Daily Archives: 2 Mar 2012

The Reception

In a word- VERY nice!

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More tomorrow-

An Interesting First Session: Reading and Writing Biblical Texts in the Persian Period

Nice work by several of the presenters- and an especially good job by Edmon Gallgher who did a fine job indeed on the position of Chronicles in the canon.  Here are some photos (including another from the book hall – a draft copy of a new book coming out by Billy Dever which looks, I have to say, like a lot of fun) and one of Bryan Bibb, an absolutely grand person and intelligent scholar.

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The Troubling Absence of Bookdealers

In years past it was common to see reps from Eisenbrauns and Hendrickson and others which specialize in biblical studies and archaeology at the regional SBL meetings.  Those days seem to be gone.

I think there are two factors:  1- The increasing popularity of ebooks (which undercuts print publishing) and 2- giant booksellers like Amazon (which undercuts prices so excessively that publishers simply can’t compete directly).

Now while many rejoice both at the advent of ebooks (which certainly do have their place, but their cost may well be higher than we presently realize) and giant bookdealers with low, low prices (again, costing us all more than we realize) I lament.

I think there is something incredibly important about publishers and academics interacting face to face.  We’re in a partnership after all and when one or both of the partners don’t see the value of it then the future of both academic publishing and scholarship may be in danger.

I think it’s worth our collective consideration.  I don’t care to see any more of this:

And that’s the extent of Eisenbrauns’ presence…   😦

[Do note, I don’t blame E. for not being here- I understand why they aren’t.  I just think it’s something to think about].

Around and About

Registration opened at 2 so that’s when I registered and then I walked around a bit in the book hall (it’s quite small- think 10 tables and only 5 set up so far) and snapped some photos of it and the hotel (which is very nice).

Here ya go-

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The first session is at 6 so a bit about it afterwards.

In Atlanta for SBL Southeast

I’ve arrived and checked in and here’s the Crossley-an requisite room pic-

More anon…

An Amphora Or a Krater- Anything But a Fish

a krater in the British Museum

Andrew McGowan agrees with Lombatti to an extent, seeing the image on the ‘Jesus Discovery’ or ‘Patio Tomb’ (or whatever you want to call it) as a vessel of some sort and says so explicitly in a post today on his blog, concluding

Vases of various shapes were used as grave goods in Greco-Roman settings – many of the vases now found in museums came from such sources. But at the risk of over-reading the image on the ossuary, it is the type of vase used at banquets, that has overtones of eternal festivity and bliss, as funerary art often did. Maybe recognition of the krater will help put this to rest as well.

I doubt it will be put to rest but the evidence is overwhelming that the fish interpretation is just wrong.  Of course had we actually been allowed to see the ossuary instead of a distorted and manipulated picture of a portion of it the ‘tower’ interpretation could have been bypassed immediately and claims now that ‘interpretations are changing by the day’ rendered unnecessary.

As Far As Australia, ASOR’s Repudiation of Tabor’s Claims are Heard

The Australian’s too have heard word of ASOR’s efforts to correct the interpretation of the ‘Jesus Discovery’.

Amos Kloner is the harshest critic of Tabor and Jacobovici-

Some experts accuse Tabor and Jacobovici of fabricating the meanings of an otherwise unimportant historical find for publicity, fame, and book sales. Their book was released Tuesday.  “It’s an ordinary middle-class Jerusalem burial cave,” Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to examine the site over 30 years ago, told MSNBC. “The names on the caskets are the most common names found among Jews at that time.”  A 1996 documentary by the BBC on the same subject led Kloner to a similar conclusion: “They just want to get money for it.”

It’s really, really difficult not to think that Kloner is right.

Conference Announcement: “Sennacherib’s Campaign to Judah, Lachish and Jerusalem”

CONFERENCE – “Sennacherib’s Campaign to Judah, Lachish and Jerusalem”
by Prof. David USSISHKIN (Tel Aviv University – Director of The Megiddo Expedition).

March 20th 2012 – 19 hs. At the Centro de Estudios de Historia del Antiguo Oriente (CEHAO), Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA). Address: Edificio San Alberto Magno, Av. Alicia M. de Justo 1500 (esq. Chile), Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires. Free, but previous inscription required at cehao_uca@yahoo.com.ar. For more information, check the CEHAO site: http://www.uca.edu.ar/cehao. Daily updates at the CEHAO FB community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/208703295538/

Via Juan Manuel Tebes

Thank You, Refo500!

Over at Refo500 they’ve added a bit of happiness by mentioning Zwingli’s Works.  Thank you, Refo500!

SBL Southeast Begins Today…

And runs through Sunday.  You can read the program here.  It should be a great time.  I’ll report from there as time and opportunity permit.

The Truth About the United States Government

via Mehwish Malik

A Plea For Cordiality

James Tabor asks for an end to innuendo here. He’s also replied to his critics here.

People are free to express their theories and even defend them in face of complete disagreement. But in my estimation this whole episode has never been about Tabor- it’s been about bad archaeology, bad supposition, and leaps to conclusions. He shouldn’t be at all surprised that colleagues have reacted so vociferously towards a claim that is utterly unsupportable. If someone who worked at UNC-Charlotte claimed today in a paper at a conference that Jesus spoke English and that he and the disciples used the 1611 KJV Tabor himself would join the chorus denouncing such madness.

Further, and this is the most important part to me, if Tabor’s discovery is what he claims it is, why didn’t he present his findings at a meeting of SBL or ASOR where it could be thoroughly vetted by colleagues or why didn’t he publish it in NEA or JBL? What purpose does a ‘press conference’ have except publicity? This isn’t ad hominem, this is a reasonable question.

I don’t know of anyone who has attacked Tabor personally. No one has said ‘Tabor is a liar’ or ‘Tabor is just out for money’. They’ve said ‘Tabor’s suggestion doesn’t match the facts’. And it doesn’t.

So it seems to me that Prof. Tabor’s plea for cordiality is a straw man- a red herring- a distraction- a bit of sleight of hand. It’s, if I may, a ‘look at what they’re saying about me and by the way don’t really pay attention to the holes in my theory’. It’s a diversionary tactic.

I think that Antonio Lombatti has it right. The supposed ‘fish’ is an amphora. That isn’t an attack on Tabor (and he certainly shouldn’t imagine anything I’ve said above is either, because it isn’t), it’s a straightforward evaluation of the artifact. That being the case, the entire theory of Tabor is undercut and his points moot.

And finally, I would make a plea of my own: I would plea with Tabor et al to stop promoting ‘discoveries’ before they’re professionally evaluated. I’m sure that James believes in peer review. I think he should submit his work to colleagues before he holds press conferences. That’s my plea- and it’s a plea for more than cordiality, it’s a plea for collegiality and scholarly discourse taking precedence over press conferences and secrecy.