>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.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary.