the evidence is in before we jump to conclusions either way. Only a fraction of the building has been excavated. But I don't recall seeing these type of religous inscriptions in Roman buildings only churches (Tabgah - fish) and synagogues (Sardis - geometric symbols).
Thinking about it I remember seeing several different similar mosiac to these in Sardis. Check the patterns. The mosaic to the right is a photo I took in June 2004 of the Sardis Synagogue, Turkey. The Sardis synagogue dates to the middle of the third century from two coins dated ca. 270 from the bedding of the earliest Synagogue mosaic --the Jewish community of Sardis probably acquired it for use as a house of worship. (Although this is also called into question in a recent article Jodi Magness, “The Date of the Sardis Synagogue in Light of the Numismatic Evidence,” American Journal of Archaeology AJA 109  443-47. She dates it to the 6th century. For a discussion on this see Phil Harland's blog. He has written an excellent book on Synagogues.)So it is plausable that this Megeddo church was either a synagogue or public building before as was the common practice and some of the mosaics changed to beautify the floor once it became a church. All speculation at this point but would like to see the evidence once it is examined. There is no doubt that the pattern found in a third century synagogue matches the pattern of a third century christian religous building "church".
Oh and that there were not suppose to be churches until the 4th century. How can we be so sure we may have just found one!! The persecution was only in small pockets and not driven by the Roman government but local leaders and Jewish zealots as is evident from the "Martyrdom of Polycarp" and Pliny's letter (they did not know what to do with the Christians because there was no precedent or law on the books). Roman sponsored persecution only came much later and then only in defiance of offering an oblation to Roma.
This is going to be a great debate over this one I can already tell.
Whatever the outcome I hope they keep the mosaic and structure in tact. It would be terrible to relocate and remove it from in situ.
For more photo's check out Yahoo
Over at novumtestamentum.com, Brandon Wason has transcribed the Greek of the Aketous inscription, providing his own translation and some commentary.