Friday, March 02, 2007

More on Mariamne and the Jesus Tomb

I was just reading some more about Jesus' time, to see the plausibility of the Jesus Tomb claim. More weakness in the Mariam(e)ne/Magdalene connection. Guess where I found some Mariamnes? In Herod's family. Several, in fact. The Herodian Miriams usually used the extended Greek form, which makes sense, given their longtime affectation for Greek culture. They, of course, would insist on a Greek or even Roman inscription on their box, while many other Jews (especially the rural ones, like Miriam of Migdal was) would insist on Hebrew or Aramaic in the face of the foreign occupiers.

Maybe I should make a cable TV special showing how these ossuaries are a Herodian link to Jesus? Nah. They're not ornate enough. These sort of burial ground ossuaries (bone boxes) were for the well-to-do landowners, merchants, and top officials, not the poor, the artisan, or the farmer. However, this was still way too simple to be a Herod.

The passage that identifies Mariamne in Acts of Philip reads thusly (in modern language):
  • "Then the time came for the Savior to split the apostles up, and each went out to the area he was sent. It fell to Philip to go to the land of the Greeks. He thought it to be difficult, and wept. Then Mariamne his sister (the one who readied the bread and salt at the breaking of bread - though it was Martha that worked hard to serve it to the multitudes) saw this, and went to Jesus and said, ' Lord, see how much anguish this is causing for my brother?' "
Mariamne, Philip's sister and defender. This is not Miriam of Migdal. I don't know enough about the ins and outs of gnostic literature to know if this is intended to connect Philip with Lazarus' family through Mary and Martha. No such link is made in the New Testament, or in church history. But it is definitely not Mary Magdalene. The Gospel of Mary apparently does make this connection, but it is even weirder and even later than Acts of Philip. And all of the earlier gnostic books use the same name for Mary Magdalene as the New Testament and church tradition.

The more I sift through this particular Jacobovici claim, the the more impossible it becomes. (Just as it was for the DaVinci Code's Magdalene claims.) And it would be hard to come up with a way to link Jesus of Nazareth to the Jesus of the bone box without such a link to Mary Magdalene, since we don't have a known sample of Jesus of Nazareth's DNA to compare to. (Knowing Jacobovici, he'll come up with something.) The whole thing is starting to have an abundance of Colbert's 'truthiness' -- some people really really want it to be true, want it to at least feel true.

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