Assessing the Jehoash Inscription

Discussion in 'Ancient History and Mythology' started by iBrian, Jul 27, 2003.

  1. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Here's an interesting article - especially those with an interest in Biblical Archaeology.

    Namely a while ago an inscription was apparently recovered purporting to be written by one of the kings of Israel mentioned in the Old Testament - Jehoash, who apparently reigned as King of Judah in the 9th century BC, and restored the First Temple.

    But it's now seemingly being overwhelmingly declared a forgery.

    Here's the link:

    Assessing the Jehoash Inscription
     
  2. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    this is exactly why judaism doesn't rely on validation from categories outside its own purview. it's nailing your trousers to the mast - and then finding you can't climb down again. stuff can always be disproved and good thing too. that's why we don't rely on statements of dogma that can be disproved by applying the principles of external systems - unlike, to pick a random example, the doctrine of papal infallibility, which falls over rather badly if the pope gets something wrong, thereby making the catholic church looks stupid. occasionally we flirt with stuff like this, because it would be nice if we could somehow "prove" we were right and makes us feel all special - but it is a mistake and a shortcut to attempt to do so. fortunately, the sages understood this, which is why they noted that it is necessary that all "miracles" (whether they are miracles or not) can also be explained away by natural means, so as to preserve doubt (interestingly, not faith) - with the solitary exception of the revelation at sinai - and opinion is much divided as to the fine print of what actually occurred.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  3. llewrend

    llewrend New Member

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    This months BAR (Biblical Archaelogy Review) is offering 10,000 dollars to anyone who can produce a forged patina based on this claim.
     
  4. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    I noticed that BAR came under a lot of flak for their coverage of the James ossuary - essentially, certain depts of antiquities blamed BAR for setting it up. Quite a great shame.

    It will be interesting to see how their compeition goes - especially so long as no one claims it was dug out of the soils of Hebron. :)
     
  5. bob x

    bob x New Member

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    I find this hard to reconcile with your reliance on the verbatim preservation of the Torah from Moses. More definitive evidence than what we have today could settle the question quite firmly.
     
  6. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    well, bob, you're entitled to your opinion. when this "definitive evidence" shows up i'll cross that particular bridge. until then, i think my intellectual honesty can stand up to scrutiny.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  7. Nogodnomasters

    Nogodnomasters New Member

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    There are a lot of forgeries and questionable interpretations being made in Holy Land archaelogy. The James Ossuary is another recent one, although BAR is standing by the fake even as its editor is a "person of interest" in an on going investigation, with Isareli authorities suspecting he is promoting a known fake. As soon as this fake was "discovered" he immediately co-authored a book on the topic. Looks like Hershel Shanks may never step foot is Israel again.

    Another problem is the funding of the digs. They are come from Jewish and Christian universities. Those digs which "prove" the Bible tend to get the funding. A classic example is Woolsey's famous dig in Ur where he discovered a layer of mud. This was from a local flood, but immediately he declared he had found the layer of Noah's flood. This incorrect interpretation continued his funding for the dig.

    If you where the head of a Hebrew or Christian university and had to cut funding which would you cut? A dig which proves the Bible or one which disproves it?
     
  8. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    I'm curious - do you have any particular references to particularly universities cutting funding for certain excavations because they did not "prove" a certain point of faith?

    As for Woolley - that was the 1920's! There's a tenable argument that Modern Archaeology effectively arose from certain Christians seeking to demonstrate that the Bible was indeed 100% historically and archaeologically provable. The modern incarnation seems to continue on in an otherwise scholarly and generally neutral view. The hardcore Biblical Archaeologists of the 19th century are not so prevalent now - not in the acedemic circles actually funding these projects, yes? After all, there appears to be a myriad of ancient sites in Palestine alone that remain unexcavated.
     
  9. Nogodnomasters

    Nogodnomasters New Member

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    Let me restate this.
    Brian, universities never cut money because it can or can not prove something, they cut it because of limited funds. How they make that decision is what I question.

    http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/archive/011224/20011224019920_brief.php

    http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/alleloopo.htm#ARCHAE
     
  10. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    The first articles is in the paid subscribers only archive, and the second is interesting but seems to be an issue focussed primarily upon debates within Judaism (ie, not the research, but the application of it to modern Israeli politics).

    My understanding is that there is little direct archaeological corroboration with a great deal of Biblical events, and that is precisely why issues of the James Ossuary and the Johoash inscription gain so much attention.

    Lack of archaeological remains does not equate with lack of existence, though - but ultimately acceptance or rejection of ancient sources is often a matter of faith. And that goes beyond religious literature as well, btw.
     
  11. Nogodnomasters

    Nogodnomasters New Member

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    You are correct Brian.

    The James Ossuary is a good example on how archaeology panders to the Bible believing crowd. Normally BAR presents two sides, or two opinions of an issue, such as the ruins of Jerusalem during the Iron Age period when supposedly the United Monarchy ruled.

    However in the case of the James Ossuary, the other side never got to state its case against the Ossuary. Instead Shanks stated what he believed to be their case for them.

    Shanks makes reference to the arrest of the forger, but not the forgery tools found in his apartment, and the works in progress.

    The forged patina was done by soaking chalk in an alcohol base.
     
  12. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    I'd actually have thought it the other way around - some people are desperate to have physical relics to prove some aspect of belief. That's why any potential links to the Bible in archaeology are quickly seized upon.

    I'm not up to scratch on all the James Ossuary intrigue - sounds like quite a story, though.
     
  13. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    and some are equally desperate to come up with physical relics to *disprove* some aspect of belief. i object to the use of archaeology to prove or disprove belief just as i object to its use to support arguments for or against israeli and palestinian political claims. in particular, i object just as much to archaeology being used to support and further the aims of the extremists among the settlement movement as i do to the waqf trying to use it to prove that the Temple was never where the dome of the rock is now, despite the existence of the western wall. plus, i'm a little bit more cynical than nogodnomasters about universities' priorities. if religious figures are not above concealing inconvenient things, it surely stands to reason that academics are no less imperfect - unless of course one believes that religious people are somehow more prone to deceive.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  14. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    No momentous worth

    For me ancient religious artifacts or inscriptions are not worth anything of probative value to establish the validity or veracity of this or that religious belief and practice.

    The way I see, they are no different from cave drawings or paintings.

    We are delighted that mankind has been able from millennia ago to think about and to fashion such ideas and objects.

    But it is not any proof of the merits of their religious thinking and doing.

    At the risk of self-adulation, I believe we all can agree here that we know better now and know much much more now and we know how to know more objectively now than some millennia ago.

    Of course it is academically challenging to determine forgery, but the fact of authenticity does not prove the merits of any religious belief or observance.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  15. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    No momentous worth

    For me ancient religious artifacts or inscriptions are not worth anything of probative value to establish the validity or veracity of this or that religious belief and practice.

    The way I see, they are no different from cave drawings or paintings.

    We are delighted that mankind has been able from millennia ago to think about and to fashion such ideas and objects.

    But it is not any proof of the merits of their religious thinking and doing.

    At the risk of self-adulation, I believe we all can agree here that we know better now and know much much more now and we know how to know more objectively now than some millennia ago.

    Of course it is academically challenging to determine forgery, but the fact of authenticity does not prove the merits of any religious belief or observance.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  16. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    sheesh, SRS, i don't think you can agree that on behalf of the entire board. and yes, it is pretty self-congratulatory - and arrogant and smug, too. the typical myopia of moderns who throw out the baby of belief with the bathwater of history.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     

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