“The Resurrection Tomb Mystery” live blog by Robert Cargill

This will be the live blog of the premier of Simcha Jacobovici’s “The Resurrection Tomb Mystery” on the Discovery Channel on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 9:00 PM Central.

This blog will be updated frequently and will be corrected/altered throughout the hour. (Please forgive misspellings and grammatical errors, as this is rapid fire.) I shall edit and make the text into a more coherent narrative when it’s over.

Other live blogs taking place: Mark Goodacre, Thomas Verenna.

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9:00 BEGIN

Disclaimer. Use your own judgment. Wise words.

9:01 Preview/Ad Intro. Seen this before.

Jesus’ crucifixion is being reenacted.

Intro Joseph of Arimathea. Wha?

Cut to Church of the Holy Sepulcher. True: no archaeological evidence of resurrection

Unused tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. OK. What’s the connection?

1980 in Talpiot (I didn’t know they had footage of that. ;-)

Talpiot Tomb: removed 10 ossuaries.

2007: Intro Simcha ‘Re-discovering” the tomb

Rehash 2007 “Jesus Family Tomb” info.

Made same mistake about the Mariamme name.

First talking head: James Tabor

Footage of Simcha doing what he does best: press conference

Simcha plays to the RELIGIOUS outrage (not Scientific)

1981: Archaeologists discover 2nd Talpiot Tomb

Showed Kloner’s B&W photos. Funny how Simcha kept saying this was an unexcavated tomb, when someone has already been in it, photographed it, and published it…

Nephesh pipe was cemented closed.

Simcha believes the tombs possess evidence of of Christianity, perhaps even the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. How/why?

James Tabor is giving a location arguing that because it is between the Herodion, The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Hill of Ill Counsel.

Somehow this location is “central” because there are important things on all sides???? There are things EVERYWHERE in Jerusalem. Bathrooms and felafel stands are significant by that logic.

Arimathea evidence is circumstantial. It means, “Two Hills?” That’s all? No evidence has been presented. Anywhere you stand in Jerusalem there are 2 hills!

Cut to Haredim not wanting Simcha to mess with the tombs.

They say he is like a Nazi. Simcha doesn’t appreciate that.

Simcha reminds viewers that he is the son of Holocaust survivors. (He must not appreciate people implying that he is anti-Semitic when they should know better.)

Simcha has negotiations with Haredim’s rabbi.

Simcha agrees never to touch the contents of the tomb.

Simcha’s team does Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) in the apartment to detect presence of tomb.

9:10 COMMERCIAL BREAK

9:13 BACK

Review. Must figure to figure out how to get in.

Historian JAMES TABOR. Archaeologist RAMI ARAV. Narrator notes that Rami Arav was not involved in previous projects.

WALTER KLASSEN is cool! Amazing device. Tremendous potential for archaeology someday!

BILL TARANT (of General Electric Inspection Technologies)’s remote’s camera is very cool. The technology involved is legit. (Too bad it’s debut is with sensationalist documentary). I want one, or want Bill Tarant to sell me one. Wonder how much those cost?

Rome? Why Rome?

And why are we looking for evidence of Christianity? Do we want to find this? Predisposition anyone??

ROBIN JENSEN – expert on Early Christian Art

Earliest Christian symbols date to no earlier than the 4th Century

NOTE THAT THEY TOOK THE FISH THAT IS POINTING UP IN THE CATACOMBS AND ROTATED IT TO THE LEFT!!!! (I have a bad feeling about this.)

Robin Jensen establishes “Sign of Jonah” as symbol of the resurrection of Jesus. But notice she says nothing about SIMCHA’S ‘discovery’. She just provides background.

9:17: Cool music. Setting up to drill.

Simcha wants discovery!

9:18: Drilling. Drilling. Drilling.

Simcha wants to “Puts around with it all.”

Simcha just wants to get in.

9:19 They’re in.

9:19 Commercial

9:24 Back.

Walter Klassen shows up with amazing technology.

Again with the Joseph of Arimathea? That’s the THIRD time he’s been mentioned with absolutely NO evidence of him at all.

Two holes. One to see and one to search.

Simcha’s moment of truth.

Remember, Simcha has claimed that this is all live and real time.

Simcha is a pilot. (I think he said that.)

CGI is well done. Simcha’s CGI folks get an A+ (especially since we see so much of it in the documentary. And the press. And the book. And the website.)

So the niche closest to the door is the owner of the tomb?

Again with Arimathea? That’s FOUR now.

Intro snake camera.

Simcha is looking for a name.

They find ornate ossuary. But that is not evidence of Arimathea.

Others? Who?

Design in the center is a Nephesh? A symbolic reference to the afterlife?

They appear to be looking for something that ‘s not there.

Next niche with 3 ossuaries.

Simcha explains that we should expect to find a graffito. Prophetic!

MARA Greek inscription. Now Mara is buried here?

Note who is in that shot.

Now more of the Mariamme rehash. Like the book, much of it is Lost Tomb rehash.

Oops. Breakdown and stuck.

9:30 Cut to commercial.

(Commercial break side note: Remember – we should not expect to find graven images on Jewish tombs. we should find vessels (which we find on many ossuaries from Jerusalem) and geometric shapes like circles squares, triangles, Xs, and braids.)

9:34 Back!

Discussing the break to the equipment.

How are they going to get that out of there? They can’t go in the tomb.

Simcha sits sad and dejected.

They finally pulled out.

Now they’re looking back in the tomb.

Niche 3 Human skeletal remains.

The camera posses over a pelvis, but the re-enactment cuts to a skull.

Last niche. Last Chance.

Rami Arav points where he wants to look. Remember, Simcha says this is real-time.

Simcha finds something.

Walter spots a pair of intersecting lines, but calls it a cross.

“Ya ya ya ya ya ya ya ya ya!”

Correct: 4th century CE

If the cross… speculative and circular.

Better cut to commercial so people don’t think about it to hard.

Maybe when they come back from commercial, they’ll just assume they’ve found a cross and move on.

9:39: Commercial

9:42 Back

Wonder what we’ll find at the climax of the show?

Simcha: We have a pillar, a “Christian cross”, and a Mara inscription

But Tabor wants more.

SIMCHA SEES SOMETHING!

SIMCHA MAKES THE DISCOVERY!

There’ the vocals of the “Jesus Face” video.

It’s a NEPHESH (RAMI). Great thinking Rami!!! Stick with that!

“Handles!” Yes. Stick with that too!!!

SEE WHEN THEY TURNED IT TO THE SIDE, THEY CALLED IT A WHALE, A FISH

THE SYMBOL OF XN RZRXN. (That’s shorthand for Christian Resurrection.)

Cut to CGI Photoshopped image!!!

