Bock

Thanks to Ben Gurion, Headed Home and More on Stats – March 15

Beware the Ides of March! I depart Israel having had a wonderful time at Ben Gurion University, where the lectures on the Missing Gospels were well recieved and many of the Israeli listeners made comparisons to issues dealing with orality and tradition in the Old Testament. It was a great time of interaction and I thank the Department of Bible, Archaeology, and Ancient Near East and the Deichmann Lectureship program for being such warm hosts. Tal, Anna, Kana, Zipi, and Roland all deserve special thanks. Keep up the good work and study. My thanks also to Stephen and Claire Pfann, Amos Kloner and Tal Ilan, for agreeing to be interviewed. Finally, thanks to Stephen Bramer, colleague and trusted guide for my first trip to Israel.

Beware the Ides of March! I depart Israel having had a wonderful time at Ben Gurion University, where the lectures on the Missing Gospels were well recieved and many of the Israeli listeners made comparisons to issues dealing with orality and tradition in the Old Testament. It was a great time of interaction and I thank the Department of Bible, Archaeology, and Ancient Near East and the Deichmann Lectureship program for being such warm hosts. Tal, Anna, Kana, Zipi, and Roland all deserve special thanks. Keep up the good work and study. My thanks also to Stephen and Claire Pfann, Amos Kloner and Tal Ilan, for agreeing to be interviewed. Finally, thanks to Stephen Bramer, colleague and trusted guide for my first trip to Israel.

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I know we promised you audio tapes. They are coming. Technical problems have been the issue. We hope they will be posted later today. Stephen Pfann, who made news yesterday with his claim that the Mariamne inscription is not what should be read, will be one of the interviews. Amos Kloner will be the other.

A word on statistics. I continue to get feedback and more information on this issue. The problem is figuring out exactly how to figure this and be fair to the data. This is why various models for this topic have been posed and posted. Here are some of the variables. Does one count names from ossuaries lists or names from inscriptions and ossuaries (to enlarge the name base in the record we have). How does one account for the fact we only have a part of the name pool that existed? What population figure for Judea and Galilee should be included? This is what makes figuring the statistics difficult. But keep hammering away. Randy Ingermanson is working on this question as well. Check him out at: http://www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com. I’m "leaving on a jet plane…." but will be back soon.

 

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    Nehemias

    Stats
    Dr. Bock,

    I’m an engineer, and a christian. As a layperson, I’m enjoying and learning so much about archeology, and new testament and history in this discussion.

    But I think that exist one more strong evidence against “Jesus Tomb” statistics: Probably, much more than 6 people were buried in Talpiot tomb.

    Kloner in: “A Tomb with Inscribed Ossuaries in East Talpiyot, Jerusalem”, ‘Atiquot (Jerusalem), vol. 29 (1996):

    “The number of interments may be estimated at 35: 17 in the ossuaries (based on an average of 1.7 individuals per ossuary) and 18 outside the ossuaries. These figures are based on demographic data compiled by the author (see Kloner 1993:105)”

    So, if Kloner is right (I do think he is), Jesus, son of Joseph, was buried with other 34 close relatives (father, mother, aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, brothers, nieces…) from his extended family.

    What are their names?

    Suppose that 17 were male relatives and 17 were female.

    We learn from Bauckham, that 20 % of first century jewish women were called Mary (or Mariam, Mariamme, Mariame, Marya, Mariamne…), and, at least 10 % Mara or Martha. We learn also that almost 10 % of Jewish men were called Joseph, Simon, Lazarus (Eleazar), or even Judas.

    If Talpiot family names follow this trend (it is a simplification, we could refine this), we can expect about 4 Marys buried there (maybe 3, perhaps 5). So, there is no surprise if two of them have inscribed ossuaries. Furthermore, we could expect 2 Marthas buried there also. In the male line, there is no surprise if we find 2 Josephs or 2 Judas, even 2 Simons and 2 Lazarus.

    So if all Talpiot people had be inscribed in ossuaries, we probably have a cluster of 4 or 5 Marys, 3 Salomes, 2 Marthas, 2 Simons, 2 Lazarus and 2 Josephs. But this cluster of name would be very common in Jewish families in that time.

    Pfann: “The Improper Application of Statistics in “The Lost Tomb of Jesus”
    “If other tombs contained so many inscribed ossuaries, the name census in most other tombs would be very much the same. This being the case, there very well could be numerous tombs which could have claim to the title “a Jesus’ family tomb.” However in all cases, as in this, there would be no compelling reason to connect them with Jesus of Nazareth!”

    At Jerusalem, in first century, almost 500 men were called “Jesus, Son of Joseph”. And I think that almost all of these “Jesuses” had several Marys, and Josephs, or Judas in their families. So a cluster with Mary, Martha, Joseph, Judas, or even John, Simon or Lazarus have no statistical significance.

    Nehemias