quote: The following "facts" about Jesus would be affirmed by most history scholars, Borg said: • Jesus was born sometime just before 4 B.C. He grew up in Nazareth, a small village in Galilee, as part of the peasant class. Jesus' father was a carpenter and he became one, too, meaning that they had likely lost their agricultural land at some point. • Jesus was raised Jewish and he remained deeply Jewish all of his life. His intention was not to create a new religion. Rather, he saw himself as doing something within Judaism. • He left Nazareth as an adult, met the prophet John and was baptized by John. During his baptism, Jesus likely experienced some sort of divine vision. • Shortly afterwards, Jesus began his public preaching with the message that the world could be transformed into a "Kingdom of God." • He became a noted healer, teacher and prophet. More healing stories are told about Jesus than about any other figure in the Jewish tradition. • He was executed by Roman imperial authority. • His followers experienced him after his death. It is clear that they had visions of Jesus as they had known him during his historical life. Only after his death did they declare Jesus to be "Lord" or "the Son of God." http://www.livescience.com/3482-jesus-man.html
Then James Tabor (the fundamentalist turned liberal Christian)who Pat questions the motives of)
Is Mary Magdalene called “Mariamene Mara” (compelling evidence)
This is from part of Tabor's "There’s Something About Mary . . . Magdalene (Part 2)" article from a year ago (there were 4 parts under the same title, and this was part of his second Jan 10 2016 article). I find it to be interesting to say the least. He has endnotes referencing the academic sources. Understand that this is a fairly recent discovery on Tabor's part. He just never quits and his indefatigable efforts keep on bearing fruit and adding to the total sum of human knowledge. I have trouble deciding what of his online works to paste here. I want to keep the pastes to a minimum. I often wonder if new areas of science have been created in order to test this provocative Tomb theory in a falsifiable fashion.
This is not a scientific angle here (either through older DNA, Patina, etc. or newer issues like chemical composition of narrow Jerusalem soil areas), but the whole database search issue was really enlightening for me to read.
quote: As many of my readers know the name Mariamene Mara is inscribed on one of the ossuaries or bone boxes in the Talpiot “Jesus” tomb. This ossuary, as well as the one inscribed “Judah son of Jesus,” is elaborately ornamented and the inscriptions are elegant and more formal in appearance than the graffiti like name tags that many ossuaries exhibit. The inscription Mariamene Mara is even more fascinating with regard to the mistaken assertion that the names in the Jesus tomb are exceptionally common. Clearly it is some form of the common name Mary or Mariam/Mariame in Hebrew—but what about its strange ending? And what is the significance of Mara?
Of the six inscriptions from the tomb this is the only one in Greek. In contrast to the ossuaries of Jesus, Maria, and Yoseh, which are plain, this woman was buried in a beautifully decorated ossuary. The venerable expert, Levi Rahmani had first deciphered her inscription in his Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries published in 1994. For most of us Rahmani has become the “Bible” for the study of ossuaries and their inscriptions. His keen eye and uncanny ability to decipher some of the most obscure inscriptions is legendary.
Rahmani read the inscription as Mariamene Mara. No one questioned his judgment for thirteen years—until the publicity about the Talpiot “Jesus tomb” hit the headlines. Suddenly everyone was scrambling, it seemed, to come up with arguments against those that Simcha Jacobovici had put forth for the first time in his 2007 Discovery Channel documentary, “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.” There he had suggested, based on Rahmani’s reading, which no one had disputed at the time, that Mariamene was a unique form of the name Mary that was used by Jesus’ first followers when referring to Mary Magdalene.
Several scholars have subsequently suggested that Rahmani misread the Greek, and that it should read Mariame kai Mara—Mary and Martha, referring to two individuals, perhaps even two sisters buried together in this one ossuary.[viii] Since Mariame (without the final stem ending “n”) is the most common form of the name Mary in Greek, any argument about uniqueness would thus evaporate. The Mary in the tomb might have been any Mary of the time and she would be impossible to identify further. And her sister Martha would be equally unknown.[ix]
I find this new reading unconvincing and remain impressed with Rahmani’s original transcription. The inscription itself appears to be from a single hand, written in a smooth flowing style, with a decorative flourish around both names—pointing to a single individual who died and was placed in this inscribed ossuary. According to Rahmani, Mariamene is a diminutive or endearing variant of the common name Mariame or Mary.[x] Mariamene—spelled with the letter “n” or nu in Greek, is quite rare—only one other example is found on an ossuary.[xi] There are no other examples from this period—or as I have now discovered, in the entirely of Greek literature down through the late Middle Ages.
A couple of years ago I ran an exhaustive computer search of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, a comprehensive digital database of Greek literature from Homer through 1453 CE. To my surprise I only found two ancient works that use Mariamn—with this rare “n” stem ending and both texts specifically referred to Mary Magdalene!
The first text is a quotation from Hippolytus, a third century Christian writer who records that James, the brother of Jesus, passed on secret teachings of Jesus to “Mariamene,” i.e., Mary Magdalene.[xii] There it was, in plain Greek—this unusual spelling of the name Miriame or Mary—precisely like the spelling on the ossuary. How could this be, since the ossuary was from the 1st century and Hippolytus was writing at least 150 hundred years later? According to tradition Hippolytus was a disciple of Irenaeus, who was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of the apostle John—who of course knew both Mary Magdalene and Jesus. Perhaps it is this link of oral teaching, through three generations, that somehow had preserved this special name for Mary Magdalene. Its diminutive ending makes it a term of endearment—like calling someone named James “Jimmy,” or an Elizabeth “Betty.”
The second text that had uses the name Mariamene was a rare 4th century CE Greek manuscript of the Acts of Philip, dated to the 3rd or 4th century CE. Throughout the text Mary Magdalene is called Mariamene—again the precise form of the name found on the Talpiot tomb ossuary.
Some critics have argued that one has to jump to the third or fourth century to find a parallel to a 1st century name on an ossuary in order to try and argue it belongs to Mary Magdalene. Quite the opposite is the case. What the ossuary preserves is a rare endearing form of the common name Mariame. What should surprise us is that it shows up, out of the blue, in Hippolytus and the Acts of Philip—two centuries later, when referring to Mary Magdalene. They could not know anything about the ossuary or these inscriptions—so where did they get this tradition of the rare form of the name? That this rare form appears in these later sources strengthens rather than diminishes the argument here. If Mariamene is a late form of the name, only found in these 3rd and 4th century texts, as some have asserted—what is it doing on the Talpiot tomb ossuary?
It strains any credibility to imagine that Rahmani, who was unaware of any association whatsoever between his transcription of this ossuary inscription and identifications with Mary Magdalene in these later texts, would have mistakenly and accidently come up with this exceedingly rare form of the common name Mary. It seems clear to us that Rahmani’s keen eye and years of experience have unwittingly provided us with one of the most important correlations between the names in this tomb and those we might expect, hypothetically, to be included in a Jesus family tomb—a name uniquely appropriate for Mary Magdalene. Does it make any sense to think a misreading of the name in this inscription would end up producing two hits for Mary Magdalene? The force and implications of this evidence is so strong that a few scholars have even suggested that the text in Hippolytus somehow got corrupted. Again, it strains all credulity to maintain that mistakes, misreadings, and scribal areas would just happen to produce a match for an ossuary inscription in a 1st century Jerusalem tomb. What are the chances?
On another issue, I think this link, below, might supplement the double burial issues (and be relevant for the resurrection). I meant to include it at the end of the last post. The resurrection issues are important to get straight, because many will otherwise think that this type of research somehow is an attack on the Christian faith. Not only is it NOT anything of the sort, but actually Tabor's research (and specifically as it relates to the Tomb) seems to back up "Christianity" as it originally was.
2) That parts of the Gospel of Peter (which I incorrectly said earlier had the Christological view of Islam in it, actually I think it was the Coptic Apocalypse of Peter but I'm not sure and that isn't the issue here) date to the 50s CE.
Here is a relevant quote by a (outstanding)conservative evangelical scholar on the issue.
quote: Jesus and Gospel Graham Stanton p.88
Even the Jesus Seminar accepts as authentic only five of the Logia of Thomas which are not found in the canonical four. And, for the complete gospels, are any earlier than the canonical four? Surely J. D. Crossan is exercising a vivid historical imagination when he claims that an early version of the Gospel of Peter was written in the fifties, perhaps in Sepphoris.
Here is Tabor responding to a good question, from a late friend and fellow scholar, on the issue of how Jesus could have only resurrected spiritually yet the Gospels say his body rose.
3) That The Dead Sea Scroll community believed in a resurrection. (which he was something of a trailblazer on since he published the very text in 1992 that started to turn the tide) (he and Marty Abbeg were attacked for publishing it FIRST in a popular publication then a journal slightly later in 1992)
link escapes me.
4) That Jesus thought himself the Messiah. (he bases his view on new Dead Sea Scroll Discoveries and 2 leading scholars published trailblazing work at the same time a while back)
quote: In my post on “That Other King of the Jews,” I stressed my own conviction that Jesus of Nazareth thought of himself as much more than a teacher, prophet, or healer, but rather that he understood himself to be nothing less than the “one to come,” the Davidic Messiah or King of Israel. For most Christians such a messianic claim by Jesus is self-evident since it lies at the heart of all of our Gospel accounts, which are, as Mark puts things: “The good news of Jesus Christ the Son of God.”