THAT IS NOT THE IMAGE!!! THAT IS COMPLETELY PHOTOSHOPPED!! SHOW THE REAL IMAGE

There HOLY CRAP! LOOK AT THEM OVERLAP THE TAILS AND DIGITALLY INK THE “FISH IN THE MARGINS”.

NOW THEY’RE GLOWING! SHOW THE ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPH!!!!

AND THEY KEEP SHOWING THE PHOTOSHOP IMAGE. AND IT’S ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ON ITS SIDE!!!! OUT OF ORIENTATION.

Tabor explains that they have the ‘earliest xn evidence ever.’

AND THEY KEEP SHOWING THE PHOTOSHOP IMAGE ON ITS SIDE!!!!!!!!!!

AND NOW, THEY’VE FOUND THAT THEY WANTED TO FIND.

Cut to Kloner’s photographs.

Are they mixing up the ossuaries?

FISH?

And there is ARIMATHEA AGAIN! Where the heck is the evidence for Arimathea?????? NOTHING. Yet how many mentions now, FIVE?

9:48 Commercial.

Ouch. that hurt my head.

WTF?? DID YOU SEE THEM DIGITALLY INK THE CIRCLES/OVALS IN THE BORDERS? HOLY CRAP! THEY SHOWED AN OVAL, THAT WASN’T CLOSED, AND THEY INKED IT WITH GLOWING INK INTO OVERLAPPED TAILS LIKE JESUS FISH ON THE BACKS OF CARS!!!!!I feel like I’m driving through Colorado Springs!

Why not show the actual ovals?

9:52 Back.

Summary coming back from commercial assumes they found Jonah.

INSCRIPTION.

“That’s it baby!”

Greek inscription. 4 lines.

JAMES CHARLESWORTH shows up.

I wonder if he’ll find the name of Jonah in the bottom?

YHWH??

“I am lifted up says Jesus,” says Charlesworth. Really? That’s what you read?

“From the dead????”

I wonder if Simcha liked Charlesworth yelling Yahweh.

Again great CGI. Simcha is great at CGI.

“GOD YHWH RAISE UP RAISE UP” in alternating lines of Greek Hebrew Greek Hebrew

YHWH is a problem in Jewish ossuaries

Now it’s “LORD JESUS RISE UP! RISE UP!”

What just happened?

The tomb where Jesus is dead and buried only a few meters away is celebrated by Christians who believe he is resurrected?

95% convinced.

James Tabor is the 95%! :)

Charlesworth speaks:

WHALE. HUMAN BEING.

Good grief. The sound editing on Charlesworth’s quote was horrid. They chopped that up into a gillion pieces. I wonder what he really said?

[Here’s what I added after re-watching the recording. This is Charlesworth’s quote as it stands in the documentary:

“The significance of what we have seen for the first time, and any eye has seen for 2000 years, is that we have a <em>whale</em>, with a mouth that’s closed, not a whale that’s swallowing someone, and out of that mouth comes a human being. [cut] This symbol here in Jerusalem, near where Jesus was crucified, not far away, is the symbol of the [terrible cut] belief that Jesus [cut] is raised. [cut] This is within [cut] decades [cut] of Jesus’ death.”

It’s almost like he originally said something other than ‘symbol of the belief in Jesus…’ It also sounds like he originally said something other than ‘This is within decades of Jesus’ death.” The question is: what did he originally say? Simcha and Tabor said elsewhere that ‘they probably heard him preach” and “they probably knew him.” Did Charlesworth originally echo that and say something like, “This is within the time of Jesus’ death?” or “This is within the first decade of Jesus’ death?” And why did they change it? All I know is he got butchered. ]

Tabor explains how it is possible that Christians celebrated Jesus’ SPIRITUAL resurrection, while the dead and buried bones of Jesus are just meters away.

Summary is awful. Someone should debunk that in 2 minutes in a CNN interview.

10:00 DONE

Summary:

40 minutes of digging and rehash of Jesus Family Tomb

15 minutes of speculation.

The narrator states at the end that now it’s up to scholars. The problem is that scholars debunked this bunk a month ago, literally 2 weeks after the book was released.

We kept being told, “Just wait for the documentary. You’ll see the actual pictures.” But there were none. There were better pictures on the website. The documentary kept showing a rotated vessel and inked circles to make them look like ‘fish’. And you now see why they rotated the fish from the catacombs scene. It’s a visual trick to prime the brain to see similar fish.

Again, they found what they wanted to find. They knew better. They said “Nephesh.” They said, “Handles.” And yet that didn’t fit what they wanted to find. So, the Photoshopped it and rotated it and inked the circles in the margins to make Jesus fish and sold it to the audience.

Then, they translated the inscription into saying precisely what they needed it to say to support what they wanted to find.

We learned nothing new. There were some dramatic reenactments. The camera and robotic are were cool. Klassen and Tarant are to be commended. Hopefully they can be used in a real excavation in the future.

But I’m very sorry: there is no evidence of Christianity in either of those tombs. They resorted to showing digitally manipulated images (the so-called “Jonah fish’ rotated to its side, AND the glowing Jesus fishes) to try and convince the viewer. But only those who really want to believe will be convinced.

I seriously kept waiting for Giorgio Tsoukalos to show up and make my joy complete and say that aliens, not Joseph of Arimathea, put the ossuaries in there.

And what was with all the references to Joseph of Arimathea? If I didn’t know any better, based upon the continued references to Joseph of Arimathea, and yet ABSOLUTELY ZERO evidence presented about him, I’d argue that there WAS originally a segment on evidence for Joseph of Arimathea that got edited out, perhaps when Discovery cut the time from 2 hours to 1 hour, or perhaps when certain images of mailboxes and green signs appeared in the internet. Either way, it was a lot of narrative investment in talk about Joseph of Arimathea without a single shred of evidence to support it.
(SEE UPDATE BELOW!)

They should have reported the graffito inscription of the rather interesting inscribed Greek vessel on the side of the ossuary. That would have been a solid contribution to archaeology. Problem is, Discovery Channel doesn’t want to buy a documentary titled, “Rather Interesting Inscribed Greek Vessel: DECODED.” They want “JESUS SPIRITUALLY, YET NOT PHYSICALLY RESURRECTION TOMB MYSTERY.”

What’s interesting is that they blamed believing xns last time around for not wanting to believe Simcha had found the dead and buried bones of Jesus. Weirdly, this time around, they’ve been saying that Christians should want to believe this because they found evidence of Resurrection. However, as Dr. Tabor explained, they found evidence of SPIRITUAL resurrection and exaltation, not PHYSICAL resurrection. How are xns going to react to the claim that Jesus wasn’t PHYSICALLY resurrected? Doubting Thomas please sit down. You never touched him.

And we can expect Simcha to say, “See the xns don’t WANT to believe this discovery,” and then from that attempt to deduce that therefore his discoveries and conclusions are true.

