I have marked up the image below. (The original is here.) I have placed a marked-up image next to the original so that viewers can see that the color-stroked lines correspond to the actual engraved lines. (Click for larger image.)
Dr. Charlesworth has claimed that red line forms a yod (“Y”), the aqua line forms a waw (“O”), the lime and yellow lines constitute a nun (“N”), and the orange, black, and pink lines form a heh (“H”). Dr. Charlesworth proposes that these lines form the name יונה (“YONH,” or “Jonah”).
There are a number of problems with this reading. Jim Davila, Antonio Lombatti, Mark Goodacre, Steven Goranson, and Steve Caruso have all already addressed many of the problems. Below is a summary with illustrations.
1. There is a space between the lines that comprise the supposed nun (yellow and lime lines), meaning it is likely not a nun. NOTE that given the present lighting, there are visible horizontal lines (to the left) and angled lines (above and to the right). Thus, were the yellow and lime lines connected, we should expect to see a quite visible horizontal connection between the two lines. However, this is lacking even though the same angles are visible in the same lighting elsewhere in the same photograph.
We must also ask if there is a line (that I have not highlighted) at the bottom of the lime green line running from northwest to southeast, that intersects the center white line at the space where the lime green and yellow lines approach one another. We might also ask whether the dark green line is a continuation of the lime green line.
2. The line above the supposed yod (blue line) is completely overlooked or intentionally ignored.
3. The line making up the supposed waw (aqua line) is bent the wrong way.
4. The faint line to the bottom left of the left leg of the supposed heh (purple line) is completely overlooked or intentionally ignored.
5. The line that provides the top of the supposed heh (pink line) is far too long in relation to the lines of the other supposed ‘letters.’
6. The faint, but definitely present line toward the bottom on the left side (the green line) is completely overlooked or intentionally ignored.
7. There is no base line. The supposed yod should not be lower than the supposed waw, and the supposed nun should not extend that far above the supposed heh, etc. In the graphic below, I have isolated the lines that supposedly make up the name of Jonah (and have ignored and not highlighted the lines that have been missed or intentionally ignored, just for argument’s sake).
Thus, in order for the name of Jonah to be present on the bottom of this vessel (or proposed “Jonah’s Great fish”), Dr. Charlesworth and Dr. Tabor must claim the following:
1) that two strokes that are not connected can count as a letter typically made with a single stroke (see the nun in #1 above)
2) that lines that clearly appear among the other lines can be simply ignored and disregarded because they do not fit the desired outcome (see #2, #4, and #6 above)
3) that letters can bend over backward to become something they’re not (see the waw in #3 above)
4) that lines of letters can be disproportionately lengthy compared to others (see #5 above)
5) the letters lack any semblance of a linear alignment (see #7 above)
If the above rules are permitted, that there may be no end to the ways in which we can interpret a random set of lines at the bottom of a vessel (complete with handles).
Because yods, waws, and nuns, are essentially straight or slightly curved lines of varying lengths, if we eliminate linear alignment, we can make a chicken scratch patch of lines of various lengths say just about anything that contains the letters Y, W, O, or N. And if we add the lines that were missed or deliberately ignored, we can introduce the letter Z, and perhaps L.
It is far more likely that the graffito artist made a poorly executed attempt (like the rest of the graffito vessel) at representing the geometry we find at the bottom of many amphoras, kraters, and hydrias, just above their half-spherical bases.
This interpretation seems far more likely that taking a Rorschach Test / word search approach to epigraphy.
Filed under: archaeology, christianity, judaism, pseudoscience, robert cargill Tagged: | antonio lombatti, epigraphy, geometry, handles, james charlesworth, James Tabor, Jesus Discovery, jim davila, jonah, mark goodacre, name, Rorschach test, simcha jacobovici, Steve Caruso, Steven Goranson, The Resurrection Tomb Mystery