The documentary on the so called “Jesus tomb” made several technical errors in their interpretation of the inscription of the bonebox they insist was Mary Magdalen’s bonebox, says one scholar.

The documentary claims that scholars read the inscription on one box as “Mariamene e Mara,” meaning “Mary the teacher” or “Mary the master.”

However, Stephen Pfann, a textual scholar and paleographer at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, claims that an analysis of the inscription shows that there were two names written by two different hands, and that the names were Mary and Martha.

He published the inscription on his website which clearly shows that the letters that the two parts of the inscription have in common indeed are shaped differently, so were probably inscribed by a different hand. The article also notes that it was common to combine the bones of several people in the same box.
Instead of answering the criticism with experts in paleography, or providing the names and expertise of those he had interpret the inscriptions, Jacobovici  merely dismisses the criticism as scholars discomfort with journalists “casting light into their ossuary monopoly.”

Yup. When you can’t dismiss the facts, criticize the expert’s motives.

There are, of course, other criticisms by both archeologists and biblical scholars of the claims, but this one is critical, since it is hard evidence rather than evidence based on statistics or probability. Indeed, it resembles the “Dan Rather” scandal, where experts in fonts and printing were the first ones to point out that forgery.

After all, one can have opinions which Jesus was buried in the tomb, or if the Romans were so incompetent that they never bothered to open the tomb to stop the growth of a annoying sect, but it’s hard to argue with an expert on handwriting, especially when the difference in the inscriptions is obvious even to an untrained observer.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines, Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket

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