But, of course, it’s not just people of faith who are disagreeing, but scholars.

I do like how they’ve already ditched the Jonah stick man argument and are now desperately looking for the letters of the name of Jonah in a Rorschach Test. Is someone trying to save face? When you dig yourself in a hole, put down the shovel.

Final thoughts:

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.

B) There are no ‘fish in the margins.’ They are simple ovals or circles that surround the image along with a number of standard geometric shapes, including a simple braided border, stacked triangles, squares with X’s in them, and simple ovals or circles. In fact, the image of the so-called ‘fish in the margins’ that Simcha’s team had first released on their website was shown to be Photoshopped; They added ‘digital ink’ to extend the lines of the ovals to make them look like fish with crossed tails like the ‘Jesus fish’ you’d find on the backs of cars. They added glowing ink in the documentary.

C) There is no cross. It is nothing more than a pair or intersecting parallel lines.

D) They claim that the inscription possesses the Tetragrammaton, the personal name of God, but the only scholars who read the personal name of God are already working with Simcha on this or previous projects.

E) Finally, there is no ‘Jonah.’ They had been arguing that the half-spherical base of the vessel was the ‘seaweed wrapped head of stick figure Jonah.’ But, this was SO absurd, they just last night, they’ve changed their position and are arguing that a bunch of randomly etched lines spell out the Hebrew name of “Jonah.” The problem with this is that the first three letters of the name of Jonah in Hebrew, yod, waw, and nun, are essentially differing lengths of straight or slightly curved lines. They are looking at these simple lines and trying to make letters out of them like one would look at a Rorschach Test and make it be something. Their previous “stick figure Jonah’s head’ argument was so weak, they appear to have ‘cut bait’ (no pun intended) and have moved on to “Rorschach Test Archaeology.”

F) There were no additional images to convince scholars of anything. This was very disappointing. The website has better photos. I learned nothing new about the claims tonight. And since the Jesus Discovery website doesn’t show all of the images that are available (like the one peering behind Ossuary 5 that reveals the handles at the top of the vessel on Ossuary 6 – Remember, fish don’t have handles!), then we’re left with beig forced to conclude that there IS no more evidence, and the reason that they kept referring to the Photoshopped CGI image is because any closer look at the photos will contradict their conclusions.

G) At the end of the day, the entire documentary is essentially an apologetic for the belief in a spiritually, and not physically resurrected Jesus. In 2007, Simcha claimed he had discovered the bones of a very dead Jesus buried next to his wife and his family. This year, Simcha claims to have found the earliest ‘evidence’ of Christian celebration of a resurrected Jesus. This means that we must ignore biblical accounts like those of ‘Doubting Thomas,’ who wanted to touch the body of the physically resurrected Jesus, and redefine ‘resurrection’ as the ‘spiritual resurrection and exhalation.’ Simcha and Dr. Tabor seem to be setting out to find apologetic evidence for a set of modern beliefs that understands Jesus as ‘spiritually’ resurrected, but not ‘physically’ resurrected.”

Because they obviously don’t have the evidence, and yet they claim this evidence, the question we must ask becomes this: who would benefit most from the discovery of first century evidence of a Christian belief in a spiritually, but not physically resurrected Jesus?

Who do you know who believes in a physically unresurrected, but spiritually resurrected and exalted Jesus?

The answer to that question will tell us much more about the possible motive behind Simcha and Dr. Tabor’s otherwise circumstantial and highly spurious conclusions.

OK. Done. Time for bed.

In the words of Gerald Ford, let us hope “our long national nightmare is over.” :)


UPDATE:
April 26, 2012 - Jim West is reporting that in the Canadian 90-minute version of the documentary, there IS a segment dedicated to the signs on the apartment mailbox and buzzer that have little signs that say הרמתי, or “Arimathea” on them.

The green sign above mailbox 4 appears to be a little different shade of green than the rest of the green mailbox signs. Likewise, the little green sign to the left of the buzzer seems to be a little lighter shade of green than the rest of the buzzer signs. A screen capture image of the apartment mailbox and buzzer system from the Canadian Jesus Discovery documentary appears to reveal that the small green doorbell sign that read “Arimathea” may have been added/replaced more recently than the other signs above and below it (which would explain the slightly different color and typeset/font).

What is more, note that when the camera zooms in on the buzzer, there appears to be an over-sized sign that reads הרמתי, which is so large that it now partially covers the speaker!!! Likewise, the names of the other folks appear to be blank, while the massive הרמתי sign is clearly visible.

So, based upon this evidence, I shall speculate (and mind you this is only speculation) the following:

  1. It appears that someone replaced the standard/old green sign (that appear on nearly all of the other mailboxes) on the Apartment #4 mailbox with a more recent, slightly lighter green הרמתי (“Arimathea”) sign in a slightly different typeset/font. (We don’t know who or why it was added/replaced, but it appears to have been done.)
  2. It appears that someone replaced the smaller standard/old green sign (that appear on nearly all of the other buzzers) in the buzzer/doorbell signs with a more recent, slightly lighter green sign. (Again, we don’t know who or why it was added/replaced, but it appears to have been done.)
  3. Furthermore, it appears that the new, slightly lighter green הרמתי (“Arimathea”) sign wasn’t enough to convince viewers, so for the close up of the buzzer, an ADDITIONAL, much larger, handwritten הרמתי (“Arimathea”) sign was placed next to the doorbell with the slightly greener doorbell sign on it, AND, all of the other doorbell signs were obscured. Again, the side-by-side images on Dr. West’s blog clearly show that a larger “Arimathea” sign has been added to the doorbell for the documentary close-up.

Also note that all of this supposed “evidence” is referred to by the documentary as an “omen,” as if the fact that someone named הרמתי (“Arimathea”) lived in this apartment for the past 2000 years, and that fact is further evidence that the tomb beneath the East Jerusalem apartment is the tomb of Jesus.

But let’s be honest – that’s IMPOSSIBLE given the fact that:

  1. It appears the הרמתי (“Arimathea”) signs were added/replaced more recently than the remainder of the mailbox and doorbell signs
  2. The apartment has only been around since around 1980! Remember the tomb was DISCOVERED when construction workers were building the new apartment in East Talpiot (or Armon HaNetziv), East Jerusalem, a West Bank neighborhood that was annexed by Israel following the Six Day War. The apartment is only a few decades old, and the הרמתי (“Arimathea”) signs appear to be even more recent than that.

And yet, this is all some sort of “omen” that Simcha and his camera crew are on the right track in finding the “Tomb of Jesus” – just like Simcha repeatedly suggests (see the 1:40 and 8:43 marks in this interview with Drew Marshall) that the “timing” of the Talpiot Tomb discoveries themselves are some sort of more-than-coincidental, “strange” omen, and not the product of a well-organized production schedule and press campaign designed to broadcast documentaries in the weeks before and after Easter.

