How the Experts Were Used in the Special - March 3

Darrell L. Bock's picture

I am involved in an internal blog for scholars and one of the questions that came up was how certain experts were involved. Here is the answer I posted for them: "François Bovon of Harvard was brought in to make the critical link between the name Mariamne and Mary Magdalene. This link is made possible by the Acts of Philip and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, as this is a variant Greek name for Mary. Now, in fat, things are more complicated. The inscription actually reads Mariaamnou, a diminutive of Mariamnon. It is the only inscription in Greek out of the six found in the cave. All he did was to verify that such a link exists between the fourth century text and Mary Magdalene. The way the special used experts was to ask them to verify points of fact to lay the ground work for the speculation but did not follow up to ask them what they thought of the actual hypothesis. This was done with Frank Moore Cross of Harvard, who simply confirms the inscriptions read the now well publicized names on the ossuaries. This is important because some few have questioned the reading of Yeshua (Jesus) on that ossuary. The inscription is one of the sloppiest I have ever seen on such a find. Let me give you a reply Cross gave a reporter about what he thinks about the actual thesis. This appeared in the National Review article by John Miller. here is his quote: 'I am skeptical about Jacobovici’s claims, not because of a faulty reading of the ossuary which reads yeshua’ bar yosep [Jesus son of Joseph] I believe, but because the onomasticon [list of proper names] in his period in Jerusalem is exceedingly narrow. Patriarchal names and biblical names repeat ad nauseam. It has been reckoned that 25% of feminine names in this period were Maria/Miryam, etc., that is variants of Mary. So the cited statistics are unpersuasive. You know the saying: lies, damned lies, and statistics.' James Charlesworth of Princeton was brought in, I think, simply to say that this should be looked at." ____ On another matter. I leave for Israel Monday, as I have already noted. This entire experience has been a case of public vetting over the Internet, a rather new process for handling information sociologically AND academically. I am getting images sent to my Blackberry that I can download and look at of the ossuaries as I travel. Our world is changing as to how it engages and processes information. Academics are going to have to adjust. The day of peer vetting in a calm scholarly process is disappearing. While in Israel I hope to speak with some of the key folks over there. So keep posted.

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