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orion-list FW: Eisenman
My server seemed to act up today and I could not be sure this message was
sent properly. My apologies if it ends up being posted in duplicate.
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
From: David C. Hindley [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 16, 1999 12:54 PM
To: George.X.Brooks@JUNO.com; Orion List
A while back, you said:
>>But this might not suit his efforts to keep his work to himself so that
he won't be accused of "plagiarism" again. If you don't talk about your
ideas with anyone you can't be accused of "ripping off" someone else's
Are you referring to the hoopla over the provenance of the DSS photographs
he used to publish his facsimile edition of the scrolls back in 1991? If
so, I would not call that plagiarism. Has he managed to become embroiled
in another controversy since then?
I have noted that his book _James the Brother of Jesus_ clearly shows the
influence of Robert Eisler's 1930 classics _IHSOUS BASILEUS OU BASILEUSAS_
and _Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist_, and that this is only
acknowledged in a token manner. However, he also makes no effort to hide
the fact he used them, since he used two photos (of a "Presumed Bust of
the Jewish Historian Josephus" facing pg 381, and a "Statue of Josephus'
Publisher Epaphroditus" opposite pg 732) that appear identical to photos
found in _Messiah Jesus_ (opposite pg 28, labeled "Front View of Presumed
Josephus Head, and opposite pg 30, labeled "M. Mettius Epaphroditus,
Publisher of Josephus' Works" respectively). Even the identifications
share the same assumptions (i.e., that Josephus was so Hellenized that he
would permit a bust of himself to be made, or that the Epaphroditus who
published Josephus' works was identical to M. Mettius Epaphroditus, a
proposition which has serious problems). But this is more imitation than
Is there something else that I have missed?
>>When I once tried to initiate contact with him, I never heard from him:
Two emails and a telephone message.<<
I remember having some brief electronic exchanges with Eisenman back in
1992, shortly after _The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered_ was published. He was
making a question & answer "e-appearance" for a few days on the Religion
Forum at Prodigy to promote the book. I do recall that in spite of a
fairly generous attempt by Prodigy to publicize the appearance across many
of its forums, the turnout was maybe, at best, a dozen persons (probably
closer to 8). If this is representative of his contacts with online media,
I can see why he may treat it with disdain!
He was gracious enough in his communications, and a bit pleased I asked
several questions that he thought might suggest a certain critical ability
on my part (well, at any rate, he suggested that I was asking the right
kind of questions, if not quite at his critical level). I got no
impression then that he was uncomfortable with this kind of media.
This was around the time that Charlesworth had announced his interest in
publishing translations of the DSS in a manner similar to what he has done
with _Old Testament Pseudepigrapha_ in the mid 80's. I said that I liked
Eisenman's method of presenting a transcription of the fragment sandwiched
between a commentary and the English translation, and expressed my hope
that Charlesworth would follow his lead. I could almost hear Eisenman sigh
in his reply, writing that he seriously doubted such a thing would occur.
Since then Charlesworth has not, as far as I know, published anything like
what he proposed. However, I do note that in _Jesus and the Dead Sea
Scrolls_ he relegates Eisenman to the same category as Barbara Thiering,
which is like comparing apples and oranges. Obviously there is no love
lost between those two.
Personally I would love to see someone like Eisenman participate in a list
like this. He routinely questions widely held assumptions that he believes
(and in my opinion, oftentimes rightly) to be invalid, and just as
routinely raises questions relating to issues that he believes (again,
oftentimes rightly) to be in need of more serious inquiry.
In the latter case, it is notable that in spite of the fact that NT
Christians were mostly Gentile, very little attention seems to be paid to
the dynamics behind a prime example of Gentile conversion, that of the
royal house of Adiabene, or of the influence of the Herodian style of
religious observance on Paul's teachings. Yet these are thematic in
Eisenman's book _James_. We need more of that kind of thing, in my
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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