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Monday, February 26, 2007

Jesus Tomb - Not!

This post concerns the article on the Discovery Channel website regarding the current "Jesus Tomb" brouhaha. In the final analysis, it's amazing how Discovery, et al., can continue putting out such malarkey over the years without any damage to their credibility.

If you read that article closely, you will see a perfect example of intellectual legerdemain in action. Firstly, they say there's DNA evidence "suggesting" the tombs are those of Jesus, et al. What is this evidence? They took the DNA of the bones and compared it to what? Did they have some DNA evidence that had already been scientifically determined to be that of Jesus? Wow! That IS big news!

From this article, what this so-called evidence appears to be is that the bones in two of the ossuaries - one reading "Jesus" and one "Mary" - are not related. Therefore, goes this incredibly specious argument, they are the bones of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene! The guy who is making all these definitive connections, Jacobovici, was involved in the Jame ossuary hoax - how credible is he? In his declarations, he is already assuming a priori that these tombs are proved to have been those of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. Considering that Jacobovici is now trying to prove that the James ossuary came from the same tomb, my suspicion is that all of this sleight-of-hand is an attempt on his part to resurrect his own reputation.

I find it interesting that there is no mention of the work of James Tabor called The Jesus Dynasty, which, not having read, I am assuming is based on the same tomb and which was widely touted on all the talk shows some years ago. Why is he not being mentioned now? Could it be because his work has been discredited since then, and the producers don't want anyone to realize the connection? (This is speculation on my part, obviously, since I haven't followed that debate.)

Furthermore, what about the Jesus tomb found in 1945 in the same Talpiot Quarter of Jerusalem, as I mention in my article on the James ossuary? It had charcoal crosses on it - so why couldn't THAT be the tomb of the "real Jesus of Nazareth?" Perhaps because, as the archaeologists themselves have repeatedly stated about this "new" find (from 1980), there is no real, solid and scientific evidence to that effect? I.e., the archaeologists on neither tomb have made these definitive connections - and that's an important point. Nowhere does Discovery even mention the 1980 tomb's archaeologist Amos Kloner, who pointedly stated, ""It's a beautiful story but without any proof whatsoever."

If the inscriptions are from the Herodian period (1 BC to 1 AD), per Frank Moore Cross, how the heck are they relevant to Jesus and his family? Even if Jesus himself had been born and named by then, did someone predict his marriage to Mary and the name of their son, born decades later, such that these inscriptions were made before either event had occurred, in anticipation that both would be buried there? What nonsense!

As to the conclusion by "Jodi Magness" that the New Testament writings demonstrate Jesus "likely" lived during the 1st century AD/CE - wow! I'd never heard that before. What stellar reportage.

And what is "Matthew" doing in this family tomb? Say, now, that's why the book of Matthew is so "accurate" - because Matthew was in reality one of Jesus's lost siblings! (FYI, that's sarcasm, because the book of Matthew and the other gospels reveal the writers did NOT have familiarity with the topography and geography of Palestine at the time, proving they could not have lived there and been eyewitnesses to the events. For more on the problems with the New Testament, please see my book Who Was Jesus?)

Discovery reports that a scholar has stated that the name "Mary," as in "Mary Magdalene," was probably "Mariamene" or "Mariamne." Well, that's good enough for Discovery, apparently, to conclude that these bones belonged to Mary Magdalene! Never mind that the name "Mary" was common in Jerusalem at the time - and has been found on numerous tombs and ossuaries, including two in this so-called Jesus Tomb itself.

As concerns the silly statistic regarding the names (600 to 1), again, the fact is that the names Jesus, Mary and Joseph were VERY common at that time. The name Mary, in reality, was apparently SO common that there are THREE Marys mentioned in the gospel tale! Indeed, there are few other named females in the gospel tale, such as Anna and Salome, and these are relatively minor characters. Hence, for the major female characters in the gospel drama, we are faced almost exclusively with Marys! What are the odds for that? Could it be that the gospel writers hit upon the names Jesus, Mary and Joseph PRECISELY because they WERE so common? It would be much easier to place them into history because of this commonality - the results of such efforts being that here we are some 2,000 years later squabbling about which "historical" Jesus, Joseph and Mary these characters were!

Based on this sketch at Discovery, what it comes down to here, apparently, is that, because the two sets of bones in the 1980 Talpiot tomb discovery are not related, they are THE Jesus and Mary of New Testament myth. From there, we have the set of bones belonging to a "Judah son of Jesus" that must be those of the son of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene! (As an aside, would Jesus and Mary - had they actually been married and parented a child together - really name their son after the person [Judas] who betrayed Jesus to the authorities?!)

Discovery Channel is obviously the World Weekly News of television. I'd say the National Enquirer, but that august publication is actually far more accurate in its reportage.


