If the Evidence Doesn’t Fit, Photoshop It: Digital Image Manipulation in the Case of Simcha Jacobovici and James Tabor’s Jonah Ossuary

As the author of a book in the burgeoning fields of digital archaeological reconstruction and virtual reality, and as a member of the University of Iowa Digital Humanities Cohort, I know the importance of transparency when it comes to representing archaeological data in digital media. While most find it boring (and while some critics claimed chapters 3 and 4 in my book, Qumran through (Real) Time, which detailed each tedious technological step of my digital reconstruction methodology would have been better left out), I find it essential to the credibility of the practice of digital reconstruction to demonstrate at each point in the process precisely how digital reconstructions are made and exactly how the data are handled and represented. When dealing with digital representations of archaeological data, it is essential for the establishment of a researcher’s credibility to document all alterations of digital imagery and data. For as a colleague of mine (who happened to disagree with part of my digital Qumran reconstruction) once memorably stated to me, “If you give the public a picture of your interpretation of the data, they’ll believe it!”

Images are powerful. And because they are powerful, archaeologists must take great care in representing visual data properly in publication. For just as well-handled visual data can greatly inform the reader and provide new insights into archaeological research, so too can mishandled, or worse yet, deliberately manipulated visual images distort reality. Unfortunately, deliberately altered visual data have been used to support sensational claims throughout history like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, and this abuse has only worsened with the rise of digital photography and editing. It is now possible for unscrupulous individuals to manipulate photographs for the purposes of supporting sensational claims in the hopes that said claims can be published in print and on television to generate tremendous revenues for those making the claims.

Unfortunately, digital technology is often times also used by some to distract from a weak argument. That is, some will elaborate upon and highlight the use of technology in the hope that the mere presence of sophisticated technology, which may have no bearing whatsoever on the interpretation of an object in under examination, will distract from any subsequent fallacious claims being made about said object. And, in more disquieting cases, digital technology is sometimes used to “enhance” or even fabricate evidence outright that supports an otherwise untenable claim.

Or, to put it another way: if the evidence doesn’t fit, Photoshop it (especially if it looks fishy).

Unfortunately, there is reason to believe that an image that has been circulating in the press as part of the marketing campaign in support of the new book by filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici and University of North Carolina, Charlotte Professor, Dr. James Tabor, entitled, The Jesus Discovery, and Mr. Jacobovici’s forthcoming documentary, has been digitally manipulated in such a way as to lead the reader toward a desired conclusion. That is, the image making the rounds in the press and published by Dr. Tabor on the Bible and Interpretation website has been digitally altered and made to look like an engraving of a “great fish” on an ossuary discovered in Jerusalem, in order to support the authors’ rather sensational claim.

What’s more, in Dr. Tabor’s article, the manipulation of the photo of the “fish” on the ossuary has been made without any acknowledgment that the image has been manipulated.

Evidence

In his recent publication in Bible and Interpretation entitled, “A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem,” Dr. James Tabor describes “Ossuary 6″ (the “Jonah Ossuary”) on page 20, and references two images: Figs. 20 and 21.

Fig. 20 from page 41 of the Bible and Interpretation article "A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem" by Dr. James Tabor, Feb 28, 2012.

Fig. 20 from page 41 of the 'Bible and Interpretation' article "A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem" by Dr. James Tabor, published Feb 28, 2012. The caption for this image reads: "20. Jonah image on front façade of ossuary 6."

Fig. 21 from page 42 of the Bible and Interpretation article "A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem" by Dr. James Tabor, Feb 28, 2012.

Fig. 21 from page 42 of the Bible and Interpretation article "A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem" by Dr. James Tabor, published Feb 28, 2012. The caption for this image reads: "21. Blowup of Jonah image."

Fig. 20 is pictured on page 41 along with a caption that reads: “20. Jonah image on front façade of ossuary 6.”

Fig. 21 is pictured in page 42 along with a caption that reads: “21. Blowup of Jonah image.”

Nowhere in the text of Dr. Tabor’s article or in the captions beneath the images is there any acknowledgment whatsoever that Fig. 21 has been altered other than being “blown up” or enlarged. This differs slightly from the caption of the same image in the Jesus Discovery book, where the caption for Fig 26 on p. 86 reads: “A composite representation of the ossuary image of Jonah and the big fish” (italics mine). On March 1, 2012, the team’s “Jesus Discovery” media website labeled the image as a “CGI enhanced image of ‘Jonah and the Whale’.”

However, whether the image in question is a “blown up” or “composite” image, as soon as one looks at original photograph and the composite/blown up image side-by-side, one immediately notices that Fig. 21 is no simple enlargement of Fig. 20, but rather a highly-doctored digital artist’s representation of Fig. 20.

Side-by-side comparison of Figs. 20 (left) and 21 from the Bible and Interpretation article entitled, "A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem," by Dr. James Tabor on Feb 28, 2012.

Side-by-side comparison of Figs. 20 (right) and 21 from the 'Bible and Interpretation' article entitled, "A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem," by Dr. James Tabor, published on Feb. 28, 2012. I have rotated Fig. 21 (left) back to its actual orientation for comparison purposes.

Let us examine the examples of digital image manipulation.

1. Fig. 21 in Dr. Tabor’s article has been enlarged, rotated, and cropped. Simple changes to scale that retain fundamental aspects of digital data, such as shape, color, and features are generally not considered compromises of the digital image.

Archaeological photo indicating size and direction.

Example of archaeological photo indicating size and direction.

Archaeological photo indicating size and direction

Example of archaeological photo indicating size and direction

However in cases where alterations of scale and orientation are made to images, it is common practice to supply a centimeter measuring stick or relative scale (see above) to convey relative size, and a compass pointing north (see above) to indicate the orientation (especially for rotated images).

Digital reconstruction of the SE pottery annex at Qumran from 'Qumran through (Real) Time' by Robert R. Cargill.

Digital reconstruction of the SE pottery annex at Qumran. Photo from 'Qumran through (Real) Time' by Robert R. Cargill. Note the digital overlay indicating direction/orientation and loci.

These size and direction indicators can even be added to hard to reach areas (like those accessible only through robotic arms) and digital reconstructions after the fact (see above). Both of these are absent in both of Tabor’s Figs. 20 and 21.

Frog or Horse?

Frog or Horse?

Fish or Girl?

Fish or Girl?

