At least I know who I’m not…

A note on the Robert Longmans that I am not :

  1. I was not the lead live broadcast engineer at the BBC for many years, who was instrumental in their live casts of Parliament sessions. He was, in many ways, a broadcast pioneer.
  2. I was not the town smithy in Easington UK in the 1850s.
    Nor am I his probable ancestor who married a woman named Mary, who soon after his death married the son of the Rector of Easington, Thomas Mallory, in the 1650s.
  3. I was not witness to the wedding of William Dowling and Ann Longman, 30 Oct 1785, at St. Mary Bourne, Winchester Anglican Diocese
  4. I was not a poet/writer in Lancashire UK around 1350.
  5. I was not the Anglican minister of Placentia NF starting in 1759.
  6. I did not live in Tingewick UK in the 1890s.
  7. I was not the son (1785 – 1850) of William & Matilda Longman.
  8. I did not marry a Jane Hodges in Corton-Denham, Somerset UK, whose son was Charles Longman (b. 1722). (Though I could be related to him.)
  9. I am not the president of Central Surveys Inc.
  10. I do not head the Australian Electoral Office.
  11. I was not he who agreed to the Protestation of 1641, in Stalbridge, Dorset UK — nor would I have done so.
  12. I was not his probable descendant, a woodman from Hilton in Dorset, who at the time of the 1881 census was an inmate at the Poole Union Workhouse.
  13. I am not a credit officer at the Rural Community Assistance Corp. (though I have read articles related to his work)
  14. I am not the Laparoscopic Surgeon in Bristol UK.
  15. I did not marry Hillary Carter (Hillary was b. around 1954). (Or anyone else 😦 )
  16. I was not a fencer at Oberlin College (class of ’62)
  17. I did not marry Hannah Scouse in Wherwell UK on 12 Jan 1767, nor marry Rachel Becket in Wherwell UK on 25 July 1785.
  18. I am not Group Technical Director at Plasmon.
  19. I am not in any way involved with USA Shout Media.
  20. I am not the Longman who is affiliated with Green Living Now.
  21. I am not the antitrust legal counsel at Kasowitz, Benson LLP. That Robert is also an officer of a group that works with the world’s needy women and children, Heartbeats Of the World. His wedding to Chin Quee was written up in the New York Times (16 July 1996).
  22. I am not the consultant who was quoted in several news reports as having heard the Cory Lidle plane crash.
  23. I was not the 1800s British thief (whose real name, as far as I can tell, was Phineas Henry).
  24. I did not serve in the US Navy at sea on the USS Montrose in the Korean War.
    (However, I am the son of a Marine who served on land in battle during that war.)
  25. I am not the one who raises show cats in Sussex UK.
  26. I am not a staff lawyer for the Washington State legislature.
  27. Guitarist Richard Durrant’s record label was not named after me or my family.
  28. I am not a leader in the Saskatchewan Miniature Horse Association.
  29. That sure wasn’t me who was a leading character played by Linus Roache in the British TV show Seaforth.
  30. I did not publish scandal rags (newspaper/flyers) in New York in the 1900s. (Though I may be related to him.)
  31. So far as I can tell, I am not related to the Longman family that founded a major publishing company in the UK. (If someone has other information, I’d love to know.)
  32. and, I most certainly, absolutely am not the one who, under the apparent pen name Bob Longman, wrote the rated multiple “X” so-called ‘underground classic’ book titled ‘The Debutante Whore’. (Believe it or not, I get occasional emails asking me about that.)
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More on Mariamne and the Jesus Tomb

I was just reading some more about Jesus’ time, to see the plausibility of the Jesus Tomb claim. More weakness in the Mariam(e)ne/Magdalene connection. Guess where I found some Mariamnes? In Herod’s family. Several, in fact. The Herodian Miriams usually used the extended Greek form, which makes sense, given their longtime affectation for Greek culture. They, of course, would insist on a Greek or even Roman inscription on their box, while many other Jews (especially the rural ones, like Miriam of Migdal was) would insist on Hebrew or Aramaic in the face of the foreign occupiers.

Maybe I should make a cable TV special showing how these ossuaries are a Herodian link to Jesus? Nah. They’re not ornate enough. These sort of burial ground ossuaries (bone boxes) were for the well-to-do landowners, merchants, and top officials, not the poor, the artisan, or the farmer. However, this was still way too simple to be a Herod.

