Talpiot Tomb Conference in Jerusalem Underway…
by James Tabor
The Jerusalem conference on the Talpiot “Jesus” Tomb is fully underway this week. We are meeting just outside the Old City at the beautiful and historic Mishkenot Sha’ananim. I intend to write a series of extensive reports on the various papers, ideas, issues, and information that emerges when I return to the States. So far our gatherings have been extraordinarily beneficial, with respectful exchanges, plenty of sharp differences, and all of us learning a great deal. I thought I might post the program and participants for those who might be interested. I am grateful to Professor James Charlesworth and Princeton Theological Seminary for putting together such a fine program. All the papers, as well as those of contributors who were not able to attend will be fully published. I will provide full details as they become available.
Jewish Views of the After Life and Burial Practices in Second Temple Judaism
Evaluating the Talpiot Tomb in Context
Jan 13-16, 2008 in Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Jerusalem
The Third Princeton Symposium on Judaism and Christian Origins
Steering Committee: J. Charlesworth, D. Mendels, M. Aviam, G. Mazor, S. Gibson, Dan Bahat
SUNDAY, JANUARY 13TH, 2008
Registration and check-in
6:00pm – 7:30pm
2) Opening Address “Jerusalem’s Tombs During the Time of Hillel and Jesus” –
7:30pm – 9:00pm
MONDAY, JANUARY 14TH, 2008
Brief lectures of ten-twenty minutes each, followed by open discussions.
8:00am – 9:30am
Panel Discussion: Ancient Beliefs About the Afterlife and Burial Customs: Session I
Choon-Leong Seow “Views of the Afterlife in Job”
F. W. Dobbs-Allsopp “Love as Strong as Death”: A Reading of Song 8:5-8, with
Special Attention to the Imagery of Death and the
Geza Vermes “The Afterlife in Jewish Apocryphal Works and the Dead Sea
• What were the major views of death and the afterlife among Hebrews, Israelites, Jews, or “Christians” in these periods?
10:00am – 11:30am
Panel Discussion: Ancient Beliefs About the Afterlife and Burial Customs: Session II
Presiding: Oded Newman
Casey Elledge “Views of the Afterlife and Post-70 Judaism: Josephus”
Alan Segal “Views of the Afterlife and Post-70 Judaism: Rabbinics”
Israel Knohl “By Three Days, Alive: Messiahs, Resurrection, and Ascent to
Heaven in Hazon Gabriel”
Arye Edrei***** “Burial customs and Rabbinic Law”
Amos Kloner “the characteristics of the Necropolis of Jerusalem in the late Hellenistic and early Roman period”.
All participants will present a ten-minute overview of the question raised, the method used to answer it, and the most likely conclusion. When all panelists have presented succinctly their research, the panel will discuss among themselves and then the floor will be open for general discussion. Each participant is to prepare a one-page summary for 50 people.
Panel Discussion: Tombs, Ossuaries, and Burial Practices: The Archaeological Evidence
Presiding: Adolfo Roitman
• When, where, and why were ossuaries used in Jewish burials?
• To what degree are ossuary and cave burials a sign of wealth and status?
• How typical are ossuaries for the Jews in and near Jerusalem?
• What do we learn from the ossuaries: markings, decorations, inscriptions?
• What are the broad burial and cemetery patterns around Jerusalem?
• What was typical about burial customs in the Galilee?
• What were the different types of Jewish burial in the period?
• What does the Church of the Holy Sepulcher inform us about Jesus’ burial?
2:30pm – 4:00pm
Panel Discussion: Burial Beliefs and Practices: The Architectural and Textual Evidence
Presiding: Choon-Leong Seow
• Focus on ideology and texts
• How do texts inform our understanding of material evidence?
• Burial facades and monuments as markers of political ideology, religious beliefs and prestige.
• How are Hellenistic burials related to views of the afterlife?
• What do we learn about Jewish burial customs from the classical Jewish sources and from the archeology of the Shroud Tomb?
4:30pm – 6:00pm
Panel Discussion: Onomastics and Prosopography in Second Temple Judaism
Presiding: Emanuel Tov
• How and when can we match inscriptional names with known historical figures?
• How representative is our surviving onomastic data?
• Attempting prosopography with the Talpiot inscriptions? What are the issues and potential results?
TUESDAY, JANUARY 15TH, 2008
9:00am – 10:30am
Panel Discussion: The Talpiot Ossuaries and their Epigraphy
Presiding: F. W. Dobbs-Allsopp
• Reading the “Yeshua bar Yehosef” inscription.
