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RE: [Synoptic-L] Keramon

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  • David Hindley
    ... From: David Hindley [mailto:dhindley@compuserve.com] Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2006 10:49 AM To: No Reply Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] Digest Number 133
    Message 1 of 13 , Oct 11, 2006
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: David Hindley [mailto:dhindley@...]
      Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2006 10:49 AM
      To: 'No Reply'
      Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] Digest Number 133

      Emmanuel,

      All I can do is point you to a message on B-Hebrew that seemed to link to some resources on the matters at hand.

      http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/2005-January/022219.html

      You may need to consult authorities on Galilean archeology and/or building practices in the ancient Mediterranean region.

      It looks to me like the author of Luke, by using the plural, is referring to roof tiles, common in Roman or Greek influenced towns
      and cities but relatively rare in the Galilean countryside, to accommodate the expectations of his intended audience (Roman
      administrators or the magistrates of the "free" cities). Mark on the other hand just tells it like it probably was, with the men
      digging through a part of a thatch and mud roof.

      Respectfully,

      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio USA



      -----Original Message-----
      From: sentto-15623871-133-1160569424-dhindley=compuserve.com@...
      [mailto:sentto-15623871-133-1160569424-dhindley=compuserve.com@...] On Behalf Of Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2006 8:24 AM
      To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [Synoptic-L] Digest Number 133


      There is 1 message in this issue.

      Topics in this digest:

      1. Keramon
      From: Emmanuel Fritsch


      Message
      ________________________________________________________________________

      1. Keramon
      Posted by: "Emmanuel Fritsch" Emmanuel.Fritsch@... archeboc
      Date: Wed Oct 11, 2006 1:59 am (PDT)


      Hello,

      Arguing about technical details in Luke on a french forum, we deeply disagree about "keramon" in Luke 5:19. It has been said that
      "tiles"
      were not present in Syria at the beginning of Ist century, so that it constitutes an error of Luke.

      Since I was not convinced, I said it, and I have been sharply accused for being a defender of inerrancy.
      Hence I would like to look around the question.

      Even if "tiles" for "keramon" is the mainstream translation, in french, english, german, we have other translation for this
      "keramon". Segond translate "par une ouverture du toit".

      Bailly, the standard greek-french dictionnary, proposes "clay".
      Greek online bible (http://www.greekbible.com) proposes :
      > 1) clay, potter's earth
      > 2) anything made of clay, earthen ware > 3) a roofing tile > 3a) the roof itself > 3b) the phrase "through the roof", means
      through the door in the
      > roof to which a ladder or stairway led up from the street
      > (according to the Rabbis distinguish two ways of entering
      > a house, "the way through the door" and "the way through
      > the roof". For Synonyms see entry 5858

      I would like to know :
      - what is the source for this definition ? (and for the whole lexicon of greek online bible)
      - are there any other stuff about the translation of "keramon" I should have looked at ?
      - are there any other stuff about "keramon" in Luke ?

      Thanks in advance,

      a+
      manu




      Messages in this topic (24)
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    • Bob Schacht
      ... Indeed. I cannot offer any primary information about the archaeology, but modern Americans typically do not understand the extent to which Middle
      Message 2 of 13 , Oct 11, 2006
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        At 04:51 AM 10/11/2006, David Hindley wrote:



        >-----Original Message-----
        >From: David Hindley [mailto:dhindley@...]
        >Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2006 10:49 AM
        >To: 'No Reply'
        >Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] Digest Number 133
        >
        >Emmanuel,
        >
        >All I can do is point you to a message on B-Hebrew that seemed to link to
        >some resources on the matters at hand.
        >
        ><http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/2005-January/022219.html>http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/2005-January/022219.html
        >
        >You may need to consult authorities on Galilean archeology and/or building
        >practices in the ancient Mediterranean region.

        Indeed. I cannot offer any primary information about the archaeology, but
        modern Americans typically do not understand the extent to which Middle
        Easterners use their rooftops as living space, especially after dark. If
        that is the case, they had to have easy ways to get up there.

        >. . .Mark on the other hand just tells it like it probably was, with the men
        >digging through a part of a thatch and mud roof.

        The problem with this is that it assumes that the rooftop was NOT being
        used for living space, doesn't it?
        I find it interesting that the men and their invalid friend had no trouble
        getting up on the roof. Why should it be easy for strangers to get up on
        the roof, but difficult for people on the rooftop to get back inside?

        Bob Schacht


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Chuck Jones
        Bob, I believe the stairways or ladders to these rooftop patios were on the outside of the house, not the inside. Chuck Rev. Chuck Jones Atlanta, Georgia Bob
        Message 3 of 13 , Oct 11, 2006
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          Bob,

          I believe the stairways or ladders to these rooftop patios were on the outside of the house, not the inside.

          Chuck

          Rev. Chuck Jones
          Atlanta, Georgia

          Bob Schacht <r_schacht@...> wrote:
          I find it interesting that the men and their invalid friend had no trouble
          getting up on the roof. Why should it be easy for strangers to get up on
          the roof, but difficult for people on the rooftop to get back inside?



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        • R. Steven Notley
          I will need to come back to this with a more full reply later. I am teaching today. However, in the meantime a few quick comments. As is well known, roofing
          Message 4 of 13 , Oct 11, 2006
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            I will need to come back to this with a more full reply later. I am
            teaching today. However, in the meantime a few quick comments.

            As is well known, roofing tiles are not introduced into Judea until
            after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. They appear to have been
            introduced by the X Legion. In any event, we have absolutely no
            evidence of their existence either in urban or rural settings prior to
            70 CE.

            As for the comments on the position of the stairs, in the insula style
            house in Capernaum one can see that the stairs are within the larger
            complex of extended family dwellings.

            Finally (and I apologize for the brevity) one should note that in some
            witnesses to Luke's account DIA TWN KERAMWN does not appear in verse
            19. Thus,they read, "they let the man down into the midst before
            Jesus." The idea one gets is that the friends brought the man up onto
            the roof and let him down into the open air courtyard that was central
            to the insula style houses. No excavation was needed. From what we
            know of architecture of first century Galilean homes, this location for
            Jesus makes much more sense. Yes, I realize that these textual
            witnesses are poor, but I have always found it fascinating that these
            readings give us a description of the event that accords with what we
            would expect according to the archaeological remains.

            Blessings,
            R. Steven Notley
            Nyack College, NYC


            On Oct 11, 2006, at 10:51 AM, David Hindley wrote:

