Limestone tableware

Limestone tableware is considered typical for the Herodian Temple period in Jerusalem, especially for the years between 20 BC and 70 AD. The fragments of bowls, dishes and cups from Jerusalem on display in the Bibelhaus are made of local limestone. In Jerusalem, they were cut out of the limestone in underground workshops and air-dried.

2021 03955 NT R Gefaesse

Limestone tableware fragments

Unadulterated and pure

According to Jewish law, this material is considered unadulterated and pure. This plays a major role in the devotion to the law in Judea and Galilee at the time of Jesus. The contemporary concern about the impurity of vessels and food is associated in the New Testament with the group of Pharisees. Jesus of Nazareth considers this concern to be external and sharply criticises it.

In accordance with the rules of the Torah

According to the Pharisees and other Jewish groups, clay pottery is in constant danger of becoming cultically contaminated through carelessness and of transferring this impurity to the hands of the users. Limestone, like glass and metal, is considered a material that does not accept impurity. With this type of tableware, it is easier to observe the strict Jewish purity rules laid down in the Torah. Limestone vessels quickly fell into disuse after the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in 70 AD. To this day, the discovery of limestone shards in Israel is considered archaeological evidence of Jewish settlement in Roman times

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