Really James, really? I’ve seen a lot of self-promotional stuff in my life and am usually quite unaffected by it but this bit of self promotion makes earlier bits of self promotion seem tame and sensible:
On behalf of the Foundation [on Judaism and Christian Origins], I am pleased to announce an important documentary. Please watch: “The Jesus Discovery: Latest research on the Talpiot Tombs”.
Pleased to? Or asked to by the film maker because the project has been trashed by everyone across the entire range of biblical scholars and archaeologists.
This documentary is the first robotic exploration of a tomb in Jerusalem. The door remains sealed as it was in the first century. Bone boxes were found inside. Inside the tomb were found an inscription and some drawings. The inscription seems to refer to a Jewish belief in resurrection. The meaning of the drawings will need to be debated among specialists. Did a Jew draw an amphora or a fish? If so, what did they symbolize?
Good grief. ‘Seems’ and ‘need to be debated’ and ‘or’ and ‘if’… If he were a politician we would say he was equivocating. He’s clearly leaving the door open for a quick escape when the entire project bombs because no one except Tabor and Jacobovici support the findings they’ve come up with. Heck-fire, here Charlesworth himself makes it pretty clear that he doesn’t agree with them and just can’t say so outright.
On Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 10pm EST, Discovery Channel in the U.S.A. and Vision Television in Canada will simulcast the world broadcast premier of these discoveries in the documentary “The Resurrection Tomb Mystery” (US title) and “The Jesus Discovery” (Canadian title).
Watch it if you must. I’ll be watching something more interesting. Probably Jerry Springer (thank heaven for DVR).
I [James Charlesworth] was the one who read the inscription, and am featured in this documentary.
Wow. ‘I’m featured in this documentary!!! Its conclusions are questionable and its thesis unfounded but hey, I’m still it in so it has to be brilliant right?’
How important is the discovery? Will those in media or academia twist what may be informative in our search for understanding early Jews, including some perhaps related to Jesus? Can we have a civil and sensitive discussion about a drawing that is clearly Jewish and pre-70? Is the drawing a sign or a symbol? A sign can mean one and only one thing. A symbol must be interpreted and usually has many meanings. How do we discern the intended, implied, or attributed meaning of an early Jewish drawing. If meaning resides in ambiguity, and all symbols are multivalent, then how can anyone be dogmatic about the intended meaning or perceived meaning in a symbol?
Now there’s a paragraph meant to squelch any disagreement and debate (even though he’s just said the inscription needs to be debated). Note carefully the language he uses: ‘twist’, ‘civil and sensitive’, ‘ambiguity’, ‘multivalent’. All codewords for ‘if you don’t wait to watch the special, even if you’ve read the book already and seen the evidence as presented by Tabor and company, then you’re twisting the evidence and not civil and not sensitive and really not clever enough to know ambiguity’.
The cooperation of Jews, Christians, biblical scholars, archaeologists, and imaging scientists is encouraging in a world too divided and prejudiced. Is not the method of un-intrusively exploring an ancient tomb itself groundbreaking?
Un-intrusively? Really? Because Photoshopping isn’t intrusive? And we all know that’s what has been done to the picture of the ossuary. So who’s he trying to convince? Did he even write this or did Simcha write the press release and he simply signed it.
I was moved when I looked through a camera on the end of a robotic arm into a pre-70 Jewish tomb.
How did he know it was a pre-70 Jewish tomb before it was scientifically examined? Presupposition? Was he told that’s what it was?
There in the darkness below my feet was an ancient tomb with bone boxes (ossuaries) clearly made before the massive revolt against Rome in 66 CE. As the camera turned, I saw a door that sealed the tomb in antiquity. Then the camera moved silently past ossuaries. A shout was heard by colleagues near me as an inscription came into view. Then, not much later the robotic arm moved again, being directed by a scientist. None of us could believe our eyes. We were all riveted to a drawing that ostensibly broke the second commandment. What was it? What was depicted? What did the early Jew intend to symbolize?
What is going on here? That’s the real question. Who is this, and what have they done to James Charlesworth, noble scholar and excellent student of Scripture and the Jewish milieu which saw the birth of the New Testament? Because the writer of the sentences above can’t be him.
Leading archaeologists and biblical specialists first thought the drawing depicted a boat. Was it? They unanimously changed their minds when the full image came into view. You will see it as if you were standing just behind me.
No thanks. I’ve already seen it. It isn’t a boat. It isn’t a fish. It isn’t a goat or a cow or a chicken or a guy with a knit cap or a chap with a beard or anything of the sort. And I don’t want to stand behind you. I don’t even know who you are anymore.
Via Jack Sasson.