Dura-Europos domus ecclesiae? Archaeology, Iconography & MSS

May 2011
2,674
Rural Australia
Actually I am saying that it is directly connected. The entire discussion revolves around whether a site is Christian or non-Christian. It is the only possible Christian site at Dura Europos that is evident. So the broader question then is were there Christians at Dura Europos? Frankly I find it ridiculous that DP24 might be excluded from the overall evaluation.
The evaluation examined the primary evidence - that evidence found at the "religious room" of the house adjacent to the secondary gate. (currently presumed to be a Christian "baptistry")

I am certainly not claiming DP24 is not an important manuscript in its own right. DP24 tells us there were "One [harmony] Gospel" Christians at Dura at that time, but it cannot shed any light directly on the question of whether Christians or non Christians renovated the house and constructed a "religious room". For example these DP24 preserving Christians could have been travelling through Dura when they parted ways with the ms DP24.
 
May 2011
2,674
Rural Australia
The question is, If we are considering "alternatives" --in regard to the overbars with the Proclus Graffito-- should we consider the possibility that the overbars were in reality there but not detected by Hopkins ?

Not only is it reasonable, but it is by far the most probable answer. What are the odds that Kraeling invented and inserted overbars?

Does not Hopkins himself open up this possibility in his prelim ? The artifact was buried under ground for eighteen centuries and Hopkins had a limited amount of time to evaluate the mural because they were getting it ready to be shipped. Is it reasonable that Hopkins may not have detected a line that was in fact there ?

We are not dismissing the issues with P1, only adding to the set of possibilities that relate to P2. I maintain that the issues with the Proclus Graffito that you raise are valid and raise issues of indeterminacy. I have withheld my conclusion on the Proclus Graffito which actually parallels your position that judgment should be withheld. I am therefore not trying to distract from the points that you made. To amplify this, I agree with the points that you raise in this regard. I have additional complaints in regard to the Final Report on this issue that would back up your position on this.

However, I am saying that The Runes of Christ at Dura Europos pdf does not cover all the KNOWN alternatives available to us in regard to the Proclus Graffito. I consider your position that it is merely handwaving to be incorrect. I do not think it is logical to make a proposition such as P2y
The Runes of Christ at Dura Europos pdf takes the approach that if the overbars were visible then Hopins would have drawn them or photographed them or more importantly, mentioned them in his preliminary report. Instead he says “Very possibly, however, in short inscriptions this line above was not considered necessary.” What are the odds that Hopkins saw the overbars? The article assumes - in the absence of further evidence from Yale - that the overbars did not exist.

However for the sake of the discussion let's assume there are other alternatives such as the overbars were there but Hopkins did not mention them or render them in his preliminary report (except to state they were not perhaps necessary in short inscriptions). How is this a viable alternative?

Are there any other alternatives?
 
Sep 2015
310
ireland
The evaluation examined the primary evidence - that evidence found at the "religious room" of the house adjacent to the secondary gate. (currently presumed to be a Christian "baptistry")

I am certainly not claiming DP24 is not an important manuscript in its own right. DP24 tells us there were "One [harmony] Gospel" Christians at Dura at that time, but it cannot shed any light directly on the question of whether Christians or non Christians renovated the house and constructed a "religious room". For example these DP24 preserving Christians could have been travelling through Dura when they parted ways with the ms DP24.
To my mind it is primary evidence both to the presence of Christians in the city and to the date. It`s confirmation that Wally is in the picture.
 
Sep 2015
310
ireland
The Runes of Christ at Dura Europos pdf takes the approach that if the overbars were visible then Hopins would have drawn them or photographed them or more importantly, mentioned them in his preliminary report. Instead he says “Very possibly, however, in short inscriptions this line above was not considered necessary.” What are the odds that Hopkins saw the overbars? The article assumes - in the absence of further evidence from Yale - that the overbars did not exist.

However for the sake of the discussion let's assume there are other alternatives such as the overbars were there but Hopkins did not mention them or render them in his preliminary report (except to state they were not perhaps necessary in short inscriptions). How is this a viable alternative?

