Tag Archives: James Tabor

Revelation with a ‘pre-Christian’ core?

The Angel Appears to John. The book of Revelat...
The Angel Appears to John. The book of Revelation. 13th century manuscript. British Library, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

James Tabor writes –

In the references below I have put these interpolative elements bold italicized brackets. This exercise strongly suggests that these are later additions to an original Jewish text inserted to “Christianize” a book that in its origins had nothing to do with Jesus. This is a rather astounding phenomenon and once one sees it it seems clear that the underlying original text remains intact and makes complete sense without these references:

via Can A Pre-Christian Version of the Book of Revelation Be Recovered? | TaborBlog.

His exercise is remarkably mundane and based on the same subjective movements employed in the Q camp. We simply have no hard evidence of a ‘pre-Christian’ apocalypse in Revelation.

And yet…

Tabor’s argument has merit and I would have no disagreement with those who can see such things. My only real disagreement is drawing too fine a line between Judaism and Christianity at the stage when this was written and implying early Jewish believers in Jesus ‘Christianized’ pre-existing documents. Like the Didache, Revelation would be leftovers. Well, a basic core of it anyway.

Sidenote – several scholars see in the Didache a pre-existing document likely used by later believers in their worship. Not to draw too close to anachronistic imagery here, but Wesley used the 39 Articles of Religion from the Anglican Church to draw up his 25 Articles of Religion for Methodists groups. Wesley was not yet independent, but remained Anglican. He simply used what he had and what was familiar. 

As I have previously stated, my position on Revelation is that it is built on Psalm 2. I further believe ancient liturgical practices are incorporated inside of Revelation. Fitting, I believe, since Psalm 2 and liturgy would most likely go together. Jewish believers in Jesus, like they do with other works, would see a natural enough structure to give them something to use to build their new community. After all, they aren’t really separated from Judaism of the time. It is possible the Jewish author, one who believed in Jesus, took a pre-existing liturgical document and made use of it for his community. It was familiar, safe, and served his theological purpose. The pre-existing document, a pre-midrash of Psalm 2, fitted nicely with Jesus becoming enthroned as the Lamb. And remember, any such pre-existing document would not necessarily not belong to the new group, especially if they saw themselves in continuity with Moses and the Prophets.

It wasn’t ‘Christanized;’ it was reworked to include the new order of things.

In other words, we shouldn’t really call works ‘Christian’ until we get to certain times in the 2nd century nor should we assume there was an agenda to ‘Christianize’ Jewish documents. This is anachronistic.

So, while we may have a pre-existing core, we cannot really say it is Jewish and the added material is Christian. Such a dichotomy likely did not exist at the time. Rather, we have a pre-existing liturgical framework Jewish believers in Jesus used to plug in their theological statements. I do not, however, believe we can easily remove the core, if there is really a core, from the overlaying layers.

As far as the author, I am not as convinced as some the name ‘John’ is not the author’s real name. I mean, Mark is but a surname.

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What can you buy with enough money?


Title$, position$… and the revi$ion of hi$tory.

First, note this post… Hilarious.

If you’ve followed the Simcha/Tabor fiasco, you’ll note the need to call into question certain items, especially related to Simcha’s interview with Father Puech. This has caused some to reconsider some of the long standing issues from the beginning, such as the number of replicas in the possession of Simcha, et al.

Dr. Mark Goodacre has revealed that there are two replicas.

simcha is paranoid 1
Simcha swears that his opponents are something like 33rd degree Masons

Dr. Tabor has since responded, suggesting that their is a pre-existent narrative (we are unable to prove) and,

They are indeed somewhat different since two different labs produced them using the photos we had taken. I think the second might be a bit more accurate overall, especially in the proportional size of the “fish” and a more careful representation of the “little fish” along the border, plus a few other details, such as the “zig zigs” on the left end that should have been added.

As Tom Verenna has pointed out, Tabor has been shown to have changed certain items and representations based on criticism, without citing either his changes or his motivations for such changes.

Notice who Tabor says made the second replica –

The second was done in Israel by Associated Producers, for the launch of The Jesus Discovery film

Associated Producers is Simcha’s company. Further, there is considerable time between the creation of the two replicas. What transpired in this time? The criticism leveled from actual scholars.

There are issues here as well, but more on that as it develops.

For instance, see Tom’s post on what makes a replica a replica.



It has been shared in numerous venues, but Father Puech, a research giant in the Dead Sea Scrolls and latest victim of the Simcha propaganda machine, is now retracting much of his previously aired statements in support of the so-called Jonah fish. Fr. Puech has gone so far as to say he was abused by Simcha. If you have seen the video, and there is no reason to post it once again, then you will have noticed the reproduction was not what the actual pictures showed. Thus, the Professor was lulled into a common trap — the presenter gives only the evidence followed by subtle suggestions so that the respondent is left with but one simple choice.

I would wager heavily that had Puech dismissed Simcha’s claims, we would not have seen the video at all. But, that is in the past now.

Fr. Puech was visited by someone he thought was Noam, but then introduced to Simcha.1 Of course, he was called for an interview on his area of expertise, and then surprised with this.

I am ashamed to have been abused by the Simcha Jacobici film and by the exploitation of the interview they did. Simcha never presented himself by his name before the inerview; I was called by Noam for an interview first on the Dead sea Scrolls, with that addition in two different occasions.

For now, the professor maintains with a guarded edge a reading of Jonah, but I suspect when he sees the evidence, he will retract.

And this follows neatly the revelations by Daniel McClellan and Tom Verenna about certain word games and uncited changes. This hasn’t stopped Simcha from still posing as a legitimate (co-)director of an archeological dig. Remember, you can buy this position but it is more like an ex officio position than anything requiring work.


Dr. Mark Goodacre as asked for Simcha to apologize.

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  1. Note, this site links to James Tabor’s blog, Simcha’s partner as it were. I must give high praise to Dr. Tabor who posted the letter on his blog.

Tabor, Jacobovici, and deception? Feudal Academia

Cannes Film Festival
this is the image of the real Cannes Film Festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daniel concludes, in part…

It should be needless to say, but the title of Tabor’s blog post is entirely deceptive. Whether that deception was calculated or the product of naivety and lack of forethought is not clear (the latter may be possible in light of the author’s misspelling of Émile Puech’s name, by the way).

via Tabor, Jacobovici, and THE Cannes Film Festival | Daniel O. McClellan.

You’ll have to note that the New York film festival is akin to the ‘a film festival located in Cannes to rip off the name of the town’ — you essentially buy your award…

Much like Simcha purchased his ‘co-directorship’ for the archaeological dig…

No word yet on how he got his no-cla$$es-assigned adjunct position at Huntington… I don’t want to speculate…

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Jim still isn’t convinced Simcha and Tabor are correct

And should he be. As much as some like Tabor, many people he is following a conman, er, conperson in Simcha (I’m not using the dollar sign because Simcha said it was an attack against his Jewish ethnicity. I don’t want to be accused of that, because that’s not my goal. I just think Simcha is out to make money, regardless of truth).

Anyway, read something of Jim’s thoughts here.