As the classic optical illusion of the frog and the horse or the fish and the girl (note that this fish actually has an eye) demonstrates, rotation and orientation make a huge difference when identifying an object. The psychological process of “cognitive priming” can be used to lead the brain to interpret certain objects in a desired manner. Michael Shermer’s book, The Believing Brain, examines this process in detail.

It is quite telling that it was this digitally altered photo, Fig. 21, that was first sent to the press by Jacobovici and Tabor, and that the image was rotated to the side in most press reports. That is, the absence of any indication of proper orientation on the photograph allowed Jacobovici and Tabor to depict the image on its side, that is, in a manner more consistent with the natural orientation of a fish, rather than in its proper orientation with the tapered end down, which would more resemble some kind of ceramic or glass vessel.

For instance, in the Yahoo News story by Eric Pfeiffer and the MSNBC Cosmic Log story by Alan Boyle on Feb. 28, 2012, the doctored image appears rotated onto its side with no indication in the caption or in the story that it has been digitally altered. Similarly, the Photoshopped image depicted in the Haaretz.com story by Nir Hasson on Feb. 28, 2012 describes the image as an “enhanced image” without noting that the image is out of context and rotated to better resemble a fish. Likewise, in the LiveScience story by Wynne Parry and the syndicated FoxNews.com story on Feb. 28, 2012, both the digitally altered photo and the photograph are included among the images. And while the doctored image under examination has a caption that reads, “A CGI-enhanced image” (italics mine), both the Photoshopped image and the photograph are rotated to resemble the natural orientation of fish, and no indication is given for either image that they have been rotated from their in situ orientation.

Of course, Jacobovici and Tabor can “blame the press” for rotating the images, but they wouldn’t have had the problem had the orientation indicators and size and scale indicators been digitally placed on the images in the first place. Likewise, the fact that their own YouTube promotional videos also have the image turned on its side while they prime the brain with discussions about a fish (see the 1:35 mark) suggest that the image rotations were not the product of the press, but were done by Mr. Jacobovici and Dr. Tabor from the outset.

It therefore appears that the repeated rotation of the image to its side and away from its proper orientation is not the result of trying to fit it on a page for publication, but may be a deliberate attempt to orient the image in such a way so that it better resembles the natural disposition of a fish. The image Jacobovici and Tabor released to the press appears to have been intentionally disoriented.

2. One then notices that Fig. 21 is a different color than Fig. 20. It appears more brown or sand colored, possessing much less green than Fig. 20. While this may be an attempt by the authors to make Fig. 21 look more like other known images engraved in limestone ossuaries, and while this is, in fact, an alteration of the digital data, we can excuse this acceptable manipulation of the image as a simple color correction from the original photo (Fig. 20). That said, many archaeologists do not like the practice of “color correcting,” as maintaining color data is the purpose of employing Munsell color charts in archaeological recording and photography. Such color information is lacking from the article and the figures.

Thus far, the image has been enlarged, rotated, cropped, and color corrected. Unfortunately, Fig. 21 appears to have undergone an additional digital perspective manipulation to correct the oblique angle of the camera, which apparently was not perpendicular to the image when the photograph was taken. This is a more serious digital manipulation of the image, as it involves correcting the lengths and angles of objects to make them appear as if they were photographed at a perpendicular angle to the object (straight on). This technique is also used to correct so-called “barreling” and “fish-eye” lens effects that result from certain cameras and angles, especially during close-up shots. This more severe correction to the image in Fig. 21 can be excused as a digital correction of a poor initial camera angle, but it is customary to acknowledge that the image has been altered to correct for perspective. This is nowhere indicated in Dr. Tabor’s article.

Unfortunately, the evidence of image manipulation with regard to Fig. 21 (the image that has been sent to the press) far exceeds simple rectification of orientation, size, color, and perspective. The evidence below details a number of digital alterations to Fig. 21 that simply cannot be described as a “Blowup of Jonah image.”

A side-by-side look at differences between Figs. 20 (left) and 21 (pgs. 41-42) from the original Bible and Interpretation article entitled, "A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem," by Dr. James Tabor published on Feb 28, 2012.

A side-by-side look at differences between Figs. 20 (left) and 21 (pgs. 41-42) from the original 'Bible and Interpretation' article entitled, "A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem," by Dr. James Tabor, published on Feb 28, 2012. I have rotated Fig. 21 (right) back to its actual orientation for comparison purposes.

3. An object covering the right side of the supposed “tail fin” (marked as “Digitally Removed” in the upper right corner of Fig. 20 above) is present in Fig. 20, but suddenly absent in Tabor’s Fig. 21. On p. 83 of the Jesus Discovery book, this object is identified as another ossuary (#5) that is “jammed up against it so closely we were unable to see its full decorated façade.” In Fig. 21 above, Ossuary #5 been digitally removed and the right portion of the “tail fin” has been digitally generated using a Photoshop process called “clone stamping.” This is evidenced by the fact that it appears darker than the rest of the “fin.” Likewise, the dark shadow that appears down the right side of the “tail fin” in Fig. 21 may be explained as the unintended result of the process of cloning and creating that portion of the “fin,” as there is a dark spot present in Fig. 20 at the intersection of the right side of the image and Ossuary #5. The shadow is the result of cloning that dark spot up along right side of the “tail fin.”

4. Perhaps one the most egregious alterations to Fig. 21 appears in the so-called “tail.” The shape of the “tail” is altered to make it look more like the tail of a fish. The horizontal top of the “tail” in Fig. 20 is straight, but the corresponding line in Fig. 21 shows a tremendous bend on the right side. This is a deliberate result of the cloning process that produced the right side of the “tail fin” after Ossuary #5 covering part of the image in Fig. 20 was digitally removed from Fig. 21. The creation of this portion of the “tail” appears to have been deliberately drawn at an angle to further the illusion of a natural fish’s tail. Likewise, the left side of the “tail” in Fig. 21 also appears to have been gently rounded at the top, and then curved toward the bottom so that it better resembles a natural fish’s tail, while the corresponding area in Fig. 20 reveals a nearly L-shaped angle.

"IMG_7422 Posted on February 29, 2012 by admin" located on thejesusdiscovery.org website is a photo of the 'museum quality replica' of the "Jonah Ossuary" in question.

"IMG_7422 Posted on February 29, 2012 by admin" located on thejesusdiscovery.org website is a photo of the "museum quality replica" of the "Jonah Ossuary" in question.

