There’s a very interesting juxtaposition of stories floating around the headlines today. On the one hand, the continuing discussion over the authenticity of the Jerusalem Papyrus, something I deepened my understanding of by interviewing expert scholar Professor Achituv on my internet show Rejuvenation.
On the other, the uncovering of the limestone under the traditional marble slab said to be Jesus’s tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I often take people to see the Edicule, as it’s known, in my capacity as a tour guide.
What’s amazing to me is how the papyrus has been (pathetically IMHO) politicised in an attempt to prove or disprove that there was a king in Jerusalem 2600 years ago who understood paleo-Hebrew. Do we need photosynthesis to show that there’s a sun? Why is this even a discussion? Because some idiots at the UN who want to erase any culture/history/narrative other than their own held a meaningless vote that there are no ties to Jerusalem other than Islamic ones?
The contrast with the slab story is fascinating.
Dan Bahat, former city archaeologist of Jerusalem, told National Geographic: “We may not be absolutely certain that the site of the Holy Sepulchre Church is the site of Jesus burial, but we certainly have no other site that can lay a claim nearly as weighty, and we really have no reason to reject the authenticity of the site.”
So in this case the absence of evidence to the contrary means it’s the real deal?
The onus of proof that Jerusalem was and remains Judaism’s ancient and modern capital is somehow an ongoing burden; while conversely as long as there’s no competing claim we can all assume that a cave under a stone that was designated hundreds of years after the story of Jesus’s crucifixion as the site it happened is believed just because of tradition.
I’m not saying anything about the slab, I don’t know enough. And far be it from me to disparage any tradition. But the discrepancy and the disparity of the stories is what has me wondering. And writing. And waiting.