This is all literally un-believable.

So, not only does this “Joseph of Arimathea” segment appear to have been deleted/edited out of the American 60-minute version of the film (which would explain the absence of any “evidence” for Joseph of Arimathea despite the multiple reference to Joseph of Arimathea throughout the documentary, but it also appears to have been set-up (at least the larger הרמתי sign) specifically for the documentary.

Camera tricks involving lighting, angles, zooming, and framing/cropping to support a claim, which are contradicted by subsequently released photos of the same object. Where have we seen this before? Unfortunately, it appears to be a systemic problem of the entire expedition, and the credibility and integrity of all of the images involved with the documentary are damaged by these quite amateurish camera tricks.

April 26, 2012 - Jim West is reporting that in the Canadian 90-minute version of the documentary, there IS, in fact, a segment dedicated to the signs on the apartment mailbox and buzzer that have little signs that say הרמתי, or “Arimathea” on them.

The green sign above mailbox 4 appears to be a little different shade of green than the rest of the green mailbox signs. Likewise, the little green sign to the left of the buzzer seems to be a slightly lighter shade of green than the rest of the buzzer signs. A screen capture image of the apartment mailbox and buzzer system from the Canadian The Jesus Discovery documentary appears to reveal that the small green doorbell sign that read “Arimathea” may have been added/replaced more recently than the other signs above and below it (which would explain the slightly different color and typeset/font).

What is more, note that when the camera zooms in on the buzzer, there appears to be an animated over-sized sign that reads הרמתי, which is blown up so large that it now partially covers the speaker!!! Likewise, the names of the other folks appear to be blank, while the enhanced הרמתי sign is clearly visible.

So, based upon this comparative evidence, I shall speculate (and mind you this is only speculation) the following:

  1. It appears that someone replaced the standard/old green sign (that appear on nearly all of the other mailboxes) on the apartment #4 mailbox with a more recent, slightly lighter green הרמתי (“Arimathea”) sign in a slightly different typeset/font. (We don’t know who or why it was added/replaced, but it appears to have been done.)
  2. It appears that someone replaced one of the smaller standard/old green doorbell/buzzer signs (that appear next to nearly all of the other doorbells) with a more recent, slightly lighter green sign. (Again, we don’t know who or why it was added/replaced, but it appears to have been done.)
  3. Furthermore, it appears that the new, slightly lighter green הרמתי (“Arimathea”) sign wasn’t enough to convince viewers, so for the close up of the buzzer, an ADDITIONAL zoom of a much larger, possibly handwritten(?) הרמתי (“Arimathea”) sign was placed next to the doorbell with the slightly greener doorbell sign beside it, AND, all of the other doorbell signs are somewhat obscured. Again, the side-by-side images on Dr. West’s blog clearly show that a larger “Arimathea” sign has been digitally zoomed next to the doorbell for the documentary close-up.

Also note that all of this supposed “evidence” is referred to by the documentary as an “omen,” as if the fact that someone named הרמתי (“Arimathea”) lived in this apartment for the past 2000 years, and that fact is supposedly further evidence that the tomb beneath the East Jerusalem apartment is the tomb of Jesus.

But let’s be honest – that’s IMPOSSIBLE given the fact that:

  1. It appears the הרמתי (“Arimathea”) signs were added/replaced more recently than the remainder of the mailbox and doorbell signs.
  2. The apartment has only been around since around 1980! Remember the tomb was DISCOVERED when construction workers were building the new apartment in East Talpiot (or Armon HaNetziv), East Jerusalem, a West Bank neighborhood that was annexed by Israel following the Six Day War. The apartment is only a few decades old, and the הרמתי (“Arimathea”) signs appear to be even more recent than that. Now, it could very well be the case that a new family coincidentally named “Arimathea” moved into the apartment after everyone else (which would explain the replaced, slightly lighter green signs), but I would consider this to be highly coincidental, and certainly would not be evidence that the tomb beneath the apartment has been in the “Arimathea” family since the first century.

And yet, this is all some sort of “omen” that Simcha and his camera crew are on the right track in finding the “Tomb of Jesus.” This is similar to other suggestions Simcha has made in the past, like those he made in this interview with Drew Marshall (see the 1:40 and 8:43 marks), where he suggests that the “timing” of the Talpiot Tomb discoveries themselves was some sort of more-than-coincidental, “strange” omen, and not the product of a well-organized production schedule and press campaign designed to broadcast documentaries in the weeks before and after Easter.

This is all literally UN-believable.

So, not only does this “Joseph of Arimathea” segment appear to have been deleted/edited out of the American 60-minute version of the film (which would explain the absence of any “evidence” for Joseph of Arimathea despite the multiple reference to Joseph of Arimathea throughout the documentary), but it also appears to have been enhanced (at least the digitally enlarged הרמתי sign) specifically for the documentary.

It appears we have yet another example of camera tricks involving lighting, angles, zooming, and framing to support a particular claim, which is then contradicted by subsequently released photos of the same object. Unfortunately, it appears to be a systemic problem of the entire expedition, and the credibility and integrity of all of the images involved with the documentary are damaged by these quite amateurish camera tricks and film making blunders.

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55 Responses

  1. Damn, I forgot to get popcorn.

  2. Watching

  3. Another radical show by Tabor and Jacobo

  4. [...] see Mark Goodacre’s and Bob Cargill’s live blogging [...]

  5. Those are some nice camaras

  6. Of course the last one they look at is the one that has the so called “cross” on it

  7. That is NOT a symbol of christian resurection

  8. It is not talkin about the resurrection…what r they talkin about

  9. NO NO NO….it was a bodily resurrection tabor

  10. Debates just begininng?? This will be demolished tomorrow

  11. Dr. Cargill,
    Really enjoyed the live blog, thanks for your real time comments. The best thing about the piece was the possibie uses of the robotic camera equipment. Wow! The rest of the 99%….well….

  12. Thanks for the fun live blog!

  13. Maybe if they say Joseph of Arimathea enough we will start to believe it.

  14. What I find scary about the special is that most of the people watching it will believe that everything presented in it is 100% true. It was on Discovery Channel after all and had professors making statements. For most people that means it is true.

    You seem to think that the robot was great but I think they could have done much better. Manual mechanical cables as opposed to servos doesn’t make much sense to me. The arm is a decent idea is you don’t know the floor condition or don’t want to disturb it but a small tethered rover would have gotten better images.

    I also don’t understand the taking pictures of the video monitors. Shouldn’t that all be recorded?

  15. I have been following you since our visit to Israel and taking your course on line. What a delightful way to continue Jerusalem, the Holy City. Well done!
    Jim Fleming

  16. i think you’re exactly right.

