I just got the book by archaeologist Jodi Magness called Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit. Chapter 11 is titled "Tombs and Burial Customs." The chapter is 35 pages long. In the first paragraph she says "To understand the burials of Jesus and James, it is necessary first to consider the evidence for ancient Jewish tombs and burial customs in Jerusalem." She focuses on the James ossuary from 2002 and the "Jesus family tomb" that the Discovery Channel did a documentary on in 2007.
And the Shroud? If authentic, it could tell us something about burial customs in Jerusalem. How much material on the Shroud? You guessed it: none, zippo, zilch. You would think she would at least mention it to dismiss it. This is just like that recent book by Josh McDowell about Evidences for the Christian faith, a 600+ page book (as I recall) that didn’t mention the Shroud.
Modern scholarship leaves a bit to be desired at times.
In a follow up email he writes:
"The Gospel accounts include an accurate (although not necessarily historical) description of Jesus’ body being wrapped in a linen shroud." She cites Raymond Brown’s "The Death of the Messiah."
She doesn’t elaborate either in the text or the end notes. I don’t have access at the moment to Brown’s work but I’m curious as to why if she acknowledges (albeit on Brown’s authority) that if it was normal practice to wrap corpses in linen shrouds, that Jesus would not have been. Brown wrote 1 extensive article on the Shroud and was basically neutral. I wonder if this sentence is an indirect knock on the Shroud? But why wouldn’t she just come right out and mention the Shroud but say she didn’t think it was authentic?
She just leaves everybody hanging on this. Again, not good scholarship in my opinion.
Not on my “buy now” list.
Only 35 pages on tombs and burial customs? How scholarly could it be? And she climbs on the money wagon of the James ossuary? That’s what it’s all about – if it’s likely to sell, write it! But of course my cynical side is showing. If Max sees this one, I hope he manages to contain himself concisely! But if he considers this work is beneath his dignity, I wouldn’t blame him, he could well be right!
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