Pro and Con 1153

Posted 10-12-04

Hebrew Script Expert Ada Yardeni on the James Ossuary and the Jehoash Tablet

Regarding the inscription on the famous James ossuary, Ya’akov bar Yoseph ahui d’ Yeshua (Yod, ayin, qof, waw, bet. bet, resh. Yod, waw, samah, pe. aleph, het, waw, yod. dalet, Yod, shin, waw, ayin, translated in English as “James [Jacob] son of Joseph brother of Jesus”), I have been following the discussion and reports, and I am by no means persuaded by the claims that it is a forgery. My opinion is based on paleographical as well as circumstantial evidence.

Having studied thoroughly the script of the Second Temple period (see my two-volume work The Aramaic Hebrew and Nabataean Documentary Texts from the Judaean Desert and Related Material, Jerusalem 2000), I have managed to develop a feeling for this script. When I copied the inscription, I initially had some question about the qof and the final pe, as well as the angular first ayin. I also wondered about the name Joseph spelled Ywsp this way rather than Yhwsp (with a he). The latter spelling was much more popular in this period. I also noted that the first name, Yqwb (James/Jacob), is spelled with the waw (w) which might lead one to expect a he (h) in Joseph. (Both waw and he are rudimentary vowels.)

These were the only peculiarities I saw in the inscription. I also observed that there was no difference in the depth of the engraving between the two parts of the inscription....

In sum, I am confident that the James ossuary inscription is authentic. About the Yehoash inscription, there is more doubt.
Ada Yardeni

Authenticity of the Jehoash tablet—A Response by James Harrell

The archaeology journal Tel Aviv has just published an article detailing why its authors believe, on geological grounds, the Jehoash tablet is a modern forgery (Yuval Goren, Avner Ayalon, Miryam Bar-Matthews and Bettina Schilman, “Authenticity Examination of the Jehoash Inscription,” Tel Aviv, vol. 31, no. 1, 2004). The tablet describes repairs to the Jerusalem Temple undertaken by King Jehoash, a description that closely parallels passages in the Book of Kings. Below is a response to the new article, written by James Harrell, a geologist at the University of Toledo and the secretary/treasurer of ASMOSIA, the Association for the Study of Marble and Other Stones in Antiquity.

Comments on Goren et al.’s “Authenticity Examination of the Jehoash Inscription.”...

4. Pages 12-14
In talking about how the inscription coating must be fake, Goren et al. say that “the carbonate material that was used for the production of the patina was recrystallized in some specific conditions that needs further explanation.” They do not know how the artificial recrystallization was done and they admit it, which is good. However, a little further on they blunder badly in claiming “the fake patina was prepared with hot water—by grinding marine carbonate sediments—and dissolving them in hot water.” As I have already pointed out for the James ossuary, and as Goren and Ayalon have grudgingly conceded elsewhere, it is just not possible to dissolve calcium carbonate (calcite) in hot water. To think otherwise is quack chemistry. This not only reflects badly on Ayalon and his knowledge of geochemistry, but the other three co-authors should also have known better if they are truly the “experts” on authenticating stone artifacts that they present themselves to be.

In conclusion, it may well be that Goren et al. are right about the Jehoash tablet being a modern forgery but if they are it is for the wrong reasons. Their obvious ineptness in interpreting what they observed can give no one any confidence in their conclusions. From a petrographic and geochemical point of view, the authenticity of the Jehoash tablet is still very much an open question.
James Harrell, University of Toledo

JPEG Images Can Be Infected With Malicious Code


Check Microsoft for updates ASAP.

Mount St. Helens' Crater Floor Rising

By GENE JOHNSON, 10-7-04

MOUNT ST. HELENS, Wash. - Part of Mount St. Helens' crater floor has risen 50 to 100 feet since Tuesday while earthquake rates have been low, signs that magma is moving upward without much resistance, scientists said Thursday....

With the latest rising, an area of the crater floor just south of the nearly 1,000-foot lava dome has risen about 250 feet since the mountain began stirring two weeks ago, Lowenstern said.

There's no way to tell when magma might reach the surface, he said.

A Contentious Battle for the Temple Mount's Survival

...ROBERTSON: The bulge of the wall, I understand the Jordanians have moved in to try to reinforce it. Are they doing that? Is anybody doing that, to reinforce the wall?

BARKAY: We can see from this point, that next to the southern wall of the Temple Mount there are scaffoldings against the wall. Along the -- or on the face of the eastern wall -- you can see scaffolding as well. This is the work of an Egyptian team. They work there. They carry out their repairs, which were achieved in a kind of a secret agreement between the Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians and Egyptians. In 1996, the mosque, which was built into that place, that is a mosque that houses today up to 10,000 people. It is a huge subterranean mosque. It was added as part of the illicit construction activity by the Wakfa authorities since the 1990's....