            >
            >
            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: David Hindley [mailto:dhindley@...]
            > Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2006 10:49 AM
            > To: 'No Reply'
            > Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] Digest Number 133
            >
            > Emmanuel,
            >
            > All I can do is point you to a message on B-Hebrew that seemed to
            > link to some resources on the matters at hand.
            >
            > http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/2005-January/022219.html
            >
            > You may need to consult authorities on Galilean archeology and/or
            > building practices in the ancient Mediterranean region.
            >
            > It looks to me like the author of Luke, by using the plural, is
            > referring to roof tiles, common in Roman or Greek influenced towns
            > and cities but relatively rare in the Galilean countryside, to
            > accommodate the expectations of his intended audience (Roman
            > administrators or the magistrates of the "free" cities). Mark on the
            > other hand just tells it like it probably was, with the men
            > digging through a part of a thatch and mud roof.
            >
            > Respectfully,
            >
            > Dave Hindley
            > Cleveland, Ohio USA
            >
            > -----Original Message-----
            > From:
            > sentto-15623871-133-1160569424-
            > dhindley=compuserve.com@...
            >
            > [mailto:sentto-15623871-133-1160569424-
            > dhindley=compuserve.com@...] On Behalf Of
            > Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
            > Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2006 8:24 AM
            > To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: [Synoptic-L] Digest Number 133
            >
            > There is 1 message in this issue.
            >
            > Topics in this digest:
            >
            > 1. Keramon
            > From: Emmanuel Fritsch
            >
            > Message
            > __________________________________________________________
            >
            > 1. Keramon
            > Posted by: "Emmanuel Fritsch" Emmanuel.Fritsch@... archeboc
            > Date: Wed Oct 11, 2006 1:59 am (PDT)
            >
            > Hello,
            >
            > Arguing about technical details in Luke on a french forum, we deeply
            > disagree about "keramon" in Luke 5:19. It has been said that
            > "tiles"
            > were not present in Syria at the beginning of Ist century, so that it
            > constitutes an error of Luke.
            >
            > Since I was not convinced, I said it, and I have been sharply accused
            > for being a defender of inerrancy.
            > Hence I would like to look around the question.
            >
            > Even if "tiles" for "keramon" is the mainstream translation, in
            > french, english, german, we have other translation for this
            > "keramon". Segond translate "par une ouverture du toit".
            >
            > Bailly, the standard greek-french dictionnary, proposes "clay".
            > Greek online bible (http://www.greekbible.com) proposes :
            > > 1) clay, potter's earth
            > > 2) anything made of clay, earthen ware > 3) a roofing tile > 3a)
            > the roof itself > 3b) the phrase "through the roof", means
            > through the door in the
            > > roof to which a ladder or stairway led up from the street
            > > (according to the Rabbis distinguish two ways of entering
            > > a house, "the way through the door" and "the way through
            > > the roof". For Synonyms see entry 5858
            >
            > I would like to know :
            > - what is the source for this definition ? (and for the whole lexicon
            > of greek online bible)
            > - are there any other stuff about the translation of "keramon" I
            > should have looked at ?
            > - are there any other stuff about "keramon" in Luke ?
            >
            > Thanks in advance,
            >
            > a+
            > manu
            >
            > Messages in this topic (24)
            > __________________________________________________________
            > __________________________________________________________
            >
            > Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-l
            >
            > ----------------------------------------------------------
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            > ----------------------------------------------------------
            >
            >
            >

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Bob Schacht
            ... Thanks. What evidence is there for this? That s really the bottom line, isn t it? An ethnocentric thought that does not count as evidence is my feeling
            Message 5 of 13 , Oct 11, 2006
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              At 07:41 AM 10/11/2006, Chuck Jones wrote:
              >Bob,
              >
              >I believe the stairways or ladders to these rooftop patios were on the
              >outside of the house, not the inside.

              Thanks. What evidence is there for this? That's really the bottom line,
              isn't it?
              An ethnocentric thought that does not count as evidence is my feeling that
              if my bedroom was on the roof, I would not want to get there by going outside.
              Bob

              >
              >Chuck
              >
              >Rev. Chuck Jones
              >Atlanta, Georgia
              >
              >Bob Schacht <r_schacht@...> wrote:
              >I find it interesting that the men and their invalid friend had no trouble
              >getting up on the roof. Why should it be easy for strangers to get up on
              >the roof, but difficult for people on the rooftop to get back inside?
              ><http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Synoptic;_ylc=X3oDMTJmOHJnODM4BF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzE1NjIzODcxBGdycHNwSWQDMTcwNTA3NDA1NwRzZWMDdnRsBHNsawN2Z2hwBHN0aW1lAzExNjA1ODY3NjM->Visit
              >Your Group
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            • Jim West
              ... Life in Biblical Israel- King & Stager, p 18, p. 29 (which shows the sleeping quarters on the second INSIDE story). I saw once somewhere but now can t
              Message 6 of 13 , Oct 11, 2006
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                Bob Schacht wrote:
                > At 07:41 AM 10/11/2006, Chuck Jones wrote:
                >> Bob,
                >>
                >> I believe the stairways or ladders to these rooftop patios were on the
                >> outside of the house, not the inside.
                >
                > Thanks. What evidence is there for this? That's really the bottom line,
                > isn't it?
                > An ethnocentric thought that does not count as evidence is my feeling that
                > if my bedroom was on the roof, I would not want to get there by going outside.
                > Bob
                >

                Life in Biblical Israel- King & Stager, p 18, p. 29 (which shows the
                sleeping quarters on the second INSIDE story).

