What is the Message of the Patio Tomb in Talpiot, Jerusalem?
All of us scholars are disenchanted when archaeological discoveries are presented too sensationally or are used to prove the Bible truthful or fallacious. By profession, scholars shun sensationalism and do not feel the need to defend biblical truths. We are dedicated to a means of expression in which certainty appears in a spectrum from conceivable to probable. Thus, it is as absurd to claim with absolute certainty that the Patio Tomb preserves the remains of some of Jesus first followers as it is unwise to pronounce with equal vigor that such a possibility is unthinkable.
For the official publication of Talpiot I and the definitive research on it by Shimon Gibson and Amos Kloner, see The Tomb of Jesus and His Family? Exploring Ancient Jewish Tombs Near Jerusalems Walls. Ed. James H. Charlesworth. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012 (expected publication date is 15 Oct 2012). See: The Tomb of Jesus and His Family?
The following is a postscript in that book. Parts of it will appear on my web page.
By James Hamilton Charlesworth
To read this article in its entirety, we have presented it here in PDF format.
I especially agree with the following in your essay above:
".....By profession, scholars shun sensationalism and do not feel the need to defend biblical truths. We are dedicated to a means of expression in which certainty appears in a spectrum from "conceivable to probable." Thus, it is as absurd to claim with absolute certainty that the Patio Tomb preserves the remains of some of Jesus’ first followers as it is unwise to pronounce with equal vigor that such a possibility is unthinkable.....All attempts have so far failed to explain why the drawing is "upside down." But, if the Jewish engraver who made this etching had Jonah in mind, then it seems that some answers to our questions are forthcoming.....Without any doubt, the concept of resurrection (far more than a belief in a coming Messiah) brings into perspective the shared beliefs and hopes within Early Judaism.....Moreover, the concept of a bodily resurrection created and defined the Palestinian Jesus Movement;
Are the inscription and the drawing not to be perceived within Jewish resurrection beliefs? It is as absurd to dismiss the possibility that this tomb has some relation with the Palestinian Jesus Movement as to claim that it clearly must be labeled a “Christian” tomb. Emotions are too inflamed by such unscholarly outbursts....."
Nonetheless, as far as I am concerned, for the drawings and inscriptions of the Talpiot B Tomb so called "Resurrection Tomb" I have yet to see them closely enough. Until then my questions today are: "where the inscriber and the drawer the same person? And if so why would he have to insist on inscribing the name JONH on his drawing? Did he fear that the drawing was not driving enough his message if he indeed had a message and/or an intention? As far as I am concerned research has shown that ossuary inscriptions consisted mainly of the names and filiation of the deceased and in some instances the geographical origin and/or some magical formulae like the one on the ossuary of Eleazar and Shappirah (See Cohen-Matlofsky (2001) p. 198). I do not know of any ossuary with a drawing and a caption for that drawing and I am not sure that at the time captions of drawings would have been written at the bottom (to respond to Rami Arav).
Indeed much more research has to be done for both Talpiot Tombs.
Official is not an accurate word. Report of the original excavation would be accurate if Gibson's and Kloner's opinions were left out. They are on record as saying that the tomb is not possibly that of the 1st century Jewish man Yehoshua ben Yoseph ben David. That excludes them from the scientific community that holds that it is possible or even probable. See the below reference.
Camil Fuchs, “Demography, Literacy, and Names Distribution in Ancient Jerusalem—How Many James/Jacob Son of Joseph Brother of Jesus Were There?” Polish Journal of Biblical Research 4, no. 1 (December 2005), pp. 3–30.
Use the form below to submit a new comment. Comments are moderated
and logged, and may be edited. You must provide your full name.
Inappropriate material will not be posted.