Tag Archives: Christopher Rollston

The James Ossuary… Sigh

So Oded Golan os now trying his best to nab some of the limelight with the James Ossuary, and is hitting the media.

Where the court ruled that Golan was not guilty of forgery, it was also very careful to state that it did not endorse the ossuary as genuine either. However you can see which portion of the ruling the press doesn’t care about. 🙂

Thank you, Chris, for representing the voice of reason in an otherwise sensationalized and getting-old story.

(HT Christopher Rollston)


For My Friends Attending SBL

Where I am once again unable to make the trip due to family obligations (one of which is the awesome fact that by the end of the weekend my wife and I will have been married for 12 years 🙂 ) there is one session I would like to remind everyone about as it is of personal interest to me:

Blogger and Online Publication
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Room: W183c – McCormick Place
Theme: Media Relations and Popular Archaeology
This is a special session with filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici and James Tabor discussing archaeological claims and the role the popular media plays with scholarship. Christopher Rollston and Robert Cargill will join Jacobovici and Tabor to discuss the role of popular media in scholarship.
Christian Brady, Pennsylvania State University, Presiding
Simcha Jacobovici, Panelist
James Tabor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Panelist
Robert Cargill, University of Iowa, Panelist
Christopher Rollston, Emmanuel School of Religion, Panelist

This is certainly going to be an interesting one. It’s an “all-star” panel. 🙂

Although I have satirized and poked fun at Tabor and Jacobovici in the past (I admit more Jacobovici than Tabor, as he’s more prone to interesting soundbites 🙂 ) primarily for their work on the “Jesus Tomb” and “Jonah Ossuary,” I would really like to see what kind of dialog that can be struck up between them and Cargill and Rollston, as all of them have considerable experience with archaeology specifically vis à vis the media.

I also hope that Chris Brady is able to keep’em all in line (good luck!) and that they’re all in good enough spirits able to share a pint together afterwards. 🙂

Tell me how it goes.


I Support Christopher Rollston

If you’ve been following the news, Christopher Rollston (one of the world’s foremost epigraphers and paleographers) is facing losing his job because he wrote an op-ed in the Huffington Post about the marginalization of women in the  culture and context of the Bible.

As countless academics have stepped forward and said, this piece was nothing revolutionary, or even controversial (it is widely accepted that during the era the Bible, there were different values in comparison to the modern day when it came to women and their place in society). It was also written for a popular publication in the appropriate tone for a popular publication, not for scholars or in a manner presented to the field.

However, regardless of this, Emmanuel Seminary is proceeding with disciplinary action against Rollston, who is tenured, as one of their “six figure” donors is apparently withholding their financial support because Rollston’s article offended them, and the Seminary is (apparently) hoping to use the exception for religious institutions to terminate employees in certain positions who do not adhere to the spirit of the institution’s confession of faith.

I find this troublesome on many levels.

First, I do agree that a religious institution, under the law, has the right for certain members of its ranks to keep to a particular confession. This is the same mechanism that allows Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. organizations to hire only Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. as leaders and religious staff without being sued for religious discrimination. This protection, quite reasonably, does not extend to other staff like janitors, workmen, contracted companies, etc. as it is not essential for the mission of such an organization.

However, the problem here was not that Chris went against a particular confession of faith, which he did not. He was simply stating the consensus on the sociological issue for his field in a manner suitable for laymen via a popular magazine. What this appears to be, with less and less doubt as more details come to the forefront, an inter-personal dispute between him and fellow colleagues, and unnamed donors, which is one of the very things that tenure (as an academic institution) is supposed to protect against.

This all said, I support Christopher Rollston.


(h/t to Joel Watts for the image.)