  17. Thanx Jim!

  18. I’m still not so sure the rotation of the image is as devilish as you make it sound. They had a perfect example of a fish in the catacombs oriented in an upwards vertical position, they could have easily used to show theirs in a downward position was not so unusual. Yet instead of doing that they rotated the catacomb fish too. They just rotated both because people are use to seeing fish horizontally, not to deceive.

  19. [...] Bob Cargill Share this:ShareLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  20. Why rotate the catacomb fish at all? Just leave it pointing up.
    Same with their “jonah fish”. Just leave it pointing down. Why rotate it?

    B/c, when you see a fish, it’s usually horizontal. they need the vessel to be horizontal to look more like a fish.

  21. I will give you though the inking of the little fish in the borders being potentially deceitful. It looked even more disingenuous in the show than on the website.

  22. Reblogged this on HD Nazarene and commented:
    Dr. Robert R. Cargill of the University of Iowa makes all my points for me on tonight’s Discovery Channel broadcast. I totally agree that Simcha is a non-scholar just looking for TV time. Dr. Cargill points out that very little evidence is presented and that the producers have an axe to grind. They want to try to say Jesus didn’t physically rise from the dead. The problem is they don’t use valid methods and no reasonable scholar interprets their evidence as they do. The Gospels and 1 Corinthians 15:3-11 are the earliest Christian beliefs about the resurrection. It’s clear they believed in a physical resurrection, not a spiritual one. What Simcha found was a rather typical Greek Ossuary box from 1st Century Jerusalem. Many Jews believed in the resurrection of the dead at the judgment (Pharisees, for example) and the inscriptions fit that belief well. I’m surprised Discovery ended up airing the broadcast because the research has been so discredited. It really has the effect of strengthening the validity of the NT witness, by making such a poor argument.
    This is not the purpose of Dr. Cargill’s blog, but I thank him for pointing out these errors and the attempted manipulation of believers and skeptics for money and fame. I hope well-meaning believers never put on something this lame trying the “prove” the resurrection. Let the biblical witnesses stand and let people decide based on faith.
    As always, I’m seeking to let the Christian Scriptures bring life into focus…

  23. Thanks for your live blog, Bob. As I was watching, I managed to check yours a few times, especially when I saw things that I knew you would balk at, perhaps more than anything else the glowing fish in the margins! It looks like we had a similar reaction to several elements in the programme. Perhaps the most overwhelming thing for people like us who know the data well is that there was so little that was new in here. I know that that might sound a bit grouchy, but I had genuinely hoped to see a lot of new footage of the tomb and of the ossuaries but almost all the images I had already seen. Like you, I was also very disappointed to hear Joseph of Arimathea mentioned repeatedly, as if repetition is a form of argumentation.

  24. exactly. we picked up on many of the same things.
    we were promised more pictures, but there are more on the website (and even more that aren’t on the website)!
    the fish in the margins bit is totally faked. i’m sorry, it’s fake. NONE of the tails overlap. i just re-watched the DVR. it’s complete bunk! and yet, there they are on the replica.
    and 3) did you see them rotate the catacomb fish? that was a sly trick.

    i have some hunches:

    1) the reason Joseph of Arimathea was mentioned so much is that they were going to make a bigger deal about it (like an image of the mailboxes with the name of the residents), but for some reason, pulled it.
    2) the charlesworth soliloquy at the end was horridly edited multiple times. it’s almost as if they went back and edited his words recently. and cut away to b-roll:

    “The significance of what we have seen for the first time, and any eye has seen for 2000 years, is that we have a whale, with a mouth that’s closed, not a whale that’s swallowing someone, and out of that mouth comes a human being. [cut] This symbol here in Jerusalem, near where Jesus was crucified, not far away, is the symbol of the [terrible cut] belief that Jesus [cut] is raised. [cut] This is within decades [cut] of Jesus’ death.”

    He got butchered.

  25. As presidential quotes go I’m left thinking, “Things are more like they are now than they ever were before” but the Ford quote is nice. :)

  26. Dr. Cargill…don’t have any other interests outside of your obsession with Simcha? In a way, you should be grateful to him that you have something to do with your life because it looks like this the only intellectual exercise you are getting these days.

  27. Response to Andrew’s comment. We considered a Rovver, it would have been much cheaper, but those slabs of limestone on the ground would have blocked access to the ossuaries. The spaces between the ossuaries and the walls were less than 2″ in most instances also preventing the use of a Rovver. The videoprobe was the only camera small enough with enough light and articulation to get into a position to video and frame grab.

    Walter Klassen, the robotic arm designer could have motorized the two boat winches that raise and lower the boom and extend 3 of the 4 sections but that would have added cost, weight and required AC. The floating ground on the 220 VAC Israel power was shocking at times.

    Taking pictures of the HD monitors allows the viewers to see what we were looking at. But you are correct, all the video shot was recorded. If you look at the table we were crowded around you will see 4 tape decks. In addition, images were captured on the PTZ and Videoprobe system controllers.

  28. Mr. Golubev, Thanx for wandering this way to my blog.

    While it is certainly true that the timely subject of this documentary has been a subject of focus for 6 weeks, it has actually served as an instructive tool for my university students. This semester at Iowa, I am teaching courses in the “History of Jerusalem” (which obviously deals with Jerusalem) and the “Mythology of Otherworldly Journeys” (which deals in part with resurrection). Thus, my critiques of Simcha’s program were not only part of my job as a scholar of Digital Public Humanities (critiquing uses and abuses of technology in the Humanities, specifically Classics and Religious Studies to the public), but also as an assistant professor, where I could use the past six weeks as a daily reminder of the claims that are possible regarding Jerusalem and resurrection.

    BTW, the production value of the program was very good. You do an excellent job of putting together excellent footage. The CGI folks are incredibly talented, as there was almost as much CGI in The Resurrection Tomb Mystery as there was in Avatar. The sound editing on Charlesworth’s speech was a little choppy, but that’s probably the result of having to really edit what he said.

    Other than that, it was an aesthetically pleasing doc, the sound was good, and the graphics were well done. You are to be commended.

    Cheers,

    bc

  29. It’s uncanny how much this resembles a novel I just read, Paul Maier’s <>–about an “irrefutable” discovery of the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea containing the bones of Jesus. In the novel, the elaborate hoax was eventually unveiled.
    Many will believe this pseudo-science too, but God is not mocked.

  30. Mr Tarant,

    As I stated in the live blog and in interviews, the technology you have put together is amazing. With Walter Klassen’s robotics, it is really an innovative use of technology with a lot of potential in archaeological excavations.

    Is there any way to get the uncut footage from the actual cameras? Perhaps the stuff that didn’t make the doc? Not from Simcha’s cameras, but from yours? I find the technology fascinating.

