Re: [GTh] James, Son of Joseph, bro to Jesus
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Saunders" <tom@...>
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2003 3:46 AM
Subject: [GTh] James, Son of Joseph, bro to Jesus
> The History Channel finally came through with showing the program about
the James ossuary. I did not know it had been broken in transit.
> There was much fuss about the inscription and the possibility that it was
written at and by different people, at different times. One thing bothered
me about the idea that the inscription was not written it was chiseled.
> The box was analyzed to be made from 'very fine' limestone. This would
give it a hardness rate of 4 on the Moe scale which is the standard for
measuring the hardness of rock.
> The letters were written from right to left, at a total of twenty letters.
Although a hardness rate of 4 is not high this kind of carving would easily
dull any kind of chisel or scraper. I think the slight difference the
scholars are seeing is the fact that the writing instrument dulled and
possibly chipped. The length of the inscription is seven inches.
Dear Tom Saunders:
I missed the program, but have been trying to keep up on the controversies
regarding this ossuary.
The hardness of the limestone on the Mohs scale would depend upon a number
of factors. It can grade from soft oolitic limestone to hard marble. Also,
impurities, such as magnesium carbonate, might be involved.
Did they say what kind of material the chisel was made out of ? (For
example, have they found specks of the chisel material in the incised
letters or do they know from general knowledge what the material would have
been?) That would have a lot to do with whether it dulled rapidly or not.
> Perhaps Jack Killman can explain petina (patina? SP?) that accumulates
with age. All the letters were apparently not checked to see if there was
this particular aging effect on all twenty letters.
Patina is an outer coating to a rock and it develops through time as a part
of the weathering process. It will be absent from a freshly chiseled area.
So, a patina on a chiseled name is an indication that some time has passed
since it was chiseled.
I am extremely dubious of using it as a dating tool. Here, in Minnesota,
an immigrant farmer from Scandinavia "discovered" a runestone on his
property allegedly written by Vikings. It is called the Kensington
Runestone. It is almost universally deemed to be a fake. However, there is
a geologist at the Univ. of MN who claims that the patina on the
inscriptions must have taken hundreds of years to develop. Rather than
convincing me that the Kensington Runestone is genuine, his testimony has
convinced me that the rates for the accretion of patina are too wildly
variable for it to be a reliable dating tool.
> No bones or plants were mentioned. The chemical makeup of the stone and
some loose dirt indicates that the ossuary came from Jerusalem, and is first
century. It is supposed to have come from the Southeastern part of the
ancient city. Perhaps it was placed close to the location of the Apostle's
village. Would that not be close to the foot of the Mount of Olives?
The limestone does appear to have come from the Jerusalem area. However, I
know of no way to reliably determine when it was originally quarried and
carved by analyzing the rock or the dirt on it.. A first century dating, I
think, would have to come from things like the way the ossuary was
designed and decorated, the language used in the inscription, the style of
the script, etc
According to tradition, the tomb of James is located at the foot of the
Mount of Olives. In James the Brother of Jesus (p. 455), Robert Eisenman
states, "The tradition identifying James' tomb with this monument at the
bottom of the Mount of Olives in the Kedron Valley beneath 'the Pinnacle of
the Temple', is very old and Jerome seems to know something of it by his
words, 'Some or our writers think he was buried on the Mount of Olives, but
they are mistaken.' The significance of this monument or marker for the
stories that developed about the circumstances and physical aspects of
James' death is important. Even tody, if one stands on the south-east
corner of the Temple wall facing the Mount of Olives and the Kedron below,
one readily sees the monument of this tomb."
The apostles did settle down in the Jerusalem area, but what makes you think
that they, more specifically, settled down near the foot of the Mount of
Olives--near the site of what likely had been the tomb of James the Just?
1809 N. English Apt. 17
Maplewood, MN USA 55109