the second example Prof. Meyers cited, supposedly from a tomb on the Mt. of Offense, is in fact not from the Mt. of Offense at all, it is the very Talpiot ossuary under discussion. I have pointed this out privately to Tal Ilan, and I noticed it two years ago, and made all the corrections in my copy of the book, but now that all these things are in the public it can be very confusing if anyone wants to do a bit of research, which many want to do.I'd like clarification on this point. If Tabor is right, then the Tal Ilan catalogue of Jewish names (published in 2002) confuses ossuaries found on the "Mt. of Offense" with the ones in the news from "East Talpiot." Assuming the "Mt. of Offense" is identical with the "Mount of Olives," it looks like posts like this one may require revision and we may be back to one "Jesus family." Or am I confused?
UPDATE (10:00 PM): I think the fog is lifting. In a comment James Tabor posted today on Jim West's site, he commends Jack Finnegan's Archaeology of the New Testament (which I'll track down) for the Dominus Flevit ossuaries as well as the nearby Mt. of Offense tombs. He describes
a vast Jewish/Christian burial “track” running from the Mt. of Olives, past the Mt. of Offense, to Talpiot, east and west.My understanding has been that the Mount of Olives is a ridge that includes, as one of its southernmost knolls or "summits," the "Mount of Offense," which explains my confusion. In The Jesus Dynasty, p.236, Tabor describes the 40 Dominus Flevit ossuaries (inscribed with names like Lazarus, John, Joseph, Juda, Martha, Miriam, Matthew, Salome, Simeon, Yeshua and . . . wait for it . . . Simon bar Jonah) and then says:
There are similar clusters of names at burial places nearby, but further south, on the Mount of Offense and in Talpiot.So let's see: the names from the Dominus Flevit necropolis that one might want to associate with Jesus were never confused with those from the Talpiot tomb. Not far away, however, roughly between Dominus Flevit and Talpiot, are the Mt. of Offense tombs which, notwithstanding the Tal Ilan catalogue, do not include ossuaries inscribed with names like Jesus-son-of-Joseph, Jose, Mariamne, etc.
A final note: it isn't as clear to me as it is to Mike Heiser that "the statistical odds touted in such assured terms have taken a sound beating – fifty years ago" (i.e., when the Dominus Flevit necropolis was excavated). A cemetery and a (family?) tomb are not at all the same thing. One would expect (wouldn't one?) that the large Mt. of Olives necropolis would contain bones from unrelated people. By contrast, the cluster of names that has impressed Jacobovici and Tabor all come from the same tomb.