Allan said...

From the BBC:
"Local residents said they were pleased with the attention the tomb has drawn.

"It will mean our house prices will go up because Christians will want to live here," one woman said".

skullnboner said...

LMAO to Alan! Ya think a bunch of Christians would actually like to live near a boneyard in Israel or Israeli's relishing the thought?! Nah! They will just bring the tourist dolla's, rub the chrystal balls, go home and wait for the eternal cumming of Yasus!

RedTailedHawk said...

Maybe the bones of Jesus and Mary were ID'd using dental records as well as DNA testing ;-)

Anonymous said...

acharya s is right again jesus (if he existed at all) was just a man! he sure did not fly to some imaginary heaven.. and the tomb (if it was jesus) does not prove he was the "son of god"!

Anonymous said...

"As an aside, would Jesus and Mary - had they actually been married and parented a child together - really name their son after the person [Judas] who betrayed Jesus to the authorities?!)"

Well, had they of had a child, they would've done so before he was betrayed, and if Jesus wasn't actually God, and rather just a philosopher with a wife and family, he'd of had no idea it was Judas who would be his betrayer.

But Acharya would never twist the truth or use faulty logic when there's a point to be made...

Prairie said...

Just a quick observation... If Jesus and Mary were real and if they had a child, there is no reason not to name him Judah. More than likely, the child would have been born before Jesus died, and therefore before he was betrayed. Unless he was precognitive, he couldn't have known his disciple Judas would betray him.

I predict the tomb is as real as the shroud of Turin! ;-)


cjonesmcse said...

I don't think anybody believes the discovery of this tomb proves any Jesus was any god. If it proved anything, it would be that this Jesus was NOT a god. If it could be proven that this Jesus was the basis for the New Testament fraud, then it would prove that Christianity was a lie. Unfortunately, it can't be proved and Christianity will ignore this as "the devil's work" and go on about its blissfully ignorant ways.

Professor(Jeff Irick) said...

Score another one for the numbnuts. They never cease to grab at straws, do they? Seems to me that their "faith" must be a little shaky given the lengths they go to trying to "validate" their myth. In addition, I don't think most of the idiots realize that if it should prove to be the tomb of "Jesus" and "Jesus" could be proven to be an actual historical figure that Christianity was based on it actually blows the religion completely out of the water. The bones of Jesus? Gee whiz - the man's dead, no resurrection, bye-bye Christianity. What a giggle.

Acharya S said...

That's a fair point.

But the vicious, snide and disgusting attack on my character is reflective not of my integrity or ethics but of your own immaturity and nastiness.

It is also evidence of YOUR twisting of the facts to suit your personal agenda against me, apparently.

Acharya S said...

Even though you have a fair point that I hadn't thought through, I should add that if Jesus wasn't really crucified or somehow survived the crucifixion, per "The Passover Plot," it would not necessarily be the case that his son was born before the betrayal.

In any event, there remains no reason for your infantile, disrespectful and disgraceful ad hominem against me.

Acharya S said...

My previous remarks, by the way, were in response to the hostile character assault by "Anonymous," not by the comment by "Prairie."

Unlike "Anonymous," Prairie was able to make his/her point without feeling the need to attack my character. Thank you for your civility, P, so utterly lacking in the blind believer.

Anonymous said...

Acharya asks what the researchers compared the DNA to. You see, a team of scientists used time travel technology to go back to Jesus' time to collect the sample for comparison.

This bone box shit is just more smoke and mirrors to distract from the fact that Jesus is an amalgamated, mythological, personification of the sun. Recycled, pagan mythology. Blah, blah, blah...

cjonesmcse said...

They didn't "compare the DNA" to anything in order to "prove" it was Jesus. Acharya mentions this later. They compared the DNA of the remains in the "Jesus" ossuary to the DNA of the remains in the "Mary Magdalene" ossuary and found that they were not related matrilineally. This added to their "statistical probability" that it was the tomb of "Jesus' family" because the two could have been married. *shrug*

freethinkaluva said...

"could have been married" ???

... doesn't prove spit & anyone who has tried to say that this is THE tomb of Jesus has lost ALL credibility & should be forever humiliated & embarrassed.

Where's the responsibility & accountability here? Pull fraudulent crap like this in nearly any other field & it could land you in jail - not so with religious claims. It's a total free-for-all. Go ahead & make whatever religious claim you choose because 'burden of proof' & evidence appearently mean nothing & are not required. All one needs is 'faith'. The reason faith is the main requirement is because there's no evidence.

I'll try this with the IRS & see how far I get.

cjonesmcse said...

