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Bauckham To Post on Prosopography or Tying Names in Inscriptions and Ossuaries to Literarily Known Names – March 16

Richard Bauckham has just sent me notice that he will be posting information on tying names to literary figures. This will appear soon on Chris Tilling’s blog (http://www.christilling.de/blog/ctblog.html).

This is a helpful treatment and he notes the best cases for solid indentification so far. Here is a key section of it:

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. In my judgment the list below is of the ones for which there is a good case. I have given references (pages in E or H) to useful discussions in these books: Craig E Evans, Jesus and the Ossuaries (Baylor University Press, 2003); Rachel Hachlili, Jewish Funerary Customs, Practices and Rites in the Second Temple Period (Brill, 2005). The latter, by the way, is a very informative work that I have not seen referred to in this debate; it has much more about tombs, ossuaries and inscriptions than the title might suggest (but frustratingly lacks proper indices).

Richard Bauckham has just sent me notice that he will be posting information on tying names to literary figures. This will appear soon on Chris Tilling’s blog (http://www.christilling.de/blog/ctblog.html).

This is a helpful treatment and he notes the best cases for solid indentification so far. Here is a key section of it:

_________
. In my judgment the list below is of the ones for which there is a good case. I have given references (pages in E or H) to useful discussions in these books: Craig E Evans, Jesus and the Ossuaries (Baylor University Press, 2003); Rachel Hachlili, Jewish Funerary Customs, Practices and Rites in the Second Temple Period (Brill, 2005). The latter, by the way, is a very informative work that I have not seen referred to in this debate; it has much more about tombs, ossuaries and inscriptions than the title might suggest (but frustratingly lacks proper indices).

(1) Theophilus the high priest, named on the ossuary of his granddaughter Yehohanah (E 108-9; H 173-4).

(2) Nicanor of Alexandria (E 91-94; H 172-3, 286).

(3) Queen Helene of Adiabene (called Sadah/Sadan on her tomb) (H 168-9).

(4) Simon son of Boethus and Martha daughter of Boethus (members of the high priestly family of Boethus) (E 111; H 263-4; Ilan 269-70).

(5) Joseph son of Caiaphas (E 104-8; H 264-8).

(6) Alexander son of Simon of Cyrene (E 94-96; H 279-82, 300).

(7) Ariston of Apamea (H 275-79, 300).

There may be other plausible cases I have missed.

It is notable that all except perhaps (6) are either members of the high priestly families or other seriously wealthy people. This reflects the bias of our sources (Josephus and rabbinic traditions) but also the use of ossuaries.

In every case there is something more than a very common name (or even combination of very common names) to make the identification plausible. In this respect they are all very different from the case of the alleged Jesus family tomb.

I think the case for (6) is probably ripe for a re-examination in the light of what we now know about the frequency of these names not only among Jews in Palestine but also among Jews in Cyrenaica.
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My comments. I have read Evens in full. It is affordable and well done. A great way into this topic. Hachlili is a book I have also seen and used. It is by Brill (always expensive) but is loaded with information as well. Note how rare the "Hits" are, given we have 900 plus ossuaries. Most have no names on them at all. So the sample is mall. But less than 3 % have yielded an indentification, and those that have, as Bauckham notes, are very prominent figures.

 

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