Something Fishy in Talpiot Tomb B

[UPDATE 3/16/2012: Click here for Prof. James Tabor's response to Robert Cargill's expose, the subject of the original post.]

A busy day for Talpiot-related news!

Not only did we have the verdict of the James ossuary trial, but yesterday Prof. Robert Cargill posted a very lengthy and devastating analysis of the various image alterations of the Talpiot B tomb “fish art” in this most recent tomb (with many images and illustrations).  The stench has become truly overwhelming. Some excerpts are worth including here (boldfacing is Cargill’s):

One can clearly see that the image has been drawn to suggest a “Jesus fish” image where there clearly is none. The “Fish in the margins” image contains artificially added, digitally “inked” lines colored to resemble naturally engraved limestone lines, which do not correspond to the engraved lines on the ossuary. The digital “ink” extends well beyond the engraved lines of the actual image, which do NOT overlap. This means that the image was digitally altered to generate the illusion of small “fishes swimming” around the edges of the ossuary, perhaps to support the illusion that the image just beneath them is a “fish” and not some sort of vessel.

The evidence of commission presented above is indisputable. An unacknowledged digital alteration was clearly made to the “Fish in the margins” image to create the illusion that there are fishes swimming around the edges of the ossuary. And again, this digital manipulation is nowhere acknowledged in the image or its caption. This is textbook digital manipulation of a image for the purposes of supporting a particular claim.

And…

Thus, despite the fact that the engraved lines comprising the oval loop handle are as clearly visible at the same angle and in the same light as other engraved lines comprising so-called “fish’s tail,” and despite the fact that the same engraved oval loop and handles are also clearly visible on the so-called “half fish” on a different panel of the same ossuary, for some reason, Mr. Jacobovici and Dr. Tabor chose to omit this evidence from their representations, and chose not to represent the evidence in the heavily Photoshopped “CGI” “computer enhanced” “composite image” they have been offering to the press.

Ouch.

Cargill’s treatment is supplemented by another analysis of the alleged ossuary fish by Juan V. Fernández de la Gala, Forensic Anthropologist and Zooarchaeologist.

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  • http://jamestabor.com James Tabor

    Michael, in the interest of fairness and truth please see my response. What you imply here, rather nastily I might add, is false. Why not be prosessional and engage in proper academic discourse and exchange? There are some great models…Baucham, Rollston, etc. on the ASOR blog for example. This rhetoric of yours might seem cute and entertaining to you and your readers but it is juvenile.

    http://jamestabor.com/2012/03/15/more-photos-of-the-talpiot-tomb-discoveries-released/

    • MSH

      What’s unprofessional? I’m just reporting the criticisms of the images. I t would be unprofessional to not post about it. I didn’t write the post, and I’m just being honest when I say it sounds compelling. But I will of certainly update the post with your response (and you knew I would, too).

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  • http://jamestabor.com James Tabor

    Your disrespectful tone and approach…neither helpful nor humane.

    • MSH

      Oh, please. I only said I thought it was compelling. If it isn’t, then direct me to something that overturns it and I will certainly post it.

  • http://www.sevenstarhand.org Buddy Page

    If you actually want to understand what these symbols mean, you first need to understand ancient symbology. No one involved in this project seems to have a clue and thereby all assertions about symbols and their interpretations are without any factual support.

    I will demonstrate that this image purposely portrays the merger of both a fish and a vessel and it is Hebrew, not Christian. To fully understand what this image represents, it must be viewed correctly with the “ball” at the bottom, just as it was drawn. Changing its position breaks the meaning of the symbolic code. Consider that the ball is the sun rising above the horizon at the spring equinox. The fish/vessel is the constellation Pisces, and thereby this shows the spring equinox sun, rising into Pisces, which is how you determine the current age on the zodiac.

    This image would then represent a zodiacal/astrological time stamp pointing to the second temple period, which was at the start of the age of Pisces. The fish thereby represents the constellation Pisces, and the vessel shape holds the “waters” of that age. Water symbolizes the flow of deeds through time, and a vessel holds a measured quantity of water (or other liquids like wine and oil). The measured period of time is the 2160 years of the age of Pisces, which ended in 2001. This image is a perfect symbolic code for the age of Pisces and the time and deeds (waters…) it represents.

    The second temple period was the 11th 360-year cycle on the Hebrew calendar. That is why the Dead Sea Scrolls were buried in exactly 11 caves, during the 11th cycle, which is also symbolized by the 11 stars in Genesis. The 11th cycle was also the beginning of the age of Pisces, and it is well known that the zodiac was used by those who buried the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as other groups throughout the region.

    The symbology of that image is not Christian, but most likely a time code pointing to the age of Pisces and related details. That is also the true source of the fish symbolism used by early Christians and later recast by Church leaders to hide the astrological source and associations with those most call the “Essenes.” Visit my website (http://www.sevenstarhand.org) and download a free copy of my ebook to learn the basic rules for this ancient symbology. They prove all previous interpretations are erroneous, though both a fish and a vessel were correct guesses.

    This image also provides key proof that Christian assertions about the fish and related symbology have always been blatant lies. I’ll publish more details soon.

