Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Expand Messages
  • David C. Hindley
    Professor Eisenman clarified that he does own the copyright, and it is also publicly posted on his web page at CSULB.edu. So, here it is:
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 3, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      Professor Eisenman clarified that he does own the copyright, and it is also
      publicly posted on his web page at CSULB.edu.

      So, here it is:

      =============================
      October 29, 2002 COMMENTARY
      A Discovery That's Just Too Perfect
      Claims that stone box held remains of Jesus' brother may be suspect.

      By Robert Eisenman, Robert Eisenman is the author of "James the Brother of
      Jesus" (Penguin, 1998) and a professor of Middle East religions and
      archeology at Cal State Long Beach.

      James, the brother of Jesus, was so well known and important as a Jerusalem
      religious leader, according to 1st century sources, that taking the brother
      relationship seriously was perhaps the best confirmation that there ever was
      a historical Jesus.

      Put another way, it was not whether Jesus had a brother, but rather whether
      the brother had a "Jesus."

      Now we are suddenly presented with this very "proof": the discovery,
      allegedly near Jerusalem, of an ossuary inscribed in the Aramaic language
      used at that time, with "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." An ossuary
      is a stone box in which bones previously laid out in rock-cut tombs, such as
      those in the Gospels, were placed after they were retrieved by relatives or
      followers.

      Why do I find this discovery suspicious? Aside from its sudden miraculous
      appearance, no confirmed provenance -- that is, where it was found and where
      it has been all these years (from the photographic evidence it seems in
      remarkably good shape) -- and no authenticated chain of custody or
      transmission, there is the nature of the inscription itself.

      There is no problem getting hold of ossuaries from this period. They are
      plentiful in the Jerusalem area, most not even inscribed and some never
      used.

      So confirmation of the Jerusalem origin of the stone is to no avail, nor
      particularly is the paleography. The Sorbonne paleographer Andre Lemaire
      authenticated the Aramaic inscription as from the year AD 63. What
      precision; but why 63? Because he knew from the 1st century Jewish historian
      Josephus that James died in AD 62.

      The only really strong point the arguers for authenticity have is the
      so-called patina, which was measured at an Israeli laboratory and appears
      homogeneous. As this is a new science, it is hard for me to gauge its value.
      Still, the letters do seem unusually clear and incised and do not, at least
      in the photographs, show a significant amount of damage caused by the
      vicissitudes of time.

      My main objection to the ossuary, however, is the nature of the inscription
      itself. I say this as someone who would like this artifact to be true,
      someone willing to be convinced. I would like the burial place of James to
      be found. But this box is just too pat, too perfect. In issues of
      antiquities verification, this is always a warning sign.

      This inscription seems pointed not at an ancient audience, who would have
      known who James (or Jacob, his Hebrew/Aramaic name) was, but at a modern
      one. If this box had simply said "Jacob the son of Joseph," it might pass
      muster. But ancient sources are not clear on who this Jacob's father really
      was. If the inscription had said "James the son of Cleophas," "Clopas or
      even "Alphaeus" (all three probably being interchangeable), I would have
      jumped for joy. But Joseph? This is what a modern audience, schooled in the
      Gospels, would expect, not an ancient one.

      Then there is "the brother of Jesus" -- almost no ancient source calls James
      this. This is what we moderns call him. Even Paul, our primary New Testament
      witness, calls him "James the brother of the Lord." If the ossuary said
      something like "James the Zaddik" or "Just One," which is how many referred
      to him, including Hegesippus from the 2nd century and Eusebius from the 4th,
      then I would have more willingly credited it. But to call him not only by
      his paternal but also his fraternal name, this I am unfamiliar with on any
      ossuary, and again it seems directly pointed at us.

      This is what I mean by the formulation being too perfect. It just doesn't
      ring true. To the modern ear, particularly the believer, perhaps. But to the
      ancient? Perhaps a later pilgrim from the 4th or 5th century might have
      described James in this way, but this is not what our paleographers are
      saying.

      Finally, the numerous contemporary sources I have already referred to know
      the location of James' burial site.

      Hegesippus, a Palestinian native who lived perhaps 50 years after the events
      in question, tells us that James was buried where he was stoned beneath the
      pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem. Eusebius in the 4th century and Jerome
      in the 5th say the burial site with its marker was still there in their
      times.

