We appreciate Antonio Lombatti’s reply. Here are our comments.
The patina issue is crucial. Biblical scholars should allow the geologists to settle this. All we can say on the matter is that one of the scientist who testified at the trial stated that “Neither the prosecution nor the IAA presented even a single witness who was an expert on ancient stone items, or patina on antiquities and who ruled out the authenticity of the inscription or any part of it.” We all need to view the evidence contrary to this.
We recognize that Christians revered the area of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as the location of Jesus’ first burial centuries after his crucifixion. However, all that tells us is what Christians believed in the 2nd-4th centuries. Every Gospel account emphatically states that the body is missing from the initial burial. As we mentioned in the article there is no 1st century evidence of the followers of Jesus revering any tomb. As you well know, by the 4th century during the time of Eusebius, Christian pilgrims wrote they visited many revered biblical sites such as Mt. Carmel where Elijah did his sacrifice, the spring of the prophet Elisha, the house of Rahab the harlot, the place where the Israelites placed twelve stones at the Jordan River, the plain where David killed Goliath, and the well where the Samaritan women drew water. They were shown the waterpots used at the wedding of Cana, the vineyard and the rock where Judas betrayed Jesus in the garden, and the tombs of Isaiah and Hezekiah. We hear of Egeria visiting the ‘holy mount of God’ and the cave of Moses. And according to the famous pilgrim of Bordeaux he visited a vault where they laid the lord’s body ‘and he rose again on the third day.’ See Wilken, The Land Called Holy. There were many pious nuns and eager clergy ready to show devout pilgrims a variety of sites related to famous kings, saints, prophets, miracles, acts of God and Jesus. Whether they were accurate is another matter.
As for the missing tenth ossuary, A. Rosenfeld, C. Pellegrino, H. R. Feldman, and W.E. Krumbein claim “Based on similar size and the elemental fingerprints it is possible to conclude that the James Ossuary is the missing 10th ossuary from the Talpiot cave….” They argue that the patina on the James ossuary matches the patina on the Talpiot tomb. We would like to see evidence that is contrary. Where is the tenth ossuary?
We have never used the Mary Magdalene inscription in our computations and as for the names being common, this is a false analogy stated over and over again.
Pointing out, correctly, that names found in the Talpiot Tomb are common, does not mean that the combination is common. Consider the following, “In 2826 names in all written sources for the Greco-Roman period in Palestine, 330BCE to 200CE, which includes 712 valid persons recorded on ossuaries (Tal Ilan), there are only three occurrences of Yeshua/Jesus linked with Yehosep/Joseph, and one of these instances is Joseph, Joshua’s brother. Three examples linking Jesus and Joseph cannot be considered typical or common for this period in Palestine.”
See our “Inside the Numbers” and “Talpiot Dethroned” in notes above.
Concerning your comment on the James Ossuary, ” IAA epigraphists and paleographers are convinced that at least the second part of the inscription is a fake.” We have not surveyed all epigraphers on this issue or recalculated how only James son of Joseph would change our calculations; however, we found this according to BAR ” At the trial, not a single expert in the Semitic script of the period testified that the inscription was a forgery.” http://www.bib-arch.org/press-james-ossuary.aspif
If accurate, then we all need to rethink our assumption on the inscription.
Mark Elliott and Kevin Kilty