From Five Doves site, Re, "October 13th?"

From: Jim Bramlett (8 Oct 2004)

Anyone familiar with David Booth and his prediction of October 13, 2004 being "the Great and terrible day of the Lord" and the beginning of what Catholics call the "chastisement" (what most of us call of the "tribulation")? Booth is a Catholic and this is based on the revelations at Fatima (the "Third Secret") and his recent interview with the last surviving Fatima child, Lucia, in Portugal, and what she told him. Lucia told him not to reveal the message until October 6, 2004, which he did yesterday. I do not know much about David Booth but he comes across as sincere and humble, and much of what he says is purely biblical. He says he has only had two visions and both of them have come true.

For his amazing radio interview, go to .

This interview is used to first reveal what he says Lucia has revealed to him, so this information is only about 24 hours old as I write this. Jim

From Temple Institute web site

My comments

I was surprised to see that the cherubim on the right actually looks pretty much like what I think it represents, a planet. The Lord sits between the cherubim, on Saturn, the planet with a halo, between Jupiter and Uranus.

I Sam. 4:4 says, "So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims."

II Sam. 6:2 says, "David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims."

II Kings 19:15 says, "Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth."

Psa. 80:1 says, "Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth."

Psa. 99:1 says, "The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved."

Isa. 37:16 says, "O LORD of hosts (Christ, Isa. 44:6), God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth."

Eze. 10:9 says, "when I looked, behold the four wheels (orbits) by the cherubims (here the 4 terrestrial planets), one wheel (orbit) by one cherub (planet), and another wheel (orbit) by another cherub (planet): and the appearance of the wheels (orbits) was as the colour of a beryl stone."

Incoming email, Re: More Questions

Unfortunately, I have been very busy lately with astronomy programs and have not had time to address your response to my msg. about the birth date of Christ. I did notice another ProCon 1152 reply and although I have not as yet fully read it, I still see problems associated with the use of questionable and unclear dates such as Tishri 1, 3756 which by my calendar programs is Julian Date 1719486 and on the Gregorian calendar is Sept. 11, 5BC and Julian Calendar is Sept. 13, 6BC.


I will suggest again that the use of the actual Julian Day number in your work and references to historical dates is strongly recommended to avoid misunderstandings in the different calendar systems.

I'm also curious to know the Lunar Eclipse date you are using in your calculations for the event that occurred after the Magi visit according to the writings of Josepheus, it would seem that the 1/20/2BC date (JDN 1720711), a partial penumbral event in Leo is the one that would fit your date sequence; but, I will await your direct answer.

I do continue, however, to disagree entirely with your conclusions. I believe "His Star" refers to Regulus (king star) in Leo (the Lion of the tribe of Judah), a zodiac constellation, etc. and the triple Regulus/Jupiter close conjunctions of 3/2BC far more significant than the 10 degree separated grouping of Sept., 5 BC. I consider Sirius to be a major worship icon of the Egyptian cults and the odds of it referring to the "false prince to come" or "prince of this world", i.e. the antichrist is quite possible. I hope to have more time soon to address these very important issues.

My reply

> > the Gregorian calendar is Sept. 11, 5BC and Julian Calendar is Sept. 13, 6BC.

That 6 BC should alert us that the Gregorian actually means Sept. 11, 6 BC.

I made a mistake. BC 5 is the Hebrew 3756 up to Tishri 1 (in Sept.), then it is 3757. Tishri 1 in BC 5 would have been Tishri 1, 3757. It's hard to remember to account for that difference since the years start at different times. It is the same with days. Theirs start at 6 PM on our previous day. Ours start at midnight. It's easy to make an error.

Working with BC dates is not easy anyway. Some calendar programs use the fictitious zero year. Some don't. Calendar Home does. We can feed in "0" and get a readout. Astronomers use the 0 year, because it makes figuring easier.

At Calendar Home, if we feed in the Hebrew Tishri 1, 3756, and calculate, we will get the Gregorian Monday, Sept. 11, -5, but it actually is BC 6 and a 355-day common year.

If we put in the Hebrew Tishri 1, 3757 (a 385-day leap year), we will get the Gregorian Sat., Aug. 31, -4 (actually BC 5). The Julian date is Sept 2 in -5 (BC 5), a normal year. The Julian day is 1719841.5.

