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Re: [XTalk] Ah, so... Ossuary

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... Rochelle, Welcome to XTalk! I have always appreciated the informational parts of your analyses, and in the remainder of your message (mostly snipped
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 2, 2002
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      At 06:13 PM 11/2/2002 -0300, Rochelle wrote:
      >As I said, it is next to impossible to run an objective analysis
      >if one has read what people are saying... well, now I have read.

      Rochelle,
      Welcome to XTalk! I have always appreciated the informational parts of your
      analyses, and in the remainder of your message (mostly snipped below), you
      made some interesting additions to the debate.

      One of the things that interests me is your comments about what you see as
      the mixed alphabet out of which the inscription was composed-- paleo-Greek,
      First Century Aramaic, and later Aramaic. Given the corpus of available
      ossuary inscriptions, how common is it for paleo-Greek letters to be mixed
      in? If that practice is elsewhere attested, were certain paleo-Greek
      letters more commonly used than others? What might one expect from a
      semi-literate bilingual (Greek-Aramaic) scribe? Would it make any
      difference if the scribe was a native speaker of Greek who learned Aramaic,
      or a native speaker of Aramaic who learned Greek? For example, is there the
      possibility that a native speaker of a non-standard dialect of Aramaic
      (Galilean Aramaic, perhaps?) thought that the sound associated with a Greek
      letter more closely represented the pronunciation in his dialect than
      standard Aramaic?

      Perhaps the analogy is a bit far-fetched, but sometimes we moderns make too
      much of standardized spelling and orthography. There was little, for
      example, in 18th century America to ensure standardization of spelling,
      especially among the semi-literate. In the First Century, it depends on the
      kinds of opportunities the people of Judea, Samaria and Galilee had to
      learn to write, and who they might have learned from. Before the
      destruction of Jerusalem, I wonder if the scribes there used and taught a
      relatively uniform style that was widely employed? After 70 C.E., however,
      the teaching of written Aramaic might have necessarily fragmented and
      decentralized. So, for example, if the second part of the inscription was
      added a generation after the first part of the inscription, it would seem
      to me quite logical that the scripts would look different, because of the
      great divide of literacy before and after the destruction of Jerusalem. But
      I digress.


      >...That was an interim report; I am writing up a Final Revised Report and
      >will send it when proofed, etc.

      Thank you very much; I hope this means that you are submitting your
      analysis to a journal for publication?
      Will you be presenting your views at the SBL meetings?
      Thanks again,
      Bob
      ---------------------------------------------------------------
      Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
      Northern Arizona University
      Flagstaff, AZ
    • Rochelle I. Altman
      As I said, it is next to impossible to run an objective analysis if one has read what people are saying... well, now I have read. I guess the first part was so
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 2, 2002
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        As I said, it is next to impossible to run an objective analysis
        if one has read what people are saying... well, now I have read.

        I guess the first part was so clear, that nobody bothered to study it.
        Lemaire used solely the forged second half of the inscription as his
        basis for dating. It also turns out that the dating depends solely
        upon three of the letter graphs in the second part: yod, vav, and the
        final ayin.

        I also found out why I thought it was in Hebrew. Simple really: that is
        not a 'dalet' -- not in any cursive of Paleo or Square. (Not in offical/
        authoritative Paleo- or Square, either.) However, it's not an 'ayin' either...
        I didn't think it was -- sure as heck looked exactly like an archaic Greek
        upsilon, but used ayin in my transcription because it is the only graph
        in Hebrew/Aramaic that bears any resemblance to what is inscribed. The
        graph in question looks like this:

        \|
        |

        Just goes to show how difficult it is to run an analysis if you read what
        people are saying; the graph is supposed to be Semitic -- but it isn't.
        It IS an archaic Greek upsilon... the other two graphs that didn't fit the
        wanted dating are an archaic 4th BCE cursive het, and an archaic 3rd-4th BCE
        aleph -- all evidence of someone trying to imitate an archaic script and not
        knowing what was which. The inscription actually reads what both Yardeni and
        I reported:

        Y(QOBBRYWSP )XWWuY#W(
        ^^ ^
        Paleo Greek

        BTW, I asked an expert in Aramaic dialects -- he states that the dialect of
        the second part is Jewish Palestinian Aramaic from the 2nd- 7th CE -- NOT
        Judean Aramaic of the 1st.

        While as a forgery, the content of the second part does not matter, it's
        still nice to know what is going on.

        That was an interim report; I am writing up a Final Revised Report and
        will send it when proofed, etc.

