The Evidence for Jesus:
Archaeologists on the Lost Tomb of Jesus: Primeval Stupidity and Publicity Stunt


The "Lost Tomb of Jesus" (James Cameron, Discovery Channel, et al): Primeval Stupidity
   by Robert Eisenman

The Lost Tomb of Jesus documentary by James Cameron and the Discovery ChannelThe latest 'discovery' of the so-called "Jesus Tomb" or "Jesus Cave" is so preposterous that it has to be laughed out of court. For starters one must say that one must be glad that ossuaries of this kind in Israel are finally getting the publicity they deserve and that sites in which they occur will, as a result, finally be open to and become visited by the public. They are so rich and beautiful that they demonstrate what a richly beautiful life was being led in Eretz-Israel or "The Holy Land" at the time before -- as D. H. Lawrence might have put it as he did the Etruscans -- the Romans crushed the breath or spark of life out of it.

First of all, all these names -- which are mostly "Maccabean," primarily demonstrating the popularity of the Maccabean family in Israel at the time and not what our intrepid 'archaeologists' seem to think they demonstrate -- found in the "Jesus Burial Cave" on the outskirts of Jerusalem (as many have now already said) were so widespread at the time that finding a family tomb with ossuaries inscribed with them proves nothing at all.

But even more to the point:

  • To think that an inscription seemingly bearing the name of one "Mariamne" has anything whatever to do with some character we think was called "Mary Magdalene" (only mentioned about three times in the Gospels and this cursorily or in passing) is a stretch of immense proportions. All "Mary"s in Josephus are called "Mariamne" in Greek1. First disinformation. And what of this "Mary"s other descendant all Gnostic Gospel enthusiasts and those wishing for the eternal feminine (to say nothing of "the bloodline of the Holy Grail" ) fantasize over, "Sarah" ?
  • Then, of course, "Jesus"' father (if he existed or there was one) probably wasn't even called "Joseph" (really the patronymical tribal name of the Samaritan Messiah). Most contemporary texts give Jesus' father or Mary's husband as "Clopas" or "Cleophas." Even the Gospel of John does this, unless this was her second husband or there were two "Mary"s or three!
  • And what was "Matthew" (diminutive or otherwise) doing in this tomb -- a "statistical" outlier, no? And "Mary"'s DNA didn't match "Jesus"' so they were married, right?
  • And "Jose" was Jesus' brother, right? Why not father -- meaning, the one mentioned on the alleged "Jesus ossuary"? And what is Jose's DNA, since we seem to have "Jesus"' and "Mary"s, or weren't we able to get a sample?
  • And who is this mysterious "Judas" ? Of course, "Mary's child" by "Jesus" -- why didn't I think of that? Again, another "statistical outlier." And what were the results of his DNA if they were taken? Did we get a fix on this? Who was his mother?
  • Oh yes, and I forgot, "the James ossuary" was pilfered from here. Why of course. How sensible. And therefore, it wasn't forged (or was it from the Antiquities Authority's storeroom) -- again, why didn't I think of that?

"Though I am no statistician" (sic -- as they say), I would say that the statistical probability of this kind of primeval stupidity is about 666,000 to one.

Still, let's not take one's eye off the ball -- the fact of a cave with such beautiful ossuaries is interesting in itself and should be examined for and by itself and not just sealed or stored somewhere out of sight. Hoorah, that it will now become part of the tourist itinerary. One plus from this sorry charade and display of historical ignorance anyhow!

"How beautiful and comely was thy daughter, O Children of Zion."

Robert Eisenman is Professor of Middle East Religions and Archaeology and the Director of the Institute for the Study of Judeo-Christian Origins at California State University Long Beach and Visiting Senior Member of Linacre College, Oxford. He holds a B.A. from Cornell University in Philosophy and Engineering Physics, an M.A. from NYU in Near Eastern Studies, and a Ph.D. from Columbia University in Middle East Languages and Cultures. He was a Senior Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies and an American Endowment for the Humanities Fellow-in-Residence at the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, where the Dead Sea Scrolls first came in.

