A Feud Between Biblical Archaeologists Goes to Court

After being stung by criticism (and the cancellation of a lucrative TV deal), one expert sues another for libel. What would Jesus say?

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Mike Segar / Reuters

Filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici attends a news conference in New York on Feb. 26, 2007

In the Old City of Jerusalem, no one ever went broke underestimating the proof required to help the faithful suspend disbelief — or in a modern twist, allow the skeptical to bolster their heterodoxy. A million-dollar lawsuit in Israel has become the latest vehicle in the unending quest to redefine faith as the substance of things seen.

Simcha Jacobovici, a Canadian documentary maker specializing in biblical archaeology, is suing a retired scientist and former archaeological museum curator named Joe Zias, who has accused him of publicizing scientifically dubious theories. Many of Jacobovici’s documentaries have focused on artifacts that purport to reveal new interpretations of early Christianity, including the notion that the remains of Jesus and his family were buried in a tomb underneath modern-day Jerusalem. Jacobovici claims that Zias’ criticisms are libelous and have cost him television contracts and money.

The dusty world of biblical archaeology directly affects — not to say inspires — the hopes and dreams of millions of faithful people who might buy purported relics or tune in to television shows about them. And, so, there has arisen around it a thriving industry in Jesus-era coins and lamps, and pre-Christian Judaica such as seals and seal impressions from the era of the biblical kings — and in books and movies about them.

(MORE: Were Nails from Caiaphas’ Tomb Used to Crucify Jesus?)

The son of Romanian holocaust survivors, Jacobovici is an Emmy-winning journalist who has produced several films in the past decade about new finds that supposedly illuminate the true history of early Christianity. Jacobovici’s first foray into the biblical-documentary genre was a 2002 film James, Brother of Jesus that introduced the world to the James ossuary, a bone box with an ancient Aramaic inscription translated as James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus. Even as Jacobovici’s film characterized the ossuary as an authentic archaeological discovery, scholars and the Israeli authorities claimed the inscription as a fake. Discovery Channel aired the film but, in 2008, it put the James ossuary on its list of the top 10 scientific hoaxes of all time. Last year, after an eight-year trial about biblical-relic forgery for profit, a judge acquitted two defendants of fraud (one of them had been accused of faking the inscription) but declined to rule on the alleged forgery itself.

Jacobovici then made a film about the so-called Talpiot Tomb — named after the Jerusalem neighborhood where it was excavated — contending that 10 ossuaries found inside it had held the bones of Christ and his immediate family, including Mary Magdalene. That project had backing from Hollywood’s James Cameron, the director of Titanic and Avatar. Jacobovici then produced Nails of the Cross, a show that claimed that iron spikes excavated by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) from a tomb in Jerusalem in 1990 were the very nails used to pin the Saviour to the cross. Nails of the Cross aired on Israeli TV and the History Channel.

In all this Zias, 71, has emerged as Jacobovici’s nemesis. Retired from his job as a professional anthropologist, he now makes a living guiding bike tours around the Israeli countryside. He knows the murky world of biblical-relic trading as well as anyone, having spent 25 years working for the IAA, the tiny Israeli agency charged with overseeing excavations in 30,000 archaeological sites. He lives in a three-room house in central Jerusalem with his wife and daughter. He says he can’t afford to pay the lawyer he’s hired to defend him and claims he is on the verge of bankruptcy because of the suit.

(MORE: Are Bible Stories True? Archaeology’s Evidence)

Zias is well known among Near East archaeologists for blasting cranky e-mails from his blog, Science and Archaeology Group, accusing filmmakers and writers of “pimping off the Bible.” He routinely writes Jacobovici’s first name with a dollar sign in place of the S. Born in Michigan, he moved to Israel in the 1960s. He told me he was first motivated to expose fakery in the biblical-relic world when he was curating archaeology for the IAA and was approached by a pair of American pastors from the Midwest who complained that their flocks were being routinely fleeced by charlatans collecting money to search underneath the stones of Jerusalem for tangible proof of Bible accounts — like Christ’s DNA.

