Simcha Jacobovici is taking his “Jesus discovery” claims to The Drew Marshall show today at 2:30 EDT and I received an email from Craig A. Evans that he will be given the opportunity to respond. Jacobovici’s interview should last 15-20 minutes so Craig will be on before 3 PM. For those interested the upcoming shows page is here with more information. If you want to listen live go here. If you saw this announcement a bit too late previous shows are archived here.
Listen to the interview with Craig A. Evans on the recent “Jesus Discovery” on the radio show Issues, Etc. here.
I received an update that Craig A. Evans new book Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence is ready for pre-order and available this month. I know at least one person expressed concern that this book was written to “prove Jesus’ existence” using archaeological finds. This is not so. In the introduction Evans writes the following:
“[Jesus and His World] is not written to prove that Jesus really lived or that he really was Jewish after all. It is not a book written for internet skeptics, whose pseudo-criticism is not guided by the norms of genuine research and scholarship. Rather, the book is written for those who want to know what light contemporary archaeology sheds on Jesus and his world, who want to know what aspects of Jesus’ teaching and activities we have come to better understand thanks to archaeological discoveries.”
Westminster John Knox Press provides this blurb:
In a provocative new book, world-renowned scholar Craig A. Evans presents the
most important archaeological discoveries on the world of the historical Jesus. In Jesus and His World:
The Archaeological Evidence (Westminster John Knox Press) Evans takes on many claims that have been
proposed in recent books and peddled in the media, including the popular theories that Jesus’ tomb has
been found, and he had a wife and son. Evans uses archaeological findings to uncover the truth about
these and other key pieces of Jesus’ world:
- What was the village of Nazareth actually like in the time of Jesus?
- Is there evidence to support the claim that Jesus was a Cynic?
- Did synagogues really exist, as the Gospels say?
- What does archaeology tell us about the ruling priests who condemned Jesus to death?
- Has the family tomb of Jesus really been found?
- What did Jesus look like?
Evans’s gripping prose enables readers to understand and critique the latest theories—both the sober and
the sensational—about who Jesus was and what he lived and died for.
Evans has stated that, “The recent claim in The Jesus Discovery that yet another tomb has been discovered, in which Jesus and/or some of his followers were buried, has no more credibility than the Talpiot Tomb publicized a few years ago.The “Patio Tomb” (I refer of course to Tabor and Jacobovici, The Jesus Discovery) is no more likely the tomb of Jesus or of some of his followers than the Talpiot Tomb, which was publicized a few years ago. I have read a quick synopsis of Tabor’s book and find the argument wholly unpersuasive. I don’t think any serious biblical scholars or archaeologists will give it any credibility.“
I have invited him to write more on the subject which we will post here if he is able, though he seems quite swamped at this point..
You may or may not hear rumblings in the media about the discovery of a tomb wherein there is a bone box with an image that might be that of a fish. I won’t rehash the story here, but there are some who are trying to connect the tomb with early Christians because Christians used the fish symbol. James D. Tabor and Simcha Jacobovici are the two people who are promoting it with the most vigor (see this HuffingtonPost.com article, “‘Jesus Discovery:’ Jerusalem Archaeology Reveals Birth of Christianity”). It is no surprise that such an announcement would come so close to Easter Sunday. As Darrell L. Bock notes in “Easter Season and Another Jesus Tomb Claim” this isn’t the first time Tabor and Jacobovici have made this kind of announcement accompanied by a book to sell and a documentary to promote.
One thing I think people should avoid is buying into the details as published somewhere like The Huffington Post. The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) has a blog where they’ve posted several responses to this “discovery” from notable archaeologist. It is called, simply, The ASOR Blog.
In Robert Cargill’s post “On ‘Absalom’s Tomb’ in Jerusalem and Nephesh Monument Iconography” he asks very good questions about the nature of the photos being presented. Christopher A. Rollston listed many strong criticisms in “Brief Reflections on an Epigrapher on Talpiyot Tombs A and B” and he followed that with a more detailed response here. There are other good posts as well. Also, to be fair, Tabor has commented on several of these posts giving his opinion.
Finally, James McGrath has examined this story from the perspective of New Testament historical criticism and he makes additional points worth reading in “Is the New Testament Evidence Compatible with Jesus Having Been Buried in Talipot?” I am sure more will be said, but I find these types of articles will help readers avoid the media hype which often clouds clear judgment.