It is worth noting that the reproduced image on the “museum quality replica” exhibited at Jacobovici and Tabor’s Feb. 28, 2012 press conference in New York does not match Tabor’s Fig. 21 image above, which was the image released to the press. The image is in its proper orientation, and not on its side. The artist(s) who engraved the replica more faithfully followed the original photograph in Fig. 20 above than did the doctored “composite” photo that was distributed to the press, as the replica more accurately reconstructs the top of the image.

5. The zig-zag triangle and braided border design visible in Fig. 20 to the left side of the image suddenly disappears from Fig. 21. The full size image of Fig. 20 (above) shows that the supposed “fish” is surrounded by a double border consisting of a line zig-zagging in between two parallel lines forming a column of triangles, that sits inside of a beautiful braided or herringbone design, all of which passes just outside the left “fin” of the “fish” in Fig. 20. However, this design element, which appears to be engraved equally as deep as the “fish” in Fig. 20, suddenly disappears in Fig. 21, despite the fact that many of the lines in the double border design appear at many of the same angles present in the “fish” design. Given the lighting, many of the lines comprising the border should appear along with corresponding lines making up the “fish” image, but are peculiarly absent. The border design appears to have been Photoshopped out of Fig. 21 using a combination of clone stamping, feathering, and use of the “healing brush” tool, as the resulting brown texture remaining after the deletion of the border appears indicatively blurry and feathered.

Again, the motivation behind the deletion of the border may be understood as an attempt to remove the image further from its actual context. Combined with presenting the image on its side, eliminating the border gives the viewer the illusion that the “fish” is swimming freely in the ocean rather than bound and framed narrowly by an ornate border, which, along with its proper orientation, certainly detracts from its interpretation as a fish.

6. A segment of the “fish’s abdomen” near the supposed “tail” (that I have labeled Seg4 above) suddenly appears clearly in Fig. 21, but is barely recognizable if not completely absent in Fig. 20. Changes in lighting cannot account for this change, as the three segments (Seg1, Seg2, and Seg3 above) are visible in Fig. 20. Even if we allow for the presence of Seg4 in Fig. 20, it still does not match with the altered angle of the tail in Fig. 21.

The addition or “enhancement” of the Seg4 layer may explain the more tapered, narrowed look of the “abdomen” of the “fish” in Fig. 21, perhaps leading the viewer away from interpretations of Fig. 20 as a nephesh monument or some other architectural structure, and encouraging an interpretation as a fish.

7. Finally, there are marks around the outside of Fig. 21 that betray the telltale signs of digital alteration, specifically, digital cloning. In a number of boxes above, I highlight examples of digitally produced marks that are identical in shape and size. (They do differ in color/tint, as this effect can be applied after the cloning process is complete.) Each mark of a mechanically engraved ossuary is unique in reality. At the pixel level of Fig. 21, however, the attempts at reproducing artificial “engraver’s marks” that I have isolated demonstrate, I believe convincingly, that someone used a Photoshop “clone stamp” tool to add artificial scratches all around the “fish,” and give the illusion of a naturally engraved image.

Comparison of digitally cloned "engravers marks" added to Fig. 21 (pg. 42) from the original Bible and Interpretation article entitled, "A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem," by Dr. James Tabor published on Feb 28, 2012.

Comparison of digitally cloned "engraver's marks" added to Fig. 21 (pg. 42) from the original 'Bible and Interpretation' article entitled, "A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem," by Dr. James Tabor, published on Feb 28, 2012.

Take for example the white boxes numbered 1-4 above. I have cut-and-pasted (a process similar to Photoshop cloning) these examples in the chart to the right. As you can see, the marks bear the telltale signs of being copied time and again around the outside of Fig. 21. Each cloned “engraver’s mark” is comprised of a main line attempting to represent an engraved gash. However, identical marks labeled as “low lines” appear just below each of the “main lines.” Likewise, a light spot appears above the left end of each of the “main lines.” Because such identical markings at the pixel level would never appear naturally on an ossuary, anyone familiar with Adobe Photoshop and digital imagery can attest that these are obviously the product of someone who has cloned gashes and attempts at “engraver’s marks” around the edge of the supposed “fish” in an attempt to make the altered image look more natural.

Likewise, if we examine the yellow boxes above, I have highlighted additional examples of identical, digitally cloned marks that were added in an attempt to disguise the fact that cloning had been done to the image. By altering the shape of the “engraver’s marks” added to the digital image, it was hoped by the digital artist that the additional variety of artificially produced “engraver’s marks” would conceal the artificial marks, making the evidence of cloning less noticeable.

Comparison of digitally cloned "engravers marks" added to Fig. 21 (pg. 42) from the original Bible and Interpretation article entitled, "A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem," by Dr. James Tabor published on Feb 28, 2012.

Comparison of digitally cloned "engraver's marks" added to Fig. 21 (pg. 42) from the original 'Bible and Interpretation' article entitled, "A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem," by Dr. James Tabor, published on Feb 28, 2012.

Yellow boxes 5 and 6 above demonstrate a variation of the “engraver’s marks” digitally added to the image. Likewise, yellow boxes 7-9 show yet another deliberate variation. I have enlarged the identical marks in boxes 7, 8, and 9 in the chart to the right. In each example, there is a central horizontal “main line” curving upward to the left, a small notch just below the center of the main line, and a curved, almost vertical mark just above each “main line.” Again, these examples reveal definite evidence of digital manipulation to Fig. 21 in Dr. Tabor’s article.

Tabor and Jacobovici’s Response

The scholarly community has been nearly unanimous in their rejection of Jacobovici and Tabor’s claims. The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) has posted on its blog a series of posts by reputable scholars critiquing the authors’ claims. And while these rebuttals vary in substance and style, from critiques of the inscription to critiques of the authors’ use of the Bible, one of the most intriguing rebuttals has been from a host of scholars critiquing the above altered image in question above, perhaps without the knowledge that it had been digitally altered. Specifically, perhaps based partially upon the demonstrable Photoshopped Fig. 21 above, several scholars (including Dr. Christopher Rollston, Dr. Eric Meyers, Dr. Jodi Magness, Dr. Stephen Fine, and myself) have argued that the image would be better interpreted as a nephesh monument.

