Friday, March 9, 2007

"Jesus" not legible on ossuary: more details emerge on "Lost Tomb" scam (see photograph below)

In the Jerusalem Post of February 27, we read the following:

In answer to a question, Jacobovici acknowledged that if the inscription on the "Jesus" ossuary is actually illegible, as some critics have claimed, the whole thesis collapses. "If this doesn't say Jesus, yes, it all falls apart," he said of the inscribed ossuary. But every expert to whom the inscription had been shown, he said, had conclusively confirmed it as reading "Jesus son of Joseph." The original Israeli catalogue of the ossuaries from the tomb recorded it as reading "Jesus," too, he said.
Well, folks, the nature of the lie we've been confronted with now becomes clear. Not only is the DNA "evidence" that is supposed to support the film's claim oddly incomplete, but what Jacobovici neatly omitted from his "Jesus son of Joseph" statement is the fact that the original Israeli catalogue did not simply "record it as reading Jesus," but put a question-mark after the name Jesus, meaning that the transcriber was doubtful of his own reading, and two dots, over the letters yod and shin, the standard sign the transcriber uses to indicate that his reading is conjectural.

(For a clearer reproduction, see The name "son of Yehosef" is, to be sure, clearly discernible towards the left, but where are the letters yod, shin, vav and ayin of the name "Yeshua" to be found in the scrawled writing etched into the stone following the big X-like marking on the right? The transcriber was clearly groping, because the letters vav and ayin are also not discernible and he should have put a dot over that part of his transcription as well.

Clearly, Jacobovici was being evasive, in an obvious attempt to hoodwink the public. Only one paleographer is pictured in the movie, but merely assenting cursorily to one inscription after the next; no other experts are mentioned, and the original transcriber's doubts are passed over in silence. Thus, Jacobivici's statement that experts have "conclusively confirmed" the reading "Jesus" is also highly dubious, because that first portion of the text is in fact illegible and one is hard pressed to see how any expert in his right mind, confronted with the specific inscription in question, would have said the contrary.


Daniel said...
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Daniel said...

I just want to follow up on your last posts at Witherington's blog regarding Tabor's degree and his relationship with Jacobovici. First, you made a slight mistake with the title of Tabor's dissertation, it's "Things Unutterable..." and refers to the Apostle Paul's account of (someone's) journey to the "third heaven" in 2 Corinthians 12. Regarding Tabor and Jacobovici's relationship and why it seems strange/ inexplicable that Tabor continues to defend the indefensible, please check out Tabor's "Jesus Dynasty" posts at If you click on "more posts" and find the January 18, 2007 post you will see that he refers to a movie about the Jesus Dynasty. This movie is being produced/ directed, etc. by none other than Simcah Jacobovici. So, Tabor is not tilting at windmills for the sake of any real convictions other than the conviction that he wants to be...BACK ON TV! Probably the 2008 Lenten season when Tabor's book on Paul is released. And, of course, all this ultimately means more money for the ancient historian/ archaeologist/ journalist/ DNA expert and all-around renaissance man Tabor.

We Demand A Neutral Scientific Exhibit said...

Thanks for the comment Daniel. Sorry for the slip. What you say is of course not surprising. At least now we know how we can all make money if we really set our minds to it -- invent some story about Jesus (perhaps the UFO connection, although something along that line was already done in another old scam, Chariots of the Gods by Däniken).

Charles Gadda said...

Don't you think it's a bit harsh to say that the DNA evidence was "manipulated"?

We Demand A Neutral Scientific Exhibit said...

Yes, thank you for pointing this out to us and we will correct that statement accordingly.