(Time) A site in Israel that was the target of attacks by Palestinians on Thursday night has a name that sounds very clear: Joseph’s Tomb.
But what actually makes that site so special? Though the Bible does contain information about where the biblical patriarch Joseph, the son of Jacob and the famous interpreter the Pharaoh’s dreams, is meant to be buried—according to the story, he dies in Egypt but his body is brought to Israel—it’s not as if the ancient text contains GPS coordinates.
For that reason, as Richard A. Freund explains in his book Digging Through the Bible: Modern Archaeology and the Ancient Bible, there are actually multiple locations that have, over the years, been seen as the patriarch’s final resting place. Because there is no archaeological proof of where Joseph was buried, the tomb, located in the city of Nablus, is more properly, according to Freund, a “relic” site rather than a historic site. Though the tomb may not have originally been built for the person after whom it’s named, that means—for non-believers at least—it still has significance because it has been seen as a holy place at least since medieval times.
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