Dear friends, colleagues
While some of you have known me for years, in many guises, curator, guide, films, colleague and as well as a friend , one thing which those whom have known me both professionally and personally will agree on is, like most academics, I have zero tolerance for academic misconduct. Religious fraud is bad enough but scientific/academic misconduct is like a virus in that irrespective of one’s religious view, ranging from atheistic to believer, it can affect us all. In the world of anthropology which is where I began my career there is little deliberate fraud, however in biblical archaeology where I have spent the last four decades it is replete with deception, manipulation, dishonesty for various reasons, some political, some religious and some financial. Being non-discriminatory I have taken a vocal stand against all three over the years, at times at the expense of my career which now is at stake here.
Israel is a small country and one’s reputation and name is continually under public scrutiny and in the end, the ultimate question is, have we contributed in some way to advancing science and archaeology? Alternatively, in the search for fame and fortune, which is the issue being discussed here, powerful media and personal interests from abroad have encroached upon what once was a honest profession. Science, religion and archaeology are at risk and in an attempt to silence academic critics a small but financially powerful group within the media has chosen to react via libel ligation (silencing lawsuits). Their primary effect is not legal action, but an attempt to silence public criticism and freedom of expression in order to advance their own parochial interests. The ideology of ‘silencing lawsuits’ is perhaps best illustrated by Scientology’s L Ron Hubbard who wrote “The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment …If possible, (can) ruin one utterly.”
As you are well aware, ‘where threats of libel begin, freedom of expression ends’ thus I’m in dire need of contributions to establish a defense fund to cover legal costs. If this cannot be met, then they win by default and science, archaeology and freedom of expression will suffer the consequences. Sorry to be so blunt but this is where it now stands, I have near total academic support from colleagues, but for what we have in integrity, they have in financial resources.
Have a look at the website I just put up www.joezias.org and for further information see the Time Magazine article by Nina Burleigh whom many of you may well know (unfort. Time says he is an archaeologist, he is not) and then the acerbic blogs which follow in order to have an idea where those suing me stand in the public eye.
The 2,000 year old tomb shown here in the Jerusalem snow has the world’s earliest NT inscriptions written in stone, accidentally discovered by myself and interpreted by colleagues in 2000.
Shalom and thank you for listening and your support.
- The Battle In the Courts: Zias v. Jacobovici (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- A Feud Between Biblical Archaeologists Goes to Court (world.time.com)
- Pseudoarchaeology Meets Archaeology… in court? (ahotcupofjoe.net)
- Eric Meyers on Scholars and the Media (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)