Are there any other alternatives?
Although Hopkins had an idea that Wally might have been there, for whatever reason, he didn`t spot him. But Kraeling found him later with a more forensic examination. I`m happy to accept that Hopkins didn`t see overbars. But I`m also happy to accept that Kraeling did.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,048
If you take each piece separately, they can be ambiguous and open to interpretation, but when you take the evidence together as a whole if paints a different picture. The authors of the paper ignore the evidence of the illustrations with a derisive and unjusriified comments "people see Jesus in a piece of toast", demonstrating that the authors of the paper were either too lazy or unable to invalidate the illustrations. With illustrations that have clear and uniquely Christian content, it becomes almost certain these inscriptions are Christian as well.
 
May 2011
2,674
Rural Australia
To my mind it is primary evidence both to the presence of Christians in the city and to the date. It`s confirmation that Wally is in the picture.
It's a confirmation that Wally was in the city of Dura, but it is not a confirmation that Wally had a chapel in one room of the house adjacent to the Secondary Gate. A location where one would expect a military presence, and where evidence exists of military related graffiti. Sending a cataphractarius and/or a charging clibanarius out of the secondary gate may have been a tactic of the Romans when the situation warranted it.

Hopkins promoted the confirmation that Wally had a chapel in that house:

p.231-233

Report of Clark Hopkins, Field Director, to President
James Rowland Angell, from Dura, dated Feb 10, 1932




It was this striking scene of David and Goliath that confirmed
the impression which had been growing on me as we advanced; we
were in a little Christian chapel, the first certainly Christian
work to be found at Dura. As if to set any lingering doubt to
rest, a graffito framed in the red and black geometric design
which had first attracted our attention in the sanctuary called
upon the reader to remember the Christ.

We could then go back and interpret with more confidence the
scenes already revealed.

[Final Report]​


Hopkins found Wally in a graffito

Wally is framed above a scene in which King David is about to decapitate Goliath.

It is Hopkins' insistent certainty that he was dealing with Christian motifs and not Jewish motifs that attacts the charge of confirmation bias referred to at the opening of the article cited.

Let me say I can understand the confirmation bias. Firstly at that time in 1932 very little if any Jewish pictorial evidence had been discovered, and many presumed the Jewish people did not have art. Hopkins therefore may have presumed that the pictorial art he first discovered of King David must have been Christian and not Jewish.
 
May 2011
2,674
Rural Australia
Although Hopkins had an idea that Wally might have been there, for whatever reason, he didn`t spot him. But Kraeling found him later with a more forensic examination. I`m happy to accept that Hopkins didn`t see overbars. But I`m also happy to accept that Kraeling did.

This is one possible alternative. However the complexity of the situation provides other alternatives. Kraeling had been ill-health, and Welles had taken over the editorship of the "Final Report on the Christian Building". Therefore it could have been C. Bradford Welles who found him (and his overbars) later with a more forensic examination. Welles was also the original contributor to the section on the inscriptions.





DRAFT SKETCH of TIMELINE for FInal Report


1958 C. Bradford Welles suggests Kraeling be editor Final Publication of the Christian Building.

1965 Welles becomes editor (Previous editor Dr Ann Perkins, Collections had been moved twice)

1966, Oct 29 Final Report (Welles, New Haven); Ill health beset Kraeling over past months
has not improved

1966, Nov 14 Professor Kraeling died; two weeks after the manuscript went to press.

Kraeling
p.xi

"At Yale I owe most to C. Bradford Welles, who has also contributed the section
on the inscriptions to this report, to ......

"The work undertaken with the help of this large circle of friends and colleagues
has been for me both enjoyable and profitable. I trust the results may be helpful
to all those who have long needed a full account of the Christian Building of Dura
in their work on early Christian art, archaeology and history.

Carl H Kraeling
Bethgany, Connecticut

[All the above is drawn from the Final Report]
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,048
It's a confirmation that Wally was in the city of Dura, but it is not a confirmation that Wally had a chapel in one room of the house adjacent to the Secondary Gate. A location where one would expect a military presence, and where evidence exists of military related graffiti. Sending a cataphractarius and/or a charging clibanarius out of the secondary gate may have been a tactic of the Romans when the situation warranted it.

