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Simcha Wonders if A Coin Proves Samson Existed…

He titles a report he’s lifted from elsewhere A Coin Found Near Jerusalem Proves that Samson Lived?

Ha. And he accuses others of being ‘c-list’… But here’s a guy who has absolutely not one shred of professional training in any field related to biblical studies or archaeology and he’s accusing others of not knowing what they’re talking about. Talk about your stunning hubris.  And since the discovery was widely discussed elsewhere earlier perhaps he should have consulted the people whom he denigrates and thus spared himself the embarrassment of asking the question in the first place.

If he knew anything at all about the field he would know that the answer to his question is no. In fact, it isn’t even a legitimate question but just another of his sensationalizing attempts to garner publicity.  But perhaps he’s planning a film…  for the Discovery Channel… [With thanks to Keith Whitelam for mentioning the ‘report’].

 
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Posted by on 16 Oct 2012 in pseudo-archaeology, pseudo-scholarship

 

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Wild-Eyed Crazy Speculation and the so Called ‘Samson Seal’

The other day when the object in question first appeared I remarked regarding the overblown claims even then being made by some in the press-

Stop this dreadful misrepresentation, press people. You’re embarrassing yourselves and misleading (i.e., lying to) the public. And when Fox News and World Net Daily and the others of their ilk pick up this story they’ll run it as ‘Proof of the Biblical Samson found in Israeli Excavation!!!!’ and the next thing you know, the dim Maximalists will publish an essay in BAR suggesting that the seal was made by an eyewitness to Samson’s slaying of the lion.

In spite of that warning, the ANE-2 list has been ablaze with the wildest sorts of speculations. Today, though, two sane remarks by two sane folk worth reading.

Others, of course, have noted the silliness- but Kletter and Lehmann say it so well it’s impossible to imagine that the craziness could continue. But I bet it does.

(NB- Note the link to Fr. Smuts page below.  The discovery has been transformed from ‘possible evidence’ in the Telegraph to ‘Seal Depicting Samson’.  From mere possibility to absolute reality… and that’s why the press needs to do a better job of highlighting the speculative nature of such claims when they come to the surface).

 
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Posted by on 31 Jul 2012 in pseudo-scholarship

 

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Historical Proof of the Biblical Samson!……????

See for yourself!

Ha’aretz informs us that a

Seal found by Israeli archeologists may give substance to Samson legend. Scholars say the scene shown on the artifact recalls the story in Judges of Samson fighting a lion.

Really??? Really???????? Boy talk about making a suit out of a button and seeing what one wants to see this is a brilliant example of exactly that.

A small stone seal found recently in the excavations of Tel Beit Shemesh could be the first archaeological evidence of the story of the biblical Samson.

Really???????????

The seal, measuring 1.5 centimeters, depicts a large animal next to a human figure. The seal was found in a level of excavation that dates to the 11th century B.C.E. That was prior to the establishment of the Judean kingdom and is considered to be the period of the biblical judges – including Samson. Scholars say the scene shown on the artifact recalls the story in Judges of Samson fighting a lion.

No, not really. It looks like something but a lion? And a tiny, tiny man?

But excavation directors Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz and Dr. Zvi Lederman of Tel Aviv University say they do not suggest that the human figure on the seal is the biblical Samson.

Well then why is the article titled as it is and why are readers, up to this point, basically told that it is????? Come on, this is dreadful pandering to the ‘bible in one hand and spade in the other’ mentality of fundamentalism.

Rather, the geographical proximity to the area where Samson lived, and the time period of the seal, show that a story was being told at the time of a hero who fought a lion, and that the story eventually found its way into the biblical text and onto the seal.

Well there ya go! Someone who had heard a story made a little seal. That’s no more proof of the biblical Samson than someone painting a picture of a Unicorn being ridden by a pretty princess is proof that Harry Potter is historical fact!  The piece should have begun with this sentence.

Stop this dreadful misrepresentation, press people. You’re embarrassing yourselves and misleading (i.e., lying to) the public.  And when Fox News and World Net Daily and the others of their ilk pick up this story they’ll run it as ‘Proof of the Biblical Samson found in Israeli Excavation!!!!’ and the next thing you know, the dim Maximalists will publish an essay in BAR suggesting that the seal was made by an eyewitness to Samson’s slaying of the lion.

 
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Posted by on 29 Jul 2012 in pseudo-archaeology, pseudo-scholarship

 

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The Samson Synagogue

Live Science reports

A glittering mosaic of colored stones once decorated an ancient synagogue floor with scenes of the Biblical hero Samson getting revenge on the Philistines.

This newly excavated discovery in the ancient Jewish village of Huqoq not only depicts an unusual scene — Samson tying torches to foxes’ tails in order to burn his enemies’ crops — it’s also remarkably high-quality, said dig archaeologist Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

In a mosaic, “the smaller the cubes, the finer the work,” Magness told LiveScience. “Our cubes are very small and fine.”

Read the whole thing.   Now that’s how archaeology is done!  I love Jodi’s work.

 
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Posted by on 2 Jul 2012 in Archaeology

 

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