Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Simcha Jacobovici Responds to His Critics

Last week I posted here a statement signed by several participants at a recent conference in Jerusalem on the Talpiot Tomb, The Talpiot Tomb Controversy Revisited, a statement that also appeared on our Department of Religion blog here at Duke. Simcha Jacobovici has now issued a statement in which he responds to his critics, posted on the Biblical Archaeology Review website:

Simcha Jacobovici Responds to His Critics

Regular readers here may have noticed that I have refrained from posting on the recent news stories, perhaps surprising in the light of my extensive blogging on the controversy last March and April (gathered under the label Talpiot Tomb). The reason for this is twofold. First, I have little fresh to say about the subject at this point, and I was not present in Jerusalem for the conference, and second, my desk has been overflowing with work over the last couple of weeks and my time has been limited. However, I would like to publish a round-up blog of some of the recent developments in due course, and I would like to revisit some of the questions I raised last March and April.


John C. Poirier said...

In his response, Jacobivici takes the Meyers/Magness statement to task for claiming that the odds of the tomb being that of Jesus "is virtually nil", citing against it the alternative model of Camil Fuchs, which, like Feuerverger's model, presupposes that the "mariamene" ossuary is indeed statistically relevant. But Jacobivici doesn't quote the Meyer/Magness statement in full, as that statement clearly says that what deflates the statistical case for Jacobivici's view is the proper bracketing of the so-called "Mary Magdalene" tomb: "A statistical analysis of the names engraved on the ossuaries leaves no doubt that the probability of the Talpiot tomb belonging to Jesus’ family is virtually nil if the Mariamene named on one of the ossuaries is not Mary Magdalene". By ignoring the last thirteen words of the claim about statistics, Jacobivici makes the Meyers/Magness statement say something it isn't saying. Jacobivici tries to make it appear that the debate over statistics revolves around something that is the proper province of statisticians (he writes, "Either the people who produced that statement attended a different conference, or they have to brush up on their statistics"), but, for the issue at hand, it really is about something that is the proper province of the epigraphists, involving something that apparently was widely discussed at the conference.

Louis said...

I think Goodacre has said it all. There is nothing new to report. Witherington and Bock have written excellent articles responding to the claims of Jacobovici and Cameron in the "Lost Tomb of Jesus" documentary. I wrote a booklet entitled, "Burying the Jesus Tomb Controversy" which can be ordered at Atlas Books.. Jacobovici has not realized it but the last out has been made and the final ball has been caught. He wants to take this into extra innings but no one takes his team seriously.