If the photo that Tabor and Jacobovici are releasing is properly oriented, the nephesh monument would be upside down. It would have been nice to have had the proper orientation of the original, undoctored (or ‘computer enhanced’) photo, but if the photo is correct and the ossuary is right side up, the nephesh monument would be upside down, and therefore my ‘Absalom’s Tomb’ monument interpretation would be unlikely.
(BTW, this can serve as a quick lesson to students both in the sciences and in the humanities (and especially you in religious studies): the beauty of science and the scientific method is that scholars are free to admit they were wrong when better evidence and arguments come along. In fact, we are encouraged to do so. Rather than dig in our heels and argue until our dying breath for interpretations that have long been disproved by new evidence, critical scholars celebrate peer-review and the discussion of ideas among learned individuals, who offer new proposals and bring knowledge and familiarity with evidence from their respective specialized fields to the discussion. Through the process, a consensus is often reached that is based upon a consideration of all of the latest evidence, and not just the claims of those who made them first or the loudest, or worse yet, who bypassed the scholarly process altogether to take their sensational claim directly to the public for the purposes of selling a popular book. As a scholar, I am humbled, and yet pleased when I can admit when my interpretation was wrong, because it means I am still learning from my colleagues and peers, who have taken the time to engage me in academic debate.)
With that said, another interpretation has come to the forefront, and this one may just be right: amphora.
Antonio Lombatti has posted images of ossuaries with amphorae on them that closely resemble the image that Simcha Jacobovici and James Tabor are telling the world is “Jonah’s Great Fish.”
As you can tell from the actual published photo of the image on the ossuary in its proper context and orientation (below), and even from the museum replica of the ossuary (below), a crude attempt at an amphora may be the best interpretation.
1. The top of the image is wide and flat like an amphora. (Tabor and Jacobovici claim this is a ‘tail’.)
2. The body tapers down through a nice curve like other amphorae. (Tabor and Jacobovici claim this the ‘fish’s body’.)
3. Handles appear on the sides of the amphora. (Tabor and Jacobovici claim these are ‘fins’.)
4. The base is decorated with grooves like other amphorae. (Tabor and Jacobovici claim this is a ‘fish head’.)
5. There is even a small foot (base) of the amphora. (Tabor and Jacobovici claim this is ‘a human head wrapped in seaweed’ – I kid you not).
I believe Antonio Lombatti’s proposal is the best proposal so far. What say you?
Filed under: archaeology, christianity, Jerusalem, judaism, pseudoscience Tagged: | absalom's tomb, amphora, antonio lombatti, handles, James Tabor, Jerusalem, Jesus Discovery, jonah, monument, ossuary, simcha jacobovici, tomb, tomb of absalom, whale