    Here is Wisdom…

    Buddy Page
    aka
    Seven Star Hand

    • MSH

      I know all that and more; the information is only relevant if it’s a fish. And even if it is, it is presumptuous to assume that everyone who uses an image thinks the same thing about it (like today).

  • Rafa

    What really is disrespectful is Tabor’s attempt to manufacture a lie.

  • Gerben

    When I see pictures like these, it looks to my untrained eye as if I’m watching a game show where someone gets the assignement to draw something and someone else to guess what it is. Even when the “artist” tells you what it is supposed to resemble you sometimes cannot make head or tails of it.
    As asking the “artist” in this particular case is for obvious reasons not possible anymore, it leaves us with our own interpretation, comparing it to our own experience, observations and what we think we know for sure.
    To be honest it looks to me more like a failed attempt to depict whatever he had in mind. Since it is very hard to “mind-read” people alive and in front of you, it gets even harder when they are no longer with us and unknown.

    So…and it is just a thought…could it be that the artist was simply not “that gifted” to engrave a beyond any doubt recognizable picture into stone? Perhaps he was still a trainee and he had some explaining to do afterwards….

    Kind regards,

    Gerben

    • MSH

      It isn’t easy to carve something in stone unless one was a trained craftsman in that medium and had the right tools.

      For me, I need to see more than a blob at one end to even begin thinking about a fish. And even in that event, it isn’t coherent to label it as distinctly Christian, since Jonah is from the Hebrew Bible and the story uses Sheol (grave) imagery for being in the fish. It could just as well be a Jewish symbolic portrayal for the hope of resurrection.

  • http://www.sevenstarhand.org Buddy Page

    The context is provided by the time-period it was buried and by whom (Hebrews of the second temple period who were clearly using wisdom symbology). You should be asking what they thought these symbols were, not what modern people think they are. Both the fish and vessel come from the correct period and were important to Hebrew sages, as the text of the Torah and Bible demonstrate. Also, there is no logic to nor proof of using a fish by Christians at a time when there is little proof of any Christians, at all. This tomb and its symbolism provides a link to Hebrew wisdom groups (Essenes, etc.), not to Christianity.

    Also, the Dead Sea Scrolls and other finds prove that the zodiac was important to numerous groups at the time. The current age was Pisces and one determines the zodiac age by which house or sign the sun rises into at the spring equinox. That fish image with the “ball” sitting just above the line (horizon…) is a perfect symbol for the age of Pisces that purposely incorporates pivotal symbology merged with a zodiac time stamp. That same pattern is repeated throughout the symbolism of Revelation, using stars and angels as time codes. You also should know the importance of sun symbolism to those of that time and context.

    You have discovered something that none of you understand and now I bring proof of the correct solution to this mystery. Sadly for religious leaders, it completely exposes pivotal ancient lies…

    Here are more insights.
    http://www.i-newswire.com/dead-sea-scrolls-burial-secret/81149

    Here is Wisdom…

    • MSH

      FEW Hebrews of the Second temple period used wisdom symbology. The average person wouldn’t be doing that. Perhaps some in the priestly class. I enjoy ancient astrology, too, but it’s not lurking behind every ossuary or even person in the era.

  • Gerben

    Well obviously also a “trained” crafstman in those days was no guarantee for “taltented”.

    I agree that “if fish” does not automaticall lead to “then Christian”.
    As far as I could deduce from the WWW a fish was a known and used symbol by Jews. I did find use of it on a picture showing a tombstone on a Jewish cemetery in Prague.
    http://thewholemegillah.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/prague-jewish-cemetery-fish.jpg
    For what it is worth: In contrast with the Talpiot picture in this one I do recognize a fish…its kind of hard to miss

    Next to that I stumbled on following site: http://lmlk.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/bs-from-brilliant-scholars/
    Quite entertaining.

    Kind regards,

    Gerben

    • MSH

      thanks.

  • Astonished Observer

    I can’t debate the interpretation of the evidence, I’m no scholar. What absolutely floors me is that if true this is a terminal attack on the foundation of Christianity and yet the implications have been completely ignored by the main stream and are hinted at in hushed tones in the scholarly debates. The proof of this ends Christianity! Surely this demands a cry and tumult from on high. What does it say about Christian belief that the majority of believers can simply ignore factual evidence?

    • MSH

      Talpiot B wouldn’t end anything. The first tomb (the “Jesus Family Tomb” would have that potential, but not this one). And your comment reads as though you haven’t read any of the scholarly response to the first tomb that has led nearly all scholars to reject the identification with the Jesus of the NT. Far from “hushed tones,” that tomb has drawn a truckload of response in the public square.

      I’d also recommend reading my response to James Tabor on Jewish views of the resurrection (which was not antagonistic [James appreciated the exchange], though I disagreed with him).

      http://michaelsheiser.com/TheNakedBible/2012/04/james-tabors-essay-early-christianitys-view-resurrection-review/

      Even if the first tomb was the tomb of the real Jesus, it would mean only that *one* understanding of bodily resurrection flies out the window. It would not require the surrender of a belief in the supernatural; that would still be a faith element, removed to the eschaton. So, you really need to read more deeply on this.