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Robert Eisenman on the ossuary

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  • David C. Hindley
    List, Robert Eisenman has had friends direct his attention to the threads that have developed from the posting of Dr. Altman s report, and he asked me to post
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2002

      Robert Eisenman has had friends direct his attention to the threads that
      have developed from the posting of Dr. Altman's report, and he asked me to
      post to this list a link to an op-ed article he wrote for the Los Angeles
      Times (USA), and which appeared in their 10/29 edition.


      The link requires you to register to access the article. I've had a little
      trouble registering (can there really be two of me?) so I've also asked them
      for permission to post the full text of the article here (for free), but
      will not know how they feel about that for a day or so.

      In the meantime, I will summarize his article as follows (forgive me, Prof.
      Eisenman, if I end up putting words in your mouth that you might disagree

      Aside from the reasons many have to be suspicious, such as the inscription
      appearing cleaner than the rock surface, sudden miraculous appearance, no
      confirmed provenance or authenticated chain of custody or transmission,
      Eisenman has concerns about the content of the inscription itself.

      As many here know, he is not sure that "son of Joseph" is even correct in
      the case of James the Just. He would feel more secure if it had been "Jacob
      the son of Cleophas," "Clopas" or even "Alphaeus" (considering all three as
      probably interchangeable), mainly because these would generally *not* have
      been expected by most critics in spite of their prevalence in early
      Christian tradition. However, Eisenman would be willing to accept a simple
      "son of Joseph" if the inscription stopped there.

      But what Eisenman considers more troublesome is the phrase "brother of
      Jesus," saying that almost no ancient source calls James this*. To him, this
      sounds like the kind if phrase a later pilgrim from the 4th or 5th century
      might have said of James, at the earliest. Paul calls him "James the brother
      of the Lord," and many, including Hegesippus from the 2nd century and
      Eusebius from the 4th, call him "James the Zaddik" or "Just One." In
      addition, calling James by both his paternal and his fraternal name seems
      very unusual to Eisenman.


      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA

      *The exceptions being, I [Dave H.] think, the account in Josephus'
      Antiquities 20.9.1, which is cited directly by Origen, and probably
      indirectly by Hippolytus (both late 2nd century). However, this will revolve
      heavily around the genuineness of Josephus' statement, which I believe must
      be determined by the fact that in War 4.5.2 it is the death of *Ananus* by
      the Idumeans during the Jewish rebellion that led to the destruction of the
      city of Jerusalem, combined with the fact that Ananus is *the* central
      figure of the story of Ant 20, and not James.
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