>Christ’s Tomb Found?

>IN THE NEWS

Simcha Jacobovici , Canadian filmmaker known as the naked archaeologist is claiming that Christ’s tomb has been found and that burial boxes found in the tomb belonged to Christ’s family

Jacobovici will reveal at a news conference that he has strong evidence a group of burial boxes unearthed in Jerusalem belonged to Jesus Christ and his family.

Here is the new report published in the Toronto Star:

The discovery could have profound implications 2,000 years after the boxes were placed in the ground, shaking the foundations of modern faith and raising Da-Vinci-Code-like speculation that Jesus had a child with Mary Magdalene.

“It’s mind boggling. It’s an altered reality,” Toronto documentary director Simcha Jacobovici told the Star last week.

The location of the press conference is being kept secret until Monday to prevent a stampede of people wanting to see the artefacts on display.

The documentary is called The Lost Tomb of Jesus and its claim that the burial box of Jesus has been found along with his DNA, are sure to be met with scepticism, if not outright hostility, by church leaders.

In an interview, Jacobovici said that while nothing in archaeology can ever be proven beyond doubt, there is “compelling evidence” that the tomb he explores under a Jerusalem apartment building is that of the holy family.

“You have to kind of pinch yourself,” said Jacobovici, known as the Naked Archaeologist after a Vision TV series. “Are we really saying what we are saying?”

James Tabor, chair of religious studies at the University of North Carolina and an expert featured extensively in The Lost Tomb, said that as an academic he has seen enough to convince him of the evidence, but admits to some trepidation about claiming that the tomb of Jesus has been found.

“There’s a part of you that says, it’s too amazing. How can this be true?” Tabor told the Star. “It’s an archaeological dream.”

Critics are already dismissing the documentary’s claims.

“It’s a beautiful story but without any proof whatsoever,” Bar Ilan University professor Amos Kloner, who researched the tomb for the Israeli periodical Atiqot in 1996, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur on Friday.
Jacobovici says there is nothing in the documentary that should offend devout Christians, since he does not argue that Jesus did not ascend to heaven, at least spiritually, as told in the Bible.

“People who believe in a physical ascension — that he took his body to heaven — those people obviously will say, wait a minute,” he said, adding he hopes the film sparks more scientific study of the tomb and the ossuaries found inside.

The tomb was unearthed in 1980 during construction of an apartment building and was first connected to the Jesus family in a 1996 BBC documentary. Jacobovici’s documentary uses scientific methods, including DNA testing, statistical analysis and forensic examination, not available to the BBC 11 years ago.

It airs on Discovery in the U.S. and on Channel 4 in the U.K. on Sunday, and March 6 in Canada on Vision TV. A book, The Jesus Family Tomb by Jacobovici and Charles Pellegrino, comes out this week. Titanic director James Cameron, executive producer of the documentary, wrote the introduction.

The film and book follow years of growing interest in the private life of Jesus, fuelled by the 2003 Dan Brown novel The Da Vinci Code, made into a movie last year, in which Jesus is said to have married Mary Magdalene and had a daughter, sparking a centuries-long cover-up.

The novel, denounced by church groups around the world, spawned a mini-industry speculating about the historical Jesus, his relationship to Mary and his family life. Church leaders, including the Pope, dismissed the book and movie as pure fiction.

Tabor, whose book The Jesus Dynasty last year raised many of the same questions as the documentary, says the film cannot be as easily dismissed as Brown’s novel, even though it too suggests that Jesus had a child with Mary Magdalene.

“This is archaeology. We got the casket. We’ve got the bones,” he told the Star. “I think we can say, in all probability, Jesus had this son, Jude, presumably through Mary Magdalene.”

DNA tests conducted for the documentary at Lakehead University on two ossuaries — one inscribed Jesus son of Joseph and the other Mariamne, or Mary — confirm that the two were not related by blood, so were probably married.

“Perhaps Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married as the DNA results from the Talpiot ossuaries suggest and perhaps their union was kept secret to protect a potential dynasty — a secret hidden through the ages,” narrator Ron White says over re-enacted scenes of a happy Jesus and Mary home life.

“A secret we just may be able to uncover in the holy family tomb.”

The tomb was found in the Talpiot neighbourhood of Jerusalem during the construction of an apartment building in 1980. Archaeologists were given three days to document the tomb and excavate it for treasures.

Inside, they found 10 ossuaries and three skulls. Six ossuaries had names etched into them — Jesus son of Joseph, Judah son of Jesus, Maria, Mariamne, Joseph and Matthew — all Jesus family names.

At the time, however, the inscriptions raised few alarms. These were, after all, very common names at the time of Jesus. Besides, with all the construction around Jerusalem at the time, it was a boom time for uncovering tombs, and the Israeli Antiquities Authority could barely keep up.

Any connection to the holy family was not made until 15 years later, when a BBC crew researching and Easter special stumbled across the collection in an IAA storage room. They immediately began work on a new program, based on the tomb, which aired a year later.

That show, aired as part of the BBC’s acclaimed Heart of the Matter newsmagazine, was dismissed by Biblical scholars as “laughable” for suggesting, as Jacobovici does, that the tomb was that of Jesus Christ’s family.

Today, Kloner and others still argue that the names were so common that there is no significance to them being found in a tomb.

“The names that are found on the tombs are names that are similar to the names of the family of Jesus,” he conceded. “But those were the most common names found among Jews in the first centuries.”

In The Lost Tomb, however, University of Toronto statistician Andre Feuerverger calculates that while the names are common, the chances of them being found together are 600 to one.

His conclusion is based on a few assumptions: that the Maria on one of the ossuaries is the mother of the Jesus found on another box, that Mariamne is his wife and that Joseph (inscribed as the nickname Jose) is his brother.

As the documentary tells us, there is reason to make these assumptions.

Maria is the Latin form of Mary, and is how Jesus’s mother was known after his death as more Romans became followers. Mariamne is the Greek form of Mary. Mary Magdelene is believed to have spoken and preached in Greek. Jose was the nickname used for Jesus’ little brother.

As well, the Talpiot Tomb is the only place where ossuaries have ever been found with the names Mariamne and Jose, even though the root forms of the name were very popular and thousands of ossuaries have been unearthed.

This is not, however, the first time a Jesus ossuary has been found. The first was in 1926.

Another famous ossuary, inscribed James son of Joseph brother of Jesus, is also featured in the documentary.

Forensic testing of the patina on the Jesus ossuary and that of James conclude that they came from the same tomb — seemingly proving the authenticity of the often-questioned James ossuary and further increasing the likelihood that it is the tomb of the holy family.

Feuerverger calculates for Jacobovici that if James is added to the equation, there is a 30,000 to one chance that the Talpiot Tomb belonged to the holiest families in Christendom.

The documentary speculates that the James ossuary was stolen shortly after the tomb was found. The archaeologists examining the tomb 26 years ago found 10 ossuaries, but only nine are in storage at the IAA. In The Lost Tomb, it is alleged that the James ossuary is that missing box.

But there is one wrinkle that is not examined in the documentary, one that emerged in a Jerusalem courtroom just weeks ago at the fraud trial of James ossuary owner Oded Golan, charged with forging part of the inscription on the box.

Former FBI agent Gerald Richard testified that a photo of the James ossuary, showing it in Golan’s home, was taken in the 1970s, based on tests done by the FBI photo lab.

Jacobovici concedes in an interview that if the ossuary was photographed in the 1970s, it could not then have been found in a tomb in 1980. But while he does not address the conundrum in the documentary, he said in an interview that it’s possible Golan’s photo was printed on old paper in the1980s.

I have not seen The Lost Tomb yet, but if the documentary is like Jacobovici’s documentary on the exodus event, then there is no reason to worry. It is just amazing the documentary is coming out just at the time Jacobovici’s book The Jesus Family Tomb is being published.

Should you as a Christian worry about this discovery? No, if you believe the tomb is empty.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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17 Responses to >Christ’s Tomb Found?

  1. >”I have not seen The Lost Tomb yet, but if the documentary is like Jacobovici’s documentary on the exodus event, then there is no reason to worry. It is just amazing the documentary is coming out just at the time Jacobovici’s book The Jesus Family Tomb is being published.Should you as a Christian worry about this discovery? No, if you believe the tomb is empty.”There is a reason for you folks to worry – - – all the myths you have propagated in the name of Jesus Christ will disintigrate to what they have been up to now: bullshit! Now is the time to concentrate on Christ’s message rather than the trappings of organized religion. It’s about time.

  2. Anonymous says:

    >You all have to check out the official site for more details:Jesus Family Tomb. http://www.jesusfamilytomb.com

  3. >Dear Richard,Matthew 28:11-13 tells us this story about the resurrection: “While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ There have been many attempts at discrediting the fact that Jesus’ tomb is empty. The Lost Tomb is just another attempt at proving that Jesus died and his bones are still with us. But this attempt will fail also. You just cannot kill the truth.Thank you for visiting my blog.Claude Mariottini

  4. >To the Readers:I commend you to visit the official site of Jesus Family Tomb. Anonymous has provided the link above.Claude Mariottini

  5. Anonymous says:

    >Do not believe satanic lies.Instead BELIEVE THE TRUTH:”…Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” Luke 24:5-7

  6. jimmy says:

    >What gave this away as a fraud is the part that says they found coffins with cross marks on them-the cross as a symbol of Christianity was not used by first century Christians; that came much later. Those who know their history will not fall for this one.

  7. >Dear Anonymous,You quoted Luke 24: “he is risen.” That is all people need to know. Jesus’ bones cannot be with us because he is not among the dead; he is risenThank you for visiting my blog.Claude Mariottini

  8. >Dear Jimmy,To be honest, I do not remember that a cross was mentioned in any of the reports describing the discovery of the tomb. If there was a mention of the cross, that probably would be out of place here because, as you said, the cross was not a symbol of Christianity when Jesus dies.Thank you for visiting my blog.Claude Mariottini

  9. >It turns out that one of the key supporters of the Jesus-crypt claim is none other than Professor James Tabor of the University of North Carolina — precisely the same figure who is at the center of the recent, equally phony claim that an “Essene latrine” has been found near the site of Khirbet Qumran (where traditional Qumranologists including, of course, Professor Tabor himself, continue to insist, in the face of mounting contrary evidence, that a sect of Essenes lived). For details, see http://jesus-crypt-fraud.blogspot.com/ and the other postings published by the unidentifiable authors of that blog.Professor Tabor’s personal amazon.com profile states that he received his Ph.D. from the “University of Chicago”, without specifying that the degree was awarded to him by the Divinity School of that institution. Why is this important? Read on.Professor Jim Davila’s blog (March 6, 2007) http://paleojudaica.blogspot.com/ quotes Tabor as asserting to him in an email: “I have never excavated even one tomb, and I am not even an archaeologist and have never claimed to be such.”But wait! Compare that assertion with the following statement, from an article by none other than Tabor himself, excerpted on the same blog a year ago (February 13, 2006):”Archaeology is the material evidence of our human past. As an archaeologist, I have long observed and experienced the thrill that ancient discoveries cause in all of us. The look on the faces of my students as we uncover ancient ruins from the time of Jesus, or explore one of the caves where the scrolls were found, is unmistakable.”It is difficult to see how the words “as an archaeologist”, can be construed as anything other than a “claim to be an archaeologist.” Hopefully, with the Jesus-crypt fraud exposed, people will now begin to wake up to the fact that they are being scammed by the current, widely publicized Dead Sea Scroll exhibits, also supported by the same group of phonies.

  10. >Apparently, I was mistaken in my assumption that Professor Tabor’s Ph.D. was awarded to him by the University of Chicago Divinity School — I apologize for that. But it is still not clear what department he got the degree from; contrary to normal practice, he doesn’t provide this information in his on-line bio.

  11. >Sorry for posting again. “We Demand a Neutral Exhibit” has now posted the following on the BiblePlaces blog:We have done some research on James Tabor, and we have discovered the exact facts about his Ph.D. The title of his dissertation was “Things Unalterable: Paul’s Ascent to Paradise”. The degree was awarded to him not in “ancient history/Christian origins” as he states on one internet blog, but in New Testament and Christian Literature. This department is housed in the University of Chicago’s Divinity School building, but it does give academic degrees and its teaching staff are culled from different departments of the University. Part of the problem here is that we seem to be consistently faced with attempts by Tabor to imply things about his background and qualifications that are simply not true. He is not an archaeologist but he has “done” archaeology; he is not an ancient historian but, apparently, he has “done” ancient history. What he seems to be incapable of, is simply providing an accurate, up-front account of his background. And people buy this rubbish!

  12. >P.s. the title of Tabor’s dissertation was “Things Unutterable,” etc. This slip has been noted in a comment submitted to We Demand a Neutral Exhibit’s latest blog entry, http://jesus-illegible.blogspot.com/

  13. Anonymous says:

    >From the Gospel of Peace:And Jesus himself sat down in their midst and said: “I tell you truly, none can be happy, except he do the Law.”And the others answered: “We all do the laws of Moses, our lawgiver, even as they are written in the holy scriptures.”And Jesus answered: “Seek not the law in your scriptures, for the law is life, whereas the scripture is dead. I tell you truly, Moses received not his laws from God in writing, but through the living word. The law is living word of living God to living prophets for living men. In everything that is life is the law written. I tell you truly, that the scripture is the work of man, but life and all its hosts are the work of our God. Wherefore do you not listen to the words of God which are written in His works? And wherefore do you study the dead scriptures which are the work of the hands of men.

  14. >For anyone who might be interested, an editorial by Professor Norman Golb of the University of Chicago, who is one of the world’s leading authorities on ancient Judaism, has appeared in The Jewish Forward. The link is http://www.forward.com/articles/take-claims-about-dead-sea-scrolls-with-a-grain-of/.The editorial is mainly about attempts to defend the Qumran-Essene theory of Dead Sea Scroll origins, but in passing Golb makes two remarks about the lost-tomb-of-Jesus claim, as follows:(1) Speaking of “a half-century of scholarly disregard for ancient Judaic culture”, he states: “Like the recently propagated claim that ossuary coffins found in a Jerusalem crypt contain the remains of the family of Jesus of Nazareth and of Jesus himself, the traditional theory of the Scrolls’ origins is based not on scientific research per se, but rather on conjecture and a tendentious presentation of evidence — techniques feeding on a largely faith-based fascination with Christian origins.” (He then ties this in with De Vaux’s “monastic” view of Qumran.)(2) In condemning a series of “initiatives aimed at creating an apologetic defense of the old theory [of Scroll origins] so as to secure its acceptance by the general public”, he states: “What these efforts and others similar to them share is a fundamental, and inappropriate, disregard for ancient Judaic culture. The complex history of the Palestinian Jews on the eve of the First Revolt is being pushed aside in favor of a bizarre, Christologically colored thesis. The fervently expressed “tomb of Jesus” belief, portrayed in a self-styled documentary featuring costumed actors, is but a spillover of the same phenomenon.”The debate continues…

  15. >Matthew 28:11-13 tells us this story about the resurrection: “While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ There have been many attempts at discrediting the fact that Jesus’ tomb is empty. The Lost Tomb is just another attempt at proving that Jesus died and his bones are still with us. But this attempt will fail also. You just cannot kill the truth.Thank you for visiting my blog.Claude Mariottini There have been many attempts at discrediting the fact . . .what fact?Sorry, Claude – - – you are going to have to come up with something better than that. It doesn’t matter whether the tomb was empty or that the bones are found in the tomb today: the message was/still the same, the rest is mythology perpetrated by the priestly classes, you included. Let’s face it, the insistence on myths does not make you and your followers any different than pagans. I suspect that they may be more forthcoming and a lot more humorous than you are.

  16. >Richard,Thank you for your comment. Now, let me see where we stand on this issue:1. I believe in the resurrection because of the testimony of the people who were there. They have written a record telling us what they saw with their own eyes. I know that their testimony could be considered hearsay, but we can accept or reject their testimony. I accept it.2. You say that this is myth, but where is the evidence? You don’t quote anyone who was there to say that it was false. You do not have any written record, even hearsay that says it is false. You say that it is a myth, so you believe that it is a myth.Come on, Richard, you have to do better than that. If you are going to say it is a myth, show me the evidence and I will consider it. Let’s face it: it is your word against the words of witnesses. I choose to believe their words.Claude Mariottini

  17. >I’ve been studying this find for years, long before it became public knowledge following the mass media exposure. I believe that it’s a serious find, which warrants further study. The critics of this find’s magnitude basically argue: 1. That the Jesus family would be buried in Nazareth, not Talpiot; 2. That the ‘Jesus’ ossuary would have been inscribed ‘of Nazareth’; 3. That the Jesus family couldn’t have afforded a tomb like the Talpiot tomb; 4. That the “Jesus son of Joseph” ossuary is not inscribed “Yeshua” (Jesus) at all; 5. That the names inscribed on these ossuaries were supposedly common; 6. That the “Mariamne” ossuary didn’t contain the remains of Mary Magdalene, but of two other women; I believe the first five of these allegations against the book’s premise don’t carry much water. The sixth argument actually supports the conclusion that this is the real thing. My comments: 1. Talpiot is the right place for Jesus’ family tomb- Per Luke, 2:3-4, the family’s LEGAL residence was Bethlehem, not Nazareth. The fact that Joseph and the pregnant Mary could not take the census in Nazareth but had to take it in Bethlehem indicates that Bethlehem was their DOMICILIUM under Roman Law. That basically means that they had no intention to reside in Nazareth permanently. Therefore it would have made little sense for them to have a family tomb in Nazareth, that they wouldn’t be able to frequently visit at a later stage in their lives. They would have wanted a family tomb close to Bethlehem and Jerusalem, easily accessible also to future generations of the family. The fact is indeed that Mary and her children moved to Jerusalem around 30 AD. 2. The traditional name of Jesus in Hebrew, as reflected also in the Talmud, is “Yeshu Hanotzri.” This appellation stems from “Netzer” (Shoot or Branch). It alludes clearly to Isaiah 11:1, indicating the Royal birth of Jesus, to substantiate his claim for Jewish messiahship. Not to indicate the place he comes from. There’s actually no evidence in Jewish sources, such as the Old Testament or the Mishna and Talmud, that a place called “Nazareth” even existed in or before the first century. I’m not disputing the evidence per the NT, that there was indeed a place called Nazareth. But to the best of my knowledge, there’s no mention of Nazareth at all in any ancient writings outside the New Testament. So the place existed, but nobody knew about it. And those in close proximity in Galilee who did know about it, obviously thought derogatorily of it , cf. “can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46.) Therefore there was no reason to call Jesus “of Nazareth.” Either in life or on an ossuary. He was called “Jesus the Branch” (of David) in Hebrew/Aramaic. The line of argumentation detracting this discovery around the supposed Nazareth origin of Jesus’ family may therefore be based on a very shaky foundation. 3. Talpiot is located about 2.5 miles North of Bethlehem. Jesus’ family, of Davidic descent according to the New Testament, could have held the burial cave there even before it moved to Nazareth. Davidic birth was absolutely the most exalted in Judaism, always. The suggestion that any person of Davidic descent could be of the lowest social echelon, that couldn’t fund or get funding for a burial cave, doesn’t make much sense, if any. There’s substantial evidence to the contrary, e.g. 1. Jesus had some very wealthy active supporters like Joseph of Arimatea and Nicodemus (known as Nakdimon ben Gorion in post biblical Jewish sources-one of the richest Jews in Judea;) 2. Josephus, A.J. XX, 9:1. Note the prominence of James, brother of Jesus. 4. The inscription on the Jesus ossuary does say “Yeshua bar Yehosef” (“Jesus son of Joseph”)to my eye. All letters but one are quite clearly there. The only letter which is somewhat more difficult to discern at first blush is the second letter- “Shin”. That’s because it’s written in a somewhat irregular form (in a regular Shin there are three teeth in the fork, pointing upwards. Here there are two teeth, pointing sideways to the right.) But that particular irregularity appears also on other ossuaries- notably numbers 9 (this one has two “Shin”- one with three teeth pointing to the right, and one with TWO teeth pointing to the right. Exactly like the subject inscription) and 121 in the Rahmani catalogue, which both feature also a “Yeshua.” Still, the name “Yeshua” on this ossuary is among the most, if not the most, difficult to read names of all ossuaries listed in Rahmani’s catalogue of Jewish ossuaries. It is almost written as a person’s complex signature on a check. Contrast that with the patronymic following the first name. This is written in a simple straightforward fashion, which is very easy to read. There’s no other example in Rahmani’s catalogue of a first name that has to be deciphered, and a patronymic that’s so plain and clear. Is this merely a coincidence? 