The priestly courses inscription.

The first Jewish mention of the town of Nazareth.


Also of interest, the Nazareth inscription.

This inscription is our earliest Jewish mention of the town of Nazareth. The priestly courses are laid out in 1 Chronicles 24.7-18. The inscription purports to tell where the priests from each course settled after the destruction of the temple in 70. For informational purposes, I here quote Andrew Criddle, from an IIDB post dated November 17, 2007 (I have taken the liberty of expanding standard abbreviations, adding periods after initials, and correcting a couple of typos):

The only full description in English of the fragments is in a very obscure book, The Teacher's Yoke, a memorial volume for Henry Trantham published by Baylor in 1964. (There may be a full article in Hebrew; I'm not sure.) Pages 42-45 are an introduction to the fragments and their implications, by E. Jerry Vardaman, followed by pages 46-57, The Caesarea Inscription of the Twenty-Four Priestly Courses, by Michael Avi-Yonah.

Since this publication is so obscure I'll try and abstract the important points.

Three fragments of a Hebrew inscription on a marble slab have been discovered at Caesarea. Fragments 1 and 2 were found in 1962 in controlled excavations near the remains of the synagogue. Fragment 3 was discovered some years earlier, and was photographed but has since disappeared. It is probable but not certain that they all came from the same physical inscription.

Fragment 1 has the putative mention of Nazareth; it was dated by Professor N. Avigad to the 3rd or 4th century (presumably on paleographic grounds). According to the excavator's account of the history of the synagogue (which if I understand correctly has been challenged by some), a purpose-built synagogue was constructed in the 3rd century, destroyed around 360 or slightly earlier, and rebuilt nearly a hundred years later. This 5th century rebuilt synagogue seems too late for the inscription which is more likely part of the earlier one. If the inscription was part of the original construction it would date from the 3rd century.

Fragment 3 reasonably clearly refers to the 15th, 16th, and 17th priestly courses. Fragment 2 has only 5 letters, but in the light of fragment 3 is probably also referring to priestly courses. Fragment 1 is the critical one.

....

The only genuinely questionable reading is the N [nun] in line 2, which is only half preserved.

At first sight fragment 1 is unclear. However, in Jewish tradition (an early example of which is found in Hebrew texts from the Cairo Genizah) we have a list of the priestly courses and their locations, the relevant part of which reads: Chezir at Mamliach..., seventeenth priestly course; Hap (or Hapizzez) at Nazareth, eighteenth priestly course; Pethachiah Akh (or Akhlah) at Ar (or Arab), nineteenth priestly course; Jehez (or Jehezekel) at Migdal Nunaiya..., twentieth priestly course.

From century III, IV, or V, in Hebrew:

Fragment 1.
  1. [...]מליח[...]
  2. [...] נצרת [...]
  3. [...] אכלה [...]
  4. [...]גדל [....]
Fragment 2.
  1. מ[...]
  2. מש[...]
  3. מש[....]
Fragment 3.
  1. [...]ת חמש ע[...]
  2. [...]מרת שש עשר[...]
  3. [...]מרת שב[....]