He is the author of James the Brother of Jesus (1998) and The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians (1996) and co-editor of The Facsimile Edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls (1989) and The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered (1992).

He was the leader of the worldwide campaign from 1987-1992 to break the academic and scholarly monopoly over the Dead Sea Scrolls, freeing them for research by all interested persons regardless of affiliation or credentials. As a consequence of this, he was the Consultant to the Huntington Library on its decision to open its archives and allow free access to the Scrolls. In 2002-3 he was the first to publicly announce that the 'James Ossuary', which so suddenly and 'miraculously' appeared, was fraudulent; and he did this on the basis of the actual inscription itself and what it said without any 'scientific' or 'pseudo-scientific' aids on the very same day it was first made public.

His latest book is The New Testament Code: The Cup of the Lord, the Damascus Covenant, and the Blood of Christ (2006).

1Mariamne is a name frequently used in the Herodian royal house. In Greek it is spelled Μαριάμη (Mariame) by Josephus; in some editions of his work the second m is doubled (Mariamme). In later copies of those editions the spelling was dissimilated to its now most common form, Mariamne. In Hebrew, Mariamne is known as מִרְיָם, (Miriam), as in the traditional, Biblical name (e.g. Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron); Mariamne is the Hellenized version of the Hebrew (from the Wikipedia article on Mariamne 03-04-2007).

Copyright 2007 © HuffingtonPost.com, Inc.


Archaeologists call "Lost Tomb of Jesus" a publicity stunt

The Washington Post -- Wednesday February 28, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Leading archaeologists in Israel and the United States denounced the purported discovery of the tomb of Jesus as a publicity stunt. Scorn for the Discovery Channel's claim to have found the burial place of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and -- most explosively -- their possible son came not just from Christian scholars but also from Jewish and secular experts who said their judgments were unaffected by any desire to uphold Christian orthodoxy.

"I'm not a Christian. I'm not a believer. I don't have a dog in this fight," said William Dever, who has been excavating ancient sites in Israel for 50 years and is widely considered the dean of biblical archaeology among U.S. scholars. "I just think it's a shame the way this story is being hyped and manipulated," he said Tuesday.

The Discovery Channel held a news conference in New York on Monday to unveil a TV documentary, "The Lost Tomb of Jesus,'' and a companion book about a tomb that was unearthed during construction of an apartment building in the Talpiyot neighborhood of Jerusalem in 1980.

James Cameron, the filmmaker who explored the wreck of the Titanic and directed an Oscar-winning feature film based on its sinking, is executive producer of the documentary. Its claims are based on six ossuaries, or stone boxes for holding human bones, found in the tomb. The filmmakers contend that the inscriptions on the boxes say Yeshua bar Yosef (Jesus son of Joseph), Maria (Mary), Yose (Joseph), Matia (Matthew), Mariamene e Mara (Maria the Master) and Yehuda bar Yeshua (Judah son of Jesus). They maintain that "Mariamene e Mara" is Mary Magdalene and that Yehuda bar Yeshua may be her son by Jesus.

Simcha Jacobovici, the film's Israeli-born director, said in a telephone interview Tuesday that he commissioned four statistical studies that concluded that the odds of those particular names appearing in a single family tomb from the 1st century are "somewhere between 600 and 2.4 million to one." Jacobovici also said tests on the patina, or surface residue, of the "James Ossuary," which surfaced in 2002, indicate that it also came from the Talpiyot tomb. Israeli authorities have pronounced the James Ossuary, which purportedly held the bones of a brother of Jesus, a forgery and are prosecuting its owner. Jacobovici, who made a 2003 Discovery Channel film about it, maintains it is real.

Dever, a retired professor of archaeology at the University of Arizona, said that some of the inscriptions on the Talpiyot ossuaries are unclear, but that all of the names are common. "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," he said. "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."

Similar assessments came Tuesday from two Israeli scholars, Amos Kloner, who originally excavated the tomb, and Joe Zias, former curator of archaeology at the Israeli Antiquities Authority. Kloner told the Jerusalem Post that the documentary is "nonsense." Zias described it in an e-mail to The Washington Post as a "hyped up film which is intellectually and scientifically dishonest."

