Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Update: Jesus Tomb Hoax

Looks like I was right about this story. Scholars say the alleged "Jesus Tomb" is a fraud. (Not that I was concerned.) In fact, it's not even a new controversy:
In 1996, when the British Broadcasting Corp. aired a short documentary on the same subject, archaeologists challenged the claims. Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to examine the site, said the idea fails to hold up by archaeological standards but makes for profitable television.

"They just want to get money for it," Kloner said.
[James Cameron isn't interested in money; that would make him like the rich people on the Titanic. - BJ]...

Stephen Pfann, a biblical scholar at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem...is even unsure that the name "Jesus" on the caskets was read correctly. He thinks it's more likely the name "Hanun." Ancient Semitic script is notoriously difficult to decipher.
Paging Eric Jobe!

James Cameron showed his keen intellect here, too:
"I'm not a theologist. I'm not an archaeologist. I'm a documentary film maker," he said.
Yes, documentaries, like Titanic. (Rolls eyes.)



Blogger Eric Jobe said...

Hmmm, yes. If there is anything I have learned about Hebrew inscriptions in square script is that they are notoriously difficult to read. Pick up any two of the many editions out there of the Copper Scroll from Qumran and you will see what I mean. So many letters look the same and are indistinguishable in inscription where finer nuances of letter formation are not easily rendered.

Leaving that aside, the glaring logical inconsistencies and unscientific methodology is proof enough that this should not be taken seriously. If there is anything a historian or archaeologist of the ancient world will tell you is that there is very little we can know for sure, especially regarding such minute details as pinpointing a single individual with a common name during a comparatively short length of time. (It would be like trying to find a certain "Nicholas" or "Demetrios" in a Greek phone book without a last name). Scholarship works by peer-review. When one scholar publish an opinion, 5 more scholars offer differing opinions or else refine the work of the first. This finding has been known for 20 years and has been dismissed by the scholarly community as being insignificant. Cameron's claims are not supported by the greater scholarly community, nor have they been submitted for peer review in the traditional academic journals .

For a more detailed look at the evidence, read NT scholars' Ben Witherington and Darrel Bock on the subject.

7:27 PM  

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