                I saw once somewhere but now can't remember where- I may even have it- a
                reconstruction of a "4 room house" with the stairs on the exterior to
                the roof where mats were spread for sleeping. But sans evidence I think
                King and Stager are probably right on this.

                Best

                Jim



                --
                Jim West, ThD

                http://web.infoave.net/~jwest -- Biblical Studies Resources
                http://drjimwest.wordpress.com -- Weblog
              • Bob Schacht
                ... Thanks, Jim. Does this show entrance to the roof through an opening in the roof for the stairs? ... Evidence-- even archaeological evidence-- can be
                Message 7 of 13 , Oct 11, 2006
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                  At 09:52 AM 10/11/2006, Jim West wrote:


                  >Bob Schacht wrote:
                  >>At 07:41 AM 10/11/2006, Chuck Jones wrote:
                  >>>Bob,
                  >>>
                  >>>I believe the stairways or ladders to these rooftop patios were on the
                  >>>outside of the house, not the inside.
                  >>Thanks. What evidence is there for this? That's really the bottom line,
                  >>isn't it?
                  >>An ethnocentric thought that does not count as evidence is my feeling
                  >>that if my bedroom was on the roof, I would not want to get there by
                  >>going outside.
                  >>Bob
                  >
                  >Life in Biblical Israel- King & Stager, p 18, p. 29 (which shows the
                  >sleeping quarters on the second INSIDE story).

                  Thanks, Jim. Does this show entrance to the roof through an opening in the
                  roof for the stairs?


                  >I saw once somewhere but now can't remember where- I may even have it- a
                  >reconstruction of a "4 room house" with the stairs on the exterior to the
                  >roof where mats were spread for sleeping. But sans evidence I think King
                  >and Stager are probably right on this.

                  Evidence-- even archaeological evidence-- can be confusing unless one knows
                  more about the context. For example, consider a common courtyard house--
                  that is, a rectangular compound in which there are walls all around the
                  outside, and access limited to one (or more) door(s), but open to the air
                  in the middle. This has been common in many parts of the Middle East, and
                  many archaeological commentaries on standard house plans take note of it.
                  Then imagine a stairway leading from the *interior courtyard* to the roof.
                  If all you have is a remnant of the compound consisting of the stairway and
                  adjacent parts of the house-- but not the other three sides of the
                  compound-- it might look as if the stairway is on the outside exterior,
                  i.e. public side, of the house, even though it was on the inside
                  (courtyard) side, and therefore private. So here we need to know whether
                  "exterior" means the public side, or the internal courtyard side.

                  Bob
                • Jim West
                  ... Nope. Just a ladder on the outside wall where some industrious looking woman appears to be spreading grain to dry. ... I can t imagine constructing a
                  Message 8 of 13 , Oct 11, 2006
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                    Bob Schacht wrote:

                    > Thanks, Jim. Does this show entrance to the roof through an opening in
                    > the roof for the stairs?
                    >

                    Nope. Just a ladder on the outside wall where some industrious looking
                    woman appears to be spreading grain to dry.

                    >
                    > Evidence-- even archaeological evidence-- can be confusing unless one
                    > knows more about the context. For example, consider a common courtyard
                    > house-- that is, a rectangular compound in which there are walls all
                    > around the outside, and access limited to one (or more) door(s), but
                    > open to the air in the middle. This has been common in many parts of the
                    > Middle East, and many archaeological commentaries on standard house
                    > plans take note of it. Then imagine a stairway leading from the
                    > *interior courtyard* to the roof. If all you have is a remnant of the
                    > compound consisting of the stairway and adjacent parts of the house--
                    > but not the other three sides of the compound-- it might look as if the
                    > stairway is on the outside exterior, i.e. public side, of the house,
                    > even though it was on the inside (courtyard) side, and therefore
                    > private. So here we need to know whether "exterior" means the public
                    > side, or the internal courtyard side.

