About a week ago there was a press release from the Third Princeton Symposium which clearly had Simcha Jacobovici’s hands on it (he’s the guy he made the multi-million dollar video-claim in the first place). Though I had no personal knowledge of the conference, I could smell deceit (well, it wouldn’t be the first time he tried to pull a fast one), so I ignored it here. Others did not (including JPost), so if you were one of those who bought his line that most scholars thought there’s a good chance that Jesus’ tomb was in fact discovered, you should be aware of the scholars that are denying his claim. 

The two places to go are the NT Gateway Weblog for a statement by a dozen scholars, and The View from Jerusalem blog by Stephen Pfann that includes the individual statements of other scholars.

In short, there may be a handful of scholars who think that this might be the tomb; the rest of the scholars are rushing to deny the possibility and denounce the misleading press release. For the record, many scholars don’t accept a bodily resurrection of Jesus, but they just don’t think the evidence that this is the tomb is compelling. Hopefully, I’ll never need to say anything else about it here.

Update (1/26): The Jerusalem Post has a lengthy editorial on the conference. The Biblical Archaeology Society has compiled a list of statements from various scholars.

Update (1/28): Organizers of the symposium, have posted a statement on the Princeton Theological Seminary website. They note that the conference papers will be published in 2 volumes by Eerdmans.

Update (2/14): James Charlesworth has an article on “Rebutting Sensational Claims Concerning a Symposium in Jerusalem” on the SBL site. Charlesworth was the symposium organizer and moderator.


The Archaeology Wing of the Israel Museum is still closed, but the Bible Lands Museum across the street is a worthwhile visit, especially with this new exhibit.

From Haaretz:

Sounds, archaeological finds and scientific hypotheses all play major roles in an exhibition entitled “Sounds of Ancient Music,” which opened last week at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. Focusing on musical developments in ancient Sumeria, Babylon, Assyria and other cultures ofBible Lands Museum, tb040605644 the Ancient Near East, through the periods of the Kingdom of Judea, Greece and the Roman Empire, the exhibition features 137 objects – among them, rare musical instruments that have been preserved from antiquity, as well as full-sized replicas of instruments from those early eras.
Among other items on display are a flute, fragments of which were discovered in a burial cave in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem and dating back to the Second Temple period, as well as the well-known stone from that same period bearing the inscription, “To the House of Trumpeting to the k …,” in a form of the Hebrew alphabet typical of the Herodian period. According to scholars, this was part of the southwestern cornerstone of the Temple compound described by the first-century C.E. Jewish historian Josephus, from which a kohen (priest) blew the trumpet to usher in the Sabbath. According to the Mishna, in those days people blew trumpets, strummed harps and lyres, played the flute and beat the cymbal. It is written that the sounds of the  flute and the cymbal were so loud they could be heard even in Jericho.

The story continues here and the Hebrew version has a photo.

UPDATE (1/23): The Jerusalem Post now has an article along with notice that the exhibition will run throughout 2008.

HT: Joe Lauer