- On the question of DNA and the ossuaries, James Tabor notes that "Unfortunately, the only two ossuaries that had not been cleaned/vacuumed out were the Yeshua and the Mariamenon". That explains, then, why those two were chosen. I had queried why one would choose those two when one could have chosen Yeshua and Maria where there was a chance that the claims could be falsified (with a negative result on the mitochondrial DNA test). Of course, it has been pointed out several times also that we don't know that the bone fragments that remain are those of the people in the ossuary in question.
- It has often been said that four statisticians were consulted, but we have only heard from one, Andrey Feuerverger. Who were the other three statisticians and what did they say?
- It is sometimes said that the only academic paper to have been written on thistomb is the 1996 paper by Amos Kloner. However, as Rick Brannan pointed out on Ricoblog, Dr. Michael S. Heiser presented a paper on the "Jesus Ossuary" at the 2003 meeting of the Near East Archaeological Society. Last week he uploaded a PDF of it to his website, which also features other material on the Talpiot tomb, including an MP3. The paper is called The Jesus Ossuary: A Critical Examination. It is largely a refutation of someone called Gardner who had claimed that this was connected with Jesus of Nazareth.
- I've been meaning to mention that Heiser article all week because it was on reading it last week that I realized that it really is not clear what the inscription says. Yeshua is the best guess, it seems, but it is really hastily scribbled. I had come across an excellent blog site in which the letters of the alleged Yeshua inscription were separated and studied for non-experts (like me) but I can't find it now. I still don't understand, though, where Pfann's "Hanun" comes from.
- Does anyone know yet when the film is to air on Channel 4? Are they going to save it up for Easter day?!
- Has the Discussion Forum on the Tomb on the Discovery Website stalled? There have been some answers (7) from James Tabor, and James Charlesworth provided a few short answers, but then there has been nothing more for almost a week. The promised discussion with Amy-Jill Levine simply hasn't happened -- there is nothing yet from Prof. Levine.
- A lot of people have asked if I have seen Randy Ingermanson's page on the Statistical Argument. I have, and think that there is a lot of useful and interesting material there, presented clearly. I hope to get a chance to comment on it in due course.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Talpiot Tomb: Assorted Thoughts
In no particular order, I want to tie up some loose ends and air some niggles about the "Jesus Family Tomb" claims.