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New Letter from Bob Eisenman for posting

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  • John Lupia
    From: Robert Eisenman | This is Spam | Add to Address Book To: dmeadows@idirect.com CC: ane@listhost.uchicago.edu, John Lupia
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 3, 2002
      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

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    • 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 2 of 4 , Nov 3, 2002
        [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 3 of 4 , Nov 4, 2002
          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
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