It was only a matter of time…
The makers of a new documentary, to be aired for the first time at a news conference in New York Monday, claim that a tomb found in a Jerusalem cave 36 years ago belongs to none other than Jesus Christ.
And this isn’t just some off the wall no-name documentary being promoted by a random website. The producer is Hollywood elite, James Cameron (of The Terminator and Titanic fame) and Time Magazine is now running the story like this:
Brace yourself. James Cameron, the man who brought you ‘The Titanic’ is back with another blockbuster. This time, the ship he’s sinking is Christianity.
In a new documentary, Producer Cameron and his director, Simcha Jacobovici, make the starting claim that Jesus wasn’t resurrected –the cornerstone of Christian faith– and that his burial cave was discovered near Jerusalem. And, get this, Jesus sired a son with Mary Magdelene.
No, it’s not a re-make of “The Da Vinci Codes’. It’s supposed to be true.
James Cameron is described as “only marginally religious.” So excuse me for being a bit skeptical about his take on Christianity. To say nothing of the fact they’re billing this documentary as a film “where Indiana Jones and the Da Vinci Code come to life and change the way we look at the world.” Well, that’s one way to make some money.
I’m curious to see how they’re going to use DNA to prove that it’s Jesus. Do they already have some old Jesus DNA to baseline against? And I suppose this means the original disciples willingly died for a lie?
Besides, if some folks were going to perpetuate a “lie of Christianity” on the idea that the Savior died and rose from the grave, why would they put his body into a coffin next to his family for others to discover? Sort of reeks of obviousness.
This particular story is also not new, as the cave had been discovered in 1980. Seems like Christianity would’ve already been “titanic”-ed by now, with such a find. But it’s alive and well. In addition, even the Time article acknowledges the names inscribed were “common Jewish names”.
And according to an Israeli archeologist:
“At least three other ossuaries have been found inscribed with the name Jesus and countless others with Joseph and Mary,” he said.
Besides, Jesus was the son of a carpenter… hardly the kind of family that could afford a big crypt for the whole family.
“It is just not possible that a family who came from Galilee, as the New Testament tells us of Joseph and Mary, would be buried over several generations in Jerusalem.”
Let’s not forget another similar story from 2003 that turned out to be a complete hoax.
A stone box touted as the oldest archaeological evidence of Jesus is, in fact, a well-crafted fake, Israeli archaeological experts say.
The box, an object known as an ossuary, was said to have contained the bones of Jesus’ brother James.
Carved on one side is an inscription in the ancient language of Aramaic bearing the legend: “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.”
Officials with Israel’s Antiques Authority announced Wednesday that while the box may date from the correct era, the inscription is a forgery added at a much later date.
“The inscription appears new, written in modernity by someone attempting to reproduce ancient written characters,” the officials said in the statement.
So much for claiming there’s no war on Christianity. It’s been declared. War rages on.
Bryan brings up a good point:
Cameron’s project looks like pseudoscience dressed up to swing away at the foundation of Christianity. Let’s see him try anything similar with the religion of peace. And then we might see just how fast he sinks into hiding.
Seems the pseudoscience is that latest liberal trend. And this isn’t simply a case of cartoons making fun of Jesus… this is an attempt to disprove the very foundation of Christianity. So it will be interesting to see if Christians worldwide will go out and riot, bomb and kill in response to this.
Anchoress reminds us this is a standard “Easter season” kind of story.
From the Discovery Channel’s press release:
Dr. Carney Matheson from the Paleo-DNA Laboratory at Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada, conducted a mitochondrial DNA analysis on microscopic bits of matter recovered from the “Jesus son of Joseph” and “Mariamene e Mara” ossuaries. The test genetically concludes that the two were not maternally related. Given that this was a family burial place reserved for spouses and blood relations, it is possible to deduce that they were a couple.
That’s it? That’s the evidence to prove all of Christianity is a lie?
They could’ve also deduced that given the commonality of the names, or the location of the tomb, or the cost of such a family crypt, that it was just another rich Jewish family who died a long time ago. But it looks like they found the evidence they wanted to find.