Fourmilab ( says, "While one can't properly speak of "Gregorian dates" prior to the adoption of the calendar in 1582, the calendar can be extrapolated to prior dates. In doing so, this implementation (i.e., the Gregorian) uses the convention that the year prior to year 1 is year 0. This differs from the Julian calendar in which there is no year 0--the year before year 1 in the Julian calendar is year -1. The date December 30th, 0 in the Gregorian calendar corresponds to January 1st, 1 in the Julian calendar."

YourSky, also put out by Fourmilab (, pictures the New Moon (dark Moon) on Sept. 2, -4 (BC 5). On the printout I made before, it also showed the dark Moon on Sept. 3. It printed on the "course" setting, so that is probably why. I just printed another one with the "fine" setting. The crescent Moon is barely there, even on that setting. It might not have been seen. The soonest it would be seen is about 15 hours. Lots of times the phase is about 2 days.

From here, we have to go by Rev. 12:1. It says, "And there appeared a great wonder (sign) in heaven; a woman (Virgo) clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet". Verse 5 says, "And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up (harpazo, i.e., raptured, as in I Thess. 4:17) unto God, and to his throne." Acts 1:9 says, "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."

YourSky shows no Moon near Virgo on Aug. 31, BC 5.
The Sun and Moon are together in Virgo's head on Sept. 1.
The Dark Moon shows on Sept. 2.
A tiny sliver of the crescent Moon shows on Sept. 3. The Moon is mid-body.
Below, the crescent Moon is nearing Virgo's feet at 15:45 UTC on Sept. 4. Remember that all that can be seen is the crescent.

Below, the crescent Moon is directly "under her feet" at 15:45 UTC on Sept. 5. Don't go by the dark part, just the crescent.

Therefore, to me, the night of Sept. 4/5, BC 5, still seems the most likely for the birth of Jesus. Our Sept. 4 is Monday, and Sept. 5 is Tuesday. To the Jews, Tuesday begins at 6 PM on our Monday, Sept. 4. They have 12 hours of night, then 12 hours of day. I think Jesus was born during those 12 hours of night.

Of the Hebrew calendar, Four Mile Lab says, "Years are classified as common (normal) or embolismic (leap) years which occur in a 19 year cycle in years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19. In an embolismic (leap) year, an extra month of 29 days, "Veadar" or "Adar II", is added to the end of the year after the month "Adar", which is designated "Adar I" in such years. Further, years may be deficient, regular, or complete, having respectively 353, 354, or 355 days in a common year and 383, 384, or 385 days in embolismic years. Days are defined as beginning at sunset, and the calendar begins at sunset the night before Monday, October 7, 3761 B.C.E. in the Julian calendar, or Julian day 347995.5. Days are numbered with Sunday as day 1, through Saturday: day 7.

"The average length of a month is 29.530594 days, extremely close to the mean synodic month (time from new Moon to next new Moon) of 29.530588 days. Such is the accuracy that more than 13,800 years elapse before a single day discrepancy between the calendar's average reckoning of the start of months and the mean time of the new Moon. Alignment with the solar year is better than the Julian calendar, but inferior to the Gregorian. The average length of a year is 365.2468 days compared to the actual solar tropical year (time from equinox to equinox) of 365.24219 days, so the calendar accumulates one day of error with respect to the solar year every 216 years."

Four Mile Lab says, "Astronomers, unlike historians, frequently need to do arithmetic with dates. For example: a double star goes into eclipse every 1583.6 days and its last mid-eclipse was measured to be on October 17, 2003 at 21:17 UTC. When is the next? Well, you could get out your calendar and count days, but it's far easier to convert all the quantities in question to Julian day numbers and simply add or subtract. Julian days simply enumerate the days and fraction which have elapsed since the start of THE JULIAN ERA, WHICH IS DEFINED AS BEGINNING AT NOON on Monday, 1st January of year 4713 B.C.E. in the Julian calendar."

Four Mile Lab also says, "The Julian calendar was proclaimed by Julius Cæsar in 46 B.C. and underwent several modifications before reaching its final form in 8 C.E. THE JULIAN CALENDAR DIFFERS FROM THE GREGORIAN ONLY IN THE DETERMINATION OF LEAP YEARS, lacking the correction for years divisible by 100 and 400 in the Gregorian calendar. In the Julian calendar, any positive year is a leap year if divisible by 4. (Negative years are leap years if when divided by 4 a remainder of 3 results.) DAYS ARE CONSIDERED TO BEGIN AT MIDNIGHT."

