Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Talpiot Tomb Various

I must admit that I thought interest in the Talpiot tomb would quickly die away, but I was wrong. Recent developments of interest include Michael Heiser's A New Twist in the Jesus Tomb Sideshow, which was circulated to lots of us today. Here's an excerpt:
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.
Meanwhile, I've just received an updated version of Jack Poirier's article on the statistics and the tomb. It is to appear on Jerusalem Perspective Online but isn't there yet. As Jim West points out, Stephen Pfann has announced a re-reading of the "Mariamenou Mara" inscription -- see Scholar: 'Jesus Tomb' documentary got it wrong on CNN. And the SBL Forum carries responses by James Tabor to Jodi Magness and Christopher Rollston and to Jonathan Reed. On his blog, he promises breaking news.

I have one more thing to do, to complete my list of Errors and Inaccuracies later today. There are quite a lot still to get through. I am grateful to hear today from James Tabor that these have been reported back to those responsible for the site with a view to making corrections and adjustments.


Bruce N. Fisk said...

This report of a second cluster of Jesus-family names (now from the Mount of Olives) has me confused. As I note on my blog, James Tabor claims the Tal Ilan catalogue of names mis-identifies the Talpiot ossuaries as from the "Mt. of Offense" (a.k.a. Mt. of Olives). Is he right?

Anonymous said...

Now I remember the only 'new' fact in the documentary which wasn't stressed on the website. Jacobovichi tries to connect the Dominus Flevit tomb complex with our Talpiot tomb, suggesting that both belong to a large stretch of Judeo-Christian burial ground. But the Dominus Flevit ossuaries abound with Christian symbols, whereas those of Talpiot do not. In any case, Dominus Flevit deserves further investigation. I had not previously known that there were suspected burial sites for Simon Peter, Mary, Martha and Lazarus or Sapphira. I will, however, be consistent and apply the same amount of scrutiny to these claims as I have over the Talpiot tomb. It won't do to smoothly claim archeological 'victory' for these other finds and then subject Talpiot to ruthless skepticism.