This has nothing to do with archaeology!

An article that has appeared in Time Magazine reports on the trial between Simcha Jacobovici and Joe Zias, with the preposterous title: “A Feud Between Biblical Archaeologists Goes to Court.”

The article, written by Nina Burleigh, gives a version of the ongoing issues between these two folks, along with some other related issues. Now since this clearly “sells magazine issues” – I have no problem with anyone reporting this. What does bother me very much, in fact, quite p@@@es me off – is that this is presented as a feud between two biblical archaeologists!

Why does this bother me?

1) Neither of these two people are biblical archaeologists

2) Neither of them deal with the central, critical and cutting-edge issues that are dealt with by “biblical archaeologists” specifically, or in general, by archaeologists studying the ancient Levant.

3) Nina Burleigh, who I would hope is a serious investigative journalist (but see my comments on an earlier book of hers here), should be able to differentiate between real science and what is mostly PR and egos playing around.

4) It creates a completely warped public image of what real archaeologists are doing in this region!


10 thoughts on “This has nothing to do with archaeology!

  1. but don’t you think that to the extent that jacobovici portrays himself as an archaeologist (albeit naked) in the view of the larger public he is perceived as such? and, consequently, worth refuting on the basis of his claims to such knowledge?

    (not trying to start a feud, just interested in how you think simcha and other non experts ought to be dealt with- or do you think they should just be ignored? and if so, then isn’t the public just left with a false impression and misinformation? and isn’t it the job of actual archaeologists to say something to disabuse them of that falsehood?)

    i guess what i’m really interested- genuinely interested in knowing is – what is your view concerning archaeology’s obligations to the public which funds it?


    1. arenmaeir

      That’s exactly it! Simcha is not an archaeologist and this article presents him as such. I like Simcha, think he is a great movie producer, but don’t accept a lot of his claims on archaeological issues. Joe has chosen to fight him (and others) even though he is not really a side on the specific issue. Also, he said things that may actually be libelous.
      I am all for bringing archaeology to the public – and people like Simcha, and Indiana Jones movies, have an important part in that, as long as the public knows who is a bona fide archaeologist and who is not.



    There can be no question that ‘true’ Biblical archaeology MUST continue to move forward, especially in light of the times we are living in, as accounted to the Return of Christ/the Latter Times. God is revealing more and more evidence through archaeology that testifies to man that His Word is true, living, and moving forward to fulfill all He has said and promised, from alpha to omega. God says ‘He will pour out His Spirit on all living things in the latter times……….’, and to be certain, a part of this Spiritual outpouring is the uncovering of His Scriptural truth throughout the ages via archaeology. If ‘fellow’ archaeologists take umbrage with one another (not), even if all was on the level, it will not deter what God has set in place in His Revelation of truth.


    1. I have known Simcha for several years, and for reasons previously disclosed to scholars such as Amos Kloner, Shimon Gibson & Joe Zias, as well as others, why I think it very possible that Simcha has revisited the Talpiot site locations with some views I support and others I do not.
      Amos made mention of one of my significant disclosures in his paper presentation made at Bar Ilan on December 27, 2012 ce.

      Simcha’s follow-up article: … DR. KLONER MR. HYDE … discussing Amos’ presentation and with specific reference to my contribution have been sad cause to a complete end of communcations between Simcha and me. Truth be told Simcha and James Tabor, et al, elected to withhold and not to disclose vital observations I made which dismiss any theory of a CHRISTIAN CROSS being etched upon the Talpiot Ossuary which they call the JONAH OSSUARY and which I have now “christen” their “ZONAH OSSUARY.”

      However, in terms of the litigation brought against Joe Zias, Simcha well knows my feelings that the suit is entirely out of order — even if he felt insulted & slandered by Joe’s hardline refutation. Simcha has long known that I belief under all facts and circumstances friends should be made and not enemies. Simply put. The case should be settled. In Court, publicly, or out of court. Settled and publicly disclosed, so the world should know about it.

      The Talpiot sites will be excavated this coming summer. It would appear that Simcha has a prime opportunity to mend breaches rather than further greater chasms. Simcha has done great things with regard to retracking past digs which had to be hurried due to politics and building. Speculation will be ended.

      On the other hand, noone could possibly disagree with the great potential and wonderful use his GE sponsored Robotic Arm Camera presents for future excavations & the halahic considerations requisite to prepare for such digs. The Yisra’eli Ministry of Educaton should be waking up to these advancements. They provide greater interest for the Yisra’el Public Education System to demonstrate the wealth of available history which rest beneath our feet in Eretz Yisra’el. History and heritage yet to be discovered! Truly a gift.

      The below three [3] posts I have published on my blogspot set forth reasons why I think no matter how much I ever may support Simcha — past, present or future — the case against Joe Zias is plainly uncalled for. He has turned on his own name. Today, Simcha Is Sad.

      Most sincerely,

      Avrahaum Segol @ 054-733-0098



      1. arenmaeir

        I appreciate your words, but the bottom line – Simcha is a movie producer (who I like VERY much and have always had the greatest time with him) – not an archaeologist. Whatever this feud is, and where ever it is being conducted, it is not an archaeological controversy…


    2. arenmaeir

      I appreciate your view point, but this is hardly my way of looking at things. Also, once again, this is not two archaeologist going at each other – this is not archaeology, not archaeologists – but in completely different realms…


  3. Pingback: One more comment | The Tell es-Safi/Gath Excavations Official (and Unofficial) Weblog

Comments are closed.