More Photos of the Talpiot Tomb Discoveries Released
by James Tabor
We have just uploaded a dozen or so additional photos of the Talpiot tomb discoveries at our main web site: thejesusdiscovery.org. They are available for both viewing and downloading and can be used freely by anyone. You can find them under the tab: Photos and Graphics.
Some have circulated the charge that we have cropped, altered, manipulated, edited, “photoshopped,” or otherwise adjusted the photos we have released, while others have even suggested the poor quality of the images is a purposefully sinister move on our part since we don’t want the public to be able to see clearly our findings so we can control their interpretation. These charges and innuendos are as false as they are unfortunate. Here are the facts:
1. No photos of the Jonah image or any other images from the tomb have been cropped, altered, manipulated, edited or adjusted in any way whatsoever. The photos we distributed were precisely what we took from the camera itself, or still shots taken from our monitors.
2. Because there is no single camera shot of the Jonah image but rather hours of camera footage and hundreds of stills, all taken at varying angles with different light, we asked our CGI people to produce a computer generated composite of what the whole image might look like. Our desire is to make this representation as accurate as possible and as time goes on we will continue to make improvements. The image is oriented downward, with the fish’s nose and “head” of Jonah pointing to the bottom of the ossuary, as is discussed and made clear in my preliminary academic report, in the book, The Jesus Discovery, on the ossuary museum model, and at our press conference in NY on February 28th. In fact this downward orientation was one of the reasons we rejected the nephesh or “tower” interpretation of the image, since an up-side-down monument made no sense to us or to many of our academic consultants.
2. In the case of the four line Greek inscription, the name MARA, and the photos of the “fish in the margins” along the top border of the ossuary, we have posted photos that are “lined in” to show how we see the letters or the images. These marks are clear and obvious. They are done by anyone wanting to illustrate something on a complex photo. So long as the original, unlined version is available, so people can make comparisons, marking features on photos, or otherwise highlighting, is certainly not “manipulating” “altering” or otherwise “adjusting” them with an intent to deceive. Recently several have used such marks to point out other features they want to call attention to–including “handles” they see on several of the images from both 1981 and our shots from 2010-2011. This is perfectly fine with us and the debate and discussion is then open as to whether what one “sees” in does in fact represent what one maintains.
3. No photos on the web site have been taken down, altered, manipulated, or otherwise adjusted. When our web person is in the process of arranging or uploading new photos the site remains live so it might appear to a visitor, for a very short time, that this or that has been taken down or added, but everything is up that we put up on February 28th, with more photos now added. We do continually want to correct anything wrong. For example, two of our photos were labeled 1980 rather than 1981, and we have corrected that. We appreciate anyone pointing out any other errors and we will do our best to correct them. I thank Mark Goodacre for his sharp eyes in noticing that one of the figures in my Preliminary Report is misidentified (the inside shot of the ossuary with the bones, Fig. 7 in my Preliminary Report, was incorrectly labeled as ossuary 5 when in fact it is ossuary 4 as our GE camera man has now confirmed). Robert Cargill suggested that the label “composite representation” for the complete Jonah image we produced should be clarified as a CGI representation and not a photo and we agreed and made that clarification.
We hope these additional photos will stimulate more discussion, collegiality, and “good faith” exchange of views. Once the film is aired in early April on Discovery TV we will no doubt have the green light to distribute live video clips of our filming and many other images.