Hopkins promoted the confirmation that Wally had a chapel in that house:

p.231-233

Report of Clark Hopkins, Field Director, to President
James Rowland Angell, from Dura, dated Feb 10, 1932




It was this striking scene of David and Goliath that confirmed
the impression which had been growing on me as we advanced; we
were in a little Christian chapel, the first certainly Christian
work to be found at Dura. As if to set any lingering doubt to
rest, a graffito framed in the red and black geometric design
which had first attracted our attention in the sanctuary called
upon the reader to remember the Christ.

We could then go back and interpret with more confidence the
scenes already revealed.

[Final Report]​


Hopkins found Wally in a graffito

Wally is framed above a scene in which King David is about to decapitate Goliath.

It is Hopkins' insistent certainty that he was dealing with Christian motifs and not Jewish motifs that attacts the charge of confirmation bias referred to at the opening of the article cited.

Let me say I can understand the confirmation bias. Firstly at that time in 1932 very little if any Jewish pictorial evidence had been discovered, and many presumed the Jewish people did not have art. Hopkins therefore may have presumed that the pictorial art he first discovered of King David must have been Christian and not Jewish.
Your language and that of your sources proves both your lack objectivity in matter and poor scholarship. I would like to point out that the forum's policy frowns on the use of sarcasm, and the fact you have to resort to sarcasm instead of rational argument demonstrates that you don't have any argument to give , proving how weak your case is . If you had a valid argument to show that the identifications of the pictures you call "Wally" were flawed, not just dismiss them as Wally as you do because you can't come up with a better argument.


If the the pictures of are of Jesus and NT scenes, then it makes the claim they writings are Christian writing the most probable and the claim they were Jewish or pagan writings less likely. Dismissing any serious attempt to offer alternate explanations for the illustrations except to resort for the highly unprofessional remark "people see Jesus in toast" demonstrates second rate scholarship Nd makes it hard to take anything they say seriously. That pictures of scenes common to both Jewish and Christian traditions might be Jewish rather than Christian is a possibility but it requires looking at all the evidence, and it is not legitimate just to call those illustrations "Wally" that you can't explain away, which is what you appear to be doing. If a the ambiguous image is next to one that has clear Christian meaning, then the strictly Jewish interpretation cannot be justly held, and the Christian interpretation becomes the most likely , despite what ever mental gymnastics you might try.

It is up to you to show the illustrations show Wally and not Jesus and the NT scenes as it has been commonly accepted to by scholarship except Deniers such as yourself and your source. You have not done so. The claim the writings could not be Christian rest on fallacies and flawed logic. The features identified as Christian that the writings might have commonly employed by Christians does not mean they were universally employed by Christians as you and your source claim. Nor does it take into account that Jewish Christians, who still existed at this time, might have followed practices commonly found among the Jews rather than those of primarily Gentils Jews.

Do you have a reasonable case to show the identications made of the pictures you dismiss as Wally were misidentified. I have not seen any other plausible alternate identifications given for those images, for example Jesus and Peter walking on the waves. The burden is on you to provide them, and so far, you haven't even tried.
 
May 2011
2,674
Rural Australia
If you take each piece separately, they can be ambiguous and open to interpretation, but when you take the evidence together as a whole if paints a different picture.
I disagree. The whole is often the sum of the parts. Most of the parts are ambiguous - a coin flip between Jewish and Christian. Thus the whole reflects the ambiguity. You are attempting to throw detailed analysis out the window and replace it with the waving of hands.

Also see: Where's Wally? - Wikipedia
 
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May 2011
2,674
Rural Australia
Your language and that of your sources proves both your lack objectivity in matter and poor scholarship. I would like to point out that the forum's policy frowns on the use of sarcasm, and the fact you have to resort to sarcasm instead of rational argument demonstrates that you don't have any argument to give , proving how weak your case is . If you had a valid argument to show that the identifications of the pictures you call "Wally" were flawed, not just dismiss them as Wally as you do because you can't come up with a better argument.


