>Archaeologists and the Lost Tomb of Christ

>Archaeologists are denying the validity of James Cameron’s claim that the tomb at Talpiyot is the tomb of Jesus’ family. Archaeologists say that there are more than 900 tombs like this one within two miles from where the so-called “the lost tomb of Christ” was found.

In a report by ABC News, Matt Gutman wrote:

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. He said there are more than 900 buried tombs just like the “Jesus” tomb within a 2-mile radius of Talpiyot. Of them, 71 bear the name Jesus and two Jesus, son of Joseph. The tomb in Talpiyot is one of them. But the inscription, he said, was barely decipherable and therefore questionable.

At the time, Jesus was a very common name, as was Mary. But the cluster of all those names together, Jesus, Joseph Mary, not to mention what the filmmakers claim is Jesus’ son, Judah, son of Jesus, is indeed unusual. Simply because the tomb is labeled a tomb that “belonged to a Jesus, doesn’t make it the tomb of Jesus Christ,” Kloner told ABC News.

Jerusalem-based biblical anthropologist Joe Zias goes a step further to discredit Cameron’s documentary. “What they’ve done here,” Zias said, “is they’ve simply tried in a very, very dishonest way to try to con the public into believing that this is the tomb of Jesus or Jesus’ family. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus.”

Zias pointed out a number of contradictions that he said undermine the claim. Jesus was a very common name at the time — Mary even more so. Zias said 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

James Cameron told a news conference at the New York Public Library that two stone ossuaries, or bone boxes, found at Talpiyot might have once contained the bones of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The claim that James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici are making, that the end of Christianity has arrived, is just that, their opinion. Both men are film producers who have a product to sell. In addition, Jacobovici is a writer who is promoting his book.

Cameron and Jacobovici are not archaeologists and they are not theologians and yet the media is accepting their claim that, after more than 2000 years of Christianity, they have discovered what no one else has been able to do in all these years: prove that Jesus died and that the resurrection is a myth.

There are many people who are willing to accept Cameron’s and Jacobovici’s claim that Christianity has been preaching a false gospel all these years. This is the cry of atheists, that Christianity is false.

Atheists ask for a sign: prove to us that Jesus was real. Well, Cameron gave them a sign: here are the bones of Christ. Presto! Christianity is false.

Only gullible people can believe Cameron’s claim. In a recent interview on television, Jacobovici said that there is a statistical probability that this is the real tomb where Christ was buried. A person can manipulate numbers and arrive at almost any preconceived conclusion. You cannot prove historical claims by using statistics.

The Lost Tomb is just another effort at making money using Jesus as the attraction. Again, I say, Christians have nothing to worry about the two filmmakers’ claim that Christianity is false. The tomb at Talpiyot is the wrong one; Jacobovici should look for an empty tomb.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary.

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9 Responses to >Archaeologists and the Lost Tomb of Christ

  1. Anonymous says:

    >I don’t believe the filmmakers are making that claim at all. I don’t think anyone is trying to disprove Christianity, or even make any negative religious statements. The official site is quite friendly and informative.www.jesusfamilytomb.com

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  2. >Dear Anonymous,Although the filmmakes are not making that claim, what they are saying does not prove Christianity. If Christianity proclaims that Jesus is risen from the grave and the filmmakers say that his bones are in that grave, then they are saying Christianity has proclaimed a false message. If archaeologists say that those names were common in the first century and if statisticians say that is 1 in 600 probabilities that the tomb did not belong to the family of Jesus, why then not say: “there is little probability that the tomb belonged to Jesus.”Claude Mariottini

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  3. >http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/ Dr. Witherington has two excellent articles on this event.

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  4. >Dear Larry,Witherington’s articles are very good and I commend them to my readers.Claude Mariottini

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  5. Anonymous says:

    >Like every other assertion, it is up to the individual to decide the merits for or against. That is the right of every thinking individual.I found the documentary thought-provoking and informative, presented in a clear and logical fashion and presented an alternative to modern religious history and dogma. People have been convicted of a crime based on less evidence.What I do not understand is the unwillingness and even the venomous opposition that this has engendered. To me, such out-of-hand dismissal smacks of intellectual cowardice.

