Biblical Archaeology Review 18:5, September/October 1992

Caiaphas Name Inscribed on Bone Boxes

By Ronny Reich

Very few of the hundreds of people who walk through the pages of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament have been attested in archaeological finds.a Now, to that small list, we may add, in all probability, the high priest who presided at Jesus’ trial—or at least a member of his family. A form of the name of Caiaphas has been deciphered thrice on two ossuaries, or bone boxes, recently discovered in Jerusalem.

Even if we expand our categories and include the writings of Josephus, the first-century C.E.b Jewish historian, and rabbinic literature (for example, the Mishnah and the Talmud—200–600 C.E.), the number of names we would add to our list would still be minuscule. Indeed, we could count the additional names on the fingers of both hands with some fingers left over, excluding, of course, names of rulers, who obviously appear frequently on coins and legal documents.

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