CBS wastes no time jumping on this story to promote it as the end of Christianity.
Were Jesus Christ’s Bones Found In Tomb?
Documentary To Challenge Tenets Of Christianity, Claims DNA Identifies Remains Of Christ
An Oscar-winning director is about to challenge the most elemental tenets of Christianity in a documentary on The Discovery Channel, claiming the bones of Jesus Christ and his closest relatives were found in a Jerusalem tomb in 1980.
James Cameron’s documentary claims the bones of Jesus, his mother Mary, father Joseph, and Mary Magdalene — who some say was his wife — were found in the tomb.
Church officials have, predictably, dismissed the documentary’s claims as nonsensical and baseless.
Such objective reporting. Make the discovery look absolute and the criticism unfounded.
I wonder if Mary Mapes and Dan Rather will claim to have a fax copy of Jesus and Mary’s marriage license.
The scholars respond.
In 1996, when the BBC aired a short documentary on the same subject, archaeologists challenged the claims. Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to examine the site, said the idea fails to hold up by archaeological standards but makes for profitable television.
“How possible is it?” [Stephen] Pfann (biblical scholar at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem) said. “On a scale of one through 10 _ 10 being completely possible _ it’s probably a one, maybe a one and a half.”
Pfann is even unsure that the name “Jesus” on the caskets was read correctly. He thinks it’s more likely the name “Hanun.”
“They just want to get money for it,” Kloner said.
Archaeologists also balk at the filmmaker’s claim that the James Ossuary _ the center of a famous antiquities fraud in Israel _ might have originated from the same cave. In 2005, Israel charged five suspects with forgery in connection with the infamous bone box.
And still no mass riots…
Here is a picture of the ossuary in question, with a description of the inscription (from Discovery.com):
Note the presence of the “cross-mark of unknown origin” next to the name. Something to consider about that:
During the first two centuries of Christianity, the cross was rare in Christian iconography as it depicts a purposely painful and gruesome method of public execution. The Ichthys, or fish symbol, was used by early Christians to covertly identify each other. The Chi-Rho monogram, which was adopted by the Constantine I in the fourth century as his banner called the labarum, was an Early Christian symbol of wider use.
I heard a report about this story on the Houston-based Christian radio station, KSBJ, this morning. They mentioned it during the news segment and billed it as a significant new find for Christianity. Obviously, I was surprised by this promotion - without any qualifications - so I contacted them about it to find out whether they had seen the MSM articles billing this as the “end of Christianity”. The DJ that had mentioned the story replied, “That is not how the story presented itself. I will look at your information.”
After a few more emails exchanged, she finally admitted:
“It’s like the JESUS documentary done a number of years ago. I think we need to see it because it’s something we’ll have to answer, but you’re right I should have made that disclaimer thanks!”
I just wonder how many others will make the same mistake when approaching this story.
Captain Ed wonders:
Let’s take a few things in the context of the times. Jesus was a well-known agitator whose crucifixion creates a cult following, in the eyes of the Romans and the leading Jews of the time. The basis of that cult formed around the notion that Jesus rose from the dead. If the Romans knew where his body was buried, why then did they not produce it as proof of his immutable death? In order to be placed in an ossuary, he would have to lie in the tomb for a year, decomposing to skeletal remains. During that time, the Romans could easily have produced the body — or the cult followers could have stolen it and buried it elsewhere to prevent it.
The familial ties also seem rather odd. In the first generation of Jesus, no one mentions his marriage or family. Yet his familiy and followers — ossuaries of Matthew and James are supposedly among the discoveries — supposedly felt it of no moment to bury him with his wife and son, despite their refusal to acknowledge a marriage. By the time his son would have died, the Gospels would already have been written and prophesied in the region and further to Greece and Rome.
And all of this evidence would have been left in the open, in a tomb in the middle of the largest city in the region, where anyone could have discovered it.
He sums it up well by saying:
“This relies on faith at least as much as the Christian religion does, and contradicts common sense.”
But hey, who are we to question their faith in the Almighty
Looks like their “solid proof” is based on a statistical probablity theory (see p. 13).