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  6. Chol says:

    >The Discovery Channel has damaged it’s credibility in the educationalforum in it’s airing and classifying the short film, “The Lost Tomb ofChrist” as a “documentary film.” I certainly understand that SimchaJacobovici and James Cameron are in it for the money. Just look attheir commercial (.com) Web site at[ http://www.jesusfamilytomb.com/movie_overview.html ]!At the time of this message post, on the first two rows of their veryflashy Web site you will see four (4) links saying “Buy the Book” …”Buy The DVD” … “Buy The Book” … “Buy the DVD.” It doesn’t take arocket scientist to figure out how clearly their monetary ambitionscan be seen. But that’s what they do for a living. However, their”scientists” do seem incapable of understanding and applying realarchaeological standards. In addition, wasn’t one of the previousself-proclaimed “world-renowned scientists” a guy named Oded Golan?And didn’t Oded Golan say that he used the same forensic technique todetermine that he was presenting an ossuary from that same tomb inwhich an inscription reads something like, “James, the brother ofJesus.” And isn’t it Oded Golan who is currently on trial afterprofiting financially by forging part of the inscription on thatartifact, so that it would read, “James, brother of Jesus?” Weren’tany lessons learned from Oded Golan’s previous attempt to defraud thepublic as well? So, shouldn’t their “documentary film” instead bepresented as fiction? Or what’s next on the Discovery Channel? A newDiscovery Channel slogan, “Inquiring minds want to know?” Hhmmmm …Isn’t the Discovery Channel even slightly embarrassed about thisnonsense and what this hoax will mean in terms of credibility? Anapology to science students and their good teachers around the worldwould seem highly appropriate. I am sure that this would help heal theDiscovery Channel’s credibility wound caused by this farce.

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  7. Logstaff says:

    >I was seeing the moovie recently. I am surprised that the investigators clearly mentionned at the beginning of the moovie that the archeologist found the stone boxes with the bones inside. Also some skulls are standing arround in the corners of the cave. An archeologist has seen all these skeletons and apparently made an inventory of each of it. Here is an unanswered question… Who was that archeologist.. where is that report about the skeletons, and probably where are the drawings or photographs. I would expect that it would have been a routine job at least to analyze the remains in order to find out the age of the person??? Than the comment is done that because of the religious tradition of the jews a reburial was done. Now another question is obvious: I guess that such a reburial is not just done anywhere without inventory… so why is that entire moovie going arround the main trace? I was expecting that a team of investigators ready to scretch the bottom of the stone boxes in order to recover a couple bone chips for DNA analyze (which is a good way to trace all kind of info, for sure)… why such a team of “scientists” is not able to check at least the age of that individual by getting hold of the reburial place.. or to start with of the archeologist file describing the content of the stone box. That is why I felt strange about that theory.. all was tried out to malke the story look probable.. and than the most obvious control wasnt done…………Also the reburried bones can be now 100% identified, since the DNA must be identical to the DNA already taken out of the stone box with the Jesus Name written on it……….It would be of cause very interesting to check these bones in order to see if they could have been of a man aged like the Christian Jesus. Than it would be even better to discover the damages done to the bones on legs and hands, ribbs.. whatever. ….But here we expect too much…. Since probably the people who made all this reportage.. already saw the archeologist file.. which they hide in the moovie… that probably.. the bones found in that box.. did not fit the profile of the Christian Jesus… who knows.. maybe they found a guy 60 years old without his teeth.. than the entire story is ridiculous… ……Any Comments welcome!

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  8. Logstaff says:

    >Dear Sirs,I still wish to add a comment in general… I am a bit surprised why the discovery of a Jesus Christ tomb would be such a scandal? Would faith in the universal message be diminuished by the discovery of a grave.. if ever it exists somewhere? Is it necessary to believe that the entire physical body ascended in the “sky” like an aeroplane? If Jesus Christ needed to “disappear” entirely by flying away.. why did he needed than to be born in a womb and leave that body through the genital of his mother? He could than also just appear in a little cloud between the mothers arms! I think it can be very acceptable to any Christian that Jesus lost his life as a human and that his physical body “disappeared” after his execution, but did not “fly away” like a bird. Nothing prooves that his appearance to the followers after his death, needed to involve the real human body. I have the impression that “unfortunately” the real remains of Jesus Christ may simply be mixed in the earth, unknown to us humans, somewhere in the holy land… mixed with the ground and returning slowly to dust as all will return to that dust. What raised above all that trash is what survived till today.. which shaped the life of billions, it is for sure not the bone or the dead physical body who did that… and will not do in the future.

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  9. Logstaff says:

    >One more comment, Gentlemen…For sure the Grave by itself is genuine. It is an ancient grave of that time when Jesus Christ lived and died. I am very impressed by the signs hammered in the rock over the entry of that tomb. I suddenly have the impression that the roof shaped symbol and the circle beneath could be the ALFA and OMEGA… may I be wrong? What do you think? It doesnt need to mean that this is a further indication for the Jesus Christ burial, but it is interesting to see a connection with that famous idea that ALFA stands for beginning, and OMEGA for the end.. of all. And that the persons inside that collective grave accepted such greek letters as their Symbols……. Also the moovie mentions some greek graffity inside the tomb??? Anyhow.. I think my idea of alfa and omega is quite interesting. What it will mean is yet to be investigated.Thank you for comments!

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