As I've said in other forums, I really don't get all the atheist outrage over this. I'm an atheist and I don't give a rat's ass. If they say this is THE tomb of Jesus, as an ex-Christian, it suits me just fine! Absolute proof that the basis for Christianity was NOT god and did NOT resurrect and ascend into "heaven" would be a highlight of my year. Of course, it can't be proved and is therefore just fun to think about.

Chris Rosebrough said...

I've written a comprehensive rebuttal of the films claims. Please read it and decide for yourself whether or not the film claims are solid or a hoax.

You will find it at

cjonesmcse said...

Hard to do a "comprehensive" rebuttal when you haven't seen the documentary yet.

I read your article and there are of course many of your own (and Christianity in general's) unfounded assumptions to deal with.

You claim "The Apostle Paul argues that If Jesus didn’t bodily rise from the dead then Christianity is a FALSE religion and should not be followed or observed."

To that I say, "HALLELUJAH, BROTHER!" Just what I've been preaching ever since I left Christianity in the dirt where it belongs. Jesus did NOT bodily rise from the dead nor bodily ascend into heaven and Christianity IS a FALSE religion and should not be followed nor observed.

More on the matter at hand after the documentary is aired and the book is read.

Amos Keppler said...

Here is my poetic view on it all:

Joe Brown said...

It appears, with a very high degree of certainty, that the ossuary of James was taken from a collection of ten ossuaries and three skulls found in this tomb in Talpiot, Jerusalem.
The Suffolk County Crime Laboratory in New York analyzed the patina of the James ossuary and found that it matched the patina (minerals and sediments) built up on the surface of the other ossuaries found in the Talpiot tomb, but did not match samplings taken from other archaeological sites.
Doing a statistical analysis, the chances of finding a tomb with the names of Mary, Yose, Yashua son of Joseph, Matia(Matthew), Mariamne e Mara (Mary Magdalene) together are 600 to 1. The odds are that this is the tomb of Jesus. If you include James into the calculations that would be 30,000 to 1 that this is the tomb of Jesus or 1 chance in 30,000 that it is not. If you now include the name Judah which was found but not included in the calculations, this would multiply theses odds even greater.

I know that the media is making a mockery of this find, but as it turns out, this tomb was found on March 28,1980. It has been hidden from the public for too long. These facts were not manufactured by a movie writer. These are simply facts found by archeologists which were put together by an investigative writer and filmed by a movie producer. As usual the media is trying to get people to laugh it off and look the wrong way.

One point which is extremely important is that DNA was found in the ossuary of Jesus. That means that at least at one point the ossuary did contain bones. As you must be aware of bodies were prepared by wrapping them up with cloth and spices and then placing them in a tomb until the flesh disintegrated (which probably took 1 year) before placing the bones in an ossuary.This would most certainly show that the resurrection, as recorded in the gospels, did not happen after three days. If Jesus had resurrected after three days there would have been no need for an ossuary.

This is another proof that the gospels are Not real history. Jesus was a man who died, his body was placed in a tomb, and one year later his bones were placed in an ossuary in a tomb with the rest of his family.

Louis said...

If Jesus "asended into heaven on the third day" his bones whould not be in a tomb in the first place! And if they were wrong it proves nothing!

Anonymous said...


"JERUSALEM - A scholar looking into the factual basis of a popular but widely criticized documentary that claims to have located the tomb of Jesus said Tuesday that a crucial piece of evidence filmmakers used to support their claim is a mistake. Stephen Pfann, a textual scholar and paleographer at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, said he has released a paper claiming the makers of "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" were mistaken when they identified an ancient ossuary from the cave as belonging to the New Testament's Mary Magdalene.";_ylt=Ao9nSCwXSCUTYJxdGSMP9ygPLBIF


Lucid Glow said...

It's just another Christian fallacy, a bit more clever, but not very clever than the rest.

Anonymous said...

Jesus tomb film scholars backtrack
Apr. 11, 2007

Several prominent scholars who were interviewed in a bitterly contested documentary that suggests that Jesus and his family members were buried in a nondescript ancient Jerusalem burial cave have now revised their conclusions, including the statistician who claimed that the odds were 600:1 in favor of the tomb being the family burial cave of Jesus of Nazareth, a new study on the fallout from the popular documentary shows.

The dramatic clarifications, compiled by epigrapher Stephen Pfann of the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem in a paper titled "Cracks in the Foundation: How the Lost Tomb of Jesus story is losing its scholarly support," come two months after the screening of The Lost Tomb of Christ that attracted widespread public interest, despite the concomitant scholarly ridicule.


Nils said...

What I found absolutely hilarious were the statistical "studies" made with regards to this particular combination of names. They claim that the odds are around 1 in 600. When one considers the size of the city at the alleged time of the burial (several thousand households), aren't we therefore met with the statistical likelihood of finding yet another 9 or 10 such tombs with exactly the same names?

Keep up the good work, Acharya.

Kind regards from the UK,