    Thanx again for the comments and stopping by!

    bc

  31. The title of the book I mentioned didn’t show up in my post. Sorry about that. It’s The Skeleton in God’s Closet.

  32. Bob, just one comment on “spiritual” resurrection, also discussed quite thoroughly in our book, at least in a summary way. Paul is our earliest witness and he likens resurrection to casting off old clothes, leaving an old tent behind, being “naked,” and subsequently putting on new clothing, moving into a permanent house, 2 Cor 5. 1 Cor. 15 says much the same, body of dust, vs. “life-giving spirit,” etc. The distinction, as I see it, is that one is not “naked,” i.e., with Plato, just stripped of the body, but “reclothed,” so there is a “body,” idea individualized “mode of being” but it is not “of the dust.” The notion of the “sea” giving up its dead, or those who centuries ago “sleep in the dust” coming forth, surely can not imply some kind of location of decayed remains of a physical body. So resurrection is “bodily” but not “of the dust” or “flesh and blood” so to speak. Even in the Markan tradition, elaborated by Luke, Jesus tells the Sadducees that the age to come, and those resurrected, are no longer “male or female” etc. Epiphany is not running into a resuscitated corpse. Granted, in Luke-Acts and parts of John you do have developing the apologetic need to show Jesus is in the “same body,” but Mark knows nothing of this–“seeing him in Galilee” is the Mark 9 “parousia” revisited…

    Am I really putting this into a comment on a blog? Yes…but have a good weekend anyway.

  33. james, now THIS is a discussion that should be had. and you are an expert on this topic. you are absolutely correct that there is a mixed message (my words, not yours) on the concepts of resurrection in the nt. i’m teaching my otherworldly journeys class this idea this very week. what happens when you die according to the nt? do you die and stay dead (ane) and then one day you will be raised (paul/jewish)? or, does your soul float away like the rich man and lazarus to immediate judgment (assuming their bodies are still buried)? was jesus raised in his body, prompting ‘doubting’ thomas to require touching of the physical body of jesus, or do we get the ‘new clothes’ you (and paul) mentioned? is there no male and female in the kingdom? are folks given in marriage? etc. etc. you and i would both agree that a) people don’t come back from the dead, and 2) it is claimed that jesus did (some say physically, others say spiritually). there is indeed a mixed message in the nt, nd the ‘spiritually resurrected jesus’ camp was branded as heretics. that’s a discussion that would be fun to have.

    but i would argue that NONE of that has anything to do with the talpiot tombs. that’s where you and i differ. i see a vessel on an ossuary surrounded by geometry. if the inscription does speak about resurrection, that could be expected form a jewish tomb with folks who believe in resurrection (spiritual or otherwise). but just because there is a compelling discussion to be had about various resurrection beliefs in early xnty DOESN’T mean that the tombs you investigated shed any light on them other than jews believed in resurrection. again, that’s where we differ. but i want to make sure and convey to my students the difference between background and archaeological evidence. dan brown makes a killing mixing the two. he’ll couch a speculative claim in a bunch of quite true facts, and hope his readers make the speculative jump with him. it’s a logical fallacy he hopes they miss in their desire to be caught up in the mystery. but there is still a difference between literary evidence of what people believed and archaeological evidence that proves the literature to be true.

    but let’s have that first conversation.

    shabbat shalom!

    bc

  34. Dr. Cargill, thank you for an excellent and incisive review of the Talpiot special. Thanks also for using your training and position to serve the academy rather than yourself.

    Regarding the Pauline conception of resurrection, how does one overlook (or attempt to address) the following quotes from 1 Corinthians: “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain” (1 Cor. 15:14), “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile” (1 Cor. 15:17) and of course, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20). Further, how does one explain Paul’s own, self-confessed role as a persecutor of Christianity (Galatians 1:13,etc.) if the early Christians were simply spreading the “Good News” that another Jewish messiah had been killed by the Romans and was still dead, but might someday resurrect in a vaguely spiritual way in which others might share?

  35. Michael, there is absolutely no doubt that the earliest followers believed Jesus had been raised, but more than “raised,” i.e., resurrection means “to stand up,” he was exalted–i.e., ascended to heaven, sitting at the right hand of God. That was the point. Psa 2 and 110 are THE most important early texts regarding “Christology.” Phil 2:5-10 is built on these, and predates Paul, and notice, it uses our verb: hupso–but in a compound form–super “lifted up.” This is the early Christian hope–You will see the Son of Man sitting at the Right Hand and Coming in the Clouds of Heaven, going back to Daniel 7:14. None of this has a shred to do with some notion of a “flesh and blood” physical corpse coming alive and flying off to heaven! Paul believed that Jesus had been raised a “life-giving Spirit,” though with a “body,” but not a physical one. This is upheld in many passages…Jesus was “put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit,” etc. The bones of Jesus, or of any exalted Rebbe (Lubavitch included) are not disproof of resurrection. This idea came in later, as Christians had to counter the Celsus-like charge that all they had seen was a ghost! We are talking about the 80s-100 CE…from 30-60 or so things were quite different and the sources show it clearly.

  36. [...] no consensus about what kind of vase it is, therefore it is a fish” argument.Bob Cargill and Mark Goodacre live blogged the documentary.Christopher Rollston offers a review of the book, [...]

  37. The exact nature of the resurrected body that Paul believed Jesus received and his followers will receive differs, as Dr. Tabor says, from a resuscitated corpse. But, whatever it is, the texts do not leave behind the corpse. The physical body transforms into the resurrected body; it does not “exude” the resurrected body while remaining in the tomb.

    There are many textual arguments for an “empty tomb”, but for the moment consider this: If the pre Christian Paul, as the persecutor Saul, knew that the family of Jesus had a “family tomb” down the road in Talpiot, odds are he would have paraded the corpse of Jesus with him as he traveled around arguing with and imprisoning those who claimed Jesus was alive and making appearances to over 500 persons. He would have beaten its whereabouts out of the Jesus Family.

    Second, imagine Paul then “converting” without having done his homework and dropping by Talpiot, or, worse yet, knowing about Talpiot and still “converting!” Then writing “half” of the NT with no discussion of that bone box. And what an odd conversation Paul must have had with James and Peter (Galatians 2) soon after his Damascus Road experience, with James knowing that his brother Jesus was that night boxed in an ossuary down the road in Talpiot.

  38. Professor Cargill, I suggest you discuss the possibility of viewing the G3 Videoprobe video with James Tabor but do it outside this blog.

    As one who was there operating all 3 remote cameras I can tell you that the the only created image was the CGI of the Fish (I know you believe it might be a vase). This was done not to fool anyone but to piece together the clearest images so the viewers could get a better image. In the documentary the do show the graphic untouched. The images you have were not altered but could have been Photoshopped to clean up the exposure and contrast. I am not sure if you and the viewers can appreciate where the G3 had to be positioned to get the images we have. But I can tell you we spent over 30 hours meticulously going over every inch of all the ossuarys.