The contentiousness between Zias and Jacobovici came to a head in 2011. That year, National Geographic pulled out of a Jacobovici project on another early Christian relic that Zias and others were criticizing — comments that the filmmaker cites as part of the reason for his lawsuit. Reached by e-mail, Jacobovici said he is suing Zias — and not his academically affiliated critics — because Zias “crossed the line from fair comment to outright libel. Specifically, he has accused me repeatedly — verbally and in writing — of ‘forging archaeology’ … a criminal activity, and no free society allows you to accuse people of such activities, unless you can prove that what you are saying is correct. Furthermore, he has accused me of ‘planting archaeology.’ Again, free discourse does not include libelous statements such as this one.”

The other critics, however, have not exactly been soft in their commentary about Jacobovici’s work. A panel of academic experts had also assailed the basis for the film about the so-called Jonah ossuary. The film, The Jesus Discovery, which eventually aired on the Discovery Channel in 2012 and also was published as a book, contends that the ossuary, found in a tomb underneath a Jerusalem apartment building, is the earliest known example of an object bearing a Christian symbol referring to the resurrection. The chairman of Duke University’s Religion Center for Jewish Studies, Eric M. Meyers, said of Jacobovici’s claims about the National Geographic pullback: “I was on the advisory panel of experts assessing the integrity of the claims, the appropriateness of the report and the controversial claims about the tomb in which the Jonah ossuary was found, and the panel unanimously agreed not to recommend that the project and film go forward.”

(VIDEO: Archaeology Digs Up Controversy in Jerusalem)

Meyers, who is Jewish, told me he was troubled by the implication in much of Jacobovici’s work that there was no resurrection. According to Meyers, Jacobovici has claimed to have some of the bones of Jesus and his family, their DNA from ossuaries. “If the remains were reburied, then there could not have been any true resurrection,” Meyer adds. “You do not make scientific announcements of this potential significance in sensational films or in a trade book that has unsubstantiated and controversial claims in it.”

Zias’ Israeli lawyer Jonathan Tsevi told TIME that Zias never accused Jacobovici of criminal acts. “Joe never used the terms forging archaeology or planting archaeology, although in essence this is the method Simcha is repeatedly using,” Tsevi said in an e-mail. Zias has also taken Jacobovici to task for using CGI to enhance images of an amphora in the Jerusalem tomb he believes is engraved with the first image of the Christian fish symbol. Jacobovici makes no apology for that. “I don’t think any judge is going to accept that using CGI to enhance a photograph is tantamount to ‘forging archaeology,’” he wrote.

The bitter legal battle has also come up with a holocaust angle — albeit a rather convoluted one. “Most painful is [Zias’] accusation that I have ‘invented Holocaust stories’” Jacobovici tells TIME. “I am the child of Holocaust survivors.” Jacobovici is apparently referring to an event at a 2007 academic conference in Jerusalem, at which an award was presented to the widow of an IAA employee and Holocaust survivor named Joseph Gat. The woman said Gat knew he had found the Jesus family tomb under a Jerusalem apartment building but never told anyone about it during his lifetime for fear of Christian retribution over evidence that defies Christian beliefs about Christ’s immortality.

(MORE: The Top 10 Jesus Films)

Zias, who worked with Gat, said Gat never mentioned the Jesus tomb to anyone at the IAA and wasn’t trained to make such an identification in the first place. “He never published one article in his long years with the IAA,” Zias says. “He was a simple but honest guy … who could not read inscriptions, but now that he’s deceased, was the one person chosen to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for the ‘secret he took to his grave.'” Zias has charged that the award and Mrs. Gat’s comments were orchestrated by Jacobovici as part of an ongoing media spectacle. Jacobovici denies that: “I have to tell you, in Israel, accusing people of “inventing Holocaust stories” touches a very, very raw nerve … I think the judge will throw the book at him.”

