Bayes' Theorem and "The Jesus Family Tomb"
I have been lucky to be able to listen to the experts talking about the statistics in an email discussion initiated by James Tabor and featuring Randy Ingermanson, Jay Costs, Joe D'Mello and others.
Meanwhile, Robert Gundry has a guest post on Bruce Fisk's Crossings:
Robert Gundry on the physicality of Jesus' resurrection in earliest Christian proclamation
The post responds to James Tabor, partly on the Talpiot Tomb but also on The Jesus Dynasty. Speaking of James Tabor, you can now read a helpful summary of his thinking about the tomb on his blog:
The Talpiot Jesus Tomb: An Overview
This overview has brought about a series of responses by Darrell Bock on Bock's Blog, on Historical Context, Statistics, Inscriptions and Tabor's Hypotheticals.
In a March 13 post on Talpiot Tomb Various, I noted Michael Heiser on the ossuaries found at Dominus Flevit:
I want to draw your attention—and the attention of scholars and interested parties who read your blog—to a SECOND site that has all those names. In 1953-1955, Bellarmino Bagatti excavated the site of Dominus Flevit (“The Lord wept”) on the Mount of Olives. The excavation uncovered a necropolis and over 40 inscribed ossuaries – including the names of Mary, Martha, Matthew, Joseph, Jesus. These ossuaries are not, as far as I can tell, in Rahmani’s catalogue. I’m guessing the reason is that they are not the property of the Israel Antiquities Authority (see Rahmani’s Preface). The necropolis was apparently used ca. 136 BC to 300 AD. Here is a link that discusses the site. A few scanned pages of Bagatti’s excavation report (written in Italian) can be found here as well.Now Antonio Lombatti emails:
I teach Medieval History (my field of research is the cult of Christian relics) and, while reading your excellent NT Blog, I came across the quotation of the Dominus Flevit excavations. There you quoted the Bagatti and Milik 1958 book which is, unfortunately, in Italian. Well, I am Italian... I got it and read it carefully. And I found out that on the 34 ossuaries Bagatti and Milik found there were (also) the following names: Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Judas, Mathew, Martha and... Mariame.The humour is still coming too. Chris Brady links to a delightful cartoon Tomb of Star Trek and there are plenty of places that crack the inevitable but still funny joke that the one thing that would have convinced them that this was Jesus' tomb would have been the discovery of a bracelet in there reading "WWID?"
But, above all, the names Mary and Mariame were inscribed on the same ossuary and were found in the very same loculus. And, last but not least, the inscriptions were in GREEK.
It is worth mentioning too that discussion of the Talpiot tomb continues apace on the ANE-2 list, including regular contributions from Joe Zias and James Tabor.