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Re: [Synoptic-L] Keramon

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  • 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 1 of 13 , Oct 16, 2006
      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]
    • 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 2 of 13 , Oct 16, 2006
        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 3 of 13 , Feb 27, 2007
          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





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • 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 4 of 13 , Mar 1, 2007
            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



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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