What kind of evidence will be presented in court? Jesus and his disciples are unlikely to be coming forward to explain whether they had anything at all to do with all those nails, tombs, ossuaries and other bits of ancient history underneath Jerusalem. American biblical scholar James West, who also blogs on biblical archaeology, said of the lawsuit: “Disagreements are fine, but vendettas (which is what this seems to one outside the proceedings) are improper. Perhaps Zias and Jacobovici should settle their differences the old-fashioned way — in a public debate. Scholars disagree all the time, and they can get quite nasty at it. But I have never once heard of a scholar suing another scholar because their work was eviscerated.”

Burleigh researched the modern-day biblical-relic industry for her book, Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land. For more: www.ninaburleigh.com.

47 comments
mitchellday123
mitchellday123

$imcha Jacobovici is not a scholar. He's  just a Christophobic charlatan.


Naustin
Naustin

It's all theology isn't it? I mean even in a Time article Nina Burleigh refers to Jesus as "Christ" and "Saviour". Hardly the language of objective reporting. In this topsy-turvy world, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the real tomb of Jesus and the proof is that he's not there! After all, he physically went to heaven. So it's reasonable to say that the evidence for the Holy Sepulcher Church is the lack of evidence. Simcha, James Tabor and their colleagues come under attack from people like Prof Eric Meyers because they point to archaeological evidence. After all, the Talpiot tomb has an ossuary with the name "Jesus, son of Joseph". So, according to Meyers' wisdom, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher has no ossuaries, therefore it's Jesus' tomb, and the Talpiot tomb has an ossuary with Jesus' name on it, therefore it's someone else. In the same tomb you have a "Maria" and you have a man with a unique nickname associated with Jesus' brother, "Yose" and you have a Greek spelling for another Mary that is unique to Mary Magdalene. Too much evidence! 

joezias
joezias

a s far as book reviews go I suggest that readers go to Amazon, where after 15 years, one finds but 4 reviews for the second Waco book and one review for the first, the last one star review is in my estimation the most important and worth reading. 

The end of this Waco tragedy on April 19, 1993 is chilling, Koresh had asked before his death that the tape of his final words be given to  UNC-C’s James Tabor and Phillip Arnold,  both whom spent quite a bit of time at the siege, hence the book below. Despite the horrific tragedy, in which more than 80 people perished, Tabor testified in Washington on behalf of the Branch Davidians, against the actions of the FBI and the BATF.  Same day, two years later, (April 19, 1995)  in retaliation for  the Waco incident.;  the Oklahoma City bombings in which  168 people  were killed was carried out by T. Mc Veigh . Note that 4 yrs after the Waco tragedy the Why Waco book is published, appearing  two years after the Oklahoma City bombing. The date, again, April 19th.   There is a lot more driving this ill gained attempt for fame and fortune, human tragedy for  'religious freedom' which eventually will emerge.  Question is, why, be patient it’s more interesting theologically, than the photo enhanced Talpiot Tombs.

 The two 'best sellers' are as follows.  

The decoded messages of the seven seals of the book of revalation  (sic)
by David KoreshJames D. TaborJ. Philip Arnold 
 4.00 avg rating — 1 rating — published 1993

Why Waco?

Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America

James D. Tabor (Author), Eugene V. Gallagher (Author) 1997 Amazon Reviews 4 

seanachain
seanachain

I dont care if you are a rabbi, a priest, or dont believe in God. $imcha Jacobovici is an enemy of both the Jewish  and Christian religiions, because he invents half ass stories about the Bible and tries to call them " archaeology" 

jdtabor
jdtabor

Joe Zias, your knowledge of Waco is quite seriously underinformed and misinformed to put things mildly and once more you demonstrate you skills at ad hominem attacks on colleagues. If you would like to educate yourself a bit regarding the involvement of several of us academics who specialize in understanding such apocalyptic groups, ancient and modern, I have some suggestions. The book Why Waco, published with University of California Press with co-author Eugene Gallagher would be a start. It was featured on the cover of the NYTimes Review of books, excerpted by Harper’s, and given a 10 page favorable review in Christian Century and almost every other journal in our field. At last count it was used in over 50 college courses that cover the Waco incident. You can even read chapter one on-line, see link at my Jewish Roman World of Jesus web site, that also has a summary of the main points of the book. So far as the Talpiot tombs go the academic paper to which I refer, presented at the SBL in Chicago was well attended. I think the session you refer to was on the Archaeology and the Media, not on the Talpiot tombs, and you are correct, attendance was low because both the time and place was incorrectly printed in the program. I am giving a paper on our new Talpiot findings at the upcoming Southeast regional meeting of ASOR/SBL/AAR in Greenville, SC with responses by Profs. Rollston and Goodacre. I predict a lively well attended session and look forward to the proper academic debate to which I refer in my previous comment here.

elmishpacha9
elmishpacha9

Did anyone get this one, "“You do not make scientific announcements of this potential significance in sensational films or in a trade book that has unsubstantiated and controversial claims in it.”

For close to two thousand years a non-scientific and ridiculous statement that someone levitated to heaven in a human body is repeated as fact and Meyers says the above.  Who is kidding who?

By the way, the man they are talking about was a Jew that lived and died like all human beings.  He kept the Torah and taught his students that they must also.




eldadk
eldadk

To RaimoKangasniemi; visit Jerusalem, especially the Old City, and see for yourself whether or not "Israel's goal of annexing etc." is actually done or not. 

Zias criticism: Prof. Gibson states (Near Eastern Archaeology 69, 3-4, p. 119) that from morning to noon, 4/28/1980, the excavators of the Talpiot Tomb (known as "Jesus' tomb, E.K.) " . . .managed to extract ten ossuaries from the cave, which were transported on a special truck back to the safekeeping of the Rockefeller Museum. These ossuaries were handed over to the curator, anthropoligist Joe Zias . . .". Interestingly, Prof. Rahmani, the Chief Curator, cataligued only nine in his catalogue. One safekeeping, one would say, right? Ten handed over, only nine catalogued. Before we criticise ideas, we'd better look for physical losts, would we?  

RaimoKangasniemi
RaimoKangasniemi

"Biblical archaeology" is far too often very far from archaeology and a concubine to Christian and Jewish religions and modern Israel's goal of annexing and ethnically cleansing whole of East Jerusalem against international law and UN resolutions.


Zias' criticism towards the humbug theories of the film-maker is valid, but criticism towards "Biblical archaeology" doesn't go far enough most of the time. Serious science and attempts to excuse religious beliefs and illegal settlements don't fit together.

drjewest
drjewest

@ninaburleigh @TIMEWorld - and a fine essay it is

joezias
joezias

Paul, hidden agendas are only a part of it, One has to know where these people are coming from and their past finds. For Example, Tabor authenticated an inscription in Los Lunas, NM. pass and they are now defending David Koresh acting as adviser to his lawyer during the 51 day siege in which 86 people were killed. Koresh asked that his papers be given over to Tabor which they were after his death. Sometime later, Tabor testified in Washington, defending Koresh, this was around the time of the Oklahoma City massacre in which McVeich was responsible for 168 deaths, which was done in memory of Waco, two years to the date. Were talking about a small group of individuals after fame and fortune, running their own cults which few individuals are aware of. This is not about science nor was it ever about science nor religion, if they are not inventing stories, they are finding tombs of Jesus, or his DNA on a grand scale. As for their latest attempt to defend the tomb at the annual SBL meetings with over 10,000 people attending they were able to gather but ca 20 for the session in defense of their Talpiot tomb, several of whom I sent.

