Speaking of Tabor's book: I read it last week, and, while I appreciate how creative his case is, there were a lot of things in it that troubled me, most of them having to do with his will-to-believe that archaeology has uncovered the very belongings of the "Jesus dynasty". E.g., in his presentation of the evidence *against* the authenticity of the James ossuary inscription, he fails to mention how faded the rosettes on the reverse surface are, or even that they are there at all. (The problem is that, if the rosettes have faded to such an extreme degree, why didn't the purportedly ancient inscription fade along with them?)
The more intriguing part of Tabor's discussion of the James ossuary, however, is found in his connecting it to the Talpiot tomb. Here I think Tabor may be partly right: his case that the James ossuary came from this tomb is surprisingly strong. Tabor notes that the dimensions of the missing ossuary exactly match (to the nearest half centimeter) those of the James ossuary. (I intend to try to figure out the odds of that, but they are certainly over 1 in a thousand.) The timing of the Talpiot tomb excavation (1980) and Golan's original story of when he received the ossuary (mid-1980's) agree with this scenario. But here is where Tabor's will-to-believe gets the better of him: he invites the reader to ponder with him what might be inscribed on the missing ossuary (implying, of course, that it says "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus"), yet Tabor himself notes that the official report on the excavation states that the ossuary is "Plain". Tabor gives no reason for doubting the official report--he simply ignores it, as if it doesn't even register in his mind.
Unfortunately, the IAA has fastened upon the theory that part of the inscription is authentic. In my opinion, they should also consider the possibility that the whole inscription is fake, and that the official report of the Talpiot excavation might be entered as evidence for that view.
There are a host of other things in Tabor's book that troubled me as well, but this is the one that I thought was most fascinating. It reveals that Tabor is a very creative and ingenius historian, but also that he has a tremendous will-to-believe in his own theories. That will-to-believe is so strong that it blinds him even to the counterevidence that he discloses to his readers.
John C. Poirier
----- Original Message -----
From: Jim West
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Sent: Friday, October 06, 2006 7:27 PM
Subject: [XTalk] Tabor's Book- Reviewed
Listers may find this review to be of interest
Jim West, ThD
http://web.infoave.net/~jwest -- Biblical Studies Resources
http://drjimwest.wordpress.com -- Weblog
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