Should archaeologists use ancient texts to help find or identify discoveries?
One of the debates within Archaeology today concerns the use of ancient texts to help understand archaeological finds. To many observers, the idea of archaeology existing without the use of ancient texts to understand the material finds seems pointless, but to a new generation of archaeologists, the use of texts is redundant and the finds stand on their own merit.
Eric Cline discusses why he wrote his latest book
Professor Eric Cline
How does one respond to the claims of individuals who profess to have found some major Biblical artifact?
To answer this question,
In the video accompanying this post,
Noted Professor discusses the relevance of the study
Professor Lawrence Stager
Biblical Archaeology as a field of study has suffered from two problems. The first is the approach of trying to prove the veracity of the Bible through the discovery of archaeological finds without giving proper consideration to the finds and the context of the finds. The second is the movement to consider archaeology a study that does not need to relate to texts or historical documents.
Lawrence E. Stager, Dorot Professor of the Archaeology of Israel at Harvard University is one person who has vigorously defended the use of the term. In the following video, Professor Stager briefly sets out his reason for so doing.
Insights into different skills applied to the claim of Talpiot being Jesus' Family Tomb
Jim West hosts a guest posting from Christopher Rollston on his blog today. Christopher's speciality is prosopography and epigraphy which is the study of ancient inscriptions and writing, such as those found on the ossuaries in the Talpiot Tomb.
In his guest post, Christopher shows not only the dynamics of the debate in Jerusalem, but how he and others approached their aspect of the task.
Like the earlier post today from April DeConick, Christopher Rollston rejects the idea of the Talpiot Tomb being that of Jesus of Nazareth. He has already published an article on the subject in Near Eastern Archaeology, a publication of the American Schools of Oriental Research.
Christopher's analysis of the conference, tomb and details is worth a read. Christopher is Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Studies at Emmanuel School of Religion, Tennessee.
Evaluation of Conference provided by Houston Professor
Professor April DeConick of Rice University provides an overview of the Conference and some of the dynamics that caused problems. Like so many things in history, it depends on how you process information. If you want to believe that this is the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth, you will find ways to justify same. If you don't, you will process the same information in a different manner.
The critical point appears to be the reading of Mariamenou kai Mara, which the film makers and those who want this to be the tomb of Jesus read as Mary Magdalene. See April's point 2. Interestingly, if the name of Mary Magdalene can't be drawn from the Greek, then all the numbers "are not statistically meaningful," i.e., they don't support the case.
April is to be commended for providing such a balanced summary of the event.
Overview and outcome of the Conference
Stephen Pfann, President of the University of the Holy Land and a presenter at the Conference, filed this report on the University's web site:
Stephen Pfann adds as a later PS to his posting:
The Conference in
Day one has finished as I write, and I am led to understand that it has been at times a very heated day, and not because of the weather or the venue. Rather, one presentation after another has shown the way in which the documentary makers of The Jesus Family Tomb have used information dishonestly or inappropriately. The statement was made that archaeologists “get very heated over what we believe i[s] a dishonest attempt to fool the public at the expense of academia.”
Another documentary entitled Archaeological Minefields by
More will follow.
Jewish Views of the After Life and Burial Practices in Second Temple Judaism: Evaluating the Talpiot Tomb in Context
Professor Charlesworth has assembled an impressive array of scholars to address the various aspects relating to the Conference purpose.
The Talpiot Tomb came to public notice in the last year being presented in a PBS Documentary as being the Jesus Family Tomb. It had previously been referenced by
As details of the conference are given we will endeavour to post relevant details.
Jewish Views of the After Life and Burial Practices in Second
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