PaulKambulow
PaulKambulow

A still very unprofessional work,  presentation, as yes there is so much we all  don't understand and don't see in the exploration of the Talpiot tomb but clearly   the false persons with a non so hidden agenda of Christian bashing they are falsely trying to make use of for their own false agenda

jdtabor
jdtabor

What this story fails to explain is that the 2011 robotic camera exploration of the Talpiot tomb under the condominium building (that is less than 200 feet from the “Jesus” tomb) that was the subject of Jacobovici’s documentary was carried out by archaeologist Rami Arav (University of Nebraska) and myself based on a Israel Antiquities Authority excavation license and UNC Charlotte academic oversight. We were not “searching for relics” to pander to the faithful, but carrying out a fully scientific high-tech remote camera examination of a sealed 1st century tomb, without entering therein—a first in terms of such methods of exploration. The operation, our findings, and their interpretation were part of a scientific report that can be accessed at http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/tab368028.shtml. The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), the most prestigious professional organization in the field of Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology devoted a month to discussing our findings on their blog. I presented papers on our finds at the Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting and will also present a paper at the upcoming regional meeting of ASOR. It is not the case that the National Geographic panel of consulting experts “unanimously agreed” that the film and project not go forward. I was at those meetings held in Washington D.C. (Prof. Meyers did not attend as he was out of the country) and the panel agreed that our findings were of high significance and should be debated properly in the academy—which has been an ongoing process. What Mr. Zias has introduced is an entirely different element—namely libel, slander, and personal ad hominum attacks. He has never written anything scientific on our findings, stating his own interpretation nor has he submitted any paper or response to either the ASOR blog or appeared on the program of any of the professional meetings. He has carried out his attacks by personal e-mails and comments on blog posts and everyone in the field knows this since most have likely received his messages. I am not involved in the lawsuit but Ms. Burlein’s article here seems to imply Zias’s behavior is just part of normal scholarly dispute, which is far from the case.

PaulKambulow
PaulKambulow

This video reveals  why liars have to use false means to attack Jesus, Christianity with links to the devil, Occult, and the Kabbalah.    http://vimeo.com/57329758

PaulKambulow
PaulKambulow

Mat 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that comet...h in the name of the Lord. http://postedat.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/my-hearts-desire-and-prayer-to-god-also-is-for-israel-to-be-saved/

PaulKambulow
PaulKambulow

Nothing new here, many Jews have always hated Jesus and Christianity and have often lied, twisted  about them for thousands of years and will do so until Jesus comes again too.

PlumbLine
PlumbLine

Nevertheless.................Matthew 11:27........All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

rogueclassicist
rogueclassicist

If someone is being touted as an archaeologist, why wouldn't he/she promote themselves as winning something having to do with archaeology (i.e. an archaeological film award, although such festivals are rather common in Europe) rather than keep dropping the "Emmy-winning" thing? Naustin also brings up the oft-mentioned adjunct professorship at Huntington ... I really curious what course he might be teaching there. Is he teaching there in the current session? Professor Jacobovici has been touting the appointment at least since August and as far as I've been able to tell, the only appearance in Sudbury has been for a special screening of his Talpiot film. Is he actually teaching? When? What?

Naustin
Naustin

Zias' statement once again shows his need to libel. Simcha doesn't say anything about the Holocaust in every interview. He says it where relevant, namely, when you accuse him of "inventing Holocaust stories". It's pathetic that you keep hammering at this and actually keep raising the issue in conjunction with his archaeology films. With respect to his awards, that supposedly have nothing to do with archaeology, I'm sorry to cloud the issue with the FACTS but he has won the highest award in archaeology and film; The Special Jury Prize at the 8th International Archaeological Film Festival in Brussels, presented by the Museum of Fine Arts and History. His "Naked Archaeologist" series has been nominated three times by the History broadcasters of the world at the History Makers conference for "Most Innovative Programming". As a result of his work in film and archaeology, in 2012, he was appointed an adjunct Professor in the Department of Religion at Huntington University, Ontario. Finally, he is a Director of the Bethsaida Archaeological Dig representing Huntington University which is a co-sponsor of the excavation, and he is the Project Manager of the Talpiot Dig, an IAA sanctioned excavation in Jerusalem that has pushed the envelope of Israel based archaeology with the use of a robotic camera. While he's doing all this, Zias is sitting at home at his computer personally attacking him. Absolutely no academic arguments are made. Only various charges of deception, manipulation, forgery etc. etc. 