Jodi Magness, an archaeologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, expressed irritation that the claims were made at a news conference rather than in a peer-reviewed scientific article. By going directly to the media, she said, the filmmakers "have set it up as if it's a legitimate academic debate, when the vast majority of scholars who specialize in archaeology of this period have flatly rejected this," she said. Magness noted that at the time of Jesus, wealthy families buried their dead in tombs cut by hand from solid rock, putting the bones in niches in the walls and then, later, transferring them to ossuaries. She said Jesus came from a poor family that, like most Jews of the time, probably buried their dead in ordinary graves. "If Jesus' family had been wealthy enough to afford a rock-cut tomb, it would have been in Nazareth, not Jerusalem," she said.

Magness also said the names on the Talpiyot ossuaries indicate that the tomb belonged to a family from Judea, the area around Jerusalem, where people were known by their first name and father's name. As Galileans, Jesus and his family members would have used their first name and home town, she said. "This whole case (for the tomb of Jesus) is flawed from beginning to end," she said.

Copyright 2007 © The Washington Post


Paul L. Maier, Ph.D., Litt.D
Department of History
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI 49008

February 25, 2007

Dear Friends and Readers,

Thanks for the profusion of e-mails I’ve received over the last two days regarding the Talpiot tombs discovery in Jerusalem, a.k.a., "the Jesus Family Tomb" story. Some of you also suggested that "life seemed to be following art" so far as my A Skeleton in God’s Closet was concerned. Believe me, this is not the way I wanted my novel to hit the visual media! Alas, this whole affair is just the latest in the long-running media attack on the historical Jesus, which -- we thought -- had culminated in that book of lies, The Da Vinci Code. But no: the caricatures of Christ continue.

Please, lose no sleep over the Talpiot "discoveries" for the following reasons, and here are the facts:

  • Nothing is new here: scholars have known about the ossuaries ever since March of 1980. The general public learned when the BBC filmed a documentary on them in 1996. James Tabor’s book, The Jesus Dynasty, also made a big fuss over the Talpiot tombs more recently, and now James Cameron (The Titanic) and Simcha Jacobovici have climbed aboard the sensationalist bandwagon as well.
  • All the names -- Yeshua, Joseph, Maria, Mariamene, Matia, Judah, and Jose -- are extremely frequent Jewish names for that time and place, and thus most scholars consider this merely coincidental, as they did from the start. One-quarter of Jewish women at that time, for example, were named Maria.
  • There is no reason whatever to equate "Mary Magdalene" with "Mariamene," as Jacobovici claims.
  • So what if her DNA is different from that of "Yeshua" ? That particular "Mariamme" (as it is usually spelled today) could indeed have been the wife of that particular "Yeshua."
  • What in the world is the "Jesus Family" doing, having a burial plot in Jerusalem, of all places, the very city that crucified Jesus? Galilee was their home. In Galilee they could have had such a family plot, not Judea. Besides all of which, church tradition -- and Eusebius -- are unanimous in reporting that Mary died in Ephesus, where the apostle John, faithful to his commission from Jesus on the cross, had accompanied Mary.
  • If this were Jesus’ family burial, what is Matthew doing there -- if indeed "Matia" is thus to be translated?
  • How come there is no tradition whatever -- Christian, Jewish, or secular -- that any part of the Holy Family was buried at Jerusalem?
  • Please note the extreme bias of the director and narrator, Simcha Jacobovici. The man is an Indiana-Jones-wannabe, who oversensationalizes anything he touches. You may have caught him on his TV special regarding The Exodus, in which the man "explained" just everything that still needed proving or explaining in the Exodus account in the Old Testament! It finally became ludicrous, and now he’s doing it again. As for James Cameron, how do you follow The Titanic? Well, with an even more "titanic" story. He should have known better.

There are more arguments, to be sure, but I want to get this off pronto.

With warm regards,

Paul L. Maier


From "The Alleged Jesus Family Tomb" by Richard Bauckham, guest post at Chrisendom Blog
   on Mary Magdalene and the name "Mariamne"

. . . .  In the Gospels Mary Magdalene's name is always given in the Greek form Maria, which is the New Testament's standard practice for rendering Mariam into Greek, except for Luke 10:39-42. As we have noted it is standard Greek form of Mariam. However, from probably the mid-second century onwards we find some references to Mary Magdalene (often identified with Mary of Bethany and/or other Gospel Marys) that use the alternative standard Greek form Mariamme (or Mariame). These references are all either in Gnostic works (using 'Gnostic' fairly loosely) or in writers referring to Gnostic usage.

We find the form Mariamme in Celsus, the second-century pagan critic of Christianity, who lists Christian sectarian groups, including some who follow Mary (apo Mariammes). These may well be the group who used the Gospel of Mary (late 2nd century?), a Greek fragment of which calls Mary Magdalene Mariamme. This form of her name also appears in the Coptic (a translation from Greek) of the Gnostic Work the Sophia of Jesus Christ (CG III, 4). The usage may have been more widespread in Gnostic literature, but the fact that we have most Gnostic works only in Coptic makes it hard to tell.

This tradition of using the form Mariamme for Mary Magdalene must have been an alternative tradition of rendering her name in Greek. It most likely goes back to a usage within the orbit of Jewish Palestine (since the name Mary in any form was very rare in the diaspora and Gentile Christians would not be familiar with the name Mariamme ordinarily). But so does the usage of Maria in the New Testament Gospels, at least one of which is at least a century earlier than any evidence we have for giving her the name Mariamme. It would be hazardous to suppose that Mariamme was the Greek form of her name used by Mary Magdalene herself or the earliest disciples of Jesus.

The Gnostic use of Mariamme is also reported by Hippolytus in his Refutation of All Heresies (written between 228 and 233). He says that the Naassenes claimed to have a secret teaching that James the brother of Jesus had transmitted to Mary (5.7.1; 10.9.3). What is especially significant is that the manuscript evidence is divided between two forms of the name: Mariamme and Mariamne (note the ‘n’!). It is probably impossible to tell which Hippolytus himself wrote. However, it is easy to see that, in a milieu where the name Mariamme was not otherwise known, the usage could slip from Mariamme to Mariamne.

These variant readings in Hippolytus are the first known occurrences of the form Mariamne (which the Discovery Channel programme claims is the same name as that on one of the ossuaries). Since it occurs in Hippolytus as a variant of Mariamme, and since the latter is well attested in Jewish usage back to the first century CE, it seems clear that the form Mariamne is not really an independent version of the name Mariam (independent of Mariamme, that is), but a late deformation of the form Mariamme, a deformation made by Greek speakers not familiar with the name.

This must also then explain the usage in the apocryphal Acts of Philip (late 4th or early 5th century), where Mariamne is consistently and frequently used for the sister of the apostle Philip, apparently identified with both Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany.

We can now turn to the inscription on the ossuary, which has, in Greek: MARIAMENOUMARA. The two words Mariamenou and Mara are written consecutively with no space between. This makes it rather unlikely that two women are named here. But Rahmani takes a small stroke between the last letter of Mariamenou and the first of Mara to be a Greek letter eta (long e). He takes this to be the relative pronoun he (eta with a rough breathing), reading: ‘Mariamnenou who [is also called] Mara.’ (Note that this is different, it seems, from what the Discovery Channel does when they read the eta with a smooth breathing, meaning 'or'.) There are parallels (I gather from Rahmani) to this abbreviated way of indicating two names for the same person.

The form of the name on the ossuary in question is Mariamenou. This is a Greek genitive case, used to indicate that the ossuary belongs to Mary (it means "Mary"s' or "belonging to Mary"). The nominative would be Mariamenon. Mariamenon is a diminutive form, used as a form of endearment. The neuter gender is normal in diminutives used for women. But the name Mariamenon is found only here in all our evidence for ancient Jewish names. It is, of course, a specifically Greek formation, not used in Hebrew or Aramaic.

This diminutive, Mariamenon, would seem to have been formed from the name Mariamene, a name which is attested twice elsewhere (in the Babatha archive and in the Jewish catacombs at Beth She’arim). Mariamene is an unusual Greek form of Mariam, presumably invented because it has a rather elegant hellenized form. When I first looked at this issue I was rather persuaded that the form Mariamne was a contracted form of Mariamene (which I think is what the Discovery Channel film claims), but I then found that the second and third century evidence (reviewed above) makes it much more plausible that the form Mariamne is a late deformation of Mariamme that occurred only in a context outside Palestine where the name was not known.

So the Discovery Channel film's claim that the name on the ossuary is the same as the name known to have been used for Mary Magdalene in the Acts of Philip is mistaken.

But we must also consider the rest of this inscription. The Discovery Channel film proposes to read Mara as the Aramaic word 'the master' (as in Maranatha). But, since we know that Mara was used as an abbreviated form of Martha, in this context of names on an ossuary it is much more plausible to read it as a name. This woman had two names: Mariamenon and Mara. It could be that the latter in this case was used as an abbreviation of Mariamenou, or it could be that the woman was known by Mariamenon, treated as a Greek name, and the Aramaic name Mara, conforming to the common practice of being known by two names, Greek and Semitic.

If the woman, for whatever reason, is given two different names on the ossuary, it is very unlikely that she would also have been known as Mariamene, even though this is the form of which Mariamenon is the diminutive. One other point can be made about Mariamenon. As a term of endearment it would be likely to have originated in the context of her family. But in that case, we probably need to envisage a family which used Greek as an ordinary language within the family. This does not mean it did not also use Aramaic, which would probably be the case if the names on the other ossuaries are those of family members closely related to Mariamenon. The family could have been bilingual even within its own orbit. Alternatively, the ossuaries in Aramaic could come from a branch of a big family or a generation of the family different from that of Mariamenon, such that their linguistic practice would be different. In any case, it is unlikely that the close family of Jesus would have spoken Greek within the family, and so it is unlikely that Mariamenon belonged to that close family circle.

The conclusion is that the name Mariamenon is unique, the diminutive of the very rare Mariamene. Neither is related to the form Mariamne, except in the sense that all derive ultimately from the name Mariam. There is no reason at all to connect the woman in this ossuary with Mary Magdalene, and in fact the name usage is decisively against such a connexion.

Copyright 2007 © Richard Bauckham and Chrisendom Blog (emphasis added)

Richard Bauckham, M.A., Ph.D. Cambridge, is Professor of New Testament Studies and Bishop Wardlaw Professor, at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He has published widely in theology, historical theology and New Testament. He is currently working on New Testament Christology and the Gospel of John. Teaching areas include New Testament theology and history; Catholic epistles; early Judaism; Bible and contemporary issues.


The 99 Most Popular Male Names among Palestinian Jews, 330 BC - 200 AD
(Top 10 are Displayed)

Rank English Name Total Valid # Gospels/Acts # in Josephus # on ossuaries # Judean Desert texts
1 Simon/Simeon 243  (9.26 %) 8 29 59 72
2 Joseph/Joses 218  (8.30%) 6 21 45 78
3 Lazarus/Eleazar 166  (6.32 %) 1 20 29 52
4 Judas/Judah 164  (6.25 %) 5 14 44 35
5 John/Yohanan 122  (4.65 %) 5 13 25 40
6 Jesus/Joshua 99  (3.77 %) 2 14 22 38
7 Ananias/Hananiah 82  (3.12 %) 2 10 18 13
8 Jonathan 71  (2.70 %) 1 14 14 21
9 Matthew/Matthias 62  (2.36 %) 2 12 17 15
10 Manaen/Menahem 42  (1.60 %) 1 2 4 23

Total Number of Male Names: 447
Total Number of Male Occurrences: 2625

The 31 Most Popular Female Names among Palestinian Jews, 330 BC - 200 AD
(Top 10 are Displayed, ranking includes ties)