However, I cannot help but wonder how many of these expert opinions may have been based upon the digitally altered and deliberately disoriented image described above. It now appears possible that at least some of the scholars interpreting the image in question as a nephesh monument may have been basing some of their arguments on a digitally altered image, removed from context, and rotated away from its original orientation. The interpretation as a nephesh monument may still be a possibility. But alternatively, given a knowledge of the image’s proper orientation, it may also be interpreted as a representation of an amphora as suggested by Italian scholar Antonio Lombatti, or some other kind of vessel like a krater as recently suggested by Warden and President of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne, Dr. Andrew McGowan, or perhaps even an unguentarium, as suggested by Kings College London Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, Dr. Joan E. Taylor.

The one theme shared by scholars interpreting the image both as a nephesh monument and as some kind of ceramic or glass vessel is this: they all agree it’s not a fish.

But scholars can only evaluate the claims and evidence that authors publish, and proper context and the integrity of the image data are essential to one’s interpretation. The caption under Fig. 21 from page 42 of the original version of Dr. Tabor’s Bible and Interpretation article, “A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem,” published on Feb 28, 2012 simply read: “21. Blowup of Jonah image.” Except, it obviously was not.

As I have shared the above evidence of image manipulation with my scholarly colleagues, including an exchange with Dr. Tabor on the ASOR Blog, it now appears that Dr. Tabor and Mr. Jacobovici are attempting to take steps to correct their descriptions about the misleading photo in question (Fig. 21 above), which has, in fact, been removed from its context, rotated away from its in situ orientation, and digitally altered, by updating the captions describing these images, and in some cases, correcting their orientation after the fact.

Page 42 of the article by James Tabor entitled, "A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem" published at Bible and Interpretation. The original article (left) was published on Feb. 28, 2012. The revised article (right) appeared on the site on March 2, 2012. Note that the orientation of the image in Fig. 21 (left) is rotated away (CCW) from its in situ orientation, better resembling the natural disposition of a fish. However, the same image on the right has been rectified to its proper orientation (although it has been flipped horizontally). Note also the the revised caption on the revised article (right) still reads, "Museum replica showing placement of image on front panel and closeup of image," despite the fact that the image in question is still not a 'closeup' of the replica, and still does not indicate that the photo has been heavily Photoshopped.

Page 42 of the article by James Tabor entitled, "A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem," published at 'Bible and Interpretation.' The original article (left) was published on Feb. 28, 2012. The revised article (right) appeared on the site on March 2, 2012. Note that the orientation of the image in Fig. 21 (left) is rotated away (counter-clockwise) from its in situ orientation, more closely resembling the natural disposition of a fish. However, the same image in the updated version of the article on the right has been rectified to its proper orientation (although it has now been flipped horizontally, with the digitally reproduced section of the "tail" on the left side). Note also the the revised caption on the revised article (right) still reads, "Museum replica showing placement of image on front panel and closeup of image," despite the fact that the image in question is still not a "closeup" of the replica, and still does not indicate that the photo has been heavily Photoshopped.

For instance, the editors at Bible and Interpretation confirmed to me that they have, in fact, taken down Dr. Tabor’s original article (which I have reposted here for purposes of comparison), and replaced it with a new, revised version. They also updated the title of the revised version with an editorial comment noting that Dr. Tabor’s present article is a different version from the one originally published.

Editor's comment (see red arrows pointing to text in parentheses) noting that a new version of James Tabor's Bible and Interpretation article, originally published Feb 28, 2012, had been revised.

Editor's comment (see red arrows pointing to text in parentheses) noting that a new version of James Tabor's 'Bible and Interpretation' article, originally published Feb 28, 2012, has been revised.

This revision appeared on the Bible and Interpretation website on March 2, 2012, after Dr. Tabor and I had discussed the Photoshopped and rotated image on the ASOR blog. To his credit, Dr. Tabor confirmed that he uploaded a revised version of his article at Bible and Interpretation, noting on his Tabor Blog:

By the way, if you are one of the 18,000 that have downloaded that article in the last two days take a look again at the picture in the appendix–we have added the museum reproductions of the ossuaries.

However, Dr. Tabor makes no mention in his revised article of the fact that he has also corrected the orientation of the supposed “fish” in the image in Fig. 21 by rotating it 90-degrees clockwise into its actual in situ orientation. In the original version of the article, the image was horizontal, with the “head” of the “fish” pointing to the right, perhaps in an attempt to better resemble the natural disposition of a fish. Likewise, the caption for Fig. 21 has been changed from the original, “21. Blowup of Jonah image” to now reading, “21. Museum replica showing placement of image on front panel and closeup of image.”

A side-by-side comparison of the "museum quality replica" (left, source: http://thejesusdiscovery.org/intro/img_7422/) and the digitally altered photo from Dr. Tabor's 'Bible and Interpretation' article. Both are artist's renditions of the image on the ossuary. Note the difference in shape and scale even in these artists' renditions. Note also that the digital reproduction from the revised 'Bible and Interpretation' article has now been flipped horizontally.

A side-by-side comparison of the "museum quality replica" (left, source: http://thejesusdiscovery.org/intro/img_7422/) and the digitally altered photo from Dr. Tabor's 'Bible and Interpretation' article. Both are artist's renditions of the image on the ossuary. Note the difference in shape and scale even in these artists' renditions. Note also that the digital reproduction from the revised 'Bible and Interpretation' article has now been flipped horizontally.

The problem is, if one examines the two images in Fig. 21 of the new article closely, the images still don’t match! The bottom image is not a “close up” of the top image at all. Rather, the top image is an artist’s reconstruction on a replica, and the bottom image is a highly Photoshopped image. Look closely at the so-called “tails”: the bottom image has a bent “tail” on the top left (as the digital reproduction from the revised Bible and Interpretation article has now been flipped horizontally), while the image on the “tail” on the replica is flat and straight.

The caption of the same image in their Jesus Discovery book beneath Fig. 26 on p. 86 reads: “A composite representation of the ossuary image of Jonah and the big fish.” Again, there is no mention of the multiple digital alterations that the image has experienced, just the words “composite representation.”

Finally, the caption under the same image on the thejesusdiscovery.org website finally concedes it is a “computer enhanced” photo. Unfortunately, these photos were not made available on the website until after the book had been released, after the press conferences, after scholars had begun their initial critiques, and after I had begun to point out that the image in question (Tabor’s Fig. 21) had been digitally altered as described above.

