The Two Talpiot Tombs at the End of 2012
by James Tabor
Yesterday I noted how the Talpiot “Patio” tomb is in the news again sparked by a lecture given by Prof. Amos Kloner at Bar Ilan University on December 27th. You can read the news coverage and my initial comments here. I have just received a transcript of Prof. Kloner’s lecture though I don’t have the drawings he showed yet. As soon as I get these I will be posting a response.
From reading the transcript though I would say that reports of “stripping the Naked Archaeologist” are greatly exaggerated, and besides, it was me, not Simcha Jacobovici who was mainly “taken to task” for my interpretations of both the ossuary image of the fish and the Greek inscription. Kloner merely registered his agreement with those who think the image is a vase or amphora and also his preference for the translation of Rollston or some combination of Rollston and Bauckham–though in the case of Bauckham he was apparently not aware of Richard’s final and fourth suggestion for translation. Since these issues were discussed extensively for a solid month on the ASOR blog in March, and updated on Mark Goodacre’s blog, I find nothing really new in Kloner’s paper regarding the interpretation of the finds. He does offer a new version of how the brief excavation itself was carried out in 1981, on which I will comment in a subsequent post on the lecture as a whole. We now have three versions of Kloner’s account of how the tomb was briefly examined and then abandoned and sealed over after protests from Orthodox Jewish Heredim.
Since I have quite a number of new readers of this blog since my book Paul and Jesus came out in November I thought it would be helpful to link here some of the major articles I have written this past year on the two Talpiot tombs, just for those who want to catch up a bit on this rather complex but fascinating subject:
First, a comprehensive overview of my take on the “Jesus” family tomb, which is less than 200 feet from the “Patio” tomb of recent discussion:
Second, a post that goes beyond this overview and takes up issues that have been subsequently raised by those who both agree and disagree with my assessment:
Finally, my own initial interpretation of the “Patio” tomb, with the interesting image and Greek inscription:
Most of all I want to recommend the book I co-authored with Simcha Jacobovici titled The Jesus Discovery: The New Archaeological Find That Reveals the Birth of Christianity about which you can read more here. Though written for a non-specialist audience this book is fully documented and offers a comprehensive look at both Talpiot tombs and the full implications of their contents. It takes one far beyond the various blog articles and addresses all the main issues and controversies head-on.