        Cheers,

        Rochelle

        --
        Dr. R.I.S. Altman, co-coordinator, IOUDAIOS-L risa3@...
      • Jack Kilmon
        ... From: Rochelle I. Altman To: Sent: Saturday, November 02, 2002 3:13 PM Subject: [XTalk] Ah, so...
        Message 3 of 9 , Nov 2, 2002
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Rochelle I. Altman" <risa3@...>
          To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Saturday, November 02, 2002 3:13 PM
          Subject: [XTalk] Ah, so... Ossuary


          > As I said, it is next to impossible to run an objective analysis
          > if one has read what people are saying... well, now I have read.
          >
          > I guess the first part was so clear, that nobody bothered to study it.
          > Lemaire used solely the forged second half of the inscription as his
          > basis for dating. It also turns out that the dating depends solely
          > upon three of the letter graphs in the second part: yod, vav, and the
          > final ayin.
          >
          > I also found out why I thought it was in Hebrew. Simple really: that is
          > not a 'dalet' -- not in any cursive of Paleo or Square. (Not in offical/
          > authoritative Paleo- or Square, either.) However, it's not an 'ayin'
          either...
          > I didn't think it was -- sure as heck looked exactly like an archaic Greek
          > upsilon, but used ayin in my transcription because it is the only graph
          > in Hebrew/Aramaic that bears any resemblance to what is inscribed. The
          > graph in question looks like this:
          >
          > \|
          > |
          >
          > Just goes to show how difficult it is to run an analysis if you read what
          > people are saying; the graph is supposed to be Semitic -- but it isn't.
          > It IS an archaic Greek upsilon... the other two graphs that didn't fit the
          > wanted dating are an archaic 4th BCE cursive het, and an archaic 3rd-4th
          BCE
          > aleph -- all evidence of someone trying to imitate an archaic script and
          not
          > knowing what was which. The inscription actually reads what both Yardeni
          and
          > I reported:
          >
          > Y(QOBBRYWSP )XWWuY#W(
          > ^^ ^
          > Paleo Greek
          >
          > BTW, I asked an expert in Aramaic dialects -- he states that the dialect
          of
          > the second part is Jewish Palestinian Aramaic from the 2nd- 7th CE -- NOT
          > Judean Aramaic of the 1st.

          I believe it IS a dalet and have seen "obtuse" dalets before. As a dalet, I
          see the Aramaic as Old Judaean Aramaic which I believe was used by the
          priestly class in the 1st century. The het is similar to the Habakkuk
          Pesher.....but I will wait for your full report and, hopefully, Lemaire's
          and McCarter's response.

          Jack
        • Rochelle I. Altman
          Jack, Have you read Robert Eisenman s comments on the use of brother of Jesus ? Please do. That particular phrasing does not turn up before the late-3rd to
          Message 4 of 9 , Nov 3, 2002
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            Jack,

            Have you read Robert Eisenman's comments on the use of 'brother
            of Jesus'? Please do. That particular phrasing does not turn up
            before the late-3rd to 4th century.

            In cursives, your so called "obtuse dalets" always have a litle cup
            where the hasta joins the downstroke. This is a 6th-4th century BCE
            Greek upsilon that, inscriptionally, shows up on votive offerings
            and other holographic texts.

            Habbakuk is a private edition, a holographic text, and dates anywhere
            between early 2nd BCE to late 1st BCE. The form, as follows,

            |____|
            | |

            is what is on the inscription. The form appears in paleo-, but is
            also used in cursives from ca. 4th through 2nd BCE and not afterwards.

            These 3 forms are archaic; and the het is not just paleo-.

            >I believe it IS a dalet and have seen "obtuse" dalets before. As a
            >dalet, I see the Aramaic as Old Judaean Aramaic which I believe was
            >used by the priestly class in the 1st century. The het is similar
            >to the Habakkuk Pesher.....but I will wait for your full report and,
            >hopefully, Lemaire's and McCarter's response.

            I have serious doubts that there will be a response. There might be some
            difficulty explaining why dating was based solely on the three cursive
            of the DSS type forms. It will also be quite difficult to explain why
            the first half of the inscription dates to between 30 BCE and 25 CE,
            yet the second half supposedly dates to the year after the death of
            James -- on no other basis then three graphs that were in use through
            the end of the 1st CE.

            Regards,

            Rochelle
            --
            Dr. R.I.S. Altman, co-coordinator, IOUDAIOS-L risa3@...
          • Zeba Crook
            A couple of nights ago, the CBC (Canada s primary television network) late news program The National did a very short piece on the arrival of the Ossuary to
            Message 5 of 9 , Nov 3, 2002
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              A couple of nights ago, the CBC (Canada's primary television network) late news
              program The National did a very short piece on the arrival of the Ossuary to
              Toronto. In the piece they spoke, however, to John Kloppenborg about the
              authenticity of the inscription. For what it's worth, since this was a popular
              (that is undetailed) and very brief format, he too called the second half of the
              inscription a later addition, and thus thought associating the Ossuary with
              biblical James and Jesus a stretch.

