This jar date to Hellenistic / Roman period.
|Jewish burials from Gospel times do not give great golden treasures
to archaeologists, or even dozens of pots and pans, as do the tombs of
earlier ages. Often nothing lies in the coffin or the bonechest except
the dead person's bones and a little bottle. These little bottles are commonly
made of pottery, sometimes of goass. People often call them 'tear' bottles,
although the idea of mourniers gathering their tears in them to leave with
the dead is fanciful. (The translation of Psalm 56:8, 'gather my tears
into your bottle', seems to give some support, without referring to burials
at all.) These simple flasks were made for the cheaper scented oils in
daily use. Costly perfumes deserve expensive containers.
The alabaster jar the woman broke over Jesus' feet at Bethany was probably carved from stone, for the 340 gm/ 12 oz of perfume in it was estimated to worth over 300 denarii (more than a year's wages) according to the account in Mark's gospel (14:3-5). Piny the Elder, writing later in the first century, stated that ointments kept best in alabaster boxes. ...
(fm Millard, Alan. Discoveries from the time of Jesus. Oxford, Lion Book. c1990. p.19)
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updated on 17 Nov 2000
© October 2000