Dura-Europos domus ecclesiae? Archaeology, Iconography & MSS

May 2011
2,901
Rural Australia
This is the find where we can detect the presence of an overbar [sissaeus inscription].


Thanks AlpinLuke. We can also clearly detect the presence of a barcode which, unless Yale were ahead of the technology, dates the picture to the 1970's at the earliest. Yale packed the murals up in packing crates and sent them to the US in 1932. Restoration work was undertaken. The picture above is thus taken after the restoration work. I'd like to see some confirmation that the overbars were present earlier than the 1970's.

Sissaeus is a Jewish name. King David's secretary?

Without the overbar, XPIC as XPIC(TES) is the usual abbreviation for Χρίστης – Χρίσ[της] - one who colours with whitewash, a whitewasher or stucco-maker. By usual I mean the method of abbreviating the Greek using the first four letters. XPIC without the overbars could also be an abbreviation for "16 years".

The Jewish King David features prominently in this religious room. It has been pointed out that if the occupants were Jewish then there should have been present a "Torah niche". I have asked the following question earlier, abd still have not found an answer .... AFAIK the Torah niche was inset into the wall that faced Jerusalem? Is this correct? Which wall housed the Torah niche in the openly recognised Jewish Synagogue in Dura? Was it the WEST wall? What is on the west wall of the "Chapel"? The niche with the "baptismal font" or in general terms a water trough - unconnected to any plumbing. Did the trough have a lid? IDK. Hopkins didnt find a Torah but he found a niche
 
May 2011
2,901
Rural Australia
The only realistic purpose that I can envision for us here is embodied in this question:

For the structure in question: is the Yale paradigm of a Christian House Church in Dura-Europos REASONABLE based on what we know ?

Based on what we know, IMHO, the only rational answer would be in the affirmative.
The statistical test that I have revised to make all primary evidence items of equal value will answer the following question in a transparent manner:

What degree of certainty is to be associated with the Yale paradigm.

Certain (100%)
Almost Certain (87-99%)
Probable (61-86%)
Chances about EVEN (40-60%)


This is an exercise in the evaluation of the evidence.
 
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May 2011
2,901
Rural Australia
Furthermore, we are not talking about art appreciation, but interpretation. In this case it is all very scientific.
Art interpretation is far from being scientific.

DP24 implies local Christians were aware of NT scripture.
Jewish manuscripts found at Dura implies local Jewish people were aware of OT scripture.


KJ....If you could produce evidence that Kraeling was some kind of Christian fundamentalist who hijacked the entire process and invented overbars where none ever existed....the Christian/non-Christian context would still be nowhere near a coin flip.
Kraeling supplied a great deal of biblical information in the final report however it seems that he was not directly responsible for the section on the Greek inscriptions. This task it would appear was largely conducted by C. Bradford Welles.

Specifically from the Final Report:

re: 17. SISAEUS "XPIC" ....... Copied by Hopins 1931/32 traced and revised by Welles in the Yale Art Gallery

re: 18. PROCLUS "XN IN" ..... Read by Hopkins in 1931/32; revised and traced by Welles in the Yale Art Gallery

What were these revisions of Hopkins made by Welles in the Yale Art Gallery?


It would be interesting to see some notes/evidence as to how the final report was able to confirm overbars, but apart from that, I don`t see where else you can go with this.
See above.


I commend you for your stubborn persistence in the face of what I consider insurmountable odds, but I`m done. Life is too short.
Fair enough.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,882
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Thanks AlpinLuke. We can also clearly detect the presence of a barcode which, unless Yale were ahead of the technology, dates the picture to the 1970's at the earliest. Yale packed the murals up in packing crates and sent them to the US in 1932. Restoration work was undertaken. The picture above is thus taken after the restoration work. I'd like to see some confirmation that the overbars were present earlier than the 1970's.

Sissaeus is a Jewish name. King David's secretary?

Without the overbar, XPIC as XPIC(TES) is the usual abbreviation for Χρίστης – Χρίσ[της] - one who colours with whitewash, a whitewasher or stucco-maker. By usual I mean the method of abbreviating the Greek using the first four letters. XPIC without the overbars could also be an abbreviation for "16 years".

The Jewish King David features prominently in this religious room. It has been pointed out that if the occupants were Jewish then there should have been present a "Torah niche". I have asked the following question earlier, abd still have not found an answer .... AFAIK the Torah niche was inset into the wall that faced Jerusalem? Is this correct? Which wall housed the Torah niche in the openly recognised Jewish Synagogue in Dura? Was it the WEST wall? What is on the west wall of the "Chapel"? The niche with the "baptismal font" or in general terms a water trough - unconnected to any plumbing. Did the trough have a lid? IDK. Hopkins didnt find a Torah but he found a niche
The picture is clearly recent, I think it has been taken for the site, so that it's well probably even more recent of when the barcode had put on the "package" of the find. So I would say:

* as early report we've got the final report showing the overbar
[in drawings ... I haven't been able to find original pictures and Yale doesn't cooperate about original material]
* may be in the 80's they catalog the collection [using barcodes]
* I cannot exclude they have cataloged the collection other times
* There are no references on Yale Art Gallery site about when the site opened
* There are no reference about when they took the pictures

My personal guess is quite recently, probably in the last 10 years.
 