The question is: which pictures should we believe? Should we accept the artist’s rendition on the “museum quality replica,” or the doctored, heavily Photoshopped, “computer enhanced” digital “composite representation”?

And this is the point: the image that was released to the public was a Photoshopped image. It was rotated. It had been altered in other ways, including having the “tail” reshaped to more closely resemble that of a fish. Yet, these were the images given to scholars to evaluate. And that’s what we evaluated.

I cannot speak for other scholars, so I shall only speak for myself: I admit that my original suggestion of some similarity between the image in question and Absalom’s Tomb stemmed from my analysis of the photo sent to the press (Fig. 21 above), which I have now demonstrated to be a doctored photo that was rotated to more resemble the natural disposition of a fish, and which lacked any indication of size, scale, or orientation like a cm stick or compass point. Once I realized that I had based my analysis upon a doctored photo, I publicly conceded that I no longer favor the interpretation as a nephesh memorial, but instead favor an interpretation of an amphora, krater, unguentarium, or some other form of vessel.

I also noted that as scholars, we must be willing to alter our conclusions based upon new (or in this case, accurate, in context) evidence following a consensus of our trained peers. The question is: are Mr. Jacobovici and Dr. Tabor willing to do the same? Now that they’ve had the opportunity to experience the peer-review of trained professionals, will they heed the nearly unanimous voice of the archaeologists and scholars stating that the image under investigation is not a fish?

Conclusion

Unfortunately, the visual evidence detailed above compels us to conclude that Fig. 21 from pg. 42 of Dr. James Tabor’s original Feb 28, 2012 Bible and Interpretation article entitled, “A Preliminary Report of an Exploration of a Sealed 1st Century Tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem,” has experienced a high degree of digital manipulation. Given the changes to the “tail fin” of the supposed “fish,” and given the deliberate rotation of the image’s orientation causing it to more resemble the natural orientation of a fish without offering a compass point or any indication on the image whatsoever that the image has been rotated, it can be argued that the motivation behind making these digital alterations to the image was the desire to create, or at least “enhance” the illusion of a “great fish” swimming freely in the ocean, while vomiting forth a human head.

We should not state that the image has been “faked,” as there is obviously an image on the ossuary. However, we are forced to conclude that the image was digitally manipulated and its orientation altered in such a way so as to encourage and enhance its interpretation as a fish over other possible interpretations. The fact that Dr. Tabor is still using the doctored photo as “evidence” upon which to base his recent rebuttals of other scholars’ critiques of his theory on his own jamestabor.com blog and in a new Bible and Interpretation article is quite telling.

What is more troubling is the prospect that other images published by Mr. Jacobovici and Dr. Tabor may be similarly digitally “enhanced” without proper acknowledgment. If such image manipulation is demonstrated in the “Jonah fish” image, which is central to their sensational and already highly spurious claim, how can we be sure that other images, such as those of the inscriptions, have not experienced similar amounts of digital alteration? Let us remember that the image distributed to the press and on the “museum quality replica” are, in fact, artist’s renditions of the image on the ossuary and not the image itself – a rendition that the authors desperately want viewers to interpret as a fish.

With the credibility of the visual evidence demonstrated above now highly suspect, and with the scholarly consensus nearly unanimously interpreting the image as something other than a fish, we should be all the more skeptical of any and all claims made by Mr. Jacobovici and Dr. Tabor regarding any claim of Jonah, a fish, or so-called “new evidence” of early Christianity obtained from these tombs.

Because if it doesn’t look like a fish, and doesn’t swim like a fish, it may very well be an ancient vessel cleverly Photoshopped to look like a fish.

59 Responses

  1. Author’s Note:

    Please note that at no place in this article is there any personal attack against either of the authors. The article contains no heated rhetoric, no polemic. This article is merely an examination of the digital evidence. In fact, Dr. Tabor and I have been in discussions on the ASOR blog about this very matter for the past few days. I’d ask my readers to not waste time making accusations of personal attacks against the authors, as the article contains none. We disagree in our conclusions, and this article is merely a continued examination of the evidence (specifically of the digital evidence) put forth by Dr. Tabor and Mr. Jacobovici is support of their claim.

    Note also that Dr. Tabor and Mr. Jacobovici may very well be the victims of poor digital reconstructions by another digital artist. Still, the responsibility for the digitally altered images being the ones sent to the press must ultimately rest with Dr. Tabor and Mr. Jacobovici.

    Thanks.

  2. Grand paper!
    Antonio Lombatti

  3. Dr. Cargill,
    Excellent job! Very well argued in a professional manner with ample evidence.

  4. Thanks so much for your staying on this.

  5. Outstanding, Bob, thanks!

  6. I’m convinced. This is an especially needed critique as the supporters of the fish identification are already trotting out the failure of the tower hypothesis as some sort of proof of their interpretation.

  7. Bob,
    Thanks for this detailed post. I can assure you right off that there is and never has been any attempt or move to deceive anyone with these various images and photos. There is nothing we would want more than the most accurate representation possible. The circulated image you refer to, the one that appears in my book on in my article (greenish in color) is, as I understand it a CGI composite. That is it was taken from hundreds of video images from all sorts of different angles and lighting. As you know, when you come in at an angle in a cramped space, with a snake camera, the way the lens is pointed, the light, everything, can distort the image or make part of it more narrow, fat, or whatever. The ossuary reproduction itself we had nothing to do with and the engravers did the best job they could, mainly to show the placing of the images but they did not have the means to precisely represent the images on the ossuary in full detail. We think they did a fine job, as museum reproductions go. There is nothing we would like better than to pull the ossuary itself out of the tomb into the light of day for all to examine. I will read your post more carefully and maybe we can find ways to improve what we have from your observations. Whatever the image is, we all want the same thing–the most accurate representation possible. I will be sure the technical people who did the CGI work see your analysis here. I appreciate the work you have done though I regret that you think any of us would willingly try to manipulate anything. It is untrue and unfortunate.

    Best,

    James

  8. You accuse Tabor of “doctoring” and “manipulating” the data to produce a dishonest conclusion, but you don’t think that is a personal attack? Yet someone makes a rational critique of you on another thread and you accuse them of attacking you?

    Wow.

