Simcha Jacobovici, the filmmaker known as “The Naked Archaeologist,” is suing Joe Zias, a retired archaeologist from the Israel Antiquities Authority for $1 million.
Zias has accused Jacobovici of using the Bible to deceive the public in order to make money with his films and documentaries. Jacobovici said that he has been wronged and that Zias’s claim is libel.
In an article published in The World, Daniel Estrin wrote: “Zias doesn’t just accuse Jacobovici of bad science. He has accused him of pimping off the Bible, trying to deceive the public, calculated deception, and propagating multi-million dollar schemes.”
Jacobovici defended himself against Zias’s charges: “‘I just think it’s a very simple thing. Democracy ends when libel begins,’ he says. ‘When you accuse people of criminal activity. Of planting evidence and things like that. You have crossed the line from legitimate debate to plain old classic libel.’”
As a result of Zias’s charge, the National Geographic Channel cancelled Jacobovici’s film on “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.”
Daniel Estrin has published an article in The World in which he provides some details about the controversy between Zias and Jacobovici. You can read the give and take about the lawsuit here.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary