tombofjesus a Forgery

March 3, 2007

Christians don’t riot over ‘Tomb of Jesus’ documentary-Lost Tomb of Jesus is old news

Christians don’t riot over ‘Tomb of Jesus’ documentary

 Despite the fact that the cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, has been challenged (again) this week, Christians did not riot in the street or burn effigies or make death threats. A new Discovery Channel ocumentary called “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” is set to run Sunday. It resurrects an already-debunked discovery from 1980 of a tomb bearing the inscriptions of the names Mary, Jesus and Judah, “son of Jesus.” Aside from the very common names of the period (Jesus and Mary), the tomb was in Jerusalem, not Nazareth, where Jesus and his family lived.Archaeologists have reacted with disgust. William Dever has been excavating in Israel for 50 years and said, “I’m not a Christian. I’m not a believer. I don’t have a dog in this fight. I just think it’s a shame the way this story is being hyped and manipulated.” In fact, the man who originally found the tomb, Amos Kloner, says the documentary is “nonsense.” Then again, it is about time for the annual Lenten attack on Christianity.Still no word on when the Discovery Channel plans to run a documentary on the murderous exploits of the most Blessed Prophet Mohammed.

‘Lost Tomb of Jesus’ is old news 

The names Jesus, Joseph and Mary were common among ancient Jews, for example, and finding them in an ancient tomb is like going to Cave Hill Cemetery and seeing names like “John” and “Smith,” said Joel Drinkard, professor of Old Testament, Hebrew and archaeology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.  Drinkard, who directs the seminary’s museum of biblical-era artifacts, has been on his share of archaeological digs in the Middle East. The painstaking work of archaeologists, he said, is to sort through often ordinary artifacts and slowly build a picture of what life was like then. “We have a culture in America that likes the sensational,” Drinkard said. “The Indiana Jones-type movies are wonderful as thrillers, but they’re horrible at showing archaeology as it really is.” Even so, Trafton and other religion scholars say their field gets a boost from media extravaganzas announcing new or not-so-new claims. Before this latest documentary produced by Oscar-winning director James Cameron, there was the long-lost “Gospel of Judas.” There was a burial box allegedly linked to Jesus’ brother James. And there were claims in “The Da Vinci Code” of a church conspiracy to hide Jesus’ true life as a mortal who married and had a family. “These kinds of claims and specials and books can make a connection that most of us academics fail at,” said Roy Fuller, who teaches at Indiana University Southeast and other area schools.  

‘Lost Tomb of Jesus’ is making a mockery of Archaeology & DNA Analysis

Archaeology is a scientific and academic discipline and there are proper fora for these discussions–if you’re a scholar and you have something you want to present to the larger world, there are proper ways of doing that, specifically publishing papers in peer reviewed journals or at meetings, so your colleageus can respond to it.Carney Matheson, whose titles include everything from mortuary archaeologist to forensic examiner, conducted the DNA examination the film cites. Basically, the filmmakers scraped a tiny amount of biological material out of the ossuary (or bone box) labeled Jesus, and a tiny amount out of the one that they think belonged to Mary Magdalene. Matheson then sequenced the mitochondrial DNA in both samples in order to establish that whoever those two boxes once contained was not related on their mother’s side–in other words, they’re not family. It’s a negative result that doesn’t say much (and it begs the question – if you were gathering material for testing, why not test the boxes that you believed belonged to related people, such as Jesus and his mother.

‘Lost Tomb of Jesus’ A Conspiracy Lore

I have a feeling this will become a permanent part of the our culture’s conspiracy lore, like the JFK conspiracy, the staging of the moon landing, the Turin Shroud, and all the rest before it.   ‘Lost Tomb of Jesus’ A case of  Forgery 

In December 2004, four Israelis and a Palestinian (led by antiques dealer Oded Golan of Tel-Aviv) were indicted by the Israel State authorities on charges of having run a lucrative forgery ring for several decades. The Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israeli police claimed that the defendants had created a series of biblically-related fakes, some of which had been bought for very high prices and placed in the prestigious Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Since then, numerous well-known items have now been officially declared as fakes, and among those under current investigation (since it originated with Oded Golan and features in the ongoing court case) is the James ossuary. It is fully expected that the Jesus tomb ossuaries (which have absolutely no archaeological provenance) will also fall into the same Golan team category.

It is astonishing to see so many press entries which relate to ‘bones’ and/or ‘disintegrated bones’ in the ossuaries. There are no bones. There never were any bones. It is a felony under Israel State law to own or keep ossuaries containing bones or bone residue (even for museums). Any ossuary unearthed containing bone remnants must be thoroughly emptied and brushed out, with the items and residue re-buried in precisely the same location as the discovery. Only after that, and a sanctification of the site, can the ossuary be removed. We saw on TV back in 1996 that all of these ossuaries were completely empty and inwardly cleaned. So, if there are any bone remnants there now, then someone has put them there for the sake of the documentary and the supposed DNA testing by Simcha Jacobovici and James Cameron 

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The Lost tomb of Jesus- The Jesus Family Tomb- Discovery Channel -News Analysis

Year in and year out new theories debunking the claims of Christ appear just in time for Easter. This year lenting season the release is from James Cameron from the house of The “Terminator,” “Aliens” and “Titanic” .His latest flick is pure science fiction.

Hollywood has attacked and mocked the Christian faith through out this centuary. But whats different in this new release is the documentary makes a mockery of the archaeological profession. Christian faith is always open for attack and critisiation. I just remember about the Danish cartoonist of Prophet Mohammed. He has to go on exile to save his life. Critics say James Cameron has picked the right subject as its about Christianity, saving his life for next mega money making movie. What people forget is there is a recordable history of 2000 years for Christian faith not just in Jerusalam where all houses are built on graves but in the rest of the world too. You cannot just ridicule all the scriptures by shooting on air.   This is not something new. In 1996, when the British Broadcasting Corp. aired a short documentary on the subject, archaeologists challenged the link to Jesus and his family. Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to examine the site, said the idea fails to hold up to archaeological standards but makes for profitable television.  

The Plot  This week the Discovery Channel, together with HarperSanFrancisco, announces the release of “The Jesus Family Tomb,” a television documentary and a book that aim to show that the tomb next door to Tova Bracha’s apartment, located in a nondescript suburb called East Talpiot, near the family plot of Jesus Christ. Spearheaded by a well-known TV director named Simcha Jacobovici, and produced by “Titanic” director James Cameron, “The Jesus Family Tomb” is—both in book and movie form—a slick and suspenseful narrative about the 1980 discovery of a first-century Jewish burial cave and the 10 bone boxes, or ossuaries, found therein. With the help of statisticians, archeologists, historians, DNA experts, robot-camera technicians, epigraphers and a CSI expert from New York’s Long Island, Jacobovici puts together a case in which he argues that the bones of Jesus, Mary and Mary Magdalene, along with some of their lesser-known relatives, were once entombed in this cave.  The filmmakers contend that the inscriptions on the boxes say Yeshua bar Yosef (Jesus son of Joseph), Maria (Mary), Yose (Joseph), Matia (Matthew), Mariamene e Mara (Maria the Master) and Yehuda bar Yeshua (Judah son of Jesus). They maintain that “Mariamene e Mara” is Mary Magdalene and that Yehuda bar Yeshua may be her son by Jesus. Leading archaeologists in Israel and the United States yesterday denounced the purported discovery of the tomb of Jesus as a publicity stunt. 

The Ridiculous Publicity stunt

 We should note that the surviving six names are only six of many more who were buried in this family tomb. There may have been as many as 35. The six people whose names we have could have belonged to as many as four different generations. This is a large family tomb, which would certainly have been used for quite some time by the same family. We should not imagine a small family group. Some members of the family of Jesus we know lived in Jerusalem for only three decades (from the death of Jesus to the execution of his brother James in 62). None of our other evidence would suggest that there were so many of them as to require a tomb of this size. 

