From The Cave of John the Baptist: The Stunning Archaeological Discovery that has Redefined Christian History, Shimon Gibson 272,273.



Saint Paula (347404) was an ancient Roman saint and early Desert Mother. A member of one of the richest "senatorial" families which frivolously claimed descent from Agamemnon, Paula was the daughter of Blesilla, from the great clan of the Furii Camilli. At the age of 15, Paula was married to the nobleman Toxotius, with whom she had four daughters, Blaesilla, Paulina, Eustochium, and Rufina. She also had a boy, also named Toxotius. We learn of Paula's early life through the writings of Saint Jerome. In his Letter 108, he states that she had led a luxurious life and held a great status. She dressed in silks, and had been carried about her city by her eunuch slaves.

The early Christian tradition of the tomb of John the Baptist at Sebaste (together with those of Elisha and Obadiah) can be traced back to the fourth century. While there is no mention of the tomb in Eusebius' Onomasticon, this is not surprising because he was only concerned with preparing a list of places mentioned in the Old Testament and their identifications, and Christian holy places were of secondary interest to him. The tradition of the tomb being located at Sebaste also appears in Theodoret (393-457) but the tomb itself is not described. The tombs of John, Obadiah and Elisha were first witnessed by Egeria c. 384 during her visit to Sebaste but nothing concrete is said about the place.

However, we do have the writings of Jerome, and in his account of the travels of Paula (404), he wrote that she arrived at the site and 'in it lie buried Elisha and Obadiah the prophets, and John the Baptist, greater than all the sons of women. Here there were strange sights which startled and frightened her: in front of the saints' tombs she watched demons crying out in every kind of torment, and men making sounds like beasts, howling, barking, roaring, hissing or lowing. Some shook their heads from side to side, others leaned back to touch the ground behind them with the crown of their head, and women were hanging up by one foot, but their clothes did not fall down over their faces. On all of them she [Paula] had compassion. She shed tears over each one, and prayed Christ to show mercy. Then, despite her weakness, she climbed up the mountain to see the two caves where the prophet Obadiah kept the hundred prophets alive with bread and water in time of famine and persecution'.

At first glance, it looks like Paula had some kind of hysterical fit while visiting John's tomb and so her description, quoted by Jerome, of 'strange sights' there should perhaps be seen as a total fantasy. However, this is not necessarily the case because, setting aside the element of exaggeration in this passage, there was a belief at that time that by bringing possessed individuals to such a tomb they would regain their sanity and the demons would be scared away. This is probably what Paula saw. Indeed, John Chrysostom {Catechesis VII, 1-8), wrote in the late fourth century about the phenomenon in general: 'I myself might threaten you, natter, frighten or urge you without effect. But when you enter a martyr's chapel, and just look at the sainted man's grave, your eyes stream with tears, and your heart warms with fervent prayer.

Why is this? Because you envisage the figure of the martyr, and that evokes the thought of his achievement. Face to face with his grandeur, you become conscious of your beggarly poverty; you realise how great is the gulf between yourself and him: the martyrs are in a position to speak freely in God's presence, and to rejoice in His honour and glory'. What we do not have in these early descriptions of the tomb in Jerome's writings is information regarding its exact position, and one cannot help but wonder whether the traditional tomb pointed out at Sebaste since the Crusader period is the same as the one mentioned by Jerome. This has to remain an open question. However, at the same time absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and by that I mean that until we have contrary evidence regarding the location of the tomb, we must assume that the ancients got it right.




Codex Sinaiticus

New Testament:

from the famed discovery


The earliest, oldest New Testament text has finally been released to the public.  You may read the Codex Sinaiticus online - but only if you know Greek!  To read it inCodex Sinaiticus New Testament H T Anderson English English, you need the only English translation we know.  The H. T. Anderson English Translation of the Codex Sinaiticus, with the three extra early New Testament books and the Sonnini Manuscript of Acts 29 included, and the original absences of certain verses (put in there later by the 'church') is now available only at here.  

THIS IS NOT A CHEAP, SCANNED-IN FACSIMILE. This is a first edition of the text published in easy-to-read Georgia font with plenty of room between verses for your notes.2 points between verses, hard or soft cover.


The Nazarene Acts
of the Apostles

Also known as
The Recognitions of Clement

Ever wonder why PAUL and not PETER received the mission to the lost tribes?  Wasn't Peter the stone upon which the "church" was to be built?  In this new translation of the Nazarene Acts, we follow Kefa (Peter) as he itinerates from Jerusalem and up the Mediterranean coast up to Tripoli, as recorded in the journals of his successor, Clement of Rome (Phi 4:3).  Every message Kefa preached, the company he kept, and the great works of faith the the Almighty accomplished through him are herein recorded.  This 300 page volume has been 'hidden' in the back of an obscure volume of the "Church Fathers" all this time.  Could it be that, in establishing the Gentile 'church' by pushing away from Judaism, this history was purposely hidden?