May 2011
2,901
Rural Australia
The picture is clearly recent, I think it has been taken for the site, so that it's well probably even more recent of when the barcode had put on the "package" of the find. So I would say:

* as early report we've got the final report showing the overbar
[in drawings ... I haven't been able to find original pictures and Yale doesn't cooperate about original material]
* may be in the 80's they catalog the collection [using barcodes]
* I cannot exclude they have cataloged the collection other times
* There are no references on Yale Art Gallery site about when the site opened
* There are no reference about when they took the pictures

My personal guess is quite recently, probably in the last 10 years.
Thanks AlpinLuke. Good summary.

A time-line between the discovery and the preliminary report might look like this:

From HOPKINS DIARY

16 Jan 1932 - First of frescoes revealed
18 Jan 1932 - Miracle scenes: "a god on a cloud"; sketch Bob Deigart; photo Hopkins
19 Jan 1932 - Shepherd and Adam and Eve (tents stretched over murals)
20 Jan 1932 - Women at Tomb or Visit of the Magi? D&G, graffiti
24 Jan 1932 - M. Bacquet arrives (for lifting murals)
25 Jan 1932 - Spell of extremely bad weather followed
05 Mar 1932 - Christian Chapel cleared


From LETTER to Rostovtzeff and other sources

Jan 22, 1932: Letter to M.I.R. from Clark Hopkins

08 FEB 1932 - The weather has been so bad the last week, with driving showers,
terrific winds and even a flurry of snow.

Feb 10 1932 - Report of Clark Hopkins, Field Director, to President James Rowland Angell

15 MAR 1932 - "Partage" = Yale gets Christian frescoes

20 MAR 1932 - Phar Lap wins the Agua Caliente Handicap

25 April 1932 - Cumont says Christian frescos causing sensation (Letter to M.I. Rostovtzeff)

25 Sep 1932 - Presentation at the Third International Congress of Christian archaeology at Ravena

November 1932 - Discovery of Jewish synogogue

March 5, 1933 - Discovery of DP 24 (fragment of Harmony Gospel)

July- Sept 1933 PUBLICATION: The Christian Chapel at Dura, P. V. C. Baur,
American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1933)

1934 (PREFACE November 1933) Preliminary Report - THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH by C. Hopkins



==============================[END TIME LINE}====================

2nd last entry above ...

The Christian Chapel at Dura
Author(s): P. V. C. Baur
Source: American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1933), pp. 377-380
Published by: Archaeological Institute of America
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/498949



In the season of 1931-32 a house belonging to Christians was discovered.
One of its smaller rooms was fitted out as a chapel.
Its walls are covered with the most interesting and earliest Christian paintings
that have come down to us from the East.
The Restoration in Fig. 1 shows the positions of these paintings.

Extending into the chapel from its west wall there is
an aedicula over a rectangular depression in the floor.
This cavity may have been the tomb of a martyr.

On the west wall behind the aedicula, visible only through its barrel vaulting, are two scenes,
the lower one depicting Adam and Eve, the upper one the Good Shepherd;
in other words, the terrestrial and the celestial paradise.

The Fall of Man differs from the rendering of the subject in the West
in that flanking pilasters indicate the limits of paradise.

The scene of the Good Shepherd is unique.
With a huge ram on his shoulders he is approaching a flock of seventeen rams.
In the western method of presentation, we find a well balanced symmetrical composition;
the shepherd stands between his sheep with one or two at either side of him.
There we do not get the impression that the shepherd is bringing
the lost sheep back to the fold as we do at Dura.

[my formatting]

The author thinks that the baptismal font may have been the tomb of a martyr. Are there no alarm bells ringing?

The author does not mention the runes of Christ. As far as I can determine P.V.C. Baur was a Classical Art professor at Yale.

The murals are all in some way "unique". Yet the ability of Hopkins et al to identify two miracle scenes featuring Jesus has never been called into question. The timeline above serves to highlight that this was a sensational find - the earliest Christian dwelling.

This entire saga appears to me to be some form of 1930's "Group Think".
Welles appears to have saved the day in the final report.

I cannot stress this enough.

I personally do not see and unambiguously identify Jesus and Peter in this mural evidence on display. The earliest artistic rendition of Jesus and the earliest artistic rendition of Peter turn up together in one little room at Dura? What are the odds of this?

David and Goliath are OTOH unambiguously identified. What if the (baptisty) niche is a torah niche, here decorated with a shepherd (David) and Adam and Eve? Is that so odd? The stars above may have been illuminated by a (mobile) menorah.
 
May 2011
2,901
Rural Australia
What's with the high incidence of abecedaria in the "Christian building"?

