In June 2011 the Israel Antiquities Authority announced details of an ossuary that they acquired c. 2008 and which bears the inscription: ‘Mariam daughter of Yeshua‘ bar Qayafa, priest from Ma‘aziah from Bet ’Imri’. The ossuary is unprovenanced but was reported to have come from the vicinity of the Elah valley. This is the first time that the name Qayafa (Caiaphas) has been found on an inscription other than those on ossuaries in the ‘Caiaphas’ tomb in North Talpiyot, Jerusalem, thought to be the tomb of the high priest Joseph Caiaphas and members of his family. The new inscription offers an opportunity to correlate its information about the Caiaphas family with that from the ‘Caiaphas’ tomb and with references to the high priest Caiaphas and the Caiaphas family in Josephus and rabbinic literature. This article argues that the epithet ‘bar Qayafa’ attached to Yehosef on the ‘Caiaphas’ ossuary and to Yeshua on the ‘Mariam’ ossuary, is not used as a true patronymic but as a family name, equivalent to Josephus’ use of ‘Caiaphas’ as the quasi-surname of the high priest. Caiaphas is a nickname, probably originally borne by the progenitor of the family and then used as the family name. The most obvious meaning in Aramaic of the name Caiaphas (‘the jelly or crust that forms on boiled meat’) may well be the actual meaning, comparable with some other derogatory nicknames of the period. The ‘Mariam’ inscription informs us that the family belonged to the Ma‘aziah priestly course and to the sub-division (‘fathers’ house’) Bet ’Imri. If the reported place of origin of the ‘Mariam’ ossuary is correct, it helps us to locate the family home, which the Tosefta records as Bet Maqoshesh. It may well be modern Khirbet Qeiyafa (the settlement would later have been named after its powerful local family). The discovery that the family had a burial place near its home in the country, as well as the ‘Caiaphas’ tomb near Jerusalem, may help to explain why the latter is relatively small and overcrowded. These conclusions help to fill out our increasingly accurate picture of the powerful priestly aristocracy of the late Second Temple period.

  • 4)

    Zvi Greenhut, ‘The “Caiaphas” Tomb in North Talpiyot, Jerusalem’, Atiqot 21 (1992): 63-71.

  • 6)

    Reich, ‘Ossuary’, p. 72.

  • 7)

    Reich, ‘Ossuary’, p. 74; Horbury, ‘The “Caiaphas” Ossuaries’, p. 38.

  • 8)

    Horbury, ‘The “Caiaphas” Ossuaries’, pp. 38-41. Émile Puech, ‘A-t-on redécouvert le tombeau du grand-prêtre Caïphe?’, Le Monde de la Bible 80 (1993): 42-47 (an article I have not been able to see) argues similarly (reported by Horbury, ‘The “Caiaphas” Ossuaries’, p. 46).

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  • 9)

    Craig A. Evans, ‘Caiaphas Ossuary’, in Dictionary of New Testament Background, ed. Craig A. Evans and Stanley E. Porter (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000), pp. 179-80, here p. 180, offers a parallel with the high priestly name Cantheras (Josephus, Ant. 20.16), probably the same as Qathros (b. Pesah. 57a and CIIP 674).

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  • 10)

     Cf. Reich, ‘Ossuary’, p. 74.

  • 11)

    L.Y. Rahmani, A Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries in the Collections of the State of Israel (Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities Authority/Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1994), pp. 11-12.

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  • 18)

    Horbury, ‘The “Caiaphas” Ossuaries’, p. 39.

  • 19)

    Translation from Herbert Danby, The Mishnah (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1933), p. 700 (I have changed the transliteration of some proper names, as well as changing Hakkof to ha-Qayyaph).

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  • 22)

    Horbury, ‘The “Caiaphas” Ossuaries’, p. 37, says that ‘“surnamed Caiaphas” is … a natural interpretation of’ Matt. 26.3 (τοῦ ἀρχιερέως τοῦ λεγομένου Καϊᾶφα). I am not sure. In cases where this formula is used to indicate a second name there is always a personal name preceding the formula (Matt. 1.16; 4.18; 27.17; Jn 11.16; Col. 4.11; Josephus, Ant. 13.320).

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  • 23)

    G.H.R. Horsley, ‘Names, Double’, ABD 4.1011-1017, here 1013. NT examples: Acts 11.13; 12.12. Josephus uses the same formula with reference to other high priests at Ant. 19.297; 20.16, 196.

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  • 24)

    Horsley, ‘Names’, 1014. Alternatively, the article in Josephus reflects his awareness of the Aramaic determinate form אפיק: Horbury, ‘The “Caiaphas” Ossuaries’, p. 37.