                    I can't imagine constructing a house within a courtyard and then
                    building the stair to the roof on the outside of the compound. That
                    makes no sense. If such a stair existed, then it would have been inside
                    the compound but outside the house.

                    Best

                    Jim


                    --
                    Jim West, ThD

                    http://web.infoave.net/~jwest -- Biblical Studies Resources
                    http://drjimwest.wordpress.com -- Weblog
                  • Emmanuel Fritsch
                    Thanks a lot for all your stuff. Really interesting. I am still looking for information about the lexikon used in the greek online bible
                    Message 9 of 13 , Oct 16, 2006
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                      Thanks a lot for all your stuff. Really interesting.

                      I am still looking for information about the lexikon used in the greek
                      online bible (www.*greek**bible*.com/).

                      What are its academic accreditations ?
                      How confident do you feel with it ?
                      About "dia twn keramwn" which may be translated by "through the roof",
                      do you have somes sources about it ?

                      Thanks,

                      Emmanuel.
                    • Chuck Jones
                      Bob, I m embarrassed to admit that the most vivid recollections I have of the external staircase/ladder are from illustrations in Sunday School literature when
                      Message 10 of 13 , Oct 16, 2006
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                        Bob,

                        I'm embarrassed to admit that the most vivid recollections I have of the external staircase/ladder are from illustrations in Sunday School literature when I was a youth (and we all know how accurate that is!).

                        I do think it's important to make a distinction between the courtyard homes of the wealthy and the tiny homes of merchants and craftsmen in towns. These, I understand (from Seminary, not Sunday School!) were quite small--basically one room. The stairs/ladder were outside for reasons of space, cost and construction (the flat roof served basically a patio). Also, it was not uncommon for a small room to be added on the roof to be rented out.

                        So one approach is to read the story details and then imagine which sort of house Jesus is pictured as teaching in.

                        Chuck

                        Jim West <jwest@...> wrote:


                        Bob Schacht wrote:

                        > Thanks, Jim. Does this show entrance to the roof through an opening in
                        > the roof for the stairs?
                        >

                        Nope. Just a ladder on the outside wall where some industrious looking
                        woman appears to be spreading grain to dry.

                        >
                        > Evidence-- even archaeological evidence-- can be confusing unless one
                        > knows more about the context. For example, consider a common courtyard
                        > house-- that is, a rectangular compound in which there are walls all
                        > around the outside, and access limited to one (or more) door(s), but
                        > open to the air in the middle. This has been common in many parts of the
                        > Middle East, and many archaeological commentaries on standard house
                        > plans take note of it. Then imagine a stairway leading from the
                        > *interior courtyard* to the roof. If all you have is a remnant of the
                        > compound consisting of the stairway and adjacent parts of the house--
                        > but not the other three sides of the compound-- it might look as if the
                        > stairway is on the outside exterior, i.e. public side, of the house,
                        > even though it was on the inside (courtyard) side, and therefore
                        > private. So here we need to know whether "exterior" means the public
                        > side, or the internal courtyard side.

                        I can't imagine constructing a house within a courtyard and then
                        building the stair to the roof on the outside of the compound. That
                        makes no sense. If such a stair existed, then it would have been inside
                        the compound but outside the house.

                        Best

                        Jim

                        --
                        Jim West, ThD

                        http://web.infoave.net/~jwest -- Biblical Studies Resources
                        http://drjimwest.wordpress.com -- Weblog





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                      • R. Steven Notley
                        Gentlemen Perhaps I missed it, but I can not see that anyone responded or took note of my contribution to this discussion last week. Discussion has continued
                        Message 11 of 13 , Oct 16, 2006
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                          Gentlemen

                          Perhaps I missed it, but I can not see that anyone responded or took
                          note of my contribution to this discussion last week. Discussion has
                          continued unabated regarding "ladders" and whether the stairs were
                          inside or outside the houses.

                          I answered succinctly because of lack of personal time, but also
                          because the issues are not in question or difficult.

