Antonio Lombatti with Further Observations on Tabor’s Claims

Antonio has posted a photo of the ossuary in question and in his estimation it’s an amphora on it and not a fish!

In a post titled ‘Never Seen a Fish Depicted Upside Down‘-

I had already expressed my skepticism on the ‘Jonah and the big fish’ iconography. Frankly, I’ve never seen a fish or a fish-like image depicted upside down: I’ve realized it only after the publication of the photo of the ossuary. The picture was given to the press two days ago, but it was rotated. Therefore, I’m now convinced that it represents an amphorae like those found on several Second Temple Jewish ossuaries.

Tabor’s work is becoming fishier by the day.  If we had seen the photo of the ossuary itself instead of just Tabor’s deceptively cropped image days ago we all would have known instantly that his claims were patently false.  Now we all do without question.

Michael Heiser on the ‘Jesus Discovery’

Seems Michael has about as much patience with pseudo-scholarship and pseudo-archaeology as the rest of us (or most of us anyway).

$imcha Jacobovici has busy. And amazingly, Easter is just around the corner (again). Oh, the irony.

The man who brought us the error-plagued Jesus family tomb, then the nails from the cross, now claims that he has found a tomb which held the remains of at least some of the disciples of Jesus. Granted, the article at the link is just a preliminary news leak to garner interest for an upcoming press conference where the world will get to see what $imcha has discovered.  Still, this announcement isn’t encouraging.

Read the rest.  Unlike Michael’s concluding sentiments, I think Tabor is neck deep in all this with Simcha and has already sullied his reputation.  Sadly.

Cargill on the Real Motive of Jacobovici and Tabor: Money

Robert writes,

This is nothing more than a coordinated press release to sell a book and promote a forthcoming documentary. There is no new discovery here; this has been known for years.

REMEMBER: don’t watch what Simcha says – you know he’s going to try and sell the public on his latest speculation. Rather, watch what the scholars say – or better yet, watch what the scholars don’t say, and you’ll have your answer.

As for the ‘substance’ of the argument? Witherington got it right: “one speculation upon another speculation.”

Am I shocked? Absolutely not. This is the kind of nonsense we’ve come to expect from Simcha Jacobovici: maximize the money, archaeology be damned.

I don’t think either of the pair has much concern for archaeology.  It’s all about the money.

Lombatti on Tabor and Jacobovici’s Fishy Claim

Antonio, as always, has frank insight into the ‘fish carving’ recently ‘discovered’ by Simcha and James in connection to the ‘Jesus family tomb’:

 The image found by Jacobovici et al. is not unique at all. Similar representaions have been found on Jewish ossuaries (see Rahmani and Figueras). The one over here was taken randomly from Rahmani’s volume. I’m not convinced that the fish shown in The Jesus Discovery book is a whale eating Jonah. It might be, but I’m skeptic. Much more interesting is the fish-like graffito found on ossuary n. 402 (Figueras) on which there’s also the name ישוע (Jesus). That would be worth investigating and, maybe, writing a book as well (I’ll post on this ossuary later on, don’t have much time now…).

So if these images are not unique, there goes the main claim to fame being put forth by the ‘discovery’.  Thoroughly unsurprising, isn’t it, that a button is being made into a suit by Simcha and Tabor.

Tabor Tries Again to Sell the ‘Jesus Family Tomb’ Tale…

And he’s added a big fish and the story of Jonah to the mix just to spice it up:

Using a remote-controlled camera on the end of a robotic arm, investigators have found what could be the earliest evidence of a Christian iconography in Jerusalem, engraved on a set of “bone boxes” inside a nearly intact 1st-century tomb.  One of the limestone boxes, known more formally as an ossuary, carries a Greek inscription calling on God to “rise up” or “raise up” someone. Another box shows the carved image of a fish, perhaps with the prophet Jonah in its mouth. Allusions to fish and the “sign of Jonah” came to be widely used among early Christians, but not among Jerusalem’s Jews.

Those discoveries alone would be enough to get biblical scholars excited. But the investigators in this case are the same people who claimed five years ago that ossuaries from a nearby tomb were engraved with the names of the biblical Jesus and his family. They’re putting forth this new find as supporting evidence for their earlier claims, and resurrecting the topic in a newly published book (“The Jesus Discovery”) as well as a Discovery Channel documentary that’s due to air this spring.

And then the report says

This does reopen the whole question about the ‘Jesus Tomb,’” James Tabor, a scriptural scholar at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, told me.

No it doesn’t.  It only opens up the wallets of the silly and the gullible who fall for all manner of unsubstantiated hype around Easter.  Timing is everything and so is marketing, since ‘there’s a sucker born every minute’ and to get the suckers to buy there has to be shiny packaging and huge claims.

“We now have the new archaeological evidence, literally written in stone, that can guide us in properly understanding what Jesus’ earliest followers meant by their faith in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead — with his earthly remains, and those of his family, peacefully interred just yards away,” Tabor and Jacobovici wrote.

No we don’t.  We have a purported find made under questionable circumstances.   And even Crossan, who seems to be open to the possibility that the thing is important, dismisses the supposed connection- and so does Witherington, who apparently learned his lesson after the whole James Ossuary fiasco and his own attempts to make money with a book on it:

Crossan said that was too much of a leap. “There’s nothing that associates [the Patio Tomb] with Joseph of Arimathea,” he said.  He said the two tombs may well have no relationship to each other: “This whole area is riddled with tombs, as far as we can tell.”  Ben Witherington, a New Testament scholar at Asbury Theological Seminary, voiced a similar view. “The attempt to connect [the Patio Tomb] to the other tombs is sheer conjecture, unless the tombs were connected,” he told me.

It’s just more marketing by the Discovery Channel team of ‘biblical archaeologists’ and here, most pertinently, we all need to remember- neither Tabor nor Jacobovici are archaeologists.  They’re marketers and promoters of their own ideas.  That’s all.

If you want to buy the book (that’s the aim of all the publicity- to get you to buy the book), go ahead.  But I recommend you wait a few weeks.  It’ll end up in the dollar bin soon enough, along with its predecessor.