Java Calendar Conversions,, says, "Similarly, since the Gregorian dates before 1582 (or whenever) are fictitious, we can invent fiction any way we like. So not only are there Gregorian dates that never happened, but this includes the year-numbering. THERE NEVER WAS A YEAR 0, BUT I'm making this up anyway, so by fiat THE YEAR THAT PRECEDES 1 ON THE GREGORIAN CALENDAR IS DESIGNATED YEAR 0. And before that came Year -1. I'm following the convention used in Reingold & Dershowitz of designating Gregorian years with positive and negative numbers and zero."

Java Calendar Conversions said, "The Julian calendar is very similar to the Gregorian calendar (which it predates), differing only in the leap-year structure. As with the Gregorian calendar, the one used here is projected forward and backward in time without regard for history. However, since Julian year numbers have been used (and are used) in discussing history before the year 1 C.E., the usual conventions for that are followed. Namely, there is no Year 0; the year before 1 C.E. is 1 B.C.E. and so on. Thus, if you ask for a date in Year 0, it's the same as if you asked for Year 1 B.C.E. (i.e., 0 is a synonym for -1)."

In 987 AD, Tishri 1 was Sept. 1. By 1987, Tishri 1 could fall no earlier than Sept. 5. There is a drift toward Tishri 1 being later. Therefore, earlier years might have had an earlier Tishri 1. The crescent Moon will be visible 18 to 24 hours after the conjunction, but it can take up to 24 hours for the globe to rotate until the sky over Jerusalem reaches this position.

Fixing the New Moon by observation was in use as late as the 5th century AD. In Bible times, including New Testament days, WHEN TWO WITNESSES SAW THE NEW CRESCENT MOON, THE NEW MONTH NORMALLY STARTED AT THE NEXT SUNSET.

I went to YourSky to see when the crescent New Moon appeared. I set it at 31-46-48 North latitude and 35-13-12 East longitude--the sky over Jerusalem. It was the night of the Gregorian Sept. 3, -4, (BC 5). At 15:45 UTC, the completely dark New Moon was in Virgo, but mid-body, not at her feet.

I set it for the next day, Sept. 4 in -4 (BC 5), at 15:45 UTC. The crescent New Moon was in Virgo, almost to the feet, but not under her feet.

I then set it for Sept. 5 in -4 (BC 5). There was Virgo, clothed with the Sun with the crescent New Moon "under her feet". Beautiful. How could it not be Tishri 1?

Now, I understand Rev. 12. This fulfilled Rev. 12:1,5. It says, "there appeared a great wonder (sign) in heaven; a woman (Virgo) clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet...And she brought forth a man child (Jesus), who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne."

Not only was the virgin clothed with the Sun and the Moon under her feet on Sept. 5, BC 5, Mercury was in Virgo, reminding us that Jesus is the seed of the woman. Venus was at Regulus, the king star in Leo, which stands for the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Jupiter was in Gemini, which stands for the Bridegroom at the Rapture. Saturn, Heaven, place of Christ's throne, was in Aries, which stands for Him as the Lamb of God.

Everything seems in a perfect place in this sign. Jesus is all of these, the seed of the woman, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Bridegroom and the Lamb of God. His throne is in Heaven. How could the sky depict the Christ child any better?

No wonder the Wise Men called him the one "that is born King of the Jews" (Mt. 2:2) and brought him gifts fit for a great King (Mt. 2:11). Gold, symbol of deity, reminds us that he is the Son of God. Frankincense marks him as our High Priest. Myrrh means bitterness. It reminds us that he is the Saviour that died for us. The gifts are a sign too, for those wise virgins (Mt. 25:1f) that have eyes to see.

The sky on Sept. 11, BC 5, could never be Tishri 1. It couldn't be the date of Jesus' birth either, for the Moon was neither a New-Moon Crescent nor at the feet of Virgo (Rev. 12:1). It was a waxing gibbous Moon in Capricorn.

I found these interesting comments on the Internet:
"Astounding New Evidence--When Was The True Birth of Jesus Christ"
By Wm. F. Dankenbring

"The year Herod died there was an eclipse. Josephus records, during Herod's final year, that at the time he slew the high priest Matthias, "that very night there was an eclipse of the moon" (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, XVII, VI, 4). Says the editor, William Whiston, in a footnote: "This eclipse of the moon (which is the only eclipse mentioned by Josephus) is OF THE GREATEST CONSEQUENCE FOR THE DETERMINATION OF THE DEATH OF HEROD and Antipater, and for the BIRTH and entire chronology of JESUS CHRIST. It happened March 13th, in the year of the Julian period 4710, and the 4th year before the Christian era" (Anti., XVII, vi, 4, footnote)....