• Issues related to the names: Yose, Mariah, Matya, and Judah bar Yeshua
• How is the Greek inscription (Mariamenou/Mara) to be read and understood?
• What is the significance of Greek inscriptions in Jewish tombs?
11:00am – 12:30pm
Panel Discussion: Forensic Archaeology, Paleo-DNA and their Archaeological Applications
Presiding: John Hoffmann
• What is the history of the use of DNA on skeletal remains from tombs?
• What are the value and limitations of Mitochondrial and Nuclear results?
• The results from the Akeldama “Tomb of the Shroud” as a test case
• What was learned from the tests on the “Yeshua” and “Mariamene” ossuary remains?
• What future prospects remain for learning more about the Talpiot materials?
2:00pm – 3:30pm
Panel Discussion: The Landscape of Tombs – New Methods of Research and Archaeological Applications
Presiding: Motti Aviam
Charles Pellegrino ***
• What are the scientific methods for the study of a necropolis?
• Patterns of tombs and their significance
• What can we learn from patina on stone surfaces?
• What do preliminary tests tell us about the patina of the Talpiot tomb ossuaries?
• What are future prospects for this area of research?
4:00pm – 5:30pm
Panel Discussion: The Talpiot Tomb in March 1980
Presiding: Gabi Mazor
Shimon Gibson “Interpreting Archaeology and the Talpiot Tomb”
Gabi Barkay “Reflections on the Talpiot Excavation”
“Skeletal Remains from the Talpiot Tomb: What do we know?
• An overview of the March, 1980 excavation and its wider contexts
• A description of the tomb and its contents
• What records and photographs remain of the excavation?
• What do we know about the skeletal remains?
• How were skeletal remains typically studied and handled in 1980?
• How and when were the finds catalogued and studied?
• What do we not know that we wish we knew?
• What would be done differently today with more time and refined methods?
5:30pm – 7:00pm
Panel Discussion: Mary Magdalene in Early Christian Tradition
Presiding: V. Hemingway
Ann Graham Brock
• What do we know about the historical Mary Magdalene?
• How valuable historically are the later Coptic and other non-canonical traditions?
• What are the arguments pro and con regarding Jesus being married or having children?
• Would early Jesus’ followers have called Mary Magdalene “Master”?
• Was Mary Magdalene a woman of means with a Hellenistic cultural background?
• Does the presence of a “Judah son of Jesus” ossuary in the Talpiot tomb necessarily disqualify it as being the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth?
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16TH, 2008
9:00am – 10:30am
Panel Discussion: Relating Tomb Archaeology with Historical Figures: Possibilities and Problems Discoveries
Presiding: Moshe Zimmerman
Dino Politis “Relating sites to historical figures: Lot’s Cave”
Joe Fitzmyer*** “The James Ossuary”
Ehud Netzer “The Discovery of Herod’s Tomb”
André Lemaire “The Ossuary of Simon and Alexander”
What methodologies help us discern Herod’s Tomb at the Herodium?
• Evaluating the Caiaphus, Shimon bar Jonas, and Alexander/Simon of Cyrene inscriptions: What are the methods and presuppositions involved?
11:00am – 12:30pm
Panel Discussion: The Burial of Jesus, the Empty Tomb, and the Jesus Family
Presiding: Tom Oates
• Exploring the Palestinian Jesus Movement and Jesus’ Clan
• A discussion of the family movement, from the Baptizer to James and beyond
• What are the basic theories on the Jesus family: brothers, sisters, paternity
• What is known of the death of Jesus’ brothers?
• The empty tomb and resurrection theology.
• What is our best historical evidence on Who’s Who and what happened in history? James, Shimon bar Clophas, the brothers Yose and Judah
• Are the roles of James and Jesus’ brothers crucial to understanding pre-70 CE Christianity?
• What were the major parties and politics involved: Peter, Paul, James?
2:00pm – 3:30pm
Panel Discussion: Statistics and the Talpiot tomb
Presiding: James Joyner
• What can statistics potentially tell us? What are the limitations involved?
• What are some of the different statistical models and methods that might be employed with relation to Talpiot?
• Evaluating Feuerverger’s results
• Statistical methods of evaluating the cluster of names in the Talpiot Tomb
• Are historical identifications crucial to historical analyses?
4:30pm – 6:30pm
Lifetime Achievement Award Joseph Gat
Panel Discussion: Summing Up – What Have We Learned?
Presiding: I. Gruenwald
Panel: James Charlesworth, Eric Meyers, James Tabor, Israel Knohl and Shimon Gibson
Sponsored through the generosity of many including George Blumenthal and the Foundation on Judaism and Christian Origins.
*****= can’t appear. Will send a paper