      No source, however, mentions an ossuary. Our creative artificers presumably
      never read any of these sources (nor beyond the first few chapters of my
      book) or they would have known better.
      =============================

      Respectfully,

      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA
    • John Lupia
      From: Robert Eisenman | This is Spam | Add to Address Book To: dmeadows@idirect.com CC: ane@listhost.uchicago.edu, John Lupia
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 3, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        From: "Robert Eisenman" <reisenma@...> | This is
        Spam | Add to Address Book
        To: dmeadows@...
        CC: ane@..., "John Lupia"
        <jlupia2@...>
        Subject: Ap misreporting of my views and my book James
        the Brother of Jesus
        Date: Sun, 3 Nov 2002 08:59:03 -0800

        I have sent the following letter to John Lupia, who
        has also kindly forwarded to me a copy of your
        concerns. You are quite right to voice those
        concerns, and therefore I append the copy of my
        response to him and the following letter which I sent
        out immediately that this kind of inaccurate and
        clearly defamatory reporting was done. My main
        response to you is not to believe everything you read
        in the press. Many shortcuts are taken of complex and
        unsimplistic views -- to dumb them down as it were. I
        have often been a victim of this kind of misreporting
        -- often quite malevolently, to make me look stupider
        and insensitive than I actually am.
        _____________________________________________
        _Dear John,
        Yes, I am not suprised that your correspondent is
        confused at my position, but she should not believe
        everything she reads inb the press. I have vigorously
        protested about that AP report,
        as it caused me a good deal of grief. I am glad the
        LAtimes invited me to put my real position. Please
        post this on your website. I have been sending out
        the following letter to all who were misinformed as to
        my real position. Please post it as well. Here it
        is.
        ______________________________________________________
        P. S.

        As for your point about the Qumran mausoleum, I don't
        for a moment think this is the burial site of James.
        I never said this. I know where James was buried.
        Read my LATimes piece which I shall append below. If
        this is not already posted, John can post it as well.
        What my real view of the Qumran mausoleum is, has
        never been reported. If you or John Lupia really want
        to know what I think of the Qumran mausoleum, I would
        be happy to post it on your web-links. Just ask me.
        It might surprise you. Best and with charity,
        Robert Eisenman _

        From: Robert Eisenman
        To: general letter
        Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2002 6:17 PM
        Thanks for the kind encouragement. I need it with all
        the misunderstanding. I'm sending you the same letter
        I'm sending to all who believe what they read in
        newspapers about what I said: You should not believe
        everything you read. You should know this. I was
        misquoted and purposefully maligned by the writer who
        doesn't like me from previous experience. He wanted
        to make me look bad. What I said was much more complex
        than that. As you know, I am the author of JAMES THE
        BROTHER OF JESUS. I don't need any proof of James'
        existence. I'm among the convinced. What I said was
        that in the Introduction to my book on page xxiii, for
        those who wonder about the existence of James and
        question the fact of his
        brothers, they should know that the existence or
        historicity of Jesus is a shakey thing. People have
        been arguing about this for centuries and there is no
        consensus on the issue. This is what is meant by the
        Quest for the Historical Jesus. No one agrees. The
        question is not really about James. James we can prove
        from numerous external sources. The question is
        rather about Jesus. For those who doubt, perhaps the
        best proof of his existence is the fact of his
        brother James or the fact that he had a brother James.

        This is what I said. Therefore, I told him, I am
        perhaps the last person in the world to want this
        ossuary to be untrue. I have written the book on it.
        But despite this, I find it worrisome. I have to
        question its authenticity. It's too pat. Too perfect.
        James was so well known in his time that people would
        not have felt it necesary to tie on the phrse "brother
        of Jesus" That's all I said. Read my book, Penguin,
        1998. You might enjoy it. And be calm. Be well.Out
        of this he just cut out the middle and got what you
        think I said. A pity.Kind regards and show love, show
        tolerance. My best. Robert Eisenman
        ____________________________________________
        I might add: read my LAtimes piece. I think that is
        what I said the way I wished to say it. I hope you
        will post it, as well as the above for all your
        concerned readers. Look, now it is coming out that
        the second part of this inscription is by a different
        hand -- perhaps 4th-5th century. That is just what I
        was saying. People in the first century would just
        not have thought to refer to James in this way.
        Again, your informant is right. People should read my
        book. I don't like being marginalized when I think I
        have written the book on the subject. But I have been
        saying this on the basis of history and text
        criticism. I do not claim to be an expert epigraphist
        or palaeographer. But now people are saying this on
        the basis of palaeography and epigraphy. That's just
        what I would have expected. Look, I am all for James.
        People ask me, if this is so, why do you speak
        out. I speak out because I don't need a dubious
        inscription on an ossuary to prove to me the
        importance of James. I have written a 1000 page book
        on this. Let me just repeat: people may have spoken
        about James from the 3-4th c. on like this but not in
        the lst century. That's all I was saying. I know
        that the best proof of the historicity of Jesus is the
        fact that he had a brother called James! Thanks very
        much for giving me the opportunity to respond to your
        colleagues. I appreciate it.
        Kindly, Robert Eisenman

