Latin Quotes, Sayings, Tattoos, Phrases & Mottos

Most texts and materials on this site have to do with the Latin language, including its perception in popular culture: movies, tattoos, inscriptions, engravings, bits of ancient philosophy, online Latin resources and company names. There is also information about learning Latin and Greek: textbooks, dictionaries, DVDs and software that can be used in a homeschooling environment.


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"The Christ Bowl" - a sad excuse for biblical archaeology

 


A team of scientists led by renowned French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio recently announced that they have found a bowl, dating to between the late 2nd century B.C. and the early 1st century A.D., that is engraved with what they believe could be the world's first known reference to Christ.
...
The full engraving on the bowl reads, "DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS," which has been interpreted by the excavation team to mean either, "by Christ the magician" or, "the magician by Christ."


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26972493/

Well, first of all I would really like to see the other side of the bowl... But let us look at what's available:

DIAXRHCTOU

Christ in Greek is normally spelled XRICTOC, but I have found a few inscriptions where H is used.However, XPHCTOC is also an adjective meaning 'excellent', 'meek', 'useful', 'noble'. This alone significantly increases the number of interpretations of the inscription.

But what I would REALLY like to see is what stands for O GOISTAIS. The Greek word they have in mind must be GOHC (charlatan, magician), but what is GOISTAIS???

If there is a Bible reference here, it is best to interpret GOISTAIS as Gestas, one of the thieves who were crucified next to Christ. :) Then the inscription makes total sense grammatically:

"Gestas, Through Christ"

It is known, of course, that it was Dismas, not Gesmas who was saved by Jesus. So, the inscription must imply that early Christians believed that God's compassion is so great that even the foolish taunter of Christ eventually received pardon and salvation. Trust me, this interpretation is no worse that the "magic" one, but at least I am not making a big deal out of it!

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