    Putting aside the bantering back and forth vis a vis it’s a Fish, no a Vase, no a Whale, no a vessel. It reminds me of an argument in “Fiddler on the Roof”. “It was a horse. No, it was a mule. Horse. Mule. Horse. Mule. Well you get the idea.

    What I do find interesting now in your blog is the serious discussion on resurrection. Hearing slightly different views from such learned scholars is an experience I could not get in a text book or by sitting in a class. For that I thank you.

    I have an idea. When school is out, a meeting should be called inviting all interested Archaeologists, Theologians and Historians in a central place like Chicago (Big hub, lots of direct flights), to discuss and debate what is important face to face. Perhaps the un-aired video could be shown and relevant frames grabbed and printed.

  39. Bill,

    Thanks again for your comments.

    I should love to view the actual footage that you captured. In fact, I was hoping to see more of the actual footage of the ossuaries. If there are 30 hours of every inch of the ossuaries, I should love love love to see that. Maybe the public wouldn’t find it interesting, but as a professional nerd who does this stuff for a living, I’d love to see it. I’ll email Dr. Tabor and ask.

    I noticed that in the docu, the untouched image was shown not top to bottom (in it’s proper orientation), but an an angle. The CGI then immediately popped up, and was rotated to its side (as was the CGI of the catacomb fish, which I thought was a clever trick). As I say in my posts, I’m not worried about exposure and contrast. I AM concerned with the constant rotation of the image, the cropping of the image, the fact that the CGI/composite was not anywhere near accurately drawn, corrected for perspective, and was ‘shopped out if it’s context. (For instance, why ‘shop out that border and replace it with cloned fake engraver’s marks)? The ‘fish in the margins’ image was definitely inked artificially without acknowledgment. After I wrote about it, the team uploaded the original, uninked image and designated the altered image as ‘marked.’ (The choice of ‘marking’ ink color was also curious. I use bright red or yellow, but for some reason, the color chosen by the Jesus Discovery team matched the color of the engraved area. If you add the fact that the inked areas do not correspond to the engraved areas (but overlap at the tails to form a Jesus fish), it appears that someone was trying to pull a fast one (imho). btw, i don’t think that was Dr. Tabor’s doing.)

    I’d love to have the ‘resurrection’ discussion. It’s an important literary and theological discussion. But I must again point out that it is a different conversation than this one about supposed ‘evidence’ for this. You’ve got a great Jewish tomb, with nice ossuaries, with some unique inscriptions. But you have no fish. and you have no tetragrammaton/greek/hebrew inscription. The evidence is not there, BUT that doesn’t mean that:

    1) Your technology is legit and possesses tremendous potential for archaeology
    2) Early xns believed in all sorts of different views of resurrection
    3) You’ve got a unique graffito of a vase on an ossuary that should be studied.

    These are different conversations that I should love to have in the coming months and years.

    Cheers, and thanx again for your comments!

    (and loved the ‘fiddler’ reference!)
    bc

  40. @Dr. Tabor: Thank you very much for replying, but I am afraid that I must conclude that your scenario of events regarding Paul’s understanding of the concept of resurrection requires far too much special pleading. It is clear to me, and to generations of vacillation-obsessed Christian commentators (including that arch anti-heretic Epiphanius), that Paul “got it right” so to speak. Romans 1:1-6 should be enough to convince anyone: short, sweet, hard to dispute.

    @Bill Tarant: I don’t mean to be blunt, but I would think that the time for “special conferences” and “meetings” and whatnot has passed, especially after the 2008 Princeton Conference debacle in Jerusalem. Here’s an idea: write all of your information up in an academic paper and submit it to a referred journal. It would take a lot longer (you might have to miss a publication on Easter next year) and there would not be the chance for a “Lifetime Achievement Award” ceremony, but (when and if it was published) it would earn the Talpiot tombs something that no amount of prime-time exposure currently can: respect.

  41. One can’t help but wonder why so much time and effort is being invested in “debunking” this project. If it is a hoax, it will fizzle and die, as most hoaxes do. All of this attention leads me to believe that there truly is something here, something that goes way beyond the Jonah image…

  42. patty, ‘way beyond’??

    all i see is an attempt to claim that something is something other than what it is, and that the ‘claim’ generates book sales and the sale of a documentary.
    all scholars are doing is refuting the claim. nothing more.

    cheers, bc

  43. Cheers Bob! Perhaps there is more to the story, things that even YOU might not know :) ~Patty

  44. something *I* don’t know??? impossible ;-)
    my favorite line on this issue comes from a west wing episode, where vice president john hoynes tells the white house director of communications, toby ziegler, “toby, the total tonnage of what I know that you don’t could stun a team of oxen in its tracks.”

    cheers, bc

  45. When are the peer reviewers (Cargill, Goodacre, et al) going to state their claims regarding the artifacts in the Garden and Patio tombs and the tombs themselves and provide evidence for those claims?

    All I’ve seen on this and other related blogs is a bunch of “is not” and “maybe” pot shots, and statements about personal motives: “it is not a fish” “it does not say Jonah,” “maybe it’s some sort of Greek vessel,” (later changed to ‘vase’), and [not so implicitly]: “they did it for the money.”

    I would really like to know Dr. Cargill’s claims (not opinions) and what others like Dr. Goodacre claim, and the evidence they have to substantiate their claims. If they are not in a position to make and substantiate definitive claims, they should just say so. Perhaps they need more time to seriously study the evidence at hand before making their professional proclamations.

    And, if I may, Dr. Cargill, your statement about the “cross claim” in your analysis of the TV show, “C) There is no cross. It is nothing more than a pair [of] or intersecting parallel lines.” is incorrect. May I be so bold as to remind you that by definition parallel lines do not intersect (assuming Euclidean space). You may want to substitute “perpendicular” for “parallel.”

    And, in “E) … the half-spherical base…,” you may want to substitute “hemispherical” for the crude “half-spherical.” And, your definite claim here that that the ‘blob’ is a hemispherical base of “a Greek vessel” is refuted by none other than you when you posted pictures elsewhere of what you consider the image to be. In those images, none of the bases are hemispherical; being gracious, they are modified thin slices of spherical segments.

    Otherwise, your running commentary was quite humorous if nothing else. Thank you for that.