What's sad is that in the comment below, Zias also manages to insult his late colleague Joseph Gat by saying that he did not deserve any awards because he was no good and could not read any inscriptions. Not only that, he also insults his widow by suggesting that she is just a mouthpiece for Simcha. Does he have any proof for this multi-person libel? No! The only thing that has been established recently in an Israeli court was that Zias cannot read his own name on an ossuary. During the proceedings of the James Ossuary court case, Zias asked to testify in English! Then, when he proceeded to make statements about the "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" inscription, he was asked how he can read ancient Hebrew when he can't testify in modern Hebrew. His answer - under oath - is that he can't read ancient inscriptions at all. The lawyers then pointed out that the name on the ossuary "Joseph" is in perfect block letters and can be read by any school child in Israel. In his summation to the court, Judge Farkash said that Zias' testimony "was not credible". 

One thing for sure, Zias has learned that if you keep attacking people personally, you get your name in the news. As for Simcha, all power to him for drawing a red line in the sand and saying that free speech ends where libel begins.

joezias
joezias

 While reading any interview with him, within a paragraph or two, one will always know that he won an Emmy and two he comes from a family which suffered in the Holocaust which wins a lot of sympthy abroad, but none here in a country in which nearly every EU family lost dear ones. To use it in the manner in which he does in a way defines the individual, in an pathetic manner. They used this in Jan 2008 in which they awarded a Lifetime Acheivement Award to our deceased colleagues wife, who 'knew he had found the tomb of the Jesus family, but took the secret to his grave', in order for them to be vindicated. Tabor, Charlesworth sat there quietly after the award was given while we sat there in digust, particularly as Josef Gat never would have gone along with such a scheme. He began his long career as an inspector and finished as an inspector, honest and hard working as one could wish for, but Josef never published any articles alone and was unable to read the inscriptions, in fact, they were read and published years after his death.. By giving his widow this award, it defines and speaks volumes about this small group of individuals who will use anything to save face. In documents before the court today, they have elevated Josef to Professor Gat, -this defines them and defames the Holocaust and the enormous human tragedy of the era.

rogueclassicist
rogueclassicist

As long as we're pointing out misconceptions about the "award winning" filmmaker, it's salutary to point out that NONE of those awards were for ANY movie having to do with archaeology or the ancient world. Great films about Ebola and the Sex Trade, but nothing to do with this stuff. Zero. Zilch. Nada. As such, the fact he may have won an award has absolutely zero to do with this. I really wish people would quit bringing irrelevant stuff up.

JimWest
JimWest

On the contrary- Nina's report is fairly done and hits all the high points.  It is not filled with egregious errors of fact but accurately portrays the situation as it presently stands.  

If any error was made it was in describing Simcha as an 'archaeologist'.  He is a journalist (and has won awards for it) - but he isn't an archaeologist.

At any rate- it is exceedingly difficult to take seriously anonymous/pseudonymous comments or commentators since they can, with ease, hide from the consequences of their words.

