Talmud comes alive in 1,800-year-old marble face found in Galilee – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on June 1, 2020

A 1,800-year-old fountainhead in the shape of a face was uncovered by chance by a visitor at the Tzipori National Park in the Galilee, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority announced Monday.In the Babylonian Talmud, the Jewish sages warned their disciples that they should not place their mouth directly on the faucets of fountains shaped a human or animal-like creature to avoid the appearance of idol worshiping. The new discovery offers a powerful testimony of the Jewish text coming alive.With regard to figures of human faces [partzufot] that spray water in the cities, i.e. fountains, one may not place his mouth on the mouths of the figures and drink, because he appears to be kissing the object of idol worship. Similarly, one may not place his mouth on a pipe [sillon] and drink, here due to the danger that this practice poses, reads a passage of Avodah Zarah 12a (translation Sefaria.org).Indeed, similar artifacts have been uncovered over the years in several locations in Israel, including Caesarea and Beit Shean. They were common over the course of the Roman and Byzantine period.Tzipori was not like any other city in the region 1,800 years ago: the great Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi moved the Sanhedrin the Jewish Great Assembly there in the second half of the second century, and the Mishna, the foundational text of rabbinic Judaism, was compiled in the city. The archaeological site today still presents the remains of the Jewish Quarter from that period, together with many vestiges of the Roman presence, including the remnant of a 4,500-seat theater.The Tzipori National Park, which preserves the remains of the ancient capital of the Galilee, Tzipori, where the Sanhedrin sat and the Mishna was completed, does not cease to surprise with its archaeological findings, Dr. Yossi Bordovich, head of the Heritage Department at the Nature and Parks Authority, said in a press release.Remains of dozens of beautiful Roman and Byzantine mosaics have established Tzipori as an internationally renowned site, while in recent years additional excavations uncovered an ancient wine press for wine production, a small figurine in the shape of a bull and a water pool that may have been used by Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi.The artifact uncovered by a resident of the area, David Goren, who spotted it protruding from the ground, is shaped like a lions head with some human features. It measures about 15 centimeters in diameter and is made of high-quality marble probably originally from Turkey.The fountainhead will be handed over to the Israel Antiquities Authority in the coming days and in the future will be showcased at the Tzipori National Park.

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Talmud comes alive in 1,800-year-old marble face found in Galilee - The Jerusalem Post

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