Abecedarium - Wikipedia

From the final report:
p.126


"The number of abecedaria found in the Christian building
is larger than any other structure in the city." [3]

[3] p.90. Welles counts 6 .... 1.3.4.5.8.11 14 should be added as a 7th.​

Was the building originally a school?
 
May 2011
2,901
Rural Australia
My point was that we were looking for miracle scenes and baptismal fonts due to our understanding of early Christian practices and KNOWN literature.
RE: Seeing Jesus and Peter in the murals at Dura?

How often do Biblical Historians see (Biblical) parallels that may not be there?

Parallelomania
Author(s): Samuel Sandmel
Source: Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 81, No. 1 (Mar., 1962), pp. 1-13
Published by: The Society of Biblical Literature
Stable URL: Parallelomania on JSTOR

"It seems to me that we are at a junction when biblical scholarship
should recognize parallelomania for the disease that it is
"


Parallelomania - Wikipedia

In historical analysis, biblical criticism and comparative mythology, parallelomania refers to a phenomenon (mania) where authors perceive apparent similarities and construct parallels and analogies allegedly without historical basis.[1] The concept was introduced to scholarly circles in 1961 by Rabbi Samuel Sandmel (1911–79) of the Hebrew Union College in a paper of the same title,
 
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Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,130
RE: Seeing Jesus and Peter in the murals at Dura?

How often do Biblical Historians see (Biblical) parallels that may not be there?

Parallelomania
Author(s): Samuel Sandmel
Source: Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 81, No. 1 (Mar., 1962), pp. 1-13
Published by: The Society of Biblical Literature
Stable URL: Parallelomania on JSTOR

"It seems to me that we are at a junction when biblical scholarship
should recognize parallelomania for the disease that it is
"


Parallelomania - Wikipedia

In historical analysis, biblical criticism and comparative mythology, parallelomania refers to a phenomenon (mania) where authors perceive apparent similarities and construct parallels and analogies allegedly without historical basis.[1] The concept was introduced to scholarly circles in 1961 by Rabbi Samuel Sandmel (1911–79) of the Hebrew Union College in a paper of the same title,
No.

I am talking about statistical inferencing in regard to PRIORS.

For a particular line of unknowns we have to develop what we are looking for first before the line of evidence that we compare it to.

This would be part of the unconditional probability.

If there is one line of a PRIOR then the equation is fairly simple. With multiple lines (subsets) the equation can get very involved. It is way beyond my mathematical skills. We can still use the concepts involved though as criteria to identify what is missing in our analysis. When we are lucky and we only have only one KNOWN line that matches up with our evidence it is possible to assert some confidence in our claims.

That is why I asked, in the same post you quoted here:
What other KNOWN cults/sects compete with the DE as Christian paradigm ?
With the additional line we would do the same thing that we did with the "Christian narrative" line to formulate the equation.

In the formulation of BT we have to establish as many lines (data sets) as possible.

These lines (data sets) have to be well articulated and substantiated. They can't be guesses. That would be where hypotheticals come in.
 
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May 2011
2,901
Rural Australia
No.

I am talking about statistical inferencing in regard to PRIORS.
I will create a discussion in another forum about "parallelomania" in order to provide some background to my reference to this in relation to the murals at Dura which supposedly feature the first known artistic renditions of Jesus and Peter.

However to return to the statistical treatment and assement of the evidence ...

For a particular line of unknowns we have to develop what we are looking for first before the line of evidence that we compare it to.

This would be part of the unconditional probability.

If there is one line of a PRIOR then the equation is fairly simple. With multiple lines (subsets) the equation can get very involved. It is way beyond my mathematical skills. We can still use the concepts involved though as criteria to identify what is missing in our analysis. When we are lucky and we only have only one KNOWN line that matches up with our evidence it is possible to assert some confidence in our claims.

That is why I asked, in the same post you quoted here:

What other KNOWN cults/sects compete with the DE as Christian paradigm ?

With the additional line we would do the same thing that we did with the "Christian narrative" line to formulate the equation.

In the formulation of BT we have to establish as many lines (data sets) as possible.

These lines (data sets) have to be well articulated and substantiated. They can't be guesses. That would be where hypotheticals come in.

I have already admitted that I am not familiar with the use of Bayes, however I do have a reasonable background in statistical treatments.

In the OP and throughout this discussion I have put forward the alternate hypothesis that the "religious room" could be Jewish.
The "Jewish Narrative" is evidenced with King David and Goliath, Adam and Eve, the Jewish name "Sissaeus", and the presence of Jewish people at Dura.

In our last exchange on this thread you pointed out that I was elevating the value of the inscription "nomina sacra" evidence. You said that it would be fairier if each of the elements of evidence were to have equal weight. So I revised the spreadsheet, and was awaiting any comments.

I posted two separate assessments:

post #843 ... DATA SET 1: Simulating a high degree of confidence that Hopkins was right. (84%)

This attempts to develop the highest value as possible in order to simulate the current high degree of confidence.

post #845 ... DATA SET 2: Hopkins' may not have discovered a Christian chapel (55%)

This does the opposite.

Any feedback on the revisions?
 

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