Gary Smith wrote:

> Actually, it IS ".05 percent."  That means it is less than one percent
> chance of happening. I agree that it could have been stated clearer.

But he meant 1 in 20, which is 5%. I agree that's not clear from the context, but
when you read the AP and other wire service reports that the Globe author used
(I'm assuming, because he has so many direct quotes from the wire service
version, just basically building up the Toronto link, of course) you'll see that
someone has made an assumption that there's about a 1 in 20 chance of having all
3 of these names on an ossuary or any other public record at the time and place
in question. But you're right that it's really slimmer than that, because even
that calculation assumes there was one and only one such combination possible,
and given the common occurrences of the name, I don't buy that.

> As for the provenance, yes it is a shame that there is none for this
> artifact. However, there are things they can verify. For example, they
> can compare the writing style on the ossuary with that of others in the
> timeframe and verify the style is equivalent (it is). Then they can
> review if any others have the name of both a father and brother on it
> (only one does, but there is an example of this occurring). Finally, they
> look to see if such an item was used in the timeframe suggested by the
> other evidence. It so happens that in Jerusalem, ossuaries were ONLY used
> between 20BC and 70AD.

Actually we don't know how far back they were used. They weren't used past 70 AD
for the simple reason that Jerusalem was destroyed then. The earliest one that
has been *found* is probably about 20 BC (that sounds about right, I wouldn't
know) but the point is that we can't prove a negative, which is why provenance is
so important. Epigraphers and those who have examined the stone and the
inscription's physical characteristic (it has a patina on it which shows ancient
age, etc.) all bear out. So I'm not saying it's *not* what it might appear to be.
I'm just saying we can never prove it. It's like the Shroud of Turin. The only
way you could actually prove it *authentic*, even if it *did* come from someone
who was crucified in the first half of the first century AD, was by DNA. Next
time you see the Lord, ask him for a sample....See the problem?

I'm happy for the world of biblical archaeology, don't get me wrong, and perhaps
ironically for someone who's probably perceived as being pro-science, I at least
know science's place and certainly its weaknesses. It says nothing about Jesus
the Christ, even if it somehow could be proven to be the ossuary of the brother
of the real Jesus of Nazareth.

> It fits. So there is a high possibility of this being authentic and in
> the right timeframe.  But imagine having the bones of James!!!!!

Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“We do not think that there is an incompatibility between words and deeds; the
worst thing is to rush into action before the consequences have been properly
debated…To think of the future and wait was merely another way of saying one was
a coward; any idea of moderation was just an attempt to disguise one’s unmanly
character; ability to understand a question from all sides meant that one was
totally unfitted for action.” – Pericles about his fellow-Athenians, as quoted by
Thucydides in “The Peloponessian Wars”

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

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