JERUSALEM — Archaeologists have uncovered a rare marble slab near the Sea of Galilee that some believe provides evidence of a city mentioned in Scripture where Jesus cast a legion demons out of a man who lived among the tombs.
The 1,500-year old slab was found in what is believed to have once been a synagogue in Kursi, and contains an inscription in Hebrew letters that includes the phrases “remembered for good” and “amen.”
The excavation and research effort was led by Dr. Haim Cohen and Professor Michal Artzy of the Hatter Laboratory at the University of Haifa, in cooperation with the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Nature and Parks Authority. The find is stated to provide proof that there was a Jewish or Christian settlement at the site.
“The presence of a Jewish site on the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee is a very rare phenomenon,” Cohen told reporters. “Until now, we have not had any proof that Jewish settlements existed during this period along the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee.”
Professor Artzy found the discovery to be a rare and fascinating find.
“The dedication comprises eight lines, so that it is very detailed or expansive. In most cases we do not find so many words in Hebrew letters engraved on stone, so the person to whom the inscription was dedicated must have had a tremendous influence on the local people,” she stated. “There is no parallel for such a detailed and expensive dedication in archeological findings to date in Israel.”
Researchers have believed for some time that Kursi might have been the “country of the Gadarenes,” the coastal region mentioned in the Scriptures where Jesus cast out legion of evil spirits from a demon-possessed man.
“And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when He was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,” Mark 5 reads. “And He asked him, ‘What is thy name?’ And he answered, saying, ‘My name is Legion: for we are many.’
When the demons asked to be sent into the nearby swine, Jesus commanded them to go, and the spirits entered into the pigs, which ran over a cliff and into the sea—presumably the Sea of Galilee.
“And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done,” the Scriptures outline. “And they came to Jesus, and saw him that was possessed with the devil and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. … And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.”
Jesus is believed to have arrived in Kursi after traveling over the Sea of Galilee.