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