FW: FW: [XTalk] Ossuary of "JAMES": Why was "brother of Jesus" wri
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
From: risa3@... [mailto:risa3@...]
Sent: Wednesday, October 21, 1992 11:42 PM
Subject: Re: FW: [XTalk] Ossuary of "JAMES": Why was "brother of Jesus"
>Rochelle,Yeees, but there are problems....
>Jack seems to make a good point.
Jack, I know that you saw photos of 1Qsa when you one day walked in
on Albright and he told you to look at them... all those letters that
seemed to be hanging from an invisible upper line. (Isn't that what
you said... not quoting it because it's been quite a while -- 6-7
years, no?) That invisible upper line, of course, is the upper outer
limit of trilinear writing systems.
>Palaeography has been a passion ever since but there is a time whenIt is difficult. That's the problem with expert systems... computers can't
>assessment of a font becomes more a feeling than an empirical
>comparative exercise. I really don't know how to describe it in
make judgement calls that the trained human brain can... and does. However,
describing this in scholarly terms requires that one figure out "How do I
know that I know" and then writing it out for others to learn how. This
involves a great deal of mental back-tracking and breaking down the elements
involved, as if one were writing the steps in a computer program. It can be
extremely difficult to do and it is easy to miss a step. This is something
too familiar to me, Jack. It's also what took the most time in writing
Voices... having to backtrack and break down the steps so I could explain
how, what and why.
>I wonder, however, that when you look at Ossuarial inscriptions, you areNope, I know better. <G>
>thinking of literate perpetrators.
>My interest in this group is based on my contention that theWell, you're right. Until the 17th CE, writing systems recorded the spoken
>"quasiliterate language" represents that spoken lingua franca of
>the time and, like graffiti, represents the spoken lingua franca of
word -- as spoken. That's why the "uneveness," odd spacing, and the variant
>In this I have examined hundreds of ostraca and[snip]
>ossuarial inscriptions. After these examinations, I am convinced
>there was a dynamic to the bone-gathering and ossuarial inscription
>that had that activity being performed by the "quasiliterate."
>In any event, ossuarial inscriptions often display the poorNot to be nitpicking, but orthography is the $64 word for spelling.
>spelling and orthography we would expect of the "quasiliterate."
>Even the expensive and beautifully ornate ossuary of the High
>Priest Caiaphas is inscribed "yhwsf br qyf)" in primitive fonts and
>the YOD in qyfa also looks like a WAW.
>IF the inscription is in two hands, and I am not yet convinced,Whoa, there are discrepancies with the patina, too, from what I've
>and given the universality of the patination,
>it is possible that theJack, you can't have it both ways: if the first phrase was applied by
>first phrase was applied by the family member who purchased the
>ossuary and the second phrase by the bone collector, probably a
>family member..maybe a sister. In keeping with the majority of
>ossuarial inscriptions, rarely by a trained scribe.
the family member who supplied the box and the second by a bone collector,
you have denied that there is only one hand. So your own words "convince'
you that there are two hands.
Next, who said that the first part was by a professional scribe? That's
not the work of a professional scribe, the small but definite amount of
downwards slippage and slight deformation of the samech denies it. It
was written by someone unaccustomed to writing with a brush on stone,
which a professional stone scribe would most certainly know how to do.
This is the carefully executed work of a fully literate person trained
in reading AND writing; hence, written by a trained, but not a professional,
scribe. Now, if the carefully written (and over-carved by a professional
stone carver) first part was already inscribed, then there was absolutely
no reason for a bone collector to have "quickly inscribed" the name of the
deceased on that box.
It's also going a bit too far to assume that a brother or sister of the
clearly educated and literate first part would have been semi-literate.
The odds are against it; literacy runs in families. Or do you mean that
the second part was written by an underage child member of this wealthy
and educated family who was only partially literate because of his or
her youth? The latter is not very likely from your own research on the
To take this to the end: if an unlikely, but faintly possible, semi-literate
sister was the bone-collector, then she would have had to have been deranged
to have desecrated the box by adding anything to the already professionally
over-carved inscription. Okay, say she was such a deranged person, but a
is a long time not to have recovered, still .. who knows. But we then must
ask who would have hired the next stone carver to fix a desecration in
In any case, you know the old adage; if at first... try again. <G>
Dr. R.I.S. Altman, co-coordinator, IOUDAIOS-L risa3@...