Sunday, March 04, 2007

A Letter from Andrey Feuerverger - Key Statistician for "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" - to His Colleagues

Andrey Feuerverger, who is Professor of Statistics at the University of Toronto, and is the source for statistic that, in the words of the New York Times, "the odds that all six names would appear together in one tomb are 1 in 600", has written an email to his colleagues about that statistic.

Darrell Bock, who suggests that Feuerverger may be backing off earlier statements, quotes this section:

""It is not in the purview of statistics to conclude whether or not this tombsite is that of the New Testament family. Any such conclusion much more rightfully belongs to the purview of biblical historical scholars who are in a much better position to assess the assumptions entering into the computations. The role of statistics here is primarily to attempt to assess the odds of an equally (or more) `compelling' cluster of names arising purely by chance under certain random sampling assumptions and under certain historical assumptions. In this respect I now believe that I should not assert any conclusions connecting this tomb with any hypothetical one of the NT family" (emphasis mine [sns]).

On this topic also see

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