  46. already answered most of these for you.
    why would i ‘state their claims’ and ‘provide evidence’? i’m not making a claim, i’m debunking one.
    if you want a claim, they re-discovered jewish tombs with ossuaries that have already been entered, photographed, and published in 1981. that’s the claim.happens all the time.
    simcha owns a company. he makes films for a living. he makes money making films. he sure isn’t doing it for free. and the better the claim, the more the money.
    what claims? i’m not making any claims. i’m pointing out the errors in other, quite sensational claims.
    as for your comment about ‘parallel lines’, look closely. there is a set of parallel (two) lines that intersect with another set of parallel (two) lines. of course the intersection in perpendicular, but the teo vertical lines are parallel, and the horizontal lines are parallel. but nice try.
    i have no clue what you’re trying to say in the last part. the artist is attempting to represent a rounded top, flat bottom base. where have i ever said something other than that?
    glad you enjoy the humor. this whole thing really does get quite humorous at times.

    bc

  47. Not to seem to be picking on comsciphi, but his (or her) comments are just why we need experts like Cargill, Goodacre et al. to vigorously rebut nonsense like $imcha peddles. It is not far removed from the twaddle that Erich Von Däniken (and his uncombed acolyte, Georgio on The History Channel), Dan Brown and Roman Piso shove off on the unsuspecting public.

    They mix in enough real fact to sucker people in and then add in their mix of the fantastic, the distorted and the outright whack. Here in modern day America, too many fall prey to the concept that all ideas have some validity, all theories should be tolerated as of equal value and to disagree with that is unfair. These snake oil salesmen count on that. They count on people swallowing the line “some experts have proven” without actually citing either the expert by name or the alleged proof so that when they are challenged, they can get the general public to feel they, $imcha and others, are being picked on.

    Of course, the other side of the coin is that if people who really do know their stuff do not counter all this, the charlatans can shout, “See! They have no answer! I must be right!”

    Just remember what Carl Sagan said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” $imcha and his buddies ain’t got it.

  48. Dr. Cargill, thank you for the reply and stating your claim of what was found. So, I conclude from your claim that Jacobovici and Tabor found nothing of significance and all their claims are false.

    Not to press a point, but your statement about the cross was: “… a pair of intersecting parallel lines.” Perhaps it would have been clearer to have said, “… two pair of parallel lines that intersect perpendicularly.”

    And, by the way, your comment of “Nice try” is so typical of you. I wasn’t “trying” to do anything but understand what you meant. You seem to unable to accept any criticism and unable to admit you made a simple mistake in wording. You seem to be always looking for some kind of plot, some ulterior, malevolent motive. Be nice; assume the best intentions from people. You’ll be right more than wrong that way.

    Regarding the “half-spherical” reference, it is this: “E) Finally, there is no ‘Jonah.’ They had been arguing that the half-spherical base of the vessel was the ‘seaweed wrapped head of stick figure Jonah.’” But, you can call it what you want; it’s your blog.

    “aulussergius”, as you can see from my picture, I’m a “he.” I am with you regarding needing experts like Dr. Cargill. Dr. Cargill must be brilliant as he is a Mensan; as stated on his CV.

    Where I differ with you is how they go about their “expert analysis.” It is painfully obvious that they lower their personal and professional reputations by besmirching the work of others, and by stating what the motive is behind field work, papers, books and TV documentaries; that is, to fool the public to maximize profits.

    If these scholars would just apply their expertise to the claims made by Simcha Jacobovici, Dr. James Tabor and Dr. Charlesworth in a polite and professional manner, we could avoid the controversy that now swirls around their own statements.

    You are perpetuating this low-class, vulgar approach by using “$imcha” instead of Simcha. You call him all sorts of unpleasant names, along with the serious scholars that team with him on occasion, like Dr. James Tabor and Dr. Charlesworth – or perhaps you might write, “Dr. Jame$ Tabor.

    This sort of sophomoric approach deflects attention from the important task of determining what was found in this case. I am all for rigorous, in-depth analysis to rebut claims, and I agree with you and Dr. Carl Sagan ($agan? he did have a TV show and made money from it) that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” But, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  49. comsciphi,

    your arguments appear to be ones of style and semantics, not ones of evidence. but as a researcher of semantics, perhaps this should not be surprising.
    on the contrary, i’m one of the few who publicly admits i make mistakes.
    (and thank you for granting me permission to use the vocabulary i choose on my blog.)
    the idea is not to ‘besmirch’ anyone. i generally use a tone appropriate for the medium and the audience. in professional articles, i employ the appropriate professional tone. at professional conferences, i utilize the same tone, only a bit more colloquial. on tv, i employ a more popular tone and avoid overly-technical language. and on my blog, i am more free-spirited, humorous (or, at least i try), at times biting, etc. the other thing to remember is that i often mirror those to whom i am responding. if i sense sarcasm, i may employ this in return. if i note a sense of humor, i may respond in kind (or at least attempt it). when simcha or dr. tabor leave comments that resort to questioning credentials, argue from anecdotes, and drip with cynicism (see their comments on earlier blogs), then i respond appropriately. and, when i feel the comments are dealing more with semantics and picayune details of tone and its propriety on a blog, then i sometimes reply with newton’s third law.
    i am all for politeness and professionalism. all for it. and dr. tabor and i are quite collegial and professional. (ask him.) but i believe you have me confused with others when it comes to spelling simcha’s name with a dollar sign. perhaps you are attributing to me something someone else wrote?? i’m not interested in spelling anyone’s name with a $, especially dr. tabor. (and carl sagan??)
    call it sophomoric if you want, but you could be said to be trolling said blog after leaving repeated comments. i’m going to deal with the claims, and sometimes resort to humor (when the claim is particularly humorous). but you are correct: “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof,” and sensational claims should expect sensational responses. the evidence isn’t there. there are ossuaries. there is a tomb. that doesn’t mean that 1) they were christians, 2) they knew jesus, 3) they heard him preach, 4) the tomb belongs to joseph of arimathea, 5) they found the sign of jonah, 6) they ‘discovered’ a tomb, 7) the tomb is ‘unexcavated,’ 8) they found ‘the earliest christian symbols ever discovered,’ 9) they found the ‘first christian symbol ever found from first century ce jerusalem,’ 10) they found the ‘earliest testimony of faith in the resurrection of jesus,’ 11) they found the ‘earliest record of a teaching or saying of jesus,’ 12) that it is in any way connected to the tomb in which they claimed to have discovered the bones, wife, and child of jesus… seriously. and not a shred of legitimate evidence. only speculation upon speculation, upon photoshopped image, upon speculation…. come now, you study semantics and rhetoric. surely you can’t read these claims and say, ‘now that is solid, logically sound argumentation,’ can you?

    cheers,

    bc

  50. Yeah, the usage of $imcha probably was over the top, but his use of bending the facts and outright hucksterism should be obvious to anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with real archaeology.

  51. [...] a few days before the airing of the The Resurrection Tomb Mystery documentary (and six weeks after withering critiques of their The Jesus Discovery book, much of which focused [...]

  52. [...] post was interesting to me because it answered a question I had asked during my live blog of the American version of the The Resurrection Tomb Mystery documentary, namely, why are there so [...]

  53. […] I was rather ill (blasted cold…), Bob Cargill, Mark Goodacre and Tom Verenna were having lots of fun live-blogging through The Resurrection Tomb […]

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