                          First, there were no tiles in Galilee or anywhere in Judea prior to
                          70 CE. It is universally attested that they were introduced by the
                          Roman X Legion after the conquest of Jerusalem and Judea. Mention of
                          tiles in most (but not all) manuscript readings of Luke 5:19 must be
                          explained otherwise.

                          Second, the style of houses in first century Galilee are well known
                          to those who are familiar with Roman period archaeology in Judea.
                          The courtyard styled houses are referred to by the term "insula
                          houses." Indeed we have many such fine examples in Roman period
                          Capernaum and Chorazin, including the so-called "St. Peter's house"
                          in Capernaum.

                          I refer you now to a brief excerpt from the Encyclopedia of
                          Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land (4 vols.; Jerusalem:
                          IES, 1993) 1:292, "The houses [i.e. of Capernaum] are characterized
                          by large courts surrounded by small dwelling chambers. The life of
                          an extended family centered around a communal court. In the courts
                          were ovens, staircases for access to roofs, and only one exit to the
                          street."

                          Having lived in Israel for 16 years, I have visited these
                          archaeological remains too many times to count.

                          There were no ladders. Stairs to access the roof were always within
                          the family dwelling complex. With few exceptions, homes were single
                          story. Capernaum is over 650 feet below sea level and in the summer
                          gets unbearably hot and humid. The stairs provided access in the
                          summers for a family to sleep where it might be cooler.
                          Nevertheless, as Josephus describes in the collapse of the roofs in
                          Gamla when the Roman soldiers tried to use them in their escape from
                          the Jewish onslaught, the roofs were not intended to bear much weight.

                          Typical roofing material was what is referred to in the US as a "sod
                          roof" that included larger branches, then small reeds and finally
                          covered with straw and mud. Primarily, these were intended to keep
                          out the weather. It is not unlikely that these had to be repaired
                          annually. One can even see today in Capernaum and elsewhere the
                          basalt rollers that were used to repair the roofs.

                          Hope this helps.

                          Blessings,
                          R. Steven Notley
                          Nyack College, NYC


                          On Oct 16, 2006, at 8:21 AM, Chuck Jones wrote:

                          > Bob,
                          >
                          > I'm embarrassed to admit that the most vivid recollections I have
                          > of the external staircase/ladder are from illustrations in Sunday
                          > School literature when I was a youth (and we all know how accurate
                          > that is!).
                          >
                          > I do think it's important to make a distinction between the
                          > courtyard homes of the wealthy and the tiny homes of merchants and
                          > craftsmen in towns. These, I understand (from Seminary, not Sunday
                          > School!) were quite small--basically one room. The stairs/ladder
                          > were outside for reasons of space, cost and construction (the flat
                          > roof served basically a patio). Also, it was not uncommon for a
                          > small room to be added on the roof to be rented out.
                          >
                          > So one approach is to read the story details and then imagine which
                          > sort of house Jesus is pictured as teaching in.
                          >
                          > Chuck
                          >
                          > Jim West <jwest@...> wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          > Bob Schacht wrote:
                          >
                          > > Thanks, Jim. Does this show entrance to the roof through an
                          > opening in
                          > > the roof for the stairs?
                          > >
                          >
                          > Nope. Just a ladder on the outside wall where some industrious looking
                          > woman appears to be spreading grain to dry.
                          >
                          > >
                          > > Evidence-- even archaeological evidence-- can be confusing unless
                          > one
                          > > knows more about the context. For example, consider a common
                          > courtyard
                          > > house-- that is, a rectangular compound in which there are walls all
                          > > around the outside, and access limited to one (or more) door(s), but
                          > > open to the air in the middle. This has been common in many parts
                          > of the
                          > > Middle East, and many archaeological commentaries on standard house
                          > > plans take note of it. Then imagine a stairway leading from the
                          > > *interior courtyard* to the roof. If all you have is a remnant of
                          > the
                          > > compound consisting of the stairway and adjacent parts of the
                          > house--
                          > > but not the other three sides of the compound-- it might look as
                          > if the
                          > > stairway is on the outside exterior, i.e. public side, of the house,
                          > > even though it was on the inside (courtyard) side, and therefore
                          > > private. So here we need to know whether "exterior" means the public
                          > > side, or the internal courtyard side.
                          >
                          > I can't imagine constructing a house within a courtyard and then
                          > building the stair to the roof on the outside of the compound. That
                          > makes no sense. If such a stair existed, then it would have been
                          > inside
                          > the compound but outside the house.
                          >
                          > Best
                          >
                          > Jim
                          >
                          > --
                          > Jim West, ThD
                          >
                          > http://web.infoave.net/~jwest -- Biblical Studies Resources
                          > http://drjimwest.wordpress.com -- Weblog
                          >
                          >
                          > ---------------------------------
                          > Want to be your own boss? Learn how on Yahoo! Small Business.
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
                          >
                          >