              Zeb

              "Rochelle I. Altman" wrote:

              > It will also be quite difficult to explain why the first half of the inscription
              > dates to between 30 BCE and 25 CE, yet the second half supposedly dates to the
              > year after the death of James -- on no other basis then three graphs that were
              > in use through the end of the 1st CE.

              ***

              Zeba Antonin Crook (Ph.D. Cand)
              University of St. Michael's College
              Faculty of Theology
              81 St. Mary Street
              Toronto, Ontario, Canada
              M5S 1J4

              (416) 964-8629
              http://individual.utoronto.ca/zeba_crook
            • Jack Kilmon
              I do have ONE red flag, so far, and that is the mention of the dirt from the cave still clinging to the box, dirt that was analyzed. Yet this ossuary is
              Message 6 of 9 , Nov 4, 2002
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                I do have ONE red flag, so far, and that is the mention of the dirt from the
                cave still clinging to the box, dirt that was analyzed. Yet this ossuary is
                supposed to have been around for 15 years, passed from the looter to the
                antiquities dealer and then bought by Golan. That soil would have been gone
                long ago. I suspect that this box was looted recently and the earlier date
                is being claimed to avoid the Israeli Antiquities law passed in 1978 that
                would make the box the property of the Israeli government. IF the box, as
                it would seem, was looted recently, it may be possible to trace it back to
                recover its contents.

                Jack
              • David C. Hindley
                Jack, What, exactly, would we *do* with those contents? While I know that bones can be subject to C14 analysis, and DNA can be sometimes be recovered from
                Message 7 of 9 , Nov 4, 2002
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                  Jack,

                  What, exactly, would we *do* with those contents? While I know that bones
                  can be subject to C14 analysis, and DNA can be sometimes be recovered from
                  them, I don't know if that will answer any questions.

                  Respectfully,

                  Dave Hindley
                  Cleveland, Ohio, USA

                  PS: On Star Trek TNG (a science fiction TV show for the bookworms among us),
                  a faction of the warlike Klingons cloned their first emperor from DNA on a
                  knife he had used to seal the unification covenant with his blood. When they
                  sprung him on the people as the emperor redivivus, they all got real excited
                  due to the apparent fulfillment of long-held religious expectations, yet in
                  the end ended up saying "So what!" He was relegated to the role of a
                  figurehead, exactly the role that the HJ plays in Christianity now. Can't we
                  just skip the hysteria? <G>
                • Jack Kilmon
                  ... From: David C. Hindley To: Sent: Monday, November 04, 2002 7:30 PM Subject: RE: [XTalk] Ah, so...
                  Message 8 of 9 , Nov 4, 2002
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                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "David C. Hindley" <dhindley@...>
                    To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Monday, November 04, 2002 7:30 PM
                    Subject: RE: [XTalk] Ah, so... Ossuary


                    > Jack,
                    >
                    > What, exactly, would we *do* with those contents? While I know that bones
                    > can be subject to C14 analysis, and DNA can be sometimes be recovered from
                    > them, I don't know if that will answer any questions.

                    C-14 could help date the box within 50 years but if it was a recent
                    acquisition and the looter identified, perhaps the catacomb can be located
                    and at least some contextual information developed.

                    Jack
                  • Bob Schacht
                    ... C-14 would probably be the least interesting result, even if possible, because the wide error margin is likely. Better yet would be the analysis of
                    Message 9 of 9 , Nov 4, 2002
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                      At 09:16 PM 11/4/2002 -0600, Jack Kilmon wrote:

                      >----- Original Message -----
                      >From: "David C. Hindley" <dhindley@...>
                      >To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                      >Sent: Monday, November 04, 2002 7:30 PM
                      >Subject: RE: [XTalk] Ah, so... Ossuary
                      >
                      >
                      > > Jack,
                      > >
                      > > What, exactly, would we *do* with those contents? While I know that bones
                      > > can be subject to C14 analysis, and DNA can be sometimes be recovered from
                      > > them, I don't know if that will answer any questions.
                      >
                      >C-14 could help date the box within 50 years but if it was a recent
                      >acquisition and the looter identified, perhaps the catacomb can be located
                      >and at least some contextual information developed.
                      >
                      >Jack

                      C-14 would probably be the least interesting result, even if possible,
                      because the wide error margin is likely. Better yet would be the analysis
                      of microfauna and microflora still in the dirt found in the corners, if
                      there was any such. That sort of thing might reveal something about where
                      the ossuary had been buried, and other things of interest. Archaeology
                      these days can do a lot with a little.

                      Bob
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