If the the pictures of are of Jesus and NT scenes, then it makes the claim they writings are Christian writing the most probable and the claim they were Jewish or pagan writings less likely. Dismissing any serious attempt to offer alternate explanations for the illustrations except to resort for the highly unprofessional remark "people see Jesus in toast" demonstrates second rate scholarship Nd makes it hard to take anything they say seriously. That pictures of scenes common to both Jewish and Christian traditions might be Jewish rather than Christian is a possibility but it requires looking at all the evidence, and it is not legitimate just to call those illustrations "Wally" that you can't explain away, which is what you appear to be doing. If a the ambiguous image is next to one that has clear Christian meaning, then the strictly Jewish interpretation cannot be justly held, and the Christian interpretation becomes the most likely , despite what ever mental gymnastics you might try.

It is up to you to show the illustrations show Wally and not Jesus and the NT scenes as it has been commonly accepted to by scholarship except Deniers such as yourself and your source. You have not done so. The claim the writings could not be Christian rest on fallacies and flawed logic. The features identified as Christian that the writings might have commonly employed by Christians does not mean they were universally employed by Christians as you and your source claim. Nor does it take into account that Jewish Christians, who still existed at this time, might have followed practices commonly found among the Jews rather than those of primarily Gentils Jews.

Do you have a reasonable case to show the identications made of the pictures you dismiss as Wally were misidentified. I have not seen any other plausible alternate identifications given for those images, for example Jesus and Peter walking on the waves. The burden is on you to provide them, and so far, you haven't even tried.

That's false. Read the earlier discussions. I don't see Jesus and Peter walking on the waves. Out of the entire collection of murals the only unambiguous figures are the legendary Jewish King David and the figure of Goliath. They are unambiguous because both these two figures have been captioned in Greek.

You're misunderstanding of the function of "Where's Wally" has induced you to think I am using sarcasm when in fact the reference is quite instructive to my case.

Where's Wally? - Wikipedia

Where's Wally? is a British series of children's puzzle books created by English illustrator Martin Handford. The books consist of a series of detailed double-page spread illustrations depicting dozens or more people doing a variety of amusing things at a given location. Readers are challenged to find a character named Wally hidden in the group.​
Wally is identified by his red-and-white-striped shirt, bobble hat, and glasses, but many illustrations contain red herrings involving deceptive use of red-and-white striped objects.​

If you dont have children you may not get the point of what I am trying to say, because its a popular childrens' book. However Wally can be uniquely identified in this book because he always wears a red-and-white-striped shirt, bobble hat, and glasses. The challenge is to find him. On the other hand how do we unambiguously identify the figure of Jesus or Peter in the two murals in which the paradigm claims they appear?

The biblical historians think that the stories in the NT are enough to identify these scenes but I am impelled to reject this scholarship on the basis of common sense. The figures are not captioned.

Moreover, and this is the central point, the identification of a "certainly Christian" element has been established with a different category of evidence - the two graffiti supposedly containing "Christian nomina sacra". Hopkins found Wally (Jesus) in the inscription above the mural of King David and Goliath. Jesus is being unambiguously introduced into the religious room in the house adjacent to the Secondary Gate at Dura by means of Christian abbreviations in Greek.

This has allowed the Biblical historians to see Jesus in two murals. However I believe that this conclusion suffers from confirmation bias.

The initial confirmation bias was probably introduced by Hopins who read the Greek "XN IN" as "Christ Jesus" as it appears in Acts and Paul. However Hopins apparently did not see any overbars over the "XN IN". If the overbars were absent, the Greek "XN IN" has viable alternatives such as ....

* The grace of the victor in yourselves;
* the good victor in yourselves;
* the golden victor in yourselves;
* the place or time of the victor in yourselves

I think that this alternative explanation may be validly related to the victory of the legendary Jewish King Arthur over Goliath in the mural below the inscription.
 
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