                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • R. Steven Notley
                          Shalom Synoptic-Listers I arrived back yesterday morning from Israel at 5:00 a.m. (in a NY snow storm) and was greeted with the hubbub over the purported Tomb
                          Message 12 of 13 , Feb 27, 2007
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                            Shalom Synoptic-Listers

                            I arrived back yesterday morning from Israel at 5:00 a.m. (in a NY
                            snow storm) and was greeted with the hubbub over the purported Tomb
                            of Jesus' Family. Over the last 24 hours in my jetlagged state I
                            have had the opportunity to review the inscriptional material. It
                            was already published by L.Y. Rahmani in A Catalogue of Jewish
                            Ossuraries (Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities Authority, 1994) 222-224.

                            I have collated what I see as some of the fundamental problems with
                            the claims. As usual, the problem is that these folks do not control
                            the languages at the center of their claims.

                            Here are a few reflections, questions regarding the hubbub:

                            1. After looking at Rahmani's inscriptions, I think ossuary No. 704
                            does indeed read Yeshua bar Yosef (contra Stephen Pfann). However,
                            the collocation of these names certainly does not necessitate that
                            this is Jesus' ossuary. Indeed, even within Rahmani's own catalogue
                            there is another example of a Yeshua bar Yosef (cf. No. 9.1). The
                            limited pool of names means that the combination of Yeshua and Yosef
                            would have surfaced countless times.

                            2. While it is true that Yoseh (ossuary No. 705) is a diminutive
                            form of Yosef, I can not think of a single occasion where the NT
                            Joseph is referred to by this form either in the NT or later
                            Christian writings. Contrast the lack of the shortened form of
                            Yosef's name (i.e. YOSEH) with the diminutive form of Mary's name
                            (from MIRIAM) that does occur in the NT (i.e. MARIA). MARYA (the
                            Hebrew equivalent to the Greek NT name) appears on ossuary No. 706.
                            Rahmani even suggests that the similarity in the style of the
                            inscription of Yoseh and Marya's names suggests that they may have
                            been the parents of Yeshua and the grandparents of Yehuda son of
                            Yeshua. While speculative, it may be true. But to attempt to
                            identify this Yoseh as the NT Joseph (as done by Jacobovici et al)
                            lacks the needed connecting evidence that the NT Joseph was ever
                            called by the diminutive form YOSEH.

                            3. To my mind the most critical piece of the argument lies with
                            ossuary No. 701 which belonged to a woman and inscribed "Of Mariamne
                            [that is] Mara". [As Cameron notes, she is the "Ringo" of the names
                            in the tomb. In his analogy if you found a tomb with John, Paul and
                            George, you could speculate but not be certain it was the Beatles.
                            If you found also (the more rare name) Ringo, then the probability
                            would become almost certainty.]

