In a recent post , I commented on a just published paper written in Hebrew by Prof. Amos Kloner and his former student and collaborator Professor Boaz Zissu. The article came out in conjunction with a paper delivered by Prof Kloner at a conference that took place on December 27th 2012 at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. The conference was entitled “New Studies on Jerusalem”. The article was published in a companion volume which is numbered “volume 18”. Copies of the article can be ordered at www.jerusalem-studies.com. You can also find it on my blog.
1. He is very enthusiastic about his “new revelations” concerning the “Patio tomb” in the Talpiot suburb of Jerusalem. This tomb which is under an Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) license to Prof. Rami Arav and Prof. James Tabor as an ongoing excavation is only 60 meters from the alleged tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. Kloner was in the tomb in 1981. Why did it take him 33 years to publish a report? Incompetence? Laziness? Cover up?
2. Over the past 33 years, he said there were seven ossuaries in the tomb. He then revealed that there were eight. Why did he misreport?
3. He published that there were two inscriptions in the tomb. He now admits that there were three. Why the misreport?
4. He said that the two inscriptions were “Greek names”. He also said he did not have time to read them before he was chased out of the tomb by Jewish ultra-orthodox activists. He now admits that all along he knew the names. Why did he misreport?
5. The third inscription is not a name at all, but a declaration of faith. Why did he not report a four line inscription that is not a name? Why did he misreport?
6. In the official catalogue of IAA ossuaries, Rahmani misreported the location of the tomb. Kloner now says that this was done on purpose. Why did they misreport the location of the tomb?
7. Kloner first reported that he was only a few minutes in the tomb, then he changed his story to 15 minutes, then to two hours and 15 minutes, now it’s two days. Why did he misreport the time the archaeologists had in the tomb?
8. Kloner had no physical anthropologist with him, did not remove the bones from the ossuaries or from the tomb, and has never said anything about the physical remains of the individuals buried in the tomb. He now publishes exact numbers of individuals buried in every single ossuary, estimating that there were approximately 21-26 people buried in the tomb. Since everyone knows that it’s impossible to ascertain how many people are buried in an ossuary in a matter of minutes, or even hours or weeks, is Kloner misreporting what happened to the bones? Or is he misreporting the number of people buried there? Why?
9. Kloner took pictures of the ossuaries in their niches where you cannot see the images or inscriptions. He now admits that all the ossuaries had been pulled to the center of the tomb before being pushed back into the niches by the orthodox activists. Kloner has now published the pictures of the ossuaries in the niches i.e., where you can’t see anything. Why has he not published the pictures of the ossuaries after they had been pulled out of their niches?
10. Kloner says that he had only minutes in the tomb. And yet, he has just published drawings – yes, drawings! – of the four line inscription and controversial image of a fish. He had no time to read a name, but he had time to draw. Furthermore, he says he had the drawings at home for the past 33 years and he has only now seen fit to publish them. What else does he have in his files at home? Why hasn’t he turned over all his information to the IAA archaeological files and to the archaeologist presently in charge, Prof. Rami Arav? Why is Prof. Kloner still misreporting the findings?
11. Most disturbingly, the drawings that he has published do not correspond to the ossuaries themselves but to replicas that we recently made, complete with an error! How is this possible if they are, indeed, 33 year old drawings of the originals? Is Prof. Kloner misrepresenting the nature of the images on the ossuaries?
Despite these serious concerns, Prof. Kloner has not offered a single response, nor has his co-author Prof. Zissu, nor any of the people involved in the Bar Ilan conference which gave a platform to Prof. Kloner and his seriously flawed report.