To be more specific the title should read James Tabor & the Jesus Tomb. There are times where scholars continue to beat a dead horse and continue to try to salvage some sort of credibility for a theory that has long been honestly and thoroughly proven wrong. The following article is one of those times
We should mention that we sort of like James Tabor. We have sat in many of his lectures, read his books and read his blog from time to time. We do not agree with him, but he is a smart person. He was able to get his Ph.D. from Chicago University which we are told is no small feat. We do not feature him that often on this website because he is very verbose and it takes far too much time and space to go through his articles.
We will not go through all the 20 points, maybe a few, as he gets quite lengthy in his defense of his position. Most of his defenses do not work and only show the desperation in his position. You need to keep in mind that he has been making this argument for 12 years now and it didn’t help when he teamed up with S. Jacobovici.
Unfortunately, these are the very points that one most often sees repeated endlessly by those less informed as well as those adamantly opposed to the possibility that the Talpiot tomb is that of Jesus of Nazareth and his family.
We understand that he wants to address certain points when people endlessly bring the same ones up but after 12 years, there is a point in which you give up the theory because it is wrong. There is no possibility that the tomb is of Jesus of Nazareth and his family. To be specific, it is not the tomb of Jesus in the Gospels.
Research and discussion of the Talpiot tomb as related to Jesus of Nazareth shows contempt for Christianity and is an attack on the faith of millions.
We would agree with him that researching this tomb would not be an attack on the Christian faith. BUT declaring that it is the tomb of Jesus of the Bible, when the Bible clearly states what happened to Jesus would be an attack. Why? It is not because Christians are suppressing good history but because the researchers are saying the Bible is wrong and God lied.
Unfortunately for Dr. Tabor good history is not always good. By that we refer to the old adage, history is in the eye of the historian. This adage implies that history is under the influence of the beliefs, unbeliefs, and other influences held by the historian. Rarely is the objective of the historian to reach the truth. For example, Steven Ambrose, MacPherson, and Bruce Catton all wrote on the Civil War.
Each author had their own independent perspective on the events that transpired. Same events, same historical resources, same topic yet 3 different views. If you only read one of the authors, your views on the Civil War may be altered in some way.
While we agree with Dr. Tabor that the Talpiot tomb holds an ossuary with the words Jesus son of Joseph on them we would not agree that it is only a first century person. Dating is always subjective in most cases. We also think the ossuary holds the remains of a different person named Jesus. It is possible that the chlild was named after the divine Jesus, after Jesus was crucified. Making the ossuary and remains 1st century does not mean the person was contemporary with the biblical Jesus.
It would be coincidence that his father’s name was also Joseph which would influence the naming of the newborn child.
Jesus and his family would not have a family tomb in Jerusalem. If there were a Jesus family tomb at all it would have been in Nazareth in the Galilee, which is the ancestral home of the family.
We do not know where Jesus’ human family would have a tomb. We also do not know if they used an ossuary. According to Dr. Tabor, Jewish law says that a person is to be buried where they died. Well, except for Jesus and James, we have no idea where the family members died, including Joseph. Notice Dr. Tabor is saying that Jesus’ mother was buried in the tomb but if we recall correctly, they never argued that point before. Usually their argument was for Mary Magdalene that the name Mary represented.
Jesus was a poor, illiterate, itinerant peasant, and neither he nor his followers would have been able to afford a burial cave such as the one found at Talpiot.
We agree with Dr. Tabor here as we do not know the financial health of Jesus and his family members. What we are told is that Joseph was a carpenter and Judas was the treasurer.
THE OSSUARY INSCRIPTIONS
This is a lengthy section but it can all be addressed at the same time. First off, inscription reading is not easy, especially when someone is inscribing a name with a nail. Dr. Craig Evans has a good point on this as he said it is easy to make a slip when writing certain letters and go too far. We have all made that same slip with our pens and pencils
Second, inscription reading is very subjective. Different scholars who are experts on ancient writing do not always agree. This can be seen in Dr. Tabor’s article as well as the debate over the inscription on the ivory pomegranate, a relic thought to be from Solomon’s temple. It can also be seen in Dr. Rollston’s work as he rarely attributes ancient Hebrew to ancient Hebrew. He always seems to find a way to attribute ancient writing to some other ancient Semitic society.
Third, ancient inscriptions are not preserved very well all the time. Cracks, weathering, and other influences blur the writing making it difficult to read or understand You can see that with the argument over the word ‘kai’ or ‘and’ in Dr. Tabor’s points. One expert will call an inscription a forgery while another will call it authentic.
This only proves heritage or lineage. It is not always good for identification. In other words, using DNA to find the identity of the bones marked Jesus would be impossible. It cannot prove those remains are the remains of the biblical Jesus. All that DNA can do is show that those Jesus remains are the remains of a son a Joseph had and whom they named Jesus.
The same for the son of Jesus remains. It cannot prove any divine linkage or that the biblical Jesus had a son. DNA can only prove that those remains are the remains of a son that particular Jesus had. DNA cannot prove any divine nature or even detect it. It also cannot prove that a marriage took place between Mary and Jesus.
It can prove they had a son but marriage is not the only way to have a child.
These mean absolutely nothing. They are a waste of time and cannot bring any evidence to the table. Even if there was only 1 ossuary with the name Jesus on it, does not mean that that ossuary holds the remains of the biblical Jesus. Since ossuaries are not the only method of ancient Jews to bury their dead, it is impossible to claim that ossuary was the one.
In other words statistic do not provide evidence for reality.
THE JAMES OSSUARY AND THE TALPIOT TOMB
Everything to do with the James Ossuary and Talpiot are pure speculation and assumptions. With so much time between the original excavation and now, no one can say if it is the missing 10th ossuary.
After all of this, we say to Dr. Tabor, give it up. Let your reputation take the hit for being wrong and backing a dead horse. You will recover from it and possibly from your association with S. Jacobovici. The tomb you found belonged only to a human named Jesus who was not the biblical Jesus. The Bible tells us exactly what happend when Jesus was crucified and ressurrected. He went to heaven and his earthly body was changed. It was not moved to another tomb to be with family members.
Also, the presence of Matthew kills your theory no matter how hard you try to twist the reasons for its presence in the tomb. Research tells us that the apostle Matthew did not die in Jerusalem. He was supposedly martyred in Ethiopia. According to you, Jewish law would not permit transportation back to Jerusalem for a sympathetic burial with Jesus.
The Talpiot tomb does not hold the earthly remains of the biblical Jesus for he is risen and in heaven today.