                            There are two obstacles to identifying this woman as Mary Magdalene.
                            First, the NT routinely calls her MARIA or MARIAM, and never the form
                            MARIAMNE. The promoters attempt to sidestep this problem by citing a
                            4th century Gnostic text, the Acts of the Philip, in which we do have
                            a travel companion of Philip named Mariamne. There has been some
                            suggestion by Francois Bovon that she is to be identified with Mary
                            Magdalene, but my cursory glance at the the Acts of Philip indicates
                            she is to be identified with the Mary sister of Martha (from Bethany)
                            and not Mary from Magdala. Here is a snippet from the Acts of Philip
                            94: "It was she [Mariamne] that made ready the bread and salt at
                            the breaking of bread, but Martha was she that ministered to the
                            multitudes and laboured much."

                            Moreover, the inscription states that this Mariamne was also called
                            MARAH. In a real laugher which could only be conjured up in Zeit
                            Geist of our day, they have read MARAH as "Master" (i.e. the feminine
                            form of the Aramaic MAR). Thus, they are trying to reclaim (a la
                            Dan Brown) Mary's rightful place as head of the early Christian
                            movement which was taken from her by the chauvinist leadership of
                            Christianity. The charges of chauvinism in early Christianity
                            notwithstanding, the suggestion that Mary Magdalene was known as "the
                            Master" (MARAH) can not be supported by the appearance of MARAH with
                            her name on the ossuary. The feminine form of MAR (master) is
                            MARTHAH not MARAH. Instead, as Rahmani indicates the appearance
                            here of MARAH is the diminutive form of the proper name Martha (cf.
                            also Nos. 468.2 and 868). So, this Mariamne was also called by the
                            diminutive form of Martha (or MARAH). Once again, we lack a single
                            reference in the NT or any later Christian writing I know that Mary
                            Magdalene was ever called Martha (or MARAH).

                            So, it may be true that this Mariamne and Yeshua were married and
                            that they had a son named Judah, but I can find no compelling link
                            between these names and the NT figures.

                            It is worthwhile to restate that the challenge is to move beyond mere
                            speculative possibility to at least probability (if certainty
                            remains unattainable). I do not think the evidence that we have been
                            provided moves us beyond mere (and questionable) possibility.

                            As a final added note, I would point out that a similar clustering of
                            these names surfaces among the dynastic family of Hasmoneans. Of
                            course, I am not suggesting that this tomb belonged to a family
                            descended from the Maccabees. Only to draw attention to the limited
                            and popular pool of names at the time and that the collocation of
                            these names need not indicate that they are NT figures.

                            Shalom from snowy NY!

                            R. Steven Notley
                            Professor of Biblical Studies
                            Department of Biblical and Theological Studies
                            Nyack College
                            New York City





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                          • gentile_dave@emc.com
                            R. Steven Notley wrote: [As Cameron notes, she is the Ringo of the names in the tomb. In his analogy if you found a tomb with John, Paul and George, you
                            Message 13 of 13 , Mar 1, 2007
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                              R. Steven Notley wrote:



                              [As Cameron notes, she is the "Ringo" of the names
                              in the tomb. In his analogy if you found a tomb with John, Paul and
                              George, you could speculate but not be certain it was the Beatles.
                              If you found also (the more rare name) Ringo, then the probability
                              would become almost certainty.]



                              And later:



                              It is worthwhile to restate that the challenge is to move beyond mere
                              speculative possibility to at least probability (if certainty
                              remains unattainable).



                              Dave:



                              The first quote is a perfect example of an application of the Bayesian
                              formula, and the second is the general goal of Bayesian probability.



                              Thus it occurs to me that this might be an interesting way to try out
                              Bayesian statistics in this area. Of course much would have to be based
                              on knowledgeable estimates, so I think it would be still be a subjective
                              answer (in the sense that different people would get different answers).
                              Things like the frequency of Yeshua bar Yosef, and the number of tombs
                              from the period, and the chances that the family of Jesus is in one of
                              them, etc. would all need estimates.



                              Then, since Bayesian statistical results depend on the information
                              available, and since different individuals have different information to
                              draw on, consensus estimates are likely to lead to a better result than
                              individual estimates. Of course that requires an investment of time, and
                              I'm not sure how much interest this question has for those here.



                              But if nothing else the example shows at least one NT scholar working in
                              an almost explicit Bayesian fashion.



                              Dave



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