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Asunto: La urna aramea
Fecha:Miercoles, 20 de Noviembre, 2002  22:04:33 (+0000)
Autor:"Francisca Martín-Cano Abreu" <martincano @........es>

 
Francisca MARTÍN-CANO Abreu 
http://terra.es/personal2/martincano/biblio.htm 
Moderadora del foro de culturaarcaica 
(Suscribirse enviando e-mail a: culturaarcaica-subscribe@...) 
20 / 11 / 2002 
terraeantiqvae@... 
 
Os envío une-mail recbido en otro foro sobre la urna de piedra aparecida 
días atrás en Jerusalén con la frase aramea: 
 
"Ya aqob bar Yosef ajui di Yeshua" (Jacob -o lo que es lo mismo, Santiago-, 
hijo de José, hermano de Jesús -o Josué-)" 
 
Ahora resulta según artículo de Shermer´s Magazine que es un fraude. 
 
Francisca 
 
IS THE JAMES/JESUS BONE OSSUARY A FAKE? 
 
Here is an article on the now-famous bone ossurary that would seem to be 
a 
direct archaeological link to Jesus. There now appears to be some cause 
for 
further skepticism 
 
November 18, 2002 
 
Ossuary was genuine, inscription was faked 
By Rochelle I. Altman, October 29, 2002 
 
Rochelle I. Altman is co-coordinator of IOUDAIOS-L, a virtual community 
of 
scholars engaged in on-line discussion of Judaism in the Greco-Roman 
world 
She is an expert on scripts and an historian of writing systems 
 
As an expert on scripts and an historian of writing systems, I was asked 
to 
examine this inscription and make a report. I did 
 
The bone-box is original; the first inscription, which is in Aramaic, 
"Jacob 
son of Joseph," is authentic. The second half of the inscription, 
"brother of 
Jesus," is a poorly executed fake and a later addition. This report has 
already been distributed on at least two scholarly lists 
 
Please note that the fraud is so blatant that I did not bother to go 
into 
extreme detail on whether the faked addition is supposed to be Hebrew or 
 
Aramaic. (If that's a vav, -- then it's Hebrew, not Aramaic; if it's 
yod, 
then it's says 'my brother', not 'his brother' or 'brother of'. By no 
stretch 
of the imagination can one claim this to be in Aramaic... 'of' in 
Aramaic is 
'di'.) 
 
You have to be blind as a bat not to see that the second part is a 
fraud.. 
 
Here is the report: 
 
Report on the "James" ossuary inscription 
I carefully checked many photos and writings on ossuaries and covenants 
before sending you my report. I make no claim to be an expert on 
ossuaries, 
but inscriptions and scripts are another story. It might be in order to 
warn 
you that I have a great deal of experience at spotting ancient frauds 
and 
forgeries 
 
There are a few things we have to bear in mind about ossuary 
inscriptions 
 
First, according to Rahmani (1981, 1982) on Jerusalem burial practices, 
most 
ossuaries are from the period between 30/20 BCE-70 CE -- but by no means 
all 
 
Second, human remains are not dug up and displaced without very good 
reasons 
Ossuaries show up in quantity when burial space is at a premium 
 
Solutions to the burial space problem are quite varied. In Classical 
Greece, 
for example, low status people were buried in space-saving one-person 
shaft 
graves (with a tiny round marker on the spot with the necessary data) 
The 
Keramikon in Athens is full of these. In Italy, from the Renaissance 
until 
the late 19th-century, after 3 years, unless a family could afford an 
ossuary 
or pay another three years rent, the bones were dumped in a mass grave 
site 
-- usually a convenient quarry or crevice or what have you, filled with 
dirt 
layer by layer. In Athens, ossuaries are still used (metal boxes 
nowadays); 
again, that three-year rent period runs. Even in modern Louisiana, along 
the 
Mississippi water seepage makes it impossible to dig graves of a 
reasonable 
depth; burials are in family mausoleums and bones are pushed down to 
make way 
for the latest arrival 
 
As ossuaries, after all, contravene the normal rules for Jewish burial, 
the 
appearance of so many ossuaries in the period before the destruction of 
the 
Temple is strong evidence that the cemeteries around Jerusalem were in a 
 
space-crunch. (The post-70 reduction in ossuaries follows naturally 
enough 
from the removal of enough people from the area to reduce the need for 
bone- 
boxes.) 
 
It is not a question of "popularity" at all (which when one thinks about 
it, 
is a most peculiar way to think about the subject), but a lack of burial 
 
space... which also gives us information about population density of a 
given 
area. (Oddly enough, there does not seem to be very much in the 
literature 
that addresses this point for the relevant period; yet the correlation 
between the space constraints indicated by the rise in ossuaries and the 
 
density of the population of a given area is rather obvious.) 
 
Third, while today, grave markers are carved by pros, this was not the 
case 
in these Jewish ossuary inscriptions. The apparently wide variations in 
ossuary inscriptions come from a simple fact: these ossuary inscriptions 
are 
covenants, vows to affirm continuing respect for the deceased in spite 
of 
having disinterred his/her remains. As with any other vow, the text must 
be 
in the hand of the one making the vow. Thus (as is noted in the 
literature), 
a surviving member of the family painted on, or scratched into, the 
(usually) 
limestone box the memorial data. In some cases a professional would 
carve 
over the handwriting exactly as written. (BTW, this is the standard 
practice 
for all professionally carved covenants.) 
 