In contrast, many of my academic colleagues in the field of Christian origins would argue that the identification of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah was one put on Jesus by his followers after his death, as part of their recovery of faith following the unanticipated shock of his crucifixion, not something he claimed himself. According to this understanding the scene in Mark where Jesus is confessed as Christ or Messiah by Peter is projected back into the life of Jesus, implying that he both anticipated his death and understood himself in the role of a “suffering Messiah”:
.... The vast majority of critical historians dealing with Christian Origins have taken the former position, put so succinctly by Rudolf Bultmann over a generation ago: the scene of Peter’s confession is an Easter story projected backward into Jesus’ lifetime (Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament, I: 26). That Jesus himself ever claimed to be the Messiah is considered unlikely,
Predictably one of the more controversial topics in my book The Jesus Dynasty is my discussion in chapter 3 titled “An Unnamed Father of Jesus?” in which I treat the “Jesus son of Pantera/Pantira” traditions. The topic has generated more than one sensational headline as well as lots of disdainful treatment, particularly from evangelical Christian readers and reviewers. As my colleague Prof. Ben Witherington dismissively phrased it in his four-part 28 page single-spaced Blog review of my book, “Tabor trots out for us the shop-worn tale of Mary being impregnated by a Roman soldier named Pantera” (Witherington on Tabor’s Jesus Dynasty)
He has scholars like Richard Bauckham agreeing with parts of his theory. See my Mary link in post 48 too see non-hostile see first century Rabbanical sources that are relevant. Hegesippius is also very important.
6) He recently found the evidence too strong to ignore relative to Jesus being married to Mary. He didn't hold that view when he wrote Jesus Dynasty in 2006
Re: Is Mary Magdalene called “Mariamene Mara” (compelling evidence)
Well, I didn't mention anything but the Talpiot tomb issue (plus bare links that helped people read his reasons for understanding that the early Jesus community didn't have a bodily ressurection). Then I showed evidence that centered around the identification of the Mary tomb with the female that witnesses the risen Jesus according to the Gospels AND THAT did use a Tabor paste. Tbeodoric and Jar said he was a crank who can't back anything up. So I simply let people become aware of some of his disputed stances and offered mostly bare links in an effort to help people understand Tabor's difficulties in the endlessly complex researches he has undertaken. Alot of the things he works on are standalone issues and people think that shooting down one defeats every other issue he takes on. I need people to understand that Tabor and other scholars get their ideas rejected on a case by case basis, and actually the best of them fail to "seal the deal " with their colleagues more often than not WHEN MAKING PROPOSALS. There is a tentative nature to this whole scholarly enterprise and it can get rough when there is usually no hard science available to come to the rescue. Tabor is trying hard though and he will put his theories to any available scientific test. I wonder if the chemical composition test was a brand new spinoff that has no antecedent in scientific history. Regardless of the novelty, Tabor's theory passed the scientific test and infact the Jesus son of Joseph, Brother of James tomb does indeed come from The Talpiot Tomb.
Origen of Alexandria on the defensive against the pagan Celsus.
I love this evangelical conservative scholar Stanton. I think the issues that the third century scholar and apologist Origen covers ( in his pre 250 BCE defense against the 2nd century pagan critic Celsus ) are relevant today.
quote: Jesus and Gospel Graham Stanton Pages 151 to 152
Celsus' Jew advances vigorously the theory that the followers of Jesus 'saw' their recently crucified leader in a dream or hallucination. Origen's response is not very persuasive: 'Celsus's idea of a vision in the daytime is not convincing when the people were in no way mentally disturbed and were not suffering from delirium or melancholy. Because Celsus foresaw this objection he said that the woman was hysterical : but there is no evidence of this in the scriptural account ' (11.60).
This discussion reminds us of the ultimate futility of trying to seek proof one way or the other. 'Vision' or 'hallucination', how can one decide? Surely the matter can be settled only on the basis of wider considerations, which are theological rather than historical or psychological.
Origen knows full well that proof of the historicity of an incident in the gospels is difficult and in some cases impossible (1.42). He knows that he cannot sidestep allegations that the text of the gospels has been tampered with (11.27) and that the resurrection narratives contain discrepancies (v.55-6). He repudiates 'mere irrational faith', and insists that readers of the gospels need an open mind and considerable study. 'If I may say so', he writes, 'readers need to enter into the mind of the writers to find out with what spiritual meaning each event was recorded.' Is this the way faith and reason should be held together in discussion of the resurrection narratives? Is there still a place for discerning 'spiritual meaning' by Origen's own method of allegorical interpretation? If so, what criteria will guard against 'irrational faith'?