February 7, 2022 | 5 comments
Revealed by the Israel Antiquities Authority back in December, the ring shows a shepherd boy holding a sheep.
Discovered at the site of two Roman-era shipwrecks found off the coast of Israel near the ancient port of Caesarea, the exquisite octagonal gold ring features an impressive blue and green gemstone sporting an image that some archaeologists now believe could be a depiction of Jesus himself.
Known as the “Good Shepherd” ring, it depicts the image of a young boy carrying a sheep (or ram) around his shoulders which, according to the IAA, “is one of the earliest and oldest images used in Christianity for symbolizing Jesus.”
“It represents Jesus as humanity’s compassionate shepherd, extending his benevolence to his flock of believers and all mankind.”
But does the ring really depict Jesus ?
According to some experts, the “Good Shepherd” depiction of Jesus was itself adapted from earlier Greek and Roman art.
“The figure of a shepherd carrying a ram over his shoulders has an ancient pre-Christian precedent in a depiction of Hermes, the gods’ messenger and caretaking guide to the underworld,” wrote art historian Robin Jensen.
Comparisons have also been drawn between the shepherd and Orpheus, the tragic lyre-playing son of Apollo – so there is clearly room for interpretation over exactly who the ring depicts.
As things stand, it’s a debate that is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.
The gold and blue-green gemstone ring is significant because the image was used by Christians to symbolize Jesus.
But did the ring belong to a Christian at all? And if it did, what does that mean? https://t.co/3FmhTkLTR8
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) February 6, 2022