Talpiot Tombs Latest (Including Fish-Reorientation and Unguentaria)

Talpiot Tombs Latest (Including Fish-Reorientation and Unguentaria) March 5, 2012

Here are some links to more blogging and reporting about the Talpiot tombs since my last round-up:

James Tabor posted about the “fish” image, in response to earlier comments and criticisms. He still views it as most likely a fish, spitting Jonah out downward. Tabor also updated his Bible and Interpretation article, and shared a post by Simcha Jacobovici on his blog.

Bob Cargill offered some questions about discrepancies between images of the ossuary and the fish/amphora. One answer offered is that some of the photos are of the replicas of the ossuaries that have been made on the basis of photos. UPDATE: Cargill has now offered a detailed discussion of how the manipulation of the images – perhaps with Photoshop but at least in their orientation – also manipulates those who see them.

Cargill also makes a pun, suggesting that perhaps we should call it the Tilapia Tomb. And Mark Goodacre asked what the appropriate conclusion to draw is if it “quacks like a fish.”

Joan Taylor on the ASOR blog and also Tom Verenna suggested that the image might be of an unguentarium, which seems the closest match so far. This is a possibility that Tabor has considered at length (see his piece in B&I), even though he in the end rejects it.

The ASOR blog continues to offer coverage.

Jim West blogged about Tabor’s appeal for cordiality.

Jeremy Myers illustrates how conservative Christians respond to the Talpiot tomb claims.

Matthew Paul Turner shared this video:

Other blog posts include those by Andrew McGowan, Mike Heiser, and Otagosh. And for Hebrew speakers, see Eldad Keynan’s news appearance.

This was in the “Best Photos of the Day” category on Art Daily Newsletter:

"I guess it depends on whom you ask. I think it is as do many ..."

How a Monotheistic Revolution Created a ..."
"Hey Phil. Do you know if Deuteronomy 32:8-10 is evidence of early Jewish polytheism, or ..."

How a Monotheistic Revolution Created a ..."
"That's a fascinating artifact!Meredith Kline wrote a bit about the connections between the sun disk ..."

How a Monotheistic Revolution Created a ..."
"Very grateful to James for alerting me to "Good Omens.". After a lot of time ..."

Good Omens and the Bible #CFP

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Eldad Keynan

    Thanks, James. If and when those Hebrew speakers hit the link, my part begins at about 40 minutes point. Roll the marker, unless you want to see and here our defense problems.

    • I can’t seem to find the spot any longer – did I post the right link?

  • Kwesi Nti

    I don’t get how Jeremy Myers’ response illustrates conservatism. Seems pretty reasonable to me. How would you react? And if differently, why do you call yourself Christian? (No venom, just curious) 

    • Your comment seems very odd to me. Are you assuming that if something is reasonable then it cannot by definition be conservative?

      There are a number of aspects of the post that reflect a relatively conservative Christian perspective: the nonchalant discussion of the Gospel resurrection accounts in terms of historicity, the assumption that either Jesus’ bones are not in a tomb or there was no resurrection with no sign of awareness of other options – and so on.

      • Kwesi Nti

        But the gospels claim historicity, don’t they? They claim a particular incident has happened. Now, either it happened or it did not. 

        Either Jesus was resurrected (resurrection in the Jewish sense would leave no bones!) or he did not. What other (reasonable) options are there? How do you make sense of Paul’s statement: ‘If Christ is not risen, we are most to be pitied’? 

        And if the resurrection is some ‘middle way’ (an apparition, etc), why does it matter? And why, then, are you Christian?

  • James Tabor

    I will leave it to the tech people to talk about the images and photos but these facts are clear about the way we released things to the press:

    1. The image is shown and described in proper orientation in our book (pp. 84-86).2. All the experts involved (including Meyers, Rollston, Jensen, Fine) were given unlimited access to untouched photos and told precisely how the image was oriented. We later sent several of them even more copies of the photos to give them every possible angle and light exposure.3. My article at bibleinterp.com (http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/tab368028.shtml) covers the orientation of the image on the ossuary and although the photo that should have been portrait was put landscape by the guy who did the PDF–he thought he was saving space–the article itself even makes a point about the orientation–i.e., Jonah being spat onto land (p. 21 bottom and following). It could not have been made more clear. In fact in both book and article we make a big point about the idea of having the image point down, to the land, fitting the biblical text of Jonah.4. At the Tuesday 11am press conference, which was the first public view of things, the replica ossuaries were on display with hundreds of reporters snapping photos (as clearly shown in your photo above in your post), showing clearly the orientation of the image on our blowups as well as on the replica ossuaries and  our press package that had the CGI image printed in portrait mode.So, any implication that we somehow put out the image turned the wrong way in order to make it look more like a fish is simply wrong and I hope those passing on this falsehood will detract it. Anyone who did even a minimum of reading before advancing theories would know how the image was oriented.

  • markhh

    The link to the Cargill UPDATE with Dr. Cargill’s complete analysis went a bit wrong. It should be http://robertcargill.com/2012/03/05/if-the-evidence-doesnt-fit-photoshop-it/

  • Ian

    I don’t claim any knowledge or expertise at all, and I have’t been reading everything on this. But something strikes me about the images.

    The ‘fish’ does look very much like a jar (I thought ‘amphora’ when I first saw it, but I’m quite sure that’s just sloppy terminology). But it is very badly drawn, almost childishly so. And the rest of the images aren’t. In fact the rest of the decoration seems remarkably accurate.

    Is it normal to have remedial standard artwork in the middle of accurate decoration? If not, then should we conclude that the symbol way intentionally drawn that way?

    Even if so, I struggle to see it as Jonah being vomited out by a fish, but my opinion is irrelevant, since I can’t tell an amphora from an unguentarium.

  • Kwesi Nti, since Till He Comes had an alternative conservative Christian answer to your question, I will allow you to get the answer you are looking for within that framework. Your facile “either it is historical or it isn’t” simply doesn’t reflect the complex realities of history and of human memory.

    Ian, you make an interesting point, and I’d love to see that explored further. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen ossuaries of differing qualities that came from the same tomb in the past. And the image that you’ve seen may be of the facsimile based on photos, rather than the ossuary itself which is still in the tomb.

  • If you want to actually understand what these symbols mean, you first need to understand ancient symbology. No one involved in this project seems to have a clue. Thereby all assertions about symbols and their interpretations are without any factual support. 

    I will demonstrate that this image purposely portrays the merger of both a fish and a vessel and it is Hebrew, not Christian. To fully understand what this image represents, it must be viewed correctly with the “ball” at the bottom, just as it was drawn. Changing its position breaks the meaning of the symbolic code. Consider that the ball is the sun rising above the horizon at the spring equinox. The fish/vessel is the constellation Pisces, and thereby this shows the spring equinox sun, rising into Pisces, which is how you determine the current age on the zodiac.

    This image would then represent a zodiacal/astrological time stamp pointing to the second temple period, which was at the start of the age of Pisces. The fish thereby represents the constellation Pisces, and the vessel shape holds the “waters” of that age. Water symbolizes the flow of deeds through time, and a vessel holds a measured quantity of water (or other liquids like wine and oil). The measured period of time is the 2160 years of the age of Pisces, which ended in 2001. This image is a perfect symbolic code for the age of Pisces and the time and deeds (waters…) it represents.

    The second temple period was the 11th 360-year cycle on the Hebrew calendar. That is why the Dead Sea Scrolls were buried in exactly 11 caves, during the 11th cycle, which is also symbolized by the 11 stars in Genesis. The 11th cycle was also the beginning of the age of Pisces, and it is well known that the zodiac was used by those who buried the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as other groups throughout the region.

    The symbology of that image is not Christian, but a time code pointing to the start of the age of Pisces and related details. That is also the true source of the fish symbolism used by early Christians and later recast by Church leaders to hide the astrological source and associations with those most call the “Essenes.” Visit my website (http://www.sevenstarhand.org) and download a free copy of my ebook to learn the basic rules for this ancient symbology. They prove all previous interpretations are erroneous, though both a fish and a vessel were correct guesses.

    This image also provides key proof that Christian assertions about the fish and related symbology have always been blatant lies. I’ll publish more details soon.

    Here is Wisdom…

    Buddy Page
    Seven Star Hand