Tentative drawing of the Izbet Sartah Ostracon (BEC)

The Lost Link: The Alphabet in the Hands of the Early Israelites

We received this post from ASOR Friend and NEA subscriber Brian Colless, and he asked us to pass it along to the readers of the ASOR Blog. We are happy to do so and encourage you to comment on the post. By: Brian E. Colless Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand I have just made […]

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Typology and Semantics of Cryptograms and Acrolexa in the Orthodox East in the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Period

By: Emmanuel Moutafov, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow  For some scholars, the letter abbreviations with encoded meaning on cryptograms and acrolexa are the creation of a monachus ludnes (a monk having fun), who has been instructed to hide his identity or his personal message in an acrostic or in visual poetry, writes […]

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Using Inscriptions from the Antiquities Market: Polarized Positions and Pragmatic Proposals

By: Christopher A. Rollston Archaeological sites in the Middle East have been ransacked, pillaged, and plundered for many decades. The motivations of the actual pillaging are normally economic: the pursuit of marketable artifacts. That is, the pillagers wish to find objects that can be sold to collectors. Of course, the motivations of the collectors who […]

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The Dilemma of Denial: Scholarly Publication Policies and the Illusion of Power

By: Jonathan Rosenbaum President Emeritus, Gratz College For generations, academic journals have been deemed the appropriate venue for the initial publication of ancient inscriptions and artifacts. Nevertheless, last fall, the New York Times became the source of an editio princeps when it announced the discovery of a “faded papyrus fragment” that seemed to be “first […]

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The Relationship of Egypt and its Vassals as Reflected in the Amarna Tablets

By: Yuan Zhihui, Tianjin Normal University, China, Noble Group Fellow During my four-and-a-half month fellowship at the Albright, my research project focused on “The Relationship of Egypt and its Vassals as Reflected in the Amarna Tablets.” The aim of the project was to reveal the diplomatic system between Egypt and its vassal states in Canaan. […]

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From History and Myth, Anatolians in Mycenaean Greece

By: Josh Cannon, University of Chicago The Late Bronze Age (LBA) of Anatolia is a period that has been described to us through history and myth. The history of LBA Anatolia comes primarily from the Hittites, who actively created and maintained records. Written in cuneiform, these records provide us with a wealth of information ranging […]

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The Qeiyafa Ostracon Again: A Sober Assessment in Light of the New Finds

By Christopher A. Rollston Toyozo Nakarai Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Emmanuel Christian Seminary For those working in the field(s) of ancient history, ancient literature, archaeology, or epigraphy there often seems to be a strong desire to associate some new archaeological find, or some recent epigraphic discovery, with some person or event known from literary […]

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FORGING HISTORY: MOTIVES, METHODS, AND EXEMPLARS OF FORGED TEXTS [1]

Christopher A. Rollston, crollston@ecs.edu Toyozo Nakarai Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Studies, Emmanuel Christian Seminary I. MOTIVATIONS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF FORGERIES             Forgeries have been produced for many centuries (Metzger 1997, 125-139; Rollston 2003; 2004; 2005; 2012; Ehrman 2011) and it would not be prudent to believe that the future shall be different from the […]

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PHILOLOGY, ‘MARA,’ AND THE ‘JESUS DISCOVERY’ BOOK AND DOCUMENTARY

 By Dr. Christopher A. Rollston, Toyozo Nakarai Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Emmanuel Christian Seminary, Tennessee  INTRODUCTION[1] Recently I have posted on the blog of the American Schools of Oriental Research my readings, and some plausible renderings into English, of the four-line (fourteen letter) Greek inscription from Talpiyot, along with images visually demonstrating that […]

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A Response to Chris Rollston’s Reading of the Ossuary from Talpiot Tomb B

By: H. Gregory Snyder, Professor of Religion, Davidson College Back in October, James Tabor invited me to join in a conversation that was underway between himself, Richard Bauckham, and Jim Charlesworth. Tabor submitted eleven photos of the ossuary bearing the four-line inscription for our inspection, and all of us engaged in a lengthy debate about possible […]

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THE FOUR-LINE GREEK INSCRIPTION FROM A TALPIYOT TOMB: EPIGRAPHIC NOTES AND HISTORICAL DISCUSSIONS

Christopher A. Rollston, Toyozo Nakarai Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Emmanuel Christian Seminary Introduction The publication of a four-line Greek inscription from a tomb in East Talpiyot (Jerusalem) has generated substantial interest, especially because of the dramatic claims surrounding it (Tabor and Jacobovici 2012).  James Tabor has argued that this inscription reads as […]

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Comments from Prof. Steven Fine on the “Jesus Discovery”

I was a member of a team assembled last summer by a major media outlet to evaluate this project. Sitting in a stately conference room, Mr. Jacobovici, Professor Tabor and Professor Charlesworth presented their discoveries for the consideration of an internationally renowned group of scholars. The members of the evaluating team then offered our professional […]

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Jodi Magness responds to the “New Jesus Discovery”

Professor Jodi Magness Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill As usual, the arrival of the Easter season this year is heralded by a sensational archaeological claim relating to Jesus. In March 2007, we learned from a TV documentary and accompanying book that the tomb of Jesus and his family had […]

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Reflections of an Epigrapher on Talpiyot Tombs A and B: A Detailed Response to the Claims of Professor James Tabor and Filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici

Professor Christopher A. Rollston (crollston@ecs.edu) Professor of Semitic Studies, Emmanuel Christian Seminary I. THE CLAIMS OF TABOR AND JACOBOVICI: THE NEW BOOK[1] Here are the basic claims of James Tabor and Simcha Jacobovici: “Talpiyot Tomb B contained several ossuaries, or bone boxes, two of which were carved with an iconic image and a Greek inscription.  Taken […]

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Eric Meyers’ review of “The New Jesus Discovery”

Review of “The New Jesus Discovery” (Simon and Schuster 2012, ISBN 978-1-4516-5040-2) Eric M.Meyers, Duke University For nearly two millennia Christians have venerated the site believed to be where Jesus was buried. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher was built at a place where liturgical celebrations were held in honor of Christ’s death and resurrection, […]

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Brief Reflections of an Epigrapher on Talpiyot Tombs A and B

Professor Christopher A. Rollston, Emmanuel Christian Seminary Much can, and no doubt will, be said about the proposal (and new volume) of Professor James Tabor and Filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici that Jesus of Nazareth was married to a woman of Magdala named Mary, that they had a son named “Judas” and that their tomb has been […]

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FEATURED POST by Christopher Rollston: The Probable Inventors of the First Alphabet

The Probable Inventors of the First Alphabet: Semites Functioning as rather High Status Personnel in a Component of the Egyptian Apparatus Christopher Rollston Introduction: For some time, there has been discussion about the social status of those that developed (“invented”) Alphabetic Writing (i.e., elites or non-elites). Therefore, the nuanced discussion between O. Goldwasser (2010 and […]

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10th Century BCE Hebrew Inscription Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa

Contributed by Y. Garfinkel (November 5, 2008) This summer an extraordinary Semitic inscription was found at Khirbet Qeiyafa. It was uncovered inside the fortified city, near the gate, lying on a floor level of a building. The city existed for a rather short time, within the 10th century BC, thus, the dating of the inscription […]

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