  9. [...] Zie ook Joan E. Taylor, ‘The Talpiot Unguentarium‘. Update: Bob Cargill has evidence of image manipulation of Tabor and Jacobovici. Share this:FacebookTwitterE-mail Dit bericht werd geplaatst in Bijbel, Nieuwe Testament, Vroege [...]

  10. like i said, don’t waste your breath.
    pointing out obvious facts about the data is not a personal attack. it’s assessing the data. i like dr. tabor, but i think they’ve got a photoshopped image.
    bc

  11. Misunderstanding how a camera works when taking a shot of a flat object from an oblique angle is one thing. Pretending that one’s own failure to understand perspective builds a platform for saying someone else has “manipulated” something is in fact making a personal attack. No one here is wasting their breath. There’s a reason so many outside voices find your posts vicious. It’s because they reach vicious conclusions without examining obvious alternative explanations and without using common sense. You need to step back from your anger before making more posts like this. Just as it was absurd when you said it was clearly a nefesh tower, it’s also absurd to say you’re just assessing the data.

    And for that matter, if someone was going to photoshop an image to look like a fish, wouldn’t you expect they’d make it look more like a fish?!

  12. again, it’s always good for people to witness the tone and arguments of those who defend those making the aberrant claim.
    and no, one wouldn’t conjure a fish, for it would be too obvious. however, perspective…perspective can make all the difference, as any filmmaker will tell you.

  13. If they digitally altered it to look like a fish, why didn’t any of the scholars think the digitally altered photo looked like a fish? Are you saying that they’re bad at digitally altering? Maybe they need James Cameron’s special effects skills on this one too.

  14. [...] 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 ….Cargill also makes a pun, suggesting that perhaps we should call it the Tilapia Tomb. And Mark [...]

  15. What a sad article! At the end of the day, while generously saying that “we should not state that the image has been ‘faked,’” you use terms like “doctored” image and suggest that we “manipulated” our image to make a vessel look like a fish. We’re obviously not very good at it because in the same breath you state that scholars “all agree it’s not a fish.” So why the fancy analysis? We obviously fooled no one.

    The fact is that a handful of scholars are suffering from what Prof. Yosef Garfinkel calls “paradigm-collapse trauma.” That is, literary compellations of groundless arguments, masquerading as scientific writing through footnotes, references and publication in professional journals (BAR, May/June 2011, p. 47). How dare you suggest that we have doctored anything? In our press kit we provide untouched photographs, enhanced photographs, color-corrected photographs, photographs of museum quality replicas that we initiated etc. We have shared all of this and more with anyone who has asked for the images – any images – or who has logged onto our site (see Press Kit Photos & Graphics folder): http://thejesusdiscovery.org/press-kit-photos/?wppa-album=3&wppa-cover=0&wppa-occur=1. If you want more images, contact AP Producer Felix Golubev at: felix@apltd.ca and we’ll supply the best photos we have. You’re obviously an expert, you enhance them.

    What psychological landscape do you inhabit? The IAA has licensed our dig. Ha’aretz, Israel’s leading newspaper, put our finding on its front page. Yuval Baruch, IAA Jerusalem district head, has called it “a significant find;” James Charlesworth calls it “a Jonah image” in our film; John Dominic Crossan hails it as an extremely important find. Likewise, Prof. Barrie Wilson….the list goes on. As for the ASOR Blog, I have posted Robin Jensen’s original comments as a response. I have also analyzed the perfume bottles posted by Dr. Joan Taylor. None of them come from 1st century Israel.

    This is not 1984. It’s 2012. Fish are not perfume bottles, towers or vessels. And no amount of personal attacks, innuendo and pseudo-CSI forensics of photographs that are readily available will change that.

    Simcha Jacobovici, filmmaker
    Professor of Religious Studies, Huntington University

    PS. Thank you for not making an issue of my kippah this time.

  16. Dr. Jacobovici,

    Thank you for visiting my blog.

    I shall post your comments in their entirety, as they ought to be seen by your new colleagues in the academy.

    And congratulations on your new appointment as a full Professor of Religious Studies at Huntington University in Canada. May your appointment reflect honorably upon this fine institution.

    Cheers,

    Bob Cargill

    PS. Thank you for not resorting to claims of anti-Semitism this time around in an attempt to distract from your latest argument.

  17. PPS: Does this mean you are recanting your claim from last year, where you said:

    “For the record, I am not an archaeologist, nor am I an academic.”
    – Simcha Jacobovici , “The Nails of the Cross: A Response to the Criticisms of the Film,” p. 45?

  18. Life takes you where life takes you.

    Simcha

  19. Agreed. And your life has apparently taken you to discover the real route of the historical Exodus (“The Exodus Decoded”), the actual tomb of Jesus (“The Lost Tomb of Jesus”), the very nails of the cross of Jesus (“The Nails of the Cross”), and now the Jonah and the Whale ossuary, the “the earliest archaeological record of Christians ever found” (“The Jesus Discovery“), despite being “neither an archaeologist, nor an academic” (-Simcha Jacobovici, “The Nails of the Cross: A Response to the Criticisms of the Film,” jamestabor.com, June 22, 2011, p. 45.).

    You must admit, that’s pretty spectacular! Life has either led you to become the most prolific archaeologist of all time, or your archaeological career is based upon pure speculation.

    And I’m assuming your appointment to Huntington is still rather new, as I do not find you on their faculty list. BTW, your publisher, Simon & Schuster, says you are an Adjunct Professor at Huntington, whereas you signed your comment above as “Professor of Religious Studies.” Did Simon & Schuster make a mistake, or did you Photoshop something out of your new title above?

    Congratulations all the same.

    BC

  20. [...] Cargill and others have been buys debunking the latest pre-Easter hype from Simcha and Associates (Archeologists and Photoshoppers, Inc). Anyway, the venerable Simcha has posted on Dr. Cargill’s blog, ….The fact is that a [...]

  21. He really should have gone through the proper academic channels to understand his value.

    I saw the Huntington website. I get the point.

    It was still snotty/snobby of you.

  22. perhaps now that he is an established member of the academy, he’ll vet his discoveries and claims via proper scholarly channels of peer-review.

    i just wish i could get from adjunct prof to full prof that quickly.

    (and agreed.)

  23. Honestly, I do appreciate the criticism/cynicism.

    Tabor and Jacobovici make so many illogical inferences ex falso quodlibet that when they do uncover objective historical data it is swallowed in the former morass.