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  • 26)

    Reich, ‘Ossuary’, pp. 74-76; David Flusser, ‘Caiaphas in the New Testament’, Atiqot 21 (1992): 81-87, here 91; David Flusser, Jesus (3rd edn; Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2002), pp. 195-97; Rachel Hachlili, ‘Nicknames of Jews in the Second Temple Period’, in Families and Family Relations, ed. Jan Willem van Henten and Athalya Brenner (Leiden: Deo, 2000), pp. 83-115, here p. 94; Helen K. Bond, Caiaphas: Friend of Rome and Judge of Israel (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2004), p. 4.

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  • 27)

    Zissu and Goren, ‘The Ossuary’, p. 79.

  • 28)

    Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), pp. 85-92. My calculations are from the data in Tal Ilan, Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity: Part 1: Palestine 330 BCE – 200 CE (TSAJ 91; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002). My calculations differ a little from Ilan's own, because I differ from her on some aspects of the criteria for making these calculations.

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  • 29)

    Richard Bauckham, The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007), pp. 152-53 (examples of Gamaliel, Nicodemus, Gurion). The ‘Eros’ family seem to have signalled family membership by using as personal names a variety of names resembling the name Eros (CIIP 291, 292, 293, 294, 301).

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  • 35)

    Ilan, Lexicon, p. 62. There are several instances of the name in the Persian period: 1 Chron. 3.23; Ezra 10.22, 27; Neh. 12.41.

  • 36)

    Schwartz, Agrippa I, pp. 185-89.

  • 37)

     Cf. VanderKam, From Joshua, p. 450.

  • 38)

    VanderKam, From Joshua, pp. 449-50. The name Qathros is found in the list of four high priestly ‘houses’ in b. Pesah. 57a, and also on a stone weight found in the ‘Burnt House’ in Jerusalem (CIIP 674), an aristocratic house plausibly owned by one of the high priestly families.

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  • 40)

    So also Horbury, ‘The “Caiaphas” Ossuaries’, pp. 42-43.

  • 41)

     Cf. Marcus Jastrow, A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature (New York: Judaica Press, 1971), p. 1365. The root יפק, אפק, הפק means ‘to be on top, to float on the surface’ or ‘to coagulate, to curdle’ (Jastrow, A Dictionary), p. 1400.

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  • 42)

    CIIP, p. 484.

  • 45)

    Jastrow, A Dictionary, p. 268. For this word in Hebrew (evidently not Aramaic) Jastrow also gives the meaning ‘hard ground, dry surface of ground’ (as in m. B. Meṣ. 5.10). Rahmani, A Catalogue, p. 87, refers to the latter meaning (ignoring the other) and takes it to refer to the person's character: ‘a dry, hard person’. But this can be no more than a possibility. Hachlili, Jewish Funerary Customs, p. 225, says the word means ‘“rind,” “dour,” or “crust”’. (Is that ‘dour’ in the Scottish sense?) Rachel Hachlili, ‘Names and Nicknames at Masada’, in These are the Names: Studies in Jewish Onomastics, vol. 3, ed. Aaron Demsky (Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan University Press, 2002), pp. 93-108, here p. 103, suggests: ‘perhaps a nickname for an uncultured person’. The metaphorical use of the English word ‘crusty’ to mean ‘irritable’ or ‘curt’ is suggestive.

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  • 47)

    Rahmani, A Catalogue, p. 198. But the reading דיבר is apparently also possible.

  • 48)

    Ilan, Lexicon, p. 400.

  • 49)

    Jastrow, A Dictionary, pp. 1072-73.

  • 50)

     See Jastrow, A Dictionary, p. 1223, for the root לזרכ, meaning ‘to round, to roll, to form ball’.

  • 51)

    Ilan, Lexicon, p. 371.

  • 52)

    Ilan, Lexicon, p. 392; Jastrow, A Dictionary, p. 831.

  • 59)

    Ilan, Lexicon, pp. 175-76 (seven valid examples).

  • 62)

    Ran Zadok, The Pre-Hellenistic Israelite Anthroponymy and Prosopography (OLA 28; Leuven: Peeters, 1988), p. 78. Perhaps we should vocalize the name ’Amri, as in 1 Chron. 9.4 LXX (Αμρι).

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  • 63)

    Zissu and Goren, ‘The Ossuary’, pp. 80-82.

  • 64)

    Josephus, C. Ap. 2.107 refers to four tribes of the priests (tribus quattuor sacerdotum), but this is very likely to be a scribal error for twenty-four: see Richard Bauckham, ‘Josephus’ Account of the Temple in Contra Apionem 2.102-109’, in idem, The Jewish World Around the New Testament (WUNT 233; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), pp. 221-43, here 237-40.

