I think bible archeologists walk a fine line

Obviously it’s worthwhile to hunt for artifacts that can provide a more rounded image of earlier days but I hope the never-ending drive to prove the bible is true isn’t the only reason people go digging in Israel and area. There were other people in the world besides Jesus, after all. Shouldn’t proof of their existence be just as fascinating?

The Daily Mail is reporting on the research results of a burial box that was confiscated from looters a few years ago.

The ancient limestone box – or ossuary – is believed to reveal the location of the family of Caiaphas, the high priest involved in Christ’s crucifixion.

Researchers in Israel say it could reveal the biblical figure’s family home before their exodus to Galilee.

They’ve since deciphered and authenticated the inscription on the box.

‘The inscription on this one is extraordinary,’ says Yuval Goren who was called on to authenticate it.

The carved words not only detail the deceased, but it also names three other generations and a potential location for the family.

The full inscription reads: ‘Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphus, priest of Maaziah from Beth Imri.’

Beit Imri could refer to another priestly order, say researchers, or possibly a geographical location, likely that of Caiaphus’ family.

The Daily Mail titled their article, Clue to the crucifixion? 2,000-year-old biblical burial box is new ‘link to the death of Jesus Christ’

After reading the actual article, I fail to see how. Were Miriam’s remains in the box? She was a relative of Caiaphus, yes? What does that have to do with Christ? The Mail article isn’t good enough to make things clear for the reader. They’re much more invested in linking the box to Christ even if there’s no valid reason to do so — beyond getting readers interested.

They’re also behind on the news. Pious Fabrications posted a lengthy report with far more information back on July 4th. I presume it was copied from somewhere else originally, but links don’t lead to a source.

In the conclusion of their study Dr. Boaz Zissu and Professor Yuval Goren write, “the prime importance of the inscription lies in the reference to the ancestry of the deceased – Miriam daughter of Yeshua – to the Caiaphas family, indicating the connection to the family of the Ma’aziah course of priests of Beth ‟Imri”. Caiaphas is the name of Yeshua’s father, and Miriam’s grandfather. From the wording of the inscription we learn that he belonged to a famous family of priests that was active in the first century CE. One family member, the high priest Yehosef Bar Caiaphas, is especially famous for his involvement in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.

A famous family of priests. So, no real reason to go ahead and directly assume the box belongs to the granddaughter of the very man who was named in the Bible. But, even it is, Jesus’ life or death still has nothing to do with this story. The only reason to mention him is to make people read about archeology.

It’s underhanded, but it’s a tactic that works. It’s too bad people feel the need to lie about historical significance in order to get people to read about something actually historically significant. To certain circles, at least:

Ma’aziah /Ma’aziahu is the last of the twenty four priestly courses that served in the Temple in Jerusalem. The list of courses, which was formulated during King David’s reign, appears in theBible in I Chronicles (I Chronicles 24:18). The signatories to the pledge in the days of Nehemiah include among others, “Maʽaziah, Bilgai, Shem’aiah; these are the priests” (Nehemiah 10: 9). This is the first reference to the Maʽaziah course in an epigraphic find from the Second Temple period. For the first time we learn from an inscription that the Caiaphas family was related to the Ma’aziah course.

For those who’ve made it their livelihood to study that kind of thing, that’s interesting news. Perhaps it’s resolved some arguments, won some bets, and allowed black sheep to return to the archeological fold. So, congratulations to those who worked on solving the riddles. Good luck with the next one.

About 1minionsopinion

Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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4 Responses to I think bible archeologists walk a fine line

  1. because any characters from the bible story that are proven real, mean the bible stories are real

    you know, like how the newsreel footage inserted into Forest Gump makes that a real life biography movie

  2. 1minionsopinion says:

    I think there’s much in the old testament that has basis in history, but there’s so much mythical wrapped around it. I think it’s a lot like the Iliad. There really was a Trojan war but were gods really physically interacting on either side of it? No, it’s myth tied into the whole thing to make a fantastic tale of heroics and cleverness. Makes the story sound a lot more interesting, too. The gods really cared about that outcome! Achilles’ heel! The gods!! And so on..

  3. CiteSimon says:

    Funding archeology must be the pits so maybe they have some excuse for sensationalizing whatever they can but it’s poor science to conclude more than the facts support. I have no problem with archeologists proposing theories and attempting to prove them so long as they recognize the limits of that approach and don’t stray into revisionism or overstatement. Some people need no proof, others will accept none, I prefer to keep an open mind.

  4. 1minionsopinion says:

    Yeah, I think it does wind up being a thankless kind of occupation. People seldom appreciate history to the same extent an archeologist will. I always thought it would have been an interesting thing to get into but I suspected it wasn’t “Indiana Jones” so much as “I’m sweating my ass off in this sun and I haven’t found a fucking scrap of pottery…”

    Small wonder much gets made of potential links to great moments in history. Otherwise it won’t get much notice.

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