    About peer review: I have noticed who their peers are and I fail to see the advantage.

  24. [...] the problems of both tombs don’t start or stop here.  Bob Cargill and I spent a lot of time analyzing the photos and it is pretty clear that there are cases of [...]

  25. Mr. Jacobovici, if you’re still reading comments here, how about you supply an unenhanced photo that shows that extra band that seems to appear in the enhanced one? If the enhanced photo didn’t take the libertires that some are accusing it of, there should be at least one that shows this clearly.

  26. [...] toast, irrefutable evidence that Simcha Jacobovici and Dr. James Tabor are correct about their claim to have discovered an ossuary with a ‘great fish’ inscribed on it, offering the “the [...]

  27. Thanks, Dr Bob.

    Your arguments are irrefutable, which is apparently a red flag for people with an axe to grind to try refuting them.

    It appears that those most wanting the [insert unknown object here] to be a fish would need to see bubbles and a fishhook before they would agree it was posed and edited to look like a fish!

    Given that the original was skewed and rotated arbitrarily, which does result in various non-linear distortions (and the irreparable modification of much data across the whole image), it’s extremely improbable that these manipulations somehow removed more than a quarter of the original image and simultaneously inserted artefacts in the positions we clearly see them.

    I’m disappointed (though not surprised) that the original authors haven’t addressed the appearance of carved patterns that weren’t in the original carving. Oh, except to blame the workers (some of whom obviously saw a fish, while others saw something completely different). What a dereliction of integrity, not to mention duty. Someone should have told both groups of artists the same ‘fishy’ story. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

    I’d hate to find out that there wasn’t any artist service involved in the book and original press images. That would mean someone has lied, verbally *as well as* photographically. But perhaps that’s the norm, outside mainstream modern archaeology?

  28. James Tabor has posted (March 6) a drawing overlay that “…is very close to what we have argued…” concerning the proposed components of the image. jamestabor.com. Since comments are closed there, if I may comment here:
    Even as a proposed “stick figure” it seems poor. One straight line goes from neck to one foot. One curved elbowless arm is not attached;, the other straight arm is perpendicular, not one up and one down in proposed oannes fashion. And would the artist know and want to use that proposed fashion anyway? And an Etruscan symbol?
    By the way, minor point (p. 147),, many have looked for the quote attributed to Augustine and have not found it in his works..
    As to the “working hypothesis” (p. 98) that various Jesus inscriptions on ossuaries do not refer to the individuals buried there:, A. Schalit, in the Josephus Namenwoerterbuch separates out 19 Jesus individuals in Josephus– rather frequent attestation of the name.

  29. Could the fin-shaped thing at the top of the amphora or unguentarium actually be something solid that is in the jar and is partially sticking out at the top where the hole is? It could be a much longer object that sticks out at the top like that. I have no idea what they put in these jars and if those things ever stuck out at the top? The shape is funny, but maybe something could look like that.

    Kenneth Greifer

  30. [...] Recently, Simcha Jacobovici claimed to have found a tomb of Jesus’ disciples. One of the main foundations for his claim was an engraving in the tomb which he claimed represented a fish with the head of Jonah sticking out of its mouth. The image of a fish was used in early Christian iconography. However, there have been no examples discovered of its use in the first century AD, when Jesus’ disciples would have died. Since Jacobovici’s announcement, anybody with any real expertise in the matter has decided that he is – once again – spouting nonsense. [...]

  31. Excellent piece Bob, bravo. This is essential reading for anyone interested in the ossuary.

    It makes it clear that the initial video image is really the only one to consider. More versions of this would actually be quite helpful.

    It is indeed part of academic life to debate and listen to our colleagues’ arguments. We need to be able to say ‘I was wrong, you are right’. This is the whole point of what we do,as we seek the best possible solutions, in dialogue with each other, as we learn in countless seminars and conferences. And you gain respect by acknowledging sound alternatives as well as by convincingly proposing and defending an argument. So I appreciate what you have said here.

    It is interesting to me that we were all at first looking at an enhanced image. In the initial video image, it now seems to me that the lines at the bottom of the tapered vessel are more deeply incised than possible lines on the body, and shaped a little differently than I had thought before, so they do seem to be drawn to look like crack marks. If the unguentarium/amphora was meant to be represented intact then I think these lines would not have been drawn in the way they are. Hence the blob (of substance coming out). So that is very helpful! I did not see this before reading your piece. Thank you.

  32. Dr. Taylor,

    Thank you for your comments.

    I continue to find it quite telling that every interview I see being done by Simcha and Dr. Tabor regarding the ossuary shows not the photograph of the image, but the highly Photoshopped, out of context, borderless, ‘computer enhanced’, ‘CGI’ digital artist’s rendering of the image, rotated out of its in situ orientation, without any indication that it has been even slightly ‘retouched’.

    The latest example of this is the interview Dr. Tabor did for his own University of North Carolina, Charlotte, where at the 4:00 mark, Dr. Tabor introduces an ‘image of a fish’, without indicating either in spoken word or in graphical overlay (e.g., a caption reading “CGI reconstruction”), that what the viewer is seeing is a heavily Photoshopped artist’s reconstruction.

    They’d be much better off just showing the actual photo, and then letting the viewers decide. But they can’t sell the theory with the photo. They’ve made the decision to tout the doctored reconstructions, and that makes the academy all the more suspicious.

    Thanx again for your comments.

    Bob Cargill

  33. At jamestabor.com, in addition to the overlay of the “stick figure” and other proposed components of the image, there is a woodcut print from circa 1800 (?). The “whale” spits out Jonah forward. This was done by an artist who could deal with perspective, unlike the ossuary drawer.
    And, by the way, the image there is flipped right to left, as an uncropped version shows, with English caption. And, speaking of proposed parallels, are there depictions showing only Jonah’s head out of the fish? Isn’t it easier to recognize a human figure and make the connection to the story when the body is all out?

  34. Stephen,

    Correct. I too thought it odd that someone else would use the doctored ‘CGI enhanced’ image as a basis upon which to draw further colorful lines and make a case, and that then Dr. Tabor would use that image to illustrate a point, along with a relatively modern wood-cut to illustrate that point.