 Jesus was a very common name at the time — Mary even more so. 48 percent of women living at the time were named Mary, Mariam or the Hebrew name Shlomzion. In addition, Jesus’ family was poor. Those who paid for the tomb were middle-class, at least. If Jesus’ family did have the cash, the family tomb would likely have been situated in Nazareth. After all, Jesus was known as Jesus of Nazareth.  

  Jesus did not marry Mary Magdalene and nor did he have a son. If you had been Jesus and (for argument’s sake) had had a son, would you have named him Judas (same as Judah or Jude), like the man who betrayed you?. There is no historical evidence that Jesus was ever married or had a child. 

  There are more than 900 buried tombs just like the “Jesus” tomb within a 2-mile radius of Talpiyot. For years, it was just another of the many tombs of ancient middle-class families who lived roughly in the time of Jesus.  Two years earlier, Israeli archaeologist Amos Kloner was the first to find the tomb. He found the tomb and the ossuaries — the urns or vaults used to hold the bones of the dead — interesting but of no particular archaeological importance.Is someone next year going to make a documentary saying all those are of disciples of Jesus 

  This was discovered in 1982, by Tova Bracha’s family. Why it took this much of time .This is making a mockery of the archaeological profession. If there was something important it could have been presented to a team of archeologist than in news conference and television. 

 Most Christians believe Jesus’ body spent three days at the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old
City. The burial site identified in the documentary is in a southern Jerusalem neighborhood nowhere near the church.

 Simcha Jacobovici also said tests on the patina, or surface residue, of the “James Ossuary,” which surfaced in 2002, indicate that it also came from the Talpiyot tomb. Israeli authorities have pronounced the James Ossuary, which purportedly held the bones of a brother of Jesus, a forgery and are prosecuting its owner. Jacobovici, who made a 2003 Discovery Channel film about it, maintains it is real.

 There is no DNA evidence that this is the historical Jesus of Nazareth. 

 The statistical analysis is untrustworthy 

 The name “Jesus” was a popular name in the first century, appearing in 98 other tombs and on 21 other ossuaries. 

 The earliest followers of Jesus never called him “Jesus, son of Joseph.” 

 It is highly unlikely that Joseph, who died earlier in Galilee, was buried in Jerusalem, since the historical record connects him only to Nazareth or Bethlehem. 

 Fourth-century church historian Eusebius makes quite clear that the body of James, the brother of Jesus, was buried alone near the temple mount and that his tomb was visited in the early centuries, making very unlikely that the Talipot tomb was Jesus’ “family tomb.” 

 The two Mary ossuaries do not mention anyone from Migdal, but simply has the name Mary, one of the most common of all ancient Jewish female names. 

 By all ancient accounts, the tomb of Jesus was empty, making it highly unlikely that his body was moved to another tomb to decay for one year before putting his bones in an ossuary. 

 There is another tomb of Jesus in Kashmir, where the remains of a Manicheanism disciple are kept. Through out the world one can find remains of people who tried there best to influence faith but were sucessfull only to the extent of leaving a mark for the future generation to debate and for some to make money.

Recommended Further Readings

1. Christians don’t riot over ‘Tomb of Jesus’ documentary- Lost Tomb of Jesus’ is old news – Lost Tomb of Jesus’ is making a mockery of Archaeology & DNA Analysis- ‘Lost Tomb of Jesus’ A Conspiracy Lore- ‘Lost Tomb of Jesus’ A case of Forgery

2.Archeological Identity Theft : The Lost Tomb of Jesus Fails to Make the Grade-Very Interesting Analysis by Chris Rosebrough

3.Here is a PDF article for some one who is interested in the correct interpretation of Dr. Andrey Feuerverger’s 1:600 odds calculation.Read this to find out how the publicity stunt comes out to be 9:10 instead of 1:600 odds


Further Readings

1.Discovery minting on Controversey

2.Bibilicalfoundations on the lost tomb

3.Time magazine account on Lost Tomb

4.Jesus tomb claim sparks furor

5.Scholars skeptical about ‘Jesus tomb’ film claims


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