English: Pompeii, with Vesuvius towering above. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
(Biblical Archaeology Review) Is it possible that the earliest existing picture of a scene from the Bible also includes the philosophers Socrates and Aristotle as onlookers? It is not only possible; I believe that is the case.
The earliest depiction of a Biblical scene comes from a site that is perhaps better known to some for its erotic art than for its religious devotions: Pompeii. The city was buried in volcanic ash in 79 A.D. following the eruption of nearby Mt. Vesuvius. It was a devastating tragedy for Pompeii’s residents but a boon to modern scholars and art historians.
In the building known as the House of the Physician, excavators found a wall painting clearly depicting King Solomon seated on a raised tribunal and flanked by two counselors. As described in the Bible, two women have come to the Israelite monarch, each claiming to be the mother of the same infant.