        Please Post
        October 29, 2002 E-mail story Print
        COMMENTARY
        A Discovery That's Just Too Perfect
        Claims that stone box held remains of Jesus' brother
        may be suspect.
        By Robert Eisenman, Robert Eisenman is the author of
        "James the Brother of Jesus" (Penguin, 1998) and a
        professor of Middle East religions and archeology at
        Cal State Long Beach. James, the brother of Jesus, was
        so well known and important as a Jerusalem religious
        leader, according to 1st century sources, that taking
        the brother relationship seriously was perhaps the
        best confirmation that there ever was a historical
        Jesus. Put another way, it was not whether Jesus had a
        brother, but rather whether the brother had a "Jesus."
        Now we are suddenly presented with this very "proof":
        the discovery, allegedly near Jerusalem, of an ossuary
        inscribed in the Aramaic language used at that time,
        with "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." An
        ossuary is a stone box in which bones previously laid
        out in rock-cut tombs, such as those in the Gospels,
        were placed after they were retrieved by relatives or
        followers. Why do I find this discovery suspicious?
        Aside from its sudden miraculous appearance, no
        confirmed provenance -- that is, where it was found
        and where it has been all these years (from the
        photographic evidence it seems in remarkably good
        shape) -- and no authenticated chain of custody or
        transmission, there is the nature of the inscription
        itself. There is no problem getting hold of ossuaries
        from this period. They are plentiful in the Jerusalem
        area, most not even inscribed and some never used. So
        confirmation of the Jerusalem origin of the stone is
        to no avail, nor particularly is the paleography. The
        Sorbonne paleographer Andre Lemaire authenticated the
        Aramaic inscription as from the year AD 63. What
        precision; but why 63? Because he knew from the 1st
        century Jewish historian Josephus that James died in
        AD 62. The only really strong point the arguers for
        authenticity have is the so-called patina, which was
        measured at an Israeli laboratory and appears
        homogeneous. As this is a new science, it is hard for
        me to gauge its value. Still, the letters do seem
        unusually clear and incised and do not, at least in
        the photographs, show a significant amount of damage
        caused by the vicissitudes of time.

        My main objection to the ossuary, however, is the
        nature of the inscription itself. I say this as
        someone who would like this artifact to be true,
        someone willing to be convinced. I would like the
        burial place of James to be found. But this box is
        just too pat, too perfect. In issues of antiquities
        verification, this is always a warning sign. This
        inscription seems pointed not at an ancient audience,
        who would have known who James (or Jacob, his
        Hebrew/Aramaic name) was, but at a modern one. If this
        box had simply said "Jacob the son of Joseph," it
        might pass muster. But ancient sources are not clear
        on who this Jacob's father really was. If the
        inscription had said "James the son of Cleophas,"
        "Clopas or even "Alphaeus" (all three probably being
        interchangeable), I would have jumped for joy. But
        Joseph? This is what a modern audience, schooled in
        the Gospels, would expect, not an ancient one. Then
        there is "the brother of Jesus" -- almost no ancient
        source calls James this. This is what we moderns call
        him. Even Paul, our primary New Testament witness,
        calls him "James the brother of the Lord." If the
        ossuary said something like "James the Zaddik" or
        "Just One," which is how many referred to him,
        including Hegesippus from the 2nd century and Eusebius
        from the 4th, then I would have more willingly
        credited it. But to call him not only by his paternal
        but also his fraternal name, this I am unfamiliar with
        on any ossuary, and again it seems directly pointed at
        us. This is what I mean by the formulation being too
        perfect. It just doesn't ring true. To the modern ear,
        particularly the believer, perhaps. But to the
        ancient? Perhaps a later pilgrim from the 4th or 5th
        century might have described James in this way, but
        this is not what our paleographers are saying.

        Finally, the numerous contemporary sources I have
        already referred to know the location of James' burial
        site. Hegesippus, a Palestinian native who lived
        perhaps 50 years after the events in question, tells
        us that James was buried where he was stoned beneath
        the pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem. Eusebius in
        the 4th century and Jerome in the 5th say the burial
        site with its marker was still there in their times.
        No source, however, mentions an ossuary. Our creative
        artificers presumably never read any of these sources
        (nor beyond the first few chapters of my book) or they
        would have known better.