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  • 66)

     Cf. Oliver Gussmann, Das Priesterverständnis des Flavius Josephus (TSAJ 124; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008), p. 95.

  • 67)

    Flusser, ‘Caiaphas in the New Testament’, p. 81, simply asserts that Bet Meqoshesh was ‘a village near Jerusalem’, citing no evidence. Similarly, Flusser, Jesus, pp. 196-97. Presumably he just assumed it must be near Jerusalem. Josephus owned an estate near Jerusalem which he later exchanged for one on the coastal plain (Vita 422).

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  • 68)

     See Richard Bauckham, The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007), pp. 159-60.

  • 70)

    Gottfried Reeg, Die Ortsnamen nach der rabbinischen Literatur (Beihefte zum Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients B51; Wiesbaden: Reichert, 1989), p. 115.

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  • 71)

    Samuel Klein, ‘Bemerkungen zur Geographie des alten Palästina’, Monatschrift fur Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums 54 (1910): 14-27, here 25-27; Samuel Klein, ‘Zur Geographie Palästinas in der Zeit der Mischna’, MGWJ 61 (1917): 133-49, here 135-36.

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  • 73)

    Zissu and Goren, ‘The Ossuary’, p. 82, n. 9.

  • 74)

    Zissu and Goren, ‘The Ossuary’, p. 79.

  • 76)

    Zissu and Goren, ‘The Ossuary’, p. 74.

  • 77)

    Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor, ‘Khirbet Qeiyafa: Sha’arayim’, Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 8 (2008): article 22 (www.arts.ualberta.ca/JHS/Articles/article 99.pdf).

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  • 79)

    Bond, Caiaphas, p. 165 n. 8, briefly makes the case for Caiaphas being a Sadducee. But Martin Goodman, ‘The Place of the Sadducees in First-Century Judaism’, in Redefining First-Century Jewish and Christian Identities: Essays in Honor of Ed Parish Sanders, ed. Fabian E. Udoh (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2008), pp. 139-52, here 142-45, questions whether any of the high priests other than Ananus II (said by Josephus to be a Sadducee) were Sadducees. Of Acts 5.17, he says: ‘All it suggests is that those who accompanied the high priest on this occasion were Sadducees’.

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  • 80)

    Hachlili, Jewish Funerary Customs, pp. 260-264.

  • 82)

    Zvi Greenhut, ‘The “Caiaphas” Tomb in North Talpiyot, Jerusalem,’ Atiqot 21 (1992): 63-71, here 70. It is, of course, possible that the coin was not intentionally placed in the skull.

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  • 85)

    Bond, Caiaphas, pp. 7-8.

  • 86)

    Bond, Caiaphas, p. 25. Note also the decoration and contents of the ‘palatial house’, probably a high priestly family home, excavated in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem: Nahman Avigad, Discovering Jerusalem (Nashville: Nelson, 1980), pp. 95-120.

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  • 87)

     Cf. Hachlili, Jewish Funerary Customs, pp. 441, 443.

  • 88)

    Horbury, ‘The “Caiaphas” Ossuaries’, p. 35.

  • 89)

     See the plans in Greenhut, ‘The “Caiaphas” Tomb’, p. 64; Hachlili, Jewish Funerary Customs, p. 266. Note also Greenhut, ‘The “Caiaphas” Tomb’, p. 63: ‘A single burial chamber was excavated. Its simple and irregular plan seems to indicate that there were no additional rooms to the east, although there may have been an entry-way or courtyard’.

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  • 92)

    Hachlili, Jewish Funerary Customs, pp. 235-62.

  • 93)

    Hachlili, Jewish Funerary Customs, pp. 263-64.

  • 94)

    Joseph Zias, ‘Human Skeletal Remains from the “Caiaphas” Tomb’, Atiqot 21 (1992): 78-80. These figures make it surprising that Horbury, ‘The “Caiaphas” Ossuaries’, p. 42, can say that the tomb ‘probably belonged to a relatively small family’. He is evidently following Greenhut, ‘The “Caiaphas” Tomb’, p. 65.

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  • 96)

    Bond, Caiaphas, p. 7.

  • 97)

    Hachlili, Jewish Funerary Customs, pp. 361-72.

  • 99)

    Bond, Caiaphas, p. 7; VanderKam, From Joshua, p. 436 (reporting Puech).

  • 100)

    Examples in Hachlili, Jewish Funerary Customs, pp. 213-15.

  • 101)

    Hachlili, Jewish Funerary Customs, p. 266 (reporting Puech).

  • 102)

    Zias, ‘Human Skeletal Remains’, p. 79.

  • 104)

    Ronny Reich reported by Zias, ‘Human Skeletal Remains’, p. 79.

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