5. Some critics make the following comment to my post: “The inscription, Pfann said, is made up of two names inscribed by two different hands: the first, “Mariame,” was inscribed in a formal Greek script, and later, when the bones of another woman were added to the box, another scribe using a different cursive script added the words “kai Mara,” meaning “and Mara.” Mara is a different form of the name Martha. According to Pfann’s reading, the ossuary did not house the bones of “Mary the teacher,” but rather of two women, “Mary and Martha.’” Here’s my thought about that: If the Mariamne ossuary indeed housed the bones of Mary and Martha, these are two sisters of NT fame. One of them could have been married to “Jesus son of Joseph.” -Whether or not she was Mary Magdalene (Maybe the Mary who anointed Jesus’ feet and then dried them with her hair- very intimate scene.) The other sister would than also automatically belong in the family. It still fits. Actually it increases the statistical odds that this is the real thing quite substantially. This is a very intriguing possibility indeed, fitting perfectly with John 12:3. Intimate contact with a man, as described in this NT passage, was allowed only to a woman who was an immediate blood relative of that man, his wife (…or a working woman.) That’s all. Therefore Mary of Bethany was quite possibly by elimination Jesus’ wife or in the process of becoming his wife. In that context, Margaret Starbird already theorized that similar anointing with spikenard oil was part of pre marriage ritual of a Davidic king, per certain passages in the Song of Songs. Note also that intercourse by itself was sufficient under Jewish Law in certain circumstances to constitute valid marriage. That practice, termed Bi’ah marriage, was abolished in the 6th century, but it was lawful in Jesus’ time. Mary of Bethany could have become pregnant by Jesus while he stayed at her house, shortly before his crucifixion. In that case it’s quite possible that she bore Jesus’ son posthumously and named him “Judah.” And in that case both she and her sister Martha would have become part of Jesus’ family, which earned them a place in the Talpiot family tomb.. Reminds me of the reaction to this find of a BBC reporter in 1996- It seems like all balls in the national lottery coming one by one. I have no knowledge of Greek, so I can only discuss the two propositions. Assuming that the ossuary does say “Mary and Martha”, here’s what I think the names are: * 1.”Jesus son of Joseph”(“Yeshua bar Yehosef” in Hebrew/Aramaic script;) * 2. “Mary” (“Marya” in Hebrew/Aramaic script); * 3. “Joseph” (“Yose” in Hebrew/Aramaic script. Precise nickname of Jesus’ second brother- cf. Mark 6:3); * 4. “Mary and Martha” (“Mariame kai Mara” in Greek)-they must have been sisters because Jewish law didn’t allow burial together of two unrelated women; * 5. “Matthew” (“Matya” in Hebrew/Aramaic script)- Name of Jesus’ first cousin, son of his father’s brother Alphaeus/Clophas. As James Tabor suggests in a different context, Matya could also well have been Jesus’ half brother, considering a certain specific rule of the Torah (Deuteronomy 25:5-10.) This rule was applied in Jesus time- see Matthew 22:24-28; * 6. “Judah son of Jesus”(“Yehuda bar Yeshua” in Hebrew/Aramaic script.) * Therefore out of eight names actually inscribed on these ossuaries (including the “Joseph” father of Jesus on the first ossuary) four names undoubtedly relate to Jesus’ immediate family, and three other names relate to the same with a somewhat lower probability. In any event, they all relate to Jesus’ extended family. Note that first century Jewish family tombs were usually a clan thing. * The eighth name is “Yehuda bar Yeshua”- must have been the son of Jesus and one of the sisters Mary or Martha. More likely Mary, as explained above. 6. While the full versions of all these names were indeed common in Jesus’ time, the derivatives, nicknames and contractions were not. Thus “Yeshua” for Jesus was less common than “YeHOshua;” ditto “YeHOsef” instead of “Yosef” for Joseph; “Marya” for Mary was extremely rare in Hebrew/Aramaic script; “Yose” for Joseph is unique. Therefore out of these eight names, two are irregularities, one is a particularity, and one a singularity. BOTTOM LINE- Ask yourself inversely a hypothetical question- If the Talpiot tomb hadn’t yet been found, how would Jesus’ family tomb have looked , which ossuaries would it have contained, to when would it have been dated and where would it have been located. I would have thought of a tomb just like the tomb we’re discussing. It fits perfectly with what I’d have expected Jesus’ family tomb to be. Right place, right period, right names. I therefore believe that this matter, delicate as it obviously is, warrants further investigation. This could include opening and examination of the adjacent tomb, and forensic examination of the skeletal remains found in the Talpiot ossuaries, and apparently reburied back in 1980. These could hopefully be relocated by comparison to the mithochondrial DNA samples already taken from two of these ossuaries.

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