Rank English Name Total Valid # Gospels/Acts # in Josephus # on ossuaries # Judean Desert texts
1 Mary/Mariam 70  (21.34 %) 6 7 42 9
2 Salome 58  (17.68 %) 1 3 41 8
3 Shelamzion 24  (7.32 %) 0 1 19 3
4 Martha 20  (6.10 %) 1 0 17 0
5 (tie) Joanna
Sapphira/Shiphra
12  (3.66 %)
12
1
1
0
0
7
9
3
1
6 Berenice 8  (2.44 %) 1 3 1 0
7 (tie) Imma
Mara (or Martha)
7  (2.13 %)
7
0
0
0
0
6
5
0
0
8 (tie) Cyprus
Sara
Alexandra
6  (1.83 %)
6
6
0
0
0
6
0
5
0
3
1
0
1
0
9 (tie) Anna/Hannah
Herodias
Julia
4  (1.22 %)
4
4
1
1
0
0
1
0
2
0
3
0
0
1
10 (tie) Judith
Leah
Rebekah
Cyria
Susanna
3  (0.915 %)
3
3
3
3
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
2
3
2
0
3
0
0
0
0
0
0

Total Number of Female Names: 74
Total Number of Female Occurrences: 328

Total Number, Male and Female: 521
Total Occurrences, Male and Female: 2953

"Onomastics (the study of names) is a significant resource for assessing the origins of Gospel traditions. The evidence in this chapter [4, ' Palestinian Jewish names'] shows that the relative frequency of the various personal names in the Gospels corresponds well to the relative frequency in the full database of three thousand individual instances of names in the Palestinian Jewish sources of the period. This correspondence is very unlikely to have resulted from addition of names to the traditions, even within Palestinian Jewish Christianity, and could not possibly have resulted from the addition of names to the traditions outside Jewish Palestine, since the pattern of Jewish name usage in the Diaspora was very different. The usages of the Gospels also correspond closely to the variety of ways in which persons bearing the same very popular names could be distinguished in Palestinian Jewish usage. Again these features of the New Testament data would be difficult to explain as the result of random invention of names within Palestinian Jewish Christianity and impossible to explain as the result of such invention outside Jewish Palestine. All the evidence indicates the general authenticity of the personal names in the Gospels. This underlines the plausibility of the suggestion [made in chapter 3] as to the significance of many of these names: that they indicate the eyewitness sources of the individual stories in which they occur."

Source: Jesus and the Eyewitnesses by Richard Bauckham (Eerdmans, 2006), page 84 ff


Da Vinci Code Nonsense Re-Visited by P

From JesusFamilyTomb.com site for documentary / book by authors Simcha Jacobovici, Charles Pellegrino, and producer James Cameron:

"The Acts of Philip is said to date back to the fourth or fifth century. It is believed that texts like the Acts of Phillip were removed from the New Testament canon in the fourth century because they did not adhere to common cultural and church practices established at the time."

Answer: The Acts of Philip (or the Gospel of Philip) was never part of the New Testament canon and was never even considered for inclusion. The four canonical Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Pauline letters were written in the first century AD, and were known, cited, and established as canonical by the early second century AD. Answered in detail here on The Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Gnostic Gospels.

"Mary Magdalene is most commonly represented as the repentant prostitute who washed and anointed the feet of Jesus with her hair, who was amongst the women of Galilee who followed Jesus and the disciples, and who was the woman Jesus had expelled seven demons from. Mary was said to have witnessed the crucifixion and burial of Jesus and is the first person to which Jesus appears after the Resurrection. Recent controversy has surrounded the role of Mary Magdalene as wife and companion of the historical Jesus. Some scholars believe that remaining by the side of the crucifixion confirms the role of a wife and widow, while others believe that the washing of feet represents an old marriage ritual. Others contest that the Bible never explicitly states that Mary was a prostitute, and that indeed she comes from a royal bloodline that would make for an ideal marriage between Mary and Jesus."

"Absolutely nothing in the New Testament indicates that Jesus was celibate. He could very well have been married and had children. Could Judah, son of Jesus have been the 'Beloved Disciple' mentioned in the Gospels?"

