Rollston and Meyers on the Talpiot Tombs

Christopher A. Rollston has published a brief review of “the new Jesus Discovery” at the ASOR Blog. Among other things he concludes:

3. There is no necessary connection between these two tombs and there is no convincing evidence that some famous figure of history (such as Jesus of Nazareth, Joseph of Arimathea, or Mary Magdalene, etc.) was buried in these tombs.
4. Furthermore, these tombs do not provide any evidence that can be construed as suggesting that Jesus of Nazareth and Mary Magdalene were married or had a child together.
5. I highly doubt that the inscription in Talpiyot Tomb B refers to a resurrection.  In any case, many Jews during the Second Temple Period believed in a resurrection, long before the rise of Christianity. Thus, even if there were some evidence for a notion of a resurrection in this tomb, it does not necessarily follow that this was a Jewish-Christian tomb.
6. I am certain that the tetragrammaton (i.e., “Yahweh”) is not present in the four-line inscription from Talpiyot Tomb B.
7. The ornamentation on the ossuary in Talpiyot Tomb B that Tabor and Jacobovici wish to consider “Jonah and the Whale” (with Jonah pitched on the nose of the whale!) is a nephesh tower or tomb façade, just as Eric Meyers has stated.  Such an image is quite common in the corpus of ossuaries.
Ultimately, therefore, I would suggest that these are fairly standard, mundane Jerusalem tombs of the Late Second Temple period.  The contents are interesting, but there is nothing that is particularly sensational or unique in these tombs.  I wish that it were different.  After all, it would be quite fascinating to find a tomb that could be said to be “Christian” and to hail from the very century that Christianity arose.  Moreover, it would be particularly interesting to find a tomb that could be associated with Jesus of Nazareth and his family.  But, alas, the evidence does not suggest this.  A basic methodological stricture is this: dramatic claims require dramatic and decisive evidence.  In this case, Tabor and Jacobovici have strained the evidence far beyond the breaking point.

Thus he is essentially rejecting everything that would make this new discovery worthy of media attention. You can read his full review here. (The link has been acting up this morning, so if it doesn’t work, go directly to www.asorblog.org.)

Eric M. Meyers is no more positive.

The book is truly much ado about nothing and is a sensationalist presentation of data that are familiar to anyone with knowledge of first-century Jerusalem. Nothing in the book “revolutionizes our understanding of Jesus or early Christianity” as the authors and publisher claim, and we may regard this book as yet another in a long list of presentations that misuse not only the Bible but also archaeology.

Ouch. His full review is here (or here).

James Tabor has just emailed the following:

I am posting an article at http://bibleinterp.com that offers a preliminary report and analysis with maps and illustrations of the recent Talpiot “patio” tomb exploration by remote camera that Rami Arav and I conducted in 2009-2011. It should go up on that web site by noon today.


Fish/tomb monument image, rotated 90 degrees
Photo: Associated Producers Ltd./Haaretz

One thought on “Rollston and Meyers on the Talpiot Tombs

  1. If you actually want to understand what these symbols mean, you first need to understand ancient symbology. No one involved in this project seems to have a clue and thereby all assertions about symbols and their interpretations are without any factual support.

    I will demonstrate that this image purposely portrays the merger of both a fish and a vessel and it is Hebrew, not Christian. To fully understand what this image represents, it must be viewed correctly with the "ball" at the bottom, just as it was drawn. Changing its position breaks the meaning of the symbolic code. Consider that the ball is the sun rising above the horizon at the spring equinox. The fish/vessel is the constellation Pisces, and thereby this shows the spring equinox sun, rising into Pisces, which is how you determine the current age on the zodiac.

    This image would then represent a zodiacal/astrological time stamp pointing to the second temple period, which was at the start of the age of Pisces. The fish thereby represents the constellation Pisces, and the vessel shape holds the "waters" of that age. Water symbolizes the flow of deeds through time, and a vessel holds a measured quantity of water (or other liquids like wine and oil). The measured period of time is the 2160 years of the age of Pisces, which ended in 2001. This image is a perfect symbolic code for the age of Pisces and the time and deeds (waters…) it represents.

    The second temple period was the 11th 360-year cycle on the Hebrew calendar. That is why the Dead Sea Scrolls were buried in exactly 11 caves, during the 11th cycle, which is also symbolized by the 11 stars in Genesis. The 11th cycle was also the beginning of the age of Pisces, and it is well known that the zodiac was used by those who buried the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as other groups throughout the region.

    The symbology of that image is not Christian, but a time code pointing to the start of the age of Pisces and related details. That is also the true source of the fish symbolism used by early Christians and later recast by Church leaders to hide the astrological source and associations with those most call the “Essenes.” Visit my website (http://www.sevenstarhand.org) and download a free copy of my ebook to learn the basic rules for this ancient symbology. They prove all previous interpretations are erroneous, though both a fish and a vessel were correct guesses.

    This image also provides key proof that Christian assertions about the fish and related symbology have always been blatant lies. I'll publish more details soon.

    Here is Wisdom…

    Buddy Page
    Seven Star Hand

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *