… archaeologists have found crosses painted in red in the southern caves of Masada. On flimsy evidence, they date them to the Byzantine period. Because of the possible ramifications of this find, to the best of my knowledge, the crosses have never been published. I reveal them here for the first time.
If the cross was already a Christian symbol in 72, the crosses at Masada may have been painted by some of the rebels themselves. This would require a total rethinking of Christians in the 1st century. Both Jewish and Christian scholars would like to think of the early followers of Jesus as pacifists who sat out the great revolt against Rome. That way, both Jews and Christians don’t have to deal with the ramifications of thinking of early Christians as Jewish patriots. Put differently, Jews don’t want to “Christianize” the rebels and Christians don’t want to “Judaize” the early Christians. Revisiting the archaeology might even force us to think of some of Jesus’ followers as Sicarii e.g., Judah “Iscariot”. And this might put the events leading up to the crucifixion in a totally new light. The evidence is mounting and it’s time we rethink our prejudices.
The problem? There’s no reason to date the crosses to the first century as actual experts have deemed them Byzantine. There’s also ample evidence of a Byzantine presence on the mountain. And the supposition that some of the rebels themselves were Christians during the siege of Masada is unsupported by any facts.
When Simcha writes
To understand how explosive this issue can become…
he’s simply being a sensationalist. It’s not an explosive issue, it’s a non issue because, as presently framed, Simcha’s suggestions are pure, and I mean only, speculation.
Sensationalism sells tv shows, but it doesn’t prove anything to scholars.