Skeptics are calling the new claim “Rorschach test archaeology.” Steve Caruso, a professional translator who analyzes inscriptions on ancient artifacts for antiquity dealers, said Charlesworth’s interpretation of the inscription is “more of an exercise in reading tea leaves.”
Robert Cargill, assistant professor of classics and religious studies at the University of Iowa, concurs. “One must do some rather strenuous mental gymnastics to arrive at the letters for the name of Jonah in this image, including ignoring lines that are clearly present but do not fit the desired inscription, joining together lines that are clearly not conjoined, reshaping letters, and eliminating any semblance of linear alignment,” Cargill says on his blog.
If all those adjustments are permissible when interpreting ancient text, the lines in the inscription can be made to spell out anything from “Jesus” to “Yo Yo Ma,” the scholars note.
This is a rebuttal of a previous piece written today and posted on MSNBC.com.
Poor thing… Simcha forgot that this was the internet age.