Arbogast
Arbogast

"Biblical Archeology Review" has published several articles convincingly defending the authenticity of the James ossuary. BAR's position is that the ossuary is indeed a first-century artifact (which isn't disputed) and that the inscription is not a recent forgery. While all the names on the box were quite common in first-century Judea, in the relationships listed (i.e., "son of" and "brother of") they were undoubtedly less so, but probably not sufficiently so to definitively establish the identity of James as the bother of Jesus Christ. BAR contends that a statistical analysis of names in first-century Jerusalem showed that there were 1.71 people named James with a father Joseph and a brother named Jesus, but this claim has been contested.

Naustin
Naustin

There are so many mistakes in this article that I simply can't go through all of them. For example, Jacobovici's 2002 film about the James ossuary was not called "The Jesus Discovery" but "James, Brother of Jesus". And the Discovery Channel absolutely did not  put the "James Ossuary on its list of the top ten scientific hoaxes of all time". A blogger named Peter McMahon did. He has nothing to do with Discovery. He never mentions Jacobovici's film. LIke this article, McMahon gets the facts wrong. He claims Oded Golan, owner of the James Ossuary, had a half made replica on his toilet seat. Nonsense. He claims that Golan "confessed" to the location of "other fakes" when interrogated by the police. Nonsense. Golan was found innocent of the charges. The sad thing is that all these distortions and factual errors make it seem like there's two sides to some kind of academic debate. In reality, there is sloppy fact checking and libelous statements on one side, and meticulous research and award winning films on the other side. Sad that the Zias' and McMahon's get a platform for their empty personal attacks. No one is against academic debate. It's defamation that's disgusting. 

DorothyKing
DorothyKing

@rogueclassicist guess there are different implications for a woman blogging in her undies than a man. You say housecoast, I say negligee

FancyLads
FancyLads

@NaustinThe names Yeshua (Jesus or Joshua), Yochanan and Miryam were as common in the first century Levant as Joshua, John and Mary are today; and the odds of finding a Yeshua bar Yosep, are the same as finding a Josh whose Dad's name was Joe and was buried with people named Johnny and Mary. 

Proof of nothing.

In addition the Μαρία in the spelling of Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνή was not unique but incredibly common. 


Jacobovici is a P.T.Barnum for gullible revisionists.

rogueclassicist
rogueclassicist

@Naustin You do seem to like straw men, don't you? You really don't want to deal with all those commentators on the web who have pointed out the difficulties with  the 'maria' claims ... rather, go after an argument which some would probably easily agree with. That said, you still appear to have difficulties with something which should be simpler, namely, telling us the name of a/the course which Professor Jacobovici will be teaching at Huntington or has taught at Huntington, since he's been using the title since last August. I -- and quite a few others -- would like just a little evidence of that ...

jdtabor
jdtabor

@joezias Interesting post Joe except you have all your facts wrong. If you begin by reading the book first, and then making comments you might make better headway. I was never at Waco. There was no "tape" of Koresh's last words passed on to me,  I never testified in congress "in behalf" of the Branch Davidians, etc. etc. So far as the book, do you really think reviews at Amazon are where academic critical exchanges go on? Let me get this straight. When you evaluate a book you recommend the following method: 1) Don't read the book itself; 2) go to Amazon for reviews. As I pointed out to you below, you can even read the 1st chapter free on-line, at the UC Berkeley Press site, and that alone would  at least inform you on the  core facts.  Why Waco, as I explained below, is a peer reviewed academic book with a university press, reviewed widely in academic journals with high critical acclaim, and even on the cover of the NYTimes Review of Books. You might also want to look up who Eugene Gallagher is, my co-author, as there is hardly anyone with more respect as a scholar in the American Academy of Religions, and you slander him indirectly here too. Shame, shame.

mitchellday123
mitchellday123

@elmishpacha9  By the way elmish the Bible does not purport to be scientific so your entire Christophobic screed is just stupid. 

RaimoKangasniemi
RaimoKangasniemi

@eldadk Israel attacks against the inhabitants of occupied East Jerusalem are almost daily now; houses are destroyed and families driven out from other houses which are then given to illegal Jewish settlers in contradiction to international law. And in December Israel regime declared that intends to separate East Jerusalem fully from the West Bank by building more illegal settlements in the E1 area. Its ethnic cleansing and a war crime.