"Saturn, also, is a royal planet. Its very name means, however, "the hidden one." And who is the true "hidden one"? The Messiah Himself! He was prophesied to be "hidden" from the purview of this world's leaders (I Cor.2:7-8). During His ministry, Jesus "departed, and hid himself from them" (John 12:36). When Israel sins, God says, "I will hide my face from them" (Deut.31:17). He adds, "And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods" (Deut.31:18). Isaiah says, "I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him" (Isaiah 8:17). The prophet speaks of the Messiah, saying, "Verily thou art a God that hideth thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour" (Isa.45:15)."

On pages 21 and 22, Dankenbring quoted the Mishnah passages that show that the postponement rules were added by Hillel II in 358 AD. In Jesus' day, the Hebrews still set Tishri 1 by sighting the crescent new Moon.

On page 35, Dankenbring said, "In the first two days after the New Moon, the young crescent Moon appears very low in the western sky after sunset, and must be viewed through bright twilight. It sets shortly after sunset. The sighting of the lunar crescent within one day of the New Moon is usually difficult...Generally, the lunar crescent will become visible...ABOUT ONE DAY AFTER the New Moon...Therefore, the earliest we should normally expect to be able to see a thin visible crescent of the New Moon would be about ONE DAY--that is 24 hours--after the moment of conjunction."

On page 37, he said, "Remember, all these facts are easily provable, just by checking the astronomical New Moons at the Naval Observatory, or any other official source, and then adding 2 hours to allow for the difference in time between Jerusalem and Universal time, and then adding 24 hours to allow for the time between actual conjunction and the first faint visible crescent of the New Moon."

On page 97, Dankenbring said, The New Moon is Usually Visable During Dusk (Between Sunset and Total Darkness) And RARELY A Few Minutes Before Sunset. In Either Case, The "New Moon" is Declared the Day Just Beginning."

The lunar eclipse of March 13, BC 4, after which Herod died, had to take place at the Full Moon. This lunar eclipse is listed as -0003 Mar 13 at Because they add the zero year, this is actually March 13, BC 4.

The chart below from YourSky shows this Full Moon on March 13, BC 3. One has to ask for -3 to get BC 4 because they also insert a zero year. This correlation between NASA and YourSky speaks well for the accuracy of the charts on YourSky in the BC years. The Full Moon is white. Look for it in Virgo. BC 5 tallys with Jesus being baptised near his 30th birthday in 26 AD and being crucified in 30 AD.

> > the triple Regulus/Jupiter close conjunctions of 3/2BC far more significant than the 10 degree separated grouping of Sept., 5 BC.

However, there was no lunar eclipse near Passover, such as the one on March 13, BC 4, in BC3 or in BC2.

Herod Antipas began to rule in BC4 (750 AUC). His 43 year reign (the 43 was found on coins) ended in 39 AD (792 AUC). Reigns were counted by inclusive reckoning, BC 4 being the first year.

> > I consider Sirius to be a major worship icon of the Egyptian cults and the odds of it referring to the "false prince to come" or "prince of this world", i.e. the antichrist is quite possible.

God named the stars. Psa. 147:4 says that the LORD "telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names." We have to take into consideration that Satan tries to twist everything true and incorporate it into his pagan religions. We can't let this stop us from searching out the truth.

On page 91 of "The Zodiac Conspiracy," by F. Chris Patrick, it says, "The Hebrews called this sign (Canis Major) by the same name as its brightest star, SIRIUS, which means THE PRINCE." This sign reminds us of Isa. 9:6, where Jesus is called "The PRINCE of Peace." The Zodiac tells Christ's story.
Sept 3, 5 BC, 5 PM, 31N, 35E, crescent Moon's first very thin appearance, probably not visible.
Sept. 4, 5 BC, crescent Moon visible.
Sept. 5, 5 BC, crescent Moon thicker, sure to be visible.
By Sept. 11, 5 BC, there is a gibbous Moon.

> > I'm also curious to know the Lunar Eclipse date you are using in your calculations for the event that occurred after the Magi visit according to the writings of Josepheus

March 13, BC 4. It is listed by NASA as -0003, but because the zero year was added, it is actually BC 4. Herod the Great died 5 days after having Antipater killed on March 13. Therefore, Herod died March 18. That was before Wed., April 9 (Gregorian), the Passover, the Hebrew Nisan 14, 3757. The Julian Day is 1720062.5 Compare with Nasa/Goddard Space Flight Center

All these things, the birth of Jesus, the visit of the Magi, the trip to the temple, the trip from Bethlehem to Egypt, the trip from Egypt to Nazareth, the death of Herod, and the Passover took place within the 385-day Leap Year, the Hebrew 3757, during the 7.5 months between Tishri 1 and Nisan 14. Agape

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