    Thanx.

    bc

  35. It’s an interesting phenomenon. Simcha Jacobovici comes up with something, spends years working on it, then launches it with fanfare to millions of people. Along the way, as his Associated Producers website makes clear, he picks up some of the greatest awards in Investigative Journalism. Now he’s even appointed an (adjunct) Professor of Religious Studies at Huntington University. Also, many former detractors e.g., the IAA, are coming over to his side. And each time he comes out with a discovery he has top academics in his corner e.g., Prof. James Tabor, Prof. Rami Arav, Prof. Richard Freund, Prof. James Charlesworth, Prof. Andrey Feuerverger etc. While he’s doing all this, there’s a small coterie of frustrated academics booing and hissing from the sidelines: “has he been added to the Huntington University Faculty on their website or not?” “Is he adjunct or full professor?” “Did he CGI enhance the image for the press or not?” “Did he ‘rotate’ the image or not?” Nonsense! Meanwhile, when he points out that Dr. Taylor’s perfume bottles come from the wrong time and the wrong place, no one answers. When everyone dismisses the so called “Jesus Family Tomb” and then he goes 60 meters away from it and discovers – yes, discovers – an unprecedented image and inscription, there is no applause, just more whining. No wonder he keeps discovering and you guys don’t.

  36. I have no direct knowledge of the Golan trial, but it may seem a bit curious that “The Jesus Discovery” book on page 177 has a photograph (no. 39) captioned “Photo from 1976 of the James ossuary in the apartment of Golan’s parents.” On page 178 they report that a “photographic expert” testified that he “found no possibility that the [Golan] photos were made at a later time.” Yet on page 177 Tabor and Jacobovici wrote: “When or how the James ossuary would have been taken from the Talpiot tomb we cannot determine. I might have been a number of years before the 1980 excavation of the tomb, or it could have been looted the first night when the front entryway of the tomb was blown open and exposed, before the IAA arrived to begin their work [in 1980]” By allowing the possibility that the ossuary “could have been looted” in 1980, do the co-authors indicate that they do not rely on Golan’s account?

  37. very, very good question stephen.

  38. [...] then there’s the issue of photo-shopped images of the fish symbol released to the public, as ably pointed out by Robert [...]

  39. From the main site of the jesus discovery: “Archaeologists entered the tomb at the time, were able to briefly examine it and its ossuaries, take preliminary photographs, and remove one pot and an ossuary, before they were forced to leave by Orthodox religious groups who oppose excavation of Jewish tombs”
    Shouldn’t prof. James Tabor and prof. Simcha Jacobivici show all these photographs and tell the reasons of their identification of “Jonah ossuary” with that on this pic: http://thejesusdiscovery.org/press-kit-photos/?wppa-album=3&wppa-photo=21&wppa-occur=1
    If they saw by robotic camera only the two sides of the “Jonah” ossuary, how do they know this is the third side?
    The set of the ossuaries is now different from that was in 1981. Compare the last picture with this (number 6):

    Is there anything about this on the net??

  40. [...] It: Digital Image Manipulation in the Case of Simcha Jacobovici and James Tabor’s Jonah Ossuary = http://robertcargill.com/2012/03/05/if-the-evidence-doesnt-fit-photoshop-it/ I for one am going to be watching Prof. Ben Witherington III’s blog called ‘Bible and [...]

  41. [...] Heiser.Mark Goodacre also blogged about Simcha Jacobovici’s fascination with The DaVinci Code.Bob Cargill and Tom Verenna suggest that some photos show signs of doctoring or manipulation that may be [...]

  42. [...] in support of their recently released book, The Jesus Discovery. Specifically, I have documented evidence of digital image manipulation on the primary image fed to the public (that also happens to serve as the pair’s website [...]

  43. [...] the Blogroll before now. In case you haven’t noticed, he has recently and exhaustively done articles on problems with the “Jesus Discovery”. He also regularly does humor posts. He has an [...]

  44. Apart from the evidence above there are small statues of a fish
    vomiting out Jonah found in the ruins of Ninevah.
    This is a test for Bible believing Christians.
    “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of Jonah. ” Jesus.

    So if the Son of God says it will be true

  45. I’ve missed you Lee. Thank you!!! :)

    bc

  46. I think there are a million possible explanations for the picture on the ossuary. I read that in those days fish and fish sauce were very big businesses and they were sent out in amphorae. Maybe the ossuary belonged to someone in the fish, fish sauce, or fish amphorae business, and the picture was intentionally meant to be a fish-looking amphora with a fish tail. Instead of putting a picture of a fish and an amphora to represent their business, maybe they combined the two into a witty picture that represented their business. Maybe it is a kind of ancient Michelin man. A man made up of tires to represent a tire business. IN this case, an amphora that looks like a fish to represent their business which could be fish, fish sauce, or fish amphorae for the fish trade. It is a wild guess, but every guess about this ossuary is wild. People back then were witty, but I don’t know if they would be witty with a picture on an ossuary. Maybe that would have been tacky.

    Kenneth Greifer

  47. It’s good to see that there are a few who accept Tabor/Jacobovici’s theory…

  48. [...] Over at James Cargill’s “XKV8R”: If the Evidence Doesn’t Fit, Photoshop It: Digital Image Manipulation in the Case of Simcha Jacobo… [...]

  49. [...] look at Simcha’s own words on my blog, when he offers a supposed litany of “support” for his claims: “What [...]

  50. [...] burial iconography, he can claim, “You’re personally attacking members of my family. How dare you!” or something like [...]

  51. [...] good grief! Is this or is this not the most Photoshopped of all Photoshopped images? It looks like some leftover CGI footage from Avatar. Note that they [...]

  52. [...] A) There is no ‘Jonah’s Great Fish.’ It’s some sort of Greek vessel like we find on dozens of other ossuaries from Jerusalem. The image used in the documentary was actually a CGI, Photoshopped composite turned on its side to make it look more like a fish. See here. [...]

  53. […] dead and buried remains of Jesus, and next to which contains an ossuary with a picture of “Jonah’s Fish” on it, created by Christians who knew Jesus was dead and buried next door, but who […]

  54. […] the image probably is (here and here). Other scholars have accused the principle folks behind it of Photoshopping evidence. At any rate, here’s a recent update of the image — the work of Dr. Wim G. Meijer, via […]

  55. It is a sectional side view of an Amanita muscaria mushroom and the so called handles are the volva remnant, the lateral design on the pilos the leavings of the veil, the cap has sporiated and is forming typical chalice shape to indicate the fungi is at full strength. Alegro haunts you all.

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