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« "He's My Brother & I Love Him" | Main | Wright vs. Wasilla »

September 05, 2008


I've also been wondering about that stone supposedly revealing that Jesus resurrection after 3 days wasn't exactly new. That story died pretty quicksy, too.

The inscription on the ossuary is difficult to read, maybe because it was meant to be difficult. In any event, a reading is possible and it does render "yeshua". As to the symbol immediately preceding that name on that same ossuary, it's an ancient Jewish, early Christian symbol , as I explained in this book The Bone Box

Itmar, why was the inscription on the ossuary meant to be difficult? Who was meant to read it, and why would it need to be secretive?

"Itmar, why was the inscription on the ossuary meant to be difficult? Who was meant to read it, and why would it need to be secretive?"

I suspect that the intentional difficulty would be along the lines of concealment of the true nature of the ossuary. It works quite nicely with the "followers stole his body" story. Itamar likes knife edge speculation. The problem with the knife edge foundation is the intentional/unintentional tipping in one or other direction. When something is balanced on a knife-edge it is easy for it to be tipped in a direction without the awareness of the one doing the tipping when his sense of balance is not particularly acute. A far more reliable method is to build a broad foundation of evidence that disallows tipping much like that of a pyramid. I suspect that our friend Itamar doesn't much care for that kind of thing in this case. :)

I find the "it was meant to be difficult" to read explanation rather unsatisfying. If you want to conceal the identity of the person whose remains are kept at the gravesite, then why not simply omit any written reference to the person whose remains are interred therein? Anonymous tombs tell no tales. If someone wrote the family's name on the tomb, it was probably someone who knew the family and loved and respected them. To botch the writing of the family name in order to try and conceal it seems like an awfully backwards way to hide someone's remains.

Other details fail to make sense of the available data. For example, Richard Bauckham makes the point, in the same book, that the other names found on the ossuaries also do not fit the picture of Jesus’ family found in the Gospels. For example, as far as we know, no one in Jesus’ family was named Mathia (Matthew) and there is no reason an apostle would have been buried with a family that was not his. Likewise the name “Maria” is a common Hebrew transliteration of a name for a Greek-speaking woman named Mary, suggesting someone from outside Israel or a cosmopolitan person within Israel, and certainly not a peasant woman from Nazareth, since Jesus’ mother would have been “Mariam” in Hebrew. The other Mary ossuary, with the name spelled “Mariame” does not correspond to any known reference to Mary Magdalene, not even in the later apocrypha.

Likewise Gary Habermas makes the point that proponents of the Talpiot-tomb hypothesis readily accept the information of the New Testament wherever it fits their case but then are just as eager to live with flatly contradictory information like Jesus marrying Mary Magdalene and having a boy named Judah in order to shore up their more wild speculations. You can't have it both ways or play cherry-picking with Biblical data.

Great points, Louis!
You realized exactly what I was driving at with Itmar.
You will find that Jesus always made miracles easily recognizable to anyone who bothered to examine them.
Yet, evidence of the kind that our friend Itmar points to always depends on some so-called "expert" to show us the way.
Academics just can't understand why Jesus would make His Gospel and His miracles understandable to the average person -- and not just to the intellectual elites.

Itmar, why was the inscription on the ossuary meant to be difficult? Who was meant to read it, and why would it need to be secretive?"

The fact is that the first name in the "Yeshua bar Yehosef" ossuary (Number 704) is one of the most, if not the most, difficult to read of all ossuaries listed in the Rahmani Catalogue of Ossuaries, while the patronym is easily readable. In any event. it's all there.

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