        Please post
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: John Lupia <jlupia2@...>
        To: Robert Eisenman <reisenma@...>
        Sent: Sunday, November 03, 2002 7:32 AM
        Subject: News on ANE about you
        > Date: Sun, 3 Nov 2002 06:08:57 -0500
        > From: dmeadows@... | This is Spam | Add to
        > Address Book
        > To: ane@...
        > Subject: [ANE] Re[2]: [ANE] Jacob ossuary and
        Eisenman
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Salve,
        >
        > On Sunday, November 3, 2002, 2:03:54 AM, Jack Kilmon
        > scripsit:
        >
        > > I am afraid Eisenman is confusing the hell out of
        > me. This is
        > someone who
        > > ferretted out every reference in the ancient
        > histories on James and
        > wrote a
        > > 1000 page book titled "James, the brother of
        Jesus."
        > The book is
        > worth the
        > > read for the background material alone but it not
        > only pushes
        > > historical-critical envelopes, it sails them into
        > the stratosphere.
        > Now he
        > > is coming off like a "Jesus myther?"
        >
        > This is precisely why I asked the question ...
        between
        > this
        > ossuary and the discovery in the past few months at
        > Qumran,
        > Eisenman must be between an academic rock and a hard
        > place. If he
        > accepts the ossuary as some sort of supporting
        > evidence (such as
        > it is) for his James book, he has to explain away
        the
        > Qumran find
        > (although I think the academic jury is still out on
        > that one). If
        > he accepts Qumran, he has to deny the ossuary. And
        > further
        > complicating matters for himself, he has been quoted
        > in a pile
        > of news items as saying Jesus' existence is a "shaky
        > thing".
        > I would have thought this week he might have
        attempted
        > some
        > 'damage control'.
        >
        >
        > dm
        >


        =====
        John N. Lupia, III
        501 North Avenue B-1
        Elizabeth, New Jersey 07208-1731 USA
        Phone: (908) 994-9720
        Email: jlupia2@...
        Editor, Roman Catholic News
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News

        __________________________________________________
        Do you Yahoo!?
        HotJobs - Search new jobs daily now
        http://hotjobs.yahoo.com/
      • mwgrondin
        ... Yikes! I ve misunderstood the Quest all these years! I thought that there was a solid consensus for the existence of Jesus, and that that was pretty much
        Message 3 of 4 , Nov 3, 2002
        • 0 Attachment
          [Robert Eisenman]:
          > What I said was that ... the existence or
          > historicity of Jesus is a shakey thing. People have
          > been arguing about this for centuries and there is no
          > consensus on the issue. This is what is meant by the
          > Quest for the Historical Jesus.

          Yikes! I've misunderstood the Quest all these years! I thought that
          there was a solid consensus for the existence of Jesus, and that
          that was pretty much presupposed by the Quest. Silly me.

          Mike Grondin
          Mt. Clemens, MI
        • LARRY SWAIN
          ... It seems to me that anyone writing after the very populat Protoevangelium of James knew who James father was, and Irenaeus and Tatian were certainly
          Message 4 of 4 , Nov 4, 2002
          • 0 Attachment
            Dr. Eisenman states:

            > This inscription seems pointed not at an ancient
            > audience, who would have
            > known who James (or Jacob, his Hebrew/Aramaic name)
            > was, but at a modern
            > one. If this box had simply said "Jacob the son of
            > Joseph," it might pass
            > muster. But ancient sources are not clear on who
            > this Jacob's father really
            > was. If the inscription had said "James the son of
            > Cleophas," "Clopas or
            > even "Alphaeus" (all three probably being
            > interchangeable), I would have
            > jumped for joy. But Joseph? This is what a modern
            > audience, schooled in the
            > Gospels, would expect, not an ancient one.

            It seems to me that anyone writing after the very
            populat Protoevangelium of James knew who James'
            father was, and
            Irenaeus and Tatian were certainly intimate with the
            contents of the gospels. I don't think we need poswit
            a "modern" audience. It would also seem to me that
            the popular Protoevangelium is reporting an even
            earlier tradition about James' parentage that would
            take us back into the first century. We haven't even
            considered the popularity of Matthew and Luke in
            naming Joseph, and the natural assumption that
            "brother" means of the same parentage-usually father.
            So I don't think that we eed to think of a "modern"
            audience as the target, or even necessarily a post
            first century one on these grounds.

            Larry Swain
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.