A continued discussion of my previous post on “The Lost Tomb of Jesus”, Bones of Contention.
“hyped up film which is intellectually and scientifically dishonest.” – Joe Zias, former curator of archaeology at the Israeli Antiquities Authority.
According to film director, James Cameron, and “Naked Archaeologist” and journalist, Simcha Jabobovici, they rediscovered a tomb in Talbiot, Jerusalem and claim that it contained the ossuaries of Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene (whom they proposed to be his wife) and their presumed son, Judah, along with other family members. A special on The Discovery Channel aired Sunday night, March 4, 2007 presenting their theory.
This movie/documentary was followed by an interesting debate with Ted Koppel as the mediator entitled “The Lost Tomb of Jesus: A Critical Look”. This debate asserted some poignent questions concluding that as much “evidence” that was set forth, the direction of the film was misleading and manipulative in it’s attempt to put forth a predetermined conclusion. Rather that providing a true scientific result, it primarily was a speculative and controversial piece of sensationalism and succeeded as such leaving many unanswered questions and incomplete data. This theory was sinking before it started.
- The use of scripture was selective which created a double standard regarding the authenticity of scriptures as a valid historical document. They used what they needed to support their theory while dismissing other scriptures that would dispute it. They also used the gnostic book The Acts of Philip, which is non-canonized as a source to support the name of Mariamne, the Master to mean Mary Magdalene. This is a bogus assertion and never refers to the Mariamne mentioned as Mary Magdalene. The Acts of Philip is considered heretical literature written by gnostic sects hundreds of years after the original gospels which provide first hand accounts. In The Acts of Philip, Mariamne along with Bartholomew and Philip convert a talking leopard and a talking goat. This book was not accepted into the Bible, nor should we accept it as an authoritive and historical reference.
- The investigation went to all the trouble to show that “Jesus, son of Joseph” and “Mariamne, the Master” were not related leading to a presumption that the two were married. They did not do any testing to see the DNA relationship to any of the others buried in this tomb, including whether “Judah, son of Jesus” was related to Mariamne or the “Jesus, son of Joseph”.
- Even with all of the co-incidences of common names and statistical figures, they still lack any evidence to conclude that the Jesus in their tomb was Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the living God.
- Although the piece was well done from an artistic perspective, the overdramatization was leading and the reasoning circular. It did not leave one much room to think outside the box, nor outside the tomb. I must add, that this type of reasoning is consistent with the way evolutionary theory is put forth. People who want to believe this will as a matter of faith because they do not want to believe in the resurrected Christ Jesus. Everyone believes something, even if they claim it is non-belief.
- Further, Simcha Jacobovoci and Prof. David Tabor were in agreement that the controversial ossuary inscribed “James, the brother of Jesus” belongs in this family tomb as one of the ossuaries was missing and it shares the same “patina” as the other ossuaries in this tomb and is the appropriate size. They claimed this was a match, yet failed to rule out if it would also match other ossuraries of the time period. The viewer was led to believe that experts verified this as a match when it fact they did not. This concept is no more than wishful thinking.
Says William G. Dever, retired archaeologist from the University of Arizona, who excavated ancient sites in Israel for 50 years and is widely considered the dean of biblical archaeology among U.S. scholars:
“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.”
“I’ve know about these ossuaries for many years and so have many other archaeologists, and none of us thought it was much of a story, because these are rather common Jewish names from that period. It’s a publicity stunt, and it will make these guys very rich, and it will upset millions of innocent people because they don’t know enough to separate fact from fiction.”
In my opinion, and that of many others, Jacobovici has put the cart before the horse so to speak. In his enthusiasm to put forth his idea as an interesting theory he may have succeeded. It certainly has gained much attention. However, presenting his idea as a valid theory is where he fell short as a journalist. He misquoted and took out of context information provided by scholars so that it fit into his theory, he presented questionable results as near facts before debating their credibility with experts, his investigation was leading and his reasoning circular, he conveniently stopped short of obtaining more substantial data that might have contradicted his theory.
Why is it that people are so quick to believe matters of faith that are trying to be unproven rather than investigate the proofs of a faith that is so reasonably evidenced?
I do pray that in his sincere exploration that journalist Simcha Jacobovici discovers the real Jesus Christ of Nazareth. This is also my prayer for other seeking hearts.
“Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing,'”