#1 biblioblogger (at least for a few more hours) Joel Watts not only calls me “the preeminent U.K. blogger” but also hails me as the new Dan Brown, in a post Peter “Dan Brown” Kirk on the Miriam Ossuary. All this is because of a comment I wrote on one of his previous posts:
So what story shall we concoct around this one? Something like this?
The young Caiaphas seduced and raped a girl called Miriam/Mary, then cast her aside. She had a son, Yeshua/Jesus, and later married a carpenter called Joseph. The boy grew up hating his father and vowing to overthrow the whole priestly caste, and became an anti-establishment preacher. He also married and had a daughter, named after his mother. Caiaphas had his son arrested and crucified, and took his daughter-in-law and granddaughter into his household. The later followers of Jesus covered it all up by inventing the virgin birth story and removing all references to the wife and daughter who had gone over to the enemy.
That could make a good film plot. It would also be entirely fictional!
In his follow-up post Joel quotes the middle paragraph of my comment, without the context in which I make it clear that I was writing fiction. By doing so he aligns himself with the ignorant people who took The Da Vinci Code as fact, and its villain Teabing’s ravings as the truth about Jesus, despite the book clearly being marketed as fiction. Well, what more would I expect from Joel?
So what was this all about? As Jim West reports, the Israel Antiquities Authority has confirmed as authentic an ossuary (a box for human bones) with an inscription “Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphas, priest of Maaziah from Beth Imri”.
Well, as Justin Bieber will forever be reminded when he examines his armpit, “Yeshua” is the Hebrew form of “Jesus”. Also “Miriam” is the Hebrew form of “Mary”. Actually here the language is Aramaic, but the names are the same. It is certain that someone will try to link these names with the best known Jesus and Mary of the time. So I might as well jump in first, as far as I know, with the idea. But both names were very common, and so to identify specific people without any further details is completely fanciful.
Now I’m sure someone could write a best-selling novel around this plot. Perhaps I could. Perhaps I will. Or would I be promoting false teaching if I did so, even in a work of fiction? It might be a good idea to use a pseudonym. Or maybe someone else will write the novel, or even a book or film claiming to be non-fiction. But if so they had better pay me for the storyline, or risk an expensive lawsuit later. This is my idea, and it will remain so until I sell it!