Naustin
Naustin

@joezias It's very interesting that you never, ever make any actual "criticisms". All you do is personally attack people, count how many people attend their lectures, question the validity of universities etc. And here you feel very comfortable - while living in Israel - making common cause with some guy who just wrote: "Nothing new here, many Jews have always hated Jesus and Christianity and have often lied, twisted  about them for thousands of years and will do so until Jesus comes again too." Birds of a feather.


joezias
joezias

@rogueclassicist 

I too have been following that university appointment as nowhere at the non accredited university does his name appear.  Secondly, the movie which was shown in Sudbury was free to the public. Seems  the book, like the film is not moving, alas. 

Naustin
Naustin

@rogueclassicist I see you are following Simcha's comings and goings very carefully. I'm sure Simcha and his Department Chair are following this chain very closely and they will report to you for your approval his exact responsibilities at the university.

sparrow
sparrow

@energeiasubmit to reason and evidence and be at peace with it; this way truth will come to you.

RaimoKangasniemi
RaimoKangasniemi

@ArbogastWhat comes to that, the texts in the ossuary are written in different type of letters, in use at different times. The name of the person whose remains the ossuary contained was written possibly well over a hundred years before the the identifaction of that person as a brother of Jesus - assuming that the writing is legitimate.


rogueclassicist
rogueclassicist

@DorothyKing i definitely dont blog in one of those!

rogueclassicist
rogueclassicist

@Naustin @rogueclassicist But the Chair has not responded to queries from I (and several others) on this. Do you know? You seem to know an awful lot about his personal achievements ... surely you know this.

Naustin
Naustin

@rogueclassicist @Naustin This is not a Discovery position! It's on no Discovery site. Who knows if someone posted it there for a brief moment in 2008. It doesn't even mention the film anyway.

DorothyKing
DorothyKing

@rogueclassicist honestly - you're such a spoil sport ;-)

DorothyKing
DorothyKing

@rogueclassicist LOL - no lipstick or false eyelashes either? I guess I'm thinking of Dame Edna Everage ...

rogueclassicist
rogueclassicist

@Naustin   @rogueclassicist I'm not sad at all; I genuinely curious ... not a stalker at all either (nor a blogger in his underwear; just a blogger). I am genuinely curious what courses Professor Jacobovici is teaching at Huntington. Like I said, he started mentioning it last August and I have not been able to find any details on same since then. Huntington is a University affiliated with Laurentian University and which has a Religious Studies program and Gerontology. I'm assuming Professor Jacobovici would be teaching in Religious Studies in some area, but I cannot find any evidence of same. Enquiries to Huntington last fall went unanswered. Other contacts I have in the area have not been able to find anything.about this either. It's a long-standing question and the silence becomes more suspicious by the hour.

Naustin
Naustin

@rogueclassicist @joezias You guys are very sad. Simcha gets a university appointment and like online stalkers you get in touch with the Chair. Very sad. Then Joe starts putting down the university. Suddenly it's a "non accredited university". Joe, not every university can be on the level of your "Science and Antiquity Group-Jerusalem" which is the way you sign off. What exactly is this group? Where is it "accredited"? Of course the Chair doesn't respond to bizarre queries concerning her professors. 

By the way, maybe Joe can clarify something for me...he signs off as an anthropologist and academic, but to the best of my knowledge he has never had an academic position. He doesn't have a Ph.D. He has an MA in social anthropology, not physical anthropology. He's an expert on Afro-American music and, yet, he worked at the IAA as their bone expert until they realized that he doesn't have a degree - or even a course - in physical anthropology. Is this true? Joe, are you a social anthropologist who presents himself as a physical anthropologist? Speaking of academic positions, I would just like to clarify this point.