Answer: There is no evidence Jesus and St. Mary Magdalene were married, bone boxes included. Mary of Magdala is a Saint in the Catholic Church, her feast day is July 22. Jesus was celibate and nothing in the New Testament or the first 800 years of Christian history suggest otherwise. Answered in detail here on Jesus Christ and St. Mary Magdalene. The apostle John has been considered the "beloved disciple" not an alleged son (or daughter) of Jesus.

"The Lost Tomb Of Jesus does not challenge the Resurrection. It asks viewers to consider the possibility that the Resurrection occurred from a second tomb....Even if Jesus were moved from one tomb to another, this does not negate the possibility that he was resurrected from the second tomb. Our documentary does not address this issue. Belief in the resurrection is based not on which tomb he was buried in, but on alleged sightings of Jesus that occurred after his burial and that are documented in the Gospels....If Jesus’ mortal remains have indeed been found, this would contradict the idea of a physical ascension. However, it says nothing against the possibility of a spiritual ascension."

Answer: If the bones of Jesus were ever found, there is no bodily resurrection "...and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins." (1 Corinthians 15:16-17). Christ rose bodily after three days. See here Kreeft / Tacelli on the Resurrection of Jesus.

"This places us smack dab in The Da Vinci Code territory but is it possible that Dan Brown had at least some of it right?"

Answer: No it is not. "Paris is in France, London is in England, and Leonardo painted some pictures" (to quote Sandra Miesel, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax) is not enough to call that "some of it right." So sorry. "Dan Brown gets nothing right" or "Dan Brown gets everything wrong" are far more accurate statements.

"It requires a flight or two of fancy, but if we connect a few dots we can draw a line through history from the tomb straight to today....Conceivably, it [the tomb of Jesus] could very well have fallen into the hands of the Crusaders, the Knights Templar, who arrived in Jerusalem as 'pilgrims' in the twelfth century....Coincidentally, the same accusation was leveled against the Knights Templar: that Jesus was a man and not a God. If the Templar Knights were shown the tomb of Jesus, it would explain why Templars -- and later, Masons -- have always been convinced of this 'heresy.' Until only recently, it was a point of faith that Jesus’ ascension was physical, that his flesh was incorruptible. If the Knights knew this central tenet of the Church was incorrect, they were sitting on powerful information indeed. Further, the Knights Templar have always been linked with ritual practices. Is it possible that the skulls laid out in the tomb and its antechamber were there as part of some twelfth century ceremony? We do know that the bones are not from the time of Jesus but a much later period."

Answer: Who were the real Knights Templar ? Find out. And here's the Catholic Encyclopedia perspective on the Masons.

Also see the full article on The Da Vinci Code Fraud: Cracked by the Critics by P

see also Part 1: Parallel Pagan "Crucified Saviors" Examined or Part 2: The Evidence for Jesus


Yes, "Explore the Evidence" Below

The Tomb of Jesus and Family? Second Thoughts by biblical scholar Craig Evans
The Lost Tomb of Jesus: A Response by Gary Habermas and others
Tomb of Jesus Nonsense by Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers
Viewers Guide to Understanding the Talpiot Tomb "documentary" by archaeologist Joe Zias

The Historical Reliability of the Gospels by Craig Blomberg (Intervarsity, 1987, 2nd edition 2007)
An Introduction to the New Testament (and appendix on the "Jesus Seminar") by Raymond Brown (Doubleday, 1997)
Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence by Robert van Voorst (Eerdmans, 2000)
The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels by Luke Timothy Johnson (HarperSanFrancisco, 1996)
Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus edited by Wilkins / Moreland (Zondervan, 1995)
The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ by Gary Habermas (College Press, 1996)
Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels by Craig Evans (Intervarsity, 2006)
Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? : A Debate between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan (Baker Academic, 1998)
The Resurrection of the Son of God by N. T. Wright (Fortress, 2003)
The Resurrection of Jesus : John Dominic Crossan and N. T. Wright in Dialogue (Fortress, 2006)


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