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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:58 pm 
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'Jesus Discovery:' Jerusalem Archeology Reveals Birth Of Christianity

"The following is an excerpt by James D. Tabor and Simcha Jacobovici, authors of The Jesus Discovery: The New Archaeological Find That Reveals the Birth of Christianity

On the morning of Tuesday, June 29, 2010, outside the Old City of Jerusalem, we made an unprecedented archaeological discovery related to Jesus and early Christianity. This discovery adds significantly to our understanding of Jesus, his earliest followers, and the birth of Christianity. In this book we reveal reliable archaeological evidence that is directly connected to Jesus' first followers, those who knew him personally and to Jesus himself. The discovery provides the earliest archaeological evidence of faith in Jesus' resurrection from the dead, the first witness to a saying of Jesus that predates even the writing of our New Testament gospels, and the earliest example of Christian art, all found in a sealed tomb dated to the 1st century CE......."

Ahh, must be getting close to Easter, which falls on April 8th this year.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:28 am 
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2107591/Will-discovery-ancient-coffin-lead-resting-place-Jesus.html

"Archaeologists exploring a 1st century Christian burial chamber have discovered an ancient inscription on a coffin lid which they believe could prove the site is the final resting place of Jesus.

Using a remote-controlled camera connected to a robotic arm to probe below a tower block in Jerusalem, the archaeologists were staggered to discover a set of 1st century 'bone boxes'.

The lid on one of these limestone boxes, also known as ossuaries, carries an inscription in Greek which could be translated as 'Divine Jehovah, raise up, raise up'.

Another carries a drawing of a fish with a stick figure in its mouth which is believed to refer to the story of Jonah and the Whale - one of the very first Christian stories.

The find is 200ft away from an earlier discovery known as the Jesus Family Tomb, which caused a huge amount of controversy after it was uncovered in the 1980s.

Archaeologists then claimed it contained ossuaries inscribed with names associated with Jesus's family."


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:44 am 
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This happens all the time. Some discovery in or around the holy city and they make a reference to Jesus before they toss it up onto the scrape pile. Aren't these the same people who "found" the James ossuary?

Here's something I find odd: why is the inscriptin in Greek?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:53 pm 
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And the other shoe drops - but not in time to prevent thousands of books from being sold, of course.

The bottom line is that these two are such hypemeisters even Christian fundies don't use their work. How can we forget the "Jesus Family Tomb" brouhaha?

What these debacles continually serve to prove, however, is that, after all these centuries, there remains no credible, scientific evidence of Christianity during the first century. No artifacts, no original writings, nada. So, if Christians were so numerous at, say, Rome by Nero's time, as to be responsible for burning down the city, why is there no first-century evidence anywhere?

The mainstream paradigm of Christian origins simply does not add up. Nor does this discovery add up to the supernatural son of God "Jesus Christ" depicted in the New Testament as a historical figure.

As concerns the inscription, even if the Greek word is ὑψόω or hupso appears in it, this term is used dozens of times in the Greek Old Testament or Septuagint, at times in context of the Lord "lifting up" the faithful. It need not be a reflection of resurrection or Christianity at all, except that such verses have been used as blueprints in the Christian creation.

For example, at LXX Psalms 60:3 (Hebrew 61:2), we read:

Quote:
ἐν πέτρᾳ ὕψωσάς με

This phrase represents part of a prayer to the Lord to "lift me up to the rock," this latter term in Greek being πέτρᾳ or petra, i.e., "Peter."

There are undoubtedly more such interesting phrases in the numerous biblical verses in which this word ὑψόω or hupso appears.

Quote:
Doubts about 'the Jesus Discovery'

Now that the word about "the Jesus Discovery" is out in the open, outside experts are weighing in — and many of them look upon the robotic exploration of a 1st-century Jerusalem tomb as a technological tour de force resulting in an archaeological faux pas.

On one level, the "Jesus Discovery" investigators saw this project as a follow-up on the sensational claim they made five years earlier in "The Lost Tomb of Jesus," that Jesus and members of his family were buried in what is now a southeast residential neighborhood of Jerusalem. On another level, they set forth what they said were the earliest known evidence of Christian references in the Holy City — in the form of an inscription referring to resurrection on one casket, and a fishlike design on another casket.

Today, several experts specializing in 1st-century Christianity said the investigators failed to make their case on either level.

"In my assessment, there's zero percent chance that their theory is correct," said Andrew Vaughn, executive director of the American Schools of Oriental Research, or ASOR.

