Monday, March 05, 2007

One of Lost Tomb of Jesus' holes: The Tenth Ossuary

There's been a lot of media hype regarding The Lost Tomb of Jesus. Personally, I have reserved my comments and limited it to scholars, archaeologists, and forensic experts for now until my book is published. However, after seeing the debate on the Discovery Channel, I found out something disturbing, and I feel I must share this with my readers.

You see, Dr. James Tabor and Simcha Jacobovici assume that the tenth missing bone box in the Talpiot tomb is James, the brother of Jesus. From this, they can make huge statistical assumptions.

But here's the problem...
1. On June 18, 2003, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) in a unanimous decision the 15-member committee, condemned the 'James ossuary' as a modern forgery.
2. While #1 is a problem, this is even a greater problem. There is a picture of the James ossuary dated 1976. The Talpiot tomb, where they found 10 ossuaries, was opened in 1980.
3. In fact, Amos Kloner, one of the three original archaeologists that supervised the dig site, stated the tenth ossuary found in 1980 was blank, it had no inscription on it:

"Due to a lack of storage space, only nine of the 10 ossuaries found in the tomb in 1980 were held by the Israel Antiquities Authority after they were examined and documented, said Kloner. But the tenth one that was discarded did not have any inscription, he said."

OUCH! This is significantly damaging. Yet Dr. Tabor and Simcha Jacobovici claimed in the Discovery Channel debate that one of Israel's most experienced archaeologists, Dr. Kloner, must have missed the inscriptions because there were some dirt on it! Extremely unlikely -- that's the first thing they would check. Even if a remote chance of that were true, how can you explain the James ossuary photo made in 1976 when the Talpiot tomb was uncovered in 1980?

Why Dr. Tabor and Mr. Simcha Jacobovici do you continue to support that the James ossuary is legit? Please, for the sake of your reputation, do not continue to make it part of your hypothesis. Please remove this from your blog, which the world is now mocking you on:

3. One other new bit of data related to the Talpiot tomb are the patina tests carried out by Rosenfeld and others that indicate that the James ossuary, acquired by Oded Golan, and made public in 2002, came from this particular Talpiot tomb. This data is summarized in the Discovery documentary as well as the book, The Jesus Family by Jacobovici and Pellegrino. Originally in 1980 there were ten ossuaries recovered from this tomb but one went missing early on. If the James ossuary is this missing 10th from this tomb, and I do believe there is some good evidence to support that possibility, adding an ossuary inscribed names “James son of Joseph,” or “James son of Joseph brother of Jesus,” (if the full inscription is authentic as I believe it to be) to the cluster, the statistics change dramatically toward an identification of this tomb with Jesus of Nazareth.

I have sent this letter to Dr. Tabor and Simcha Jacobovici. I hope one of you respond.


Okiepug said...


I emailed Zias and he confirmed that the 10th ossuary had no inscription. Now, I read that Tabor is saying on his blog that this is not what Zias said when he interviewed him a while back. He said that Zias had no recollection of that ossuary and what became of it. Tabor says he took good notes and can prove this. What do you make of this? I want to believe Zias, but I can't seem to understand why Tabor would make something like that up. Perhaps you could ask Joe Zias about this meeting? I'd also like your personal opinion. -Ken

Okiepug said...

What do you make of Tabor claiming that when he interviewed Zias in 2006 or whatever that Zias had no recollection of this 10th ossuary or what became of it and that Tabor has notes to prove it? I want to believe Zias, who has stated that he personally received the 10th ossuary and that it indeed was blank, but I wonder why Tabor would lie so big. -Ken

Dohboy said...


Both can actually be right about the status of the ossuary. It was found in 1980 and someone asked Zias in 2003-2006 where is that so and so ossuary. Well, these guys deal with ossuaries everyday. They considered the the names of the Talpiot tomb as common names.

To give you a comparison, I don't remember what I ate for lunch five days ago, much less over a decade ago. This is the type of memory that we are asking Zias to remember. Our memories are stored based primarily on the amount of emotional and mental association we have on it. I can tell you how I burned my hand when I was 11 but I can't tell you when I had my last mosquito bite on my hand.

So I'm sure Zias concentrated a lot more since that first question was asked. As for Dr. Tabor, I've contacted him as recently as today. I don't see him as a liar. Someone that may assume too much, absolutely. Just look at the Discovery Channel debate where he assumed the majority of Christians did not believe in a physical resurrection of Christ. He was surprised to learn otherwise. That was sign of how well he knows Christianity.

I think that hurt his credibility a bit.