Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Talpiot Tomb: Yeshua Inscription

I wrote a post concerning the inscription of "Yeshua (?) Bar Yehosef" and copied the PDF copy of the inscription into my post. Mark Goodacre has posted another PDF file from James Tabor concerning the rationale behind rendering what appeared to me to be "scribble-scrabble" (technical jargon, I know) as "Yeshua". To my very untrained eye, I still don't see it. But, for the sake of being fair I've included a link to the PDF File here, and a link to Dr. Goodacre's blog post here.

****Editor's Note 3/22*****

Just a few minutes after posting this, I went back and looked over the original PDF file and its inscription, and then the new PDF file and its inscription and they aren't the same. It may just be for the sake of clarity, but it's misleading if one assumes that this is how the inscription appears on the ossuary. Now, before I make a few observations, it should again be restated that I am in no way, shape, or form an expert on all.

1) The Yodh (י) still looks nothing like a Yodh.
2) The Shin(שׁ) still looks nothing like a Shin.
3) The Vav (ו) still looks nothing like a Vav.
4) The Aiyin (ע) is the only one which looks remotely like a real Hebrew letter and not the aforementioned "scribble-scrabble".

I have no illusions that ancient writing will always look as uniform on ancient artifacts as it does in our textbooks, but I included in my last post the facsimile of the "Yehudah Bar Yeshua" inscription, which is written far more legibly than that of our friend "Yeshua(?)", to show that not all the inscriptions are nearly this hard to read. I am with James Charlesworth when he writes that "[t]he scribbling is not an inscription, it is sloppy graffiti."


Danny Zacharias said...


Read Michael Heiser's 2003 essay from NEAS if you haven't already. I can't remember the totality of the argument, but I remember in inscriptions sometimes letters do double duty. In this case, the vav is a vav but also acting as part of the shin.

Anyway, the link is here.

Josh McManaway said...

Awesome! Thanks!