Christopher Rollston, an expert in Semitic epigraphy at Emmanuel Christian Seminary in Tennessee, said that although the underground chamber is "a nice tomb ... it's hard to press it into service as an impressive find."

Some archaeologists were familiar with the project months before it came into the spotlight, but non-disclosure agreements kept them from commenting until today's press announcement at Discovery Times Square in New York. The project has already spawned a book by scriptural scholar James Tabor and filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici, titled "The Jesus Discovery," and a documentary about the find is due to air on the Discovery Channel this spring.

When today's embargo lifted, the criticism from outside experts hit with full force on the ASOR Blog.

"Nothing in the book 'revolutionizes our understanding of Jesus or early Christianity,' as the authors and publisher claim, and we may regard this book as yet another in a long list of presentations that misuse not only the Bible but also archaeology," Duke University biblical scholar Eric Meyers declared.

Jodi Magness, a religious-studies professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said "it pains me to see archaeology hijacked in the service of non-scientific interests, whether they are religious, financial, or other." In her view, Tabor, Jacobovici and their colleagues set out to dig up evidence to support their earlier claims about a different tomb nearby, the so-called "Jesus Family Tomb" — and then rustle up a fresh round of media attention.

"Professional archaeologists do not search for objects or treasures such as Noah's Ark, the Ark of the Covenant, or the Holy Grail," she wrote. "Usually these sorts of expeditions are led by amateurs (nonspecialists) or academics who are not archaeologists. Archaeology is a scientific process."

Old and new claims
The main objection to the claims for the Jesus Family Tomb, like the claims themselves, retraces ground that's been well trod since 2007: Just because bone boxes are marked with the name "Jesus" and the names of his brothers and sisters, as mentioned in the Bible, doesn't necessarily mean these are the actual biblical figures.

Tabor and Jacobovici produced a statistical analysis looking at the frequency of names in ancient Jerusalem, and claimed that the close fit to the names on Jesus' family tree couldn't be just a coincidence. Last month, Tabor said further research has strengthened the case he and Jacobovici laid out in 2007.

The critics insisted once again that a statistical argument could never win the day. "Dramatic claims require dramatic evidence. ... The claims of Tabor and Jacobovici for this tomb are no more convincing now than they were then," Rollston wrote.

But what about the inscription in the more recently explored tomb, known as the Patio Tomb? And what about the fish? Rollston said the fish was more probably a type of ornamental design typically seen on Jewish bone boxes, known as a nephesh tower. Where Tabor and Jacobovici saw the "fins" of the fish, Rollston saw the eaves of the tower's roof.

Even if it was intended to be a fish, "it would most naturally be understood as simply a reflection of a nautical motif in a tomb," or perhaps representative of the deceased's occupation — for example, a fishmonger. Unlike Tabor, Rollston did not rule out the possibility that a Jew would have such a design engraved on the bone box.

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James Tabor, a religious-studies researcher at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, outlined these designs found in various contexts, including "nephesh" images that have been found carved on 1st-century Jewish caskets, a fish drawing found in a Christian catacomb, and the "Patio Tomb fish" design seen in the tomb that Tabor and his colleagues explored using a camera-equipped robotic arm. Tabor's critics say the fishlike design is actually a variant of the nephesh tower design.

As for the inscription, Rollston said the resurrection connection was questionable. Tabor, Jacobovici and their colleagues suggested that it could be interpreted as reading, "Divine Jehovah (Yahweh), lift up, lift up," or "The Divine Jehovah raises up from [the dead]." But Rollston said the first letter in the word that was said to refer to Jehovah — IAEO — looked like a T rather than an I.

"This can't be an iota," he told me, "and that's the one letter that has to be there."

He also questioned the interpretation of the inscription's key word, "UPsOO," or "hupso," which would be a form of the verb "to lift up." Even if one assumes that's what was intended, the word wouldn't necessarily refer to raising up in the resurrection sense, he said. And even if one assumes it was indeed meant as a reference to resurrection, there were some Jewish sects back then — such as the Pharisees — that believed in a general resurrection.

"For someone to state that this is an early Christian tomb, there really has to be some clear and decisive evidence to back up that statement," Rollston told me. "And it just really isn't here."

In a follow-up email, Tabor told me that the "tower will not float" as an alternate explanation for the fishlike image. He also pointed to the comments he posted on the ASOR Blog, taking further issue with the nephesh tower interpretation. In a comment addressed to Rollston, he said, "We have much to discuss, but I look forward to doing it face to face."...

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