Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

1130 – Oldest Seed and Oldest Church


Sometimes, in our conversations about archaeology, we not only talk about old but oldest. There’s something special about that claim, particularly when it involves a living seed that is 2,000 years old. On this week’s program we revisit Methusaleh, the name given to a date palm seedling that is thriving at an undisclosed location in Israel. The seed that was planted for Methusaleh was part of a cache recovered from the excavation of Masada by Yigael Yadin, 40 years ago. It was planted five years ago. Prior to Methusaleh the oldest seeds that had been successfully planted were 1300-year old Lotus seeds discovered in China almost 100 years ago.

Also on this week’s program we review press reports of claims that the world’s oldest church has been discovered at Rihab in northern Jordan. We join the archaeological experts who are skeptical about this claim, since there’s been little real evidence to back up this claim. We agree with archaeologist Stephen Pfann, who says the best evidence for the oldest church in the world was dug up a few years ago under the floor of a prison near the famous archaeological site of Megiddo. It’s sometimes called the Armageddon Church.

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