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Nestorius was vilified for speaking against the “Theotokos,” the philosophy that Jesus’s mother Mary was the “God-bearer.” Instead, he promoted a radical idea that she gave birth to a human who was divine.

This ideological conflict laid ground for a decades-long battle and eventual schism in the Byzantine period church.

It is one of seven inscriptions — including a massive five-meter long text — which were found in three Byzantine churches during this summer’s excavations by Kinneret College archaeologist Mordechai Aviam and historian Jacob Ashkenazi.

According to a recent article in Christianity Today, “in the upper echelons of society, women often converted to Christianity while their male relatives remained pagans, lest they lose their senatorial status.

Working in tandem, the rare multidisciplinary partnership of scholars is drawing from their respective fields to paint a comprehensive picture of 4th-5th century Christian life in the region.

They have already “hit the jackpot” in their first season, with seven lengthy 1,600-year-old Greek inscriptions, said Aviam.

This too contributed to the inordinate number of women in the church, particularly upper-class women.” The idea of an independent women of means in rural Western Galilee came as a surprise to archaeologist Aviam, who heads the Institute for Galilean Archaeology.

He said in a recent Haaretz article, “She’s an independent woman who donated money to the church, which says something about life in the Galilean village.” Co-directors of the Galilee early church excavations at their recent dig site, historian Jacob Ashkenazi and archaeologist Mordechai Aviam from the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at the Kinneret Academic College (courtesy, Mordechai Aviam) With a three-year grant from the Israeli Science Foundation, the researchers are taking a cross-disciplinary approach to complete the first serious, modern study of Christian Galilee in late Antiquity, Aviam told The Times of Israel on Monday.

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