Fair Representation

In case our readership is wondering why these recent statements from symposium members have made their way into this web site, here is the letter that prompted them:

“Dear fellow participants,

Since the last night of the symposium, you undoubtedly heard of a number of media blurbs on the results of our meetings which represented all of our findings in the following ways:

“Although most of those who spoke at yesterday’s seminar said it was possible the tomb was that of Jesus, Jacobovici’s film was taken with a grain of salt.”  Haaretz

“The gathering of world scholars, which some had expected would conclude by dismissing claims linking the tomb to Jesus, wound up inconclusively, but with wide-ranging agreement that the matter required further investigation.”  Jerusalem Post

“Until now, international perception of the academic consensus has been that the Talpiot tomb “could not be” the Jesus family tomb. In contrast, 50 of the top scholars in the world now concluded that the Talpiot tomb “might very possibly be” the tomb of the ‘Holy family.'” Marketwire

“Experts Split on Supposed Jesus Tomb”: “The conference ended with no firm conclusions and with experts divided on the likelihood of the tomb containing Jesus’s family. Charlesworth has not made up his own mind.”  United Press International

“After three days of fierce debate, the experts remained deeply divided.”  Time

Are these statements true? I think we might be able to assemble a fair consensus vote from among members of the symposium by publishing preliminary short individual statements. If you would be willing to provide a short statement (one to 600 words) about your present position on the subject in the light of the symposium (whether for or or against the Jesus Tomb hypothesis) we can combine these as a witness to the present views of the participants. (I would propose to make these statements immediately available on the internet. This can stand in place of the rather varied and often careless appraisals of our positions presented by the media.)

The following is provided by Eric Meyers. Please feel free to add yours.

S. Pfann

Prof. Eric Meyer’s statement:

“Here is what I can say:

I was shocked that the near universal scholarly consensus that the Talpiot tomb could not be the Tomb of Jesus was ignored by the press. In a surprise move Simcha Jacobovici addressed the group at the closing session and made special mention of the speech of Jospeh Gat’s widow about his fearing to tell the world about his discovery in 1980. The problem with this is that several Israelis noted that Gat could not have known the meaning of the inscriptions since he did not read epigraphy let alone appreciate their potential significance had he been able to decipher them.”

Eric Meyers

Bernice and Morton Lerner Professor of Judaic Studies at Duke University, and former President of the American Schools of Oriental Research”

Although these statements will be considered preliminary, this collection of statements will serve as fair representations of the actual positions of the participants at the end of the conference. Final assessments and statements must be reserved for after the symposium papers are full published.

Most of the participants have been contacted, as many email addresses as could be found. Any other participants that have not received this letter should please send your statement to:

Others who may want to go on record with a statement may do so by composing and adding one to the comments section of this posting.

S. Pfann

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