Update: Just published “In Memoriam” by Howard R. Feldman.
A personal note: I have been more or less off-line with regard to my blog during the four weeks of the Mt Zion dig and the International Society of Biblical Literature meeting in Vienna last week (though I have posted lots of photos on Facebook and my page is open to anyone with a FB account to view. I just got home this weekend. Dealing with all the normal stress of an excavation with 40+ participants not to mention the tensions that broke in Jerusalem the day we arrived over the kidnappings and murders, the beginning of Ramadan, staying in east Jerusalem by the Albright at the Ritz hotel, and now the rockets from Gaza and Israel’s response made it nigh impossible to devote time to writing. I hate that my first post has to be the sad news of the death of a dear friend and colleague.
I got the sad and shocking news last night via e-mail from Robert Deutsch:
Amnon Rosenfeld was killed in a car accident on July 10
The funeral will take place tomorrow Sunday, July 13, in Givat Shaul Jerusalem
His wife is still alive in the hospital.
I know no other details but his Facebook page is here with a lovely photo that captures his fresh-faced wonderful personality. As Matthew Kalman wrote me last night in shock, “he was a lovely, lovely, man.” Besides Kalman I think Amnon might be the only person who attended all sessions of the infamous “Trial of the Century,” regarding the case against Oded Golan, et al. that he and certain accomplices had dealt in stolen artifacts and forged, among other things, the inscription on the James ossuary and the Jehoash tablet.
Ironically, his last article appeared yesterday morning on Bible & Interpretation without the editors even knowing Amnon was dead–so it turns out to be a posthumous publication. His vast knowledge of the facts of the fiasco as well as his acute analysis of the poisonous and spiteful atmosphere among many in our field is in my view “spot on.” This contribution is one of his best think and most important. Don’t miss it:
The Antiquities Game – Behind the Trial of the Century
Amnon was a retired Geophysicist from the Geological Survey of Israel and was involved in the early physical tests on both of these controversial articles. He also wrote about the Talpiot tomb. You can find many of his most important contributions archived here at Bible & Interpretation. I should also mention the high quality reporting on all of these matters by veteran reporter Matthew Kalman, which you can find archived here.
Amnon and I corresponded regularly and when I saw his article up at Bible & Interpretation yesterday I thought it strange I had not heard from him that it was posted. Of course I had no idea he was dead. We saw many things eye to eye and I enjoyed our occasional meetings for coffee or a snack in Jerusalem and we would talk avidly about all the latest in the crazy world of “Biblical Archaeology.” He was wise, witty, with a keen analytical mind and a quick smile. I send his family my deepest condolences and will be praying for them today with the funeral taking place just as I am finishing up this post. Like a billion+ others I will watch the World Cup this afternoon but I will have Amnon on my mind today and for a long time to come.