In other words, all those ossuary inscriptions are holographs. Needless 
to 
say, in such a mass of individual writing, literacy varied tremendously 
from 
semi-literates who wrote only upon occasion to school-boys to scholars 
[What 
is relevant to sorting out the apparent lack of relation between status 
and 
ossuary is not the wealth or social status of the individual(s) (up to 
three 
sets of same-family bones can show up in an ossuary), but the level of 
literacy and status of the survivors. Thus, there is a relationship 
between 
status and inscription... but we would need information on the 
"survivors" in 
each case to know who, what, when, how, and why.] 
 
>From the writing on the ossuary inscriptions, some are clearly written 
by 
youngsters and semi-literates who did not have complete control of graph 
 
sizes and could not hold a straight line. Others are clearly the 
holographs 
of literate people 
 
James inscription was written by two different people 
The inscription on the "James" ossuary is a bit more complicated. First 
it 
has been gone over by a professional carver; the words are excised (not 
incised). Second, it was written by two different people 
 
Translated, with the amendments to the original spelling as given in the 
 
article, the inscription reads: 
 
Jacob son of Joseph brother of Joshua 
 
The emended translation does not indicate the way the words are actually 
 
written, which is in two distinct groups: 
 
Y(KOBBRYWSF =A0 )XWW(Y#W( 
 
[Editor's note: the transliteration provided by the author is in 
accordance 
with the Michigan-Claremont Encoding System for ASCII] 
 
Nor does the translation give any indication of the change from the 
carefully 
executed and expertly spaced *inscriptional* cursive -- including 
careful 
angles and the cuneiform wedge on the bet's, the resh, and the yod -- in 
 
Y(KOBBRYWSF 
[Jacob son of Joseph] 
 
to the less than expertly executed *commercial* sans-wedge cursive in 
 
)XWW(Y#W( 
[brother of Joshua] 
 
While it is customary to dismiss such differences as unimportant 
("scribes 
are not typewriters"), here the differences between the two parts are 
glaring 
and impossible not to see 
 
In the first part, the script is formal 
In part 1, the script is formal, the ayin has an acute angle, the bets, 
resh, 
and yod have the cuneiform wedge, and the yods are consistent in size 
and 
cannot be confused with the vavs 
 
The person who wrote the first part of the inscription [ Y(KOBBRYWSF ] 
was 
necessarily a surviving member of the family. He was fully literate; he 
clearly was familiar with the formal square script (those cuneiform 
wedges), 
the writing is internally consistent, and this part of the inscription 
is his 
expertly written holograph 
 
In the second part, the script is informal 
In part 2, the script is informal, the two ayins are completely 
different 
from each other and differ yet again from the ayin in part 1. When we 
compare 
the yod in Y(KOB with the (amended) three yod's in )XWW(Y#W( we 
immediately 
can see that this is a different person writing. First of all, the yod 
in 
'brother of' and the first yod in W(Y#W( are written as vavs. With the 
model 
of the correct way to write the yod-ayin [ Y( ] right in front of his 
nose on 
'Jacob', there is no reason at all for the extended vav or the extra vav 
in 
what should be Y(#(. Then, the yod in the peculiarly misspelled W(Y#W( 
does 
not resemble the yod in Joseph [ YWSF ] as written in part 1 which also 
has a 
wedge. The shin in W(Y#W( [damned if I can figure out how to 
trans-literate 
this abhorrent spelling of Joshua] is wedgeless and does not accord with 
the 
first part of the inscription... but then, none of the forms in the 
second 
part agree with the script of the first part 
 
The person who wrote the second part [ )XWW(Y#W( ] may have been 
literate, 
but it is doubtful that he was literate in Aramaic or Hebrew. Again, 
aberrant 
spelling is dismissed as dialectic. True, there are dialectic variants, 
but 
there is always some linguistic logic behind these variants. There is 
nothing 
logical about these misspellings. They smell of someone guessing how the 
 
words "brother of" and the name "Joshua" would have been spelled a 
couple, 
three hundred years earlier. Once again, the writing in this part is 
internally consistent in its semi-literacy. Part 2 has the 
characteristics of 
a later addition by someone attempting to imitate an unfamiliar script 
and 
write in an unfamiliar language 
 
There is yet another tell-tale sign of fraud here. As noted, the text is 
 
excised. (Which indicates a wealthy family.) Nobody excises an entire 
block 
of stone to raise the text; not even the Yadi stele is entirely excised 
In 
"name" plates or other small inscriptions, if excised rather than 
incised 
(cheaper), the normal practice is to excise the text and a frame, which 
frame 
itself is excised by incised limits but never beyond them. Only the area 
 
within the frame will be excised; the rest of the block will be left 
alone 
Far too much here has been excised from around the names. More to the 
point, 
where is the original frame? 
 
Second part of inscription added later 
Well, to anybody who knows something about anti-fraud techniques as 
practiced 
in antiquity, it is rather obvious. The frame was removed to add the 
second 
part of this inscription. The original frame would have been the barest 
minimum distance from the text and have appeared something like this: 
 
|-------------------| 
|Y(KOBBRYWSF |=A0 =A0 )XWW(Y#W( 
|____________| 
 
If the entire inscription on the ossuary is genuine, then somebody has 
to 
explain why there are two hands of clearly different levels of literacy 
and 
two different scripts. They also have to explain why the second hand did 
not 
know how to write 'brother of' in Aramaic or even spell 'Joshua' 
Further, 
they had better explain where the frame has gone 
 
The ossuary itself is undoubtedly genuine; the well executed and formal 
first 
part of the inscription is a holographic original by a literate (and 
wealthy) 
survivor of Jacob Ben Josef in the 1st century CE. The second part of 
the 
inscription bears the hallmarks of a fraudulent later addition and is 
questionable to say the least 
Views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of 
israelinsider 
 
 
 
 
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