The passage that identifies Mariamne in Acts of Philip reads thusly (in modern language):

  • “Then the time came for the Savior to split the apostles up, and each went out to the area he was sent. It fell to Philip to go to the land of the Greeks. He thought it to be difficult, and wept. Then Mariamne his sister (the one who readied the bread and salt at the breaking of bread – though it was Martha that worked hard to serve it to the multitudes) saw this, and went to Jesus and said, ‘ Lord, see how much anguish this is causing for my brother?’ “

Mariamne, Philip’s sister and defender. This is not Miriam of Migdal. I don’t know enough about the ins and outs of gnostic literature to know if this is intended to connect Philip with Lazarus’ family through Mary and Martha. No such link is made in the New Testament, or in church history. But it is definitely not Mary Magdalene. The Gospel of Mary apparently does make this connection, but it is even weirder and even later than Acts of Philip. And all of the earlier gnostic books use the same name for Mary Magdalene as the New Testament and church tradition.

The more I sift through this particular Jacobovici claim, the the more impossible it becomes. (Just as it was for the DaVinci Code’s Magdalene claims.) And it would be hard to come up with a way to link Jesus of Nazareth to the Jesus of the bone box without such a link to Mary Magdalene, since we don’t have a known sample of Jesus of Nazareth’s DNA to compare to. (Knowing Jacobovici, he’ll come up with something.) The whole thing is starting to have an abundance of Colbert’s ‘truthiness’ — some people really really want it to be true, want it to at least feel true.

Discovery Channel and Jesus’ Tomb

Everyone’s heard about this Jesus Tomb thing. It’s very interesting. It is my duty as a human being with any sort of a brain to check out something that has bearing on what is to me the core incident that I have centered my life on. The Christian faith has trained me differently than it has others. Precisely because the Bible taught me that truth matters, I can’t simplistically cordon off by itself a category known as ‘religious truth’ (a separate category from reality). There is such a thing as ‘religious truth’, but it is something that is embedded in reality, not hovering above it. (That is the way the God of the Bible works.) It means I — and any credibly-thinking person, believer or not — must take the claim seriously, and treat it with a rigorous going-over.

That’s hard for me to do. Not because of faith, but because I know too much already about one of the two main people involved, Simcha Jacobovici. He is, to say the least, very fishy. He was the one who made the documentary that put the so-called James ossuary into the public spotlight a few years ago. It has been scientifically demonstrated that while it was a real ancient bone box, the inscription on it had been recently altered or added to, probably by a known counterfeiter. But he still tries to make people believe it’s real. That wasn’t the only time he shaded truth. He and James Cameron made the film (or is it a ‘flim’?) Exodus Decoded, which theorized that mariners from Crete were instrumental in the happenings in Exodus. They also posited a bizarre time line and geography of what happened, and explained the plagues as the eventual result of seismic happenings across the Mediterranean. (There’s a site that gives a good, if obsessive, point-by-point on it.) Why didn’t he add space aliens, or Sasquatch? With that kind of a track record, his involvement should do big-time damage to the credibility of any theory. When combined with the director of Titanic, there is the distinct fragrance of P.T. Barnum in the air.

But that by itself means nothing; liars are occasionally capable of telling the truth, or at least stumbling upon it. The question is, has Jacobovici done so here? One of the items I’ve seen in the press and publicity strikes me as especially weak : the supposed connection of the Mariamne box to Mary Magdalene. Talk about a stretch! Mariam(e)ne is a well-attested long-form Greek version of Miriam (Mary), used by Josephus for all sorts of Miriams. So far as my old Greek class notes tell me, there are two early sources where Mariamne was used as a name for New Testament figures : the gnostic Acts of Philip and the Gospel of Mary, both written at least 5 generations later. And the use in Philip was for Philip’s preacher-sister, not Mary Magdalene. The second word in the inscription is Mara, said to mean ‘master’. But its position in the inscription is where the other boxes have the name of a person. My old notes say Mara was used by Hellenistic Jews as a short form of Martha. However, it also may be a Hellenist’s rendering of the Jewish name/word Mara(h) (‘bitter’; found in Ruth 1:20). That could be a reference to the bitterness of Mariamne after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or abandonment. In any event, in all the sources (including the gnostic ones), Mary Magdalene is named not by parentage but by town : Migdal. There is no mention of Migdal in the inscription. And, she was an Aramaic-speaking Jew from a small Jewish fishing village — so why the Greek name forms on the inscription? Especially if she was the wife of a Jew that had a Jewish (not Roman or Greek) name, as the theory says?

If Cameron bases the identification of Jesus on linking the Mariamne bone box to Mary Magdalene, it is built on a foundation of sand.