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Tomb of the (Still) Unknown Ancients: More Jesus hype of the "Da Vinci Code" type.
OpinionJournal.com ^ | March 2, 2007 | Ben Witherington III

Posted on 03/02/2007 7:39:39 AM PST by maryz

Year after year in spring, a new crop of religious dandelions pop up in our post-Christian culture. Like the real ones growing in my yard, they make a colorful splash that briefly captures our attention, until we realize that they are only shallow-rooted weeds, not beautiful flowers planted long ago in the deep rich soil of the past, such as Easter lilies.

Last year, it was the Gnostic nonsense of the "Da Vinci Code." We've had the "Gospel of Judas Iscariot," written centuries after the eyewitnesses were dead. This year it's a variation on the "Da Vinci" theme. We are not only being told that there was a Mrs. Jesus (a k a Mary Magdalene). We are also informed that her tomb and that of Jesus have been found in Jerusalem; that DNA testing has proved that they are not related and so must have been married (how exactly does it prove that?) and that an ossuary or small casket of at least one of their offspring has been found as well. News at 11! Or, in this case, on the Discovery Channel's documentary "The Lost Tomb of Jesus," scheduled for Sunday night.

In a surreal moment on "Larry King Live" earlier this week, the film's producer, James Cameron (of "Titanic" fame), told us with a straight face that we should all be thankful that we now have tangible evidence that Jesus existed. . . . [I]t tells us a lot about the state of our culture that Mr. Cameron's remark, backed by pseudo-science, could be seriously made on national television and that the film's companion book has already shot up to No. 5 on Amazon's rankings. We are a Jesus-haunted culture that is so historically illiterate that anything can now pass for knowledge of Jesus.

(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cameron; discoverychannel; epigraphyandlanguage; faithandphilosophy; godsgravesglyphs; gospelofjesuswife; hewasarabbi; jamescameron; jamesossuary; jesustomb; karenking; letshavejerusalem; losttombofjesus; mariame; mariamne; marymagdalene; rabbismarry; sectarianturmoil; simchajacobovici; talpiot; talpiottomb; tomb; weddingatcana
Mr. Witherington is professor of New Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky., and the author of "What Have They Done With Jesus?"
1 posted on 03/02/2007 7:39:44 AM PST by maryz
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To: afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; Askel5; livius; Cicero; Gophack; eastsider; ...

Occasional ping!


2 posted on 03/02/2007 7:41:04 AM PST by maryz
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To: maryz

This all reminds me of the old SNL skit where Fr. Guido Sarducci was trying to sell what he claimed was the menu for the Last Supper.


3 posted on 03/02/2007 7:44:56 AM PST by mkmensinger
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To: maryz

What is amazing about all of this hype is that it is not new information. I have excavated in Jerusalem for nearly 30 years, and I have seen the following: thousands of ossuaries (bone boxes), most of which were labeled Yeshua (or Joshua-Hebrew name for Jesus, Miriam (Mary), Yochanan (John), Judah or Judas, Shimon (Simon.) These were all common names at the time. For all of those that don't know, traditional Judaism of that day: when a person died, they were placed in a tomb until the flesh rotted off. Then the bones were collected and fit into a small box about 2' long by 1' wide, and collected with other bone boxes in a burial chamber. This was called the second burial, or the second death. There are thousands of ossuaries that have been found, most of which have had their bones romoved....to try to suggest that this was the tomb of Jesus and that his "wife" was buried with him because of DNA testing is criminally stupid (you could, at best, prove that she was Jewish.) This Gnostic attempts were first generated in the 4th century to acquire wealth--that is why you see the same attempts now--the Da Vinci code made money.


4 posted on 03/02/2007 8:04:27 AM PST by richardtavor (Pray for the peace of Jerusalem in the name of the G-d of Jacob)
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To: mkmensinger
Must be an old skit -- today he'd just sell it on e-bay! ;-)
5 posted on 03/02/2007 8:06:57 AM PST by maryz
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To: maryz

It had to be from the 1970's.


6 posted on 03/02/2007 8:09:06 AM PST by mkmensinger
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To: richardtavor

Are you an archaeologist by trade or is this more of an avocation? Sounds interesting, in any case!

Could you expand a bit on 4th century Gnostic attempts to make money? I don't think I ever heard of that.


7 posted on 03/02/2007 8:11:52 AM PST by maryz
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To: maryz

Gnosticism was basically a cult. It comes from the Greek "gnosis," meaning knowledge. It is based on the usual cult assumption that there is a hidden knowledge, which only the elect or the elite know about. So you join the organization as a beginner, and pretty much pay your way into it, with money, work, admiration, and so forth.

It's a pattern that you see over and over again: an inner circle toward which newcomers strive.

Catholicism, to take one instance by contrast, is hierarchical, but there is no "hidden knowledge" at the core. The Pope has authority, but he doesn't know anything vital that is hidden and secret and different from what is made publicly known, that is hidden from the masses.

Not to judge it, Masonry has one thing in common with Gnosticism, because you have 33 degrees of initiation into the inner secrets of the organization.


8 posted on 03/02/2007 8:21:59 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: maryz
Of course, the main implicit contention of the documentary and book is that the Resurrection is demonstrably a fraud

Why can't the resurrection be compatible with the finding of human bones? If Jesus was resurrected with a 4 dimensional perdurantistic body, he would still have a physical and natural body, but would not need 3 dimensional pre-resurrection bones. His new body would allow him to vanish and reappear suddenly, and also appear to enter closed rooms without having to go through the door.

9 posted on 03/02/2007 8:30:34 AM PST by mjp (I don't want to live in Mexico, Marxico, or Muslimico. I want limited government and lower taxes.)
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To: Cicero

I knew that much about Gnosticism -- I never encountered any connection of it with acquiring wealth.


10 posted on 03/02/2007 8:33:52 AM PST by maryz
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To: mjp

The tomb was empty. What would He have done with His old three-dimensional body and why wouldn't the Jews and Romans eager to disprove the Resurrection have found it?


11 posted on 03/02/2007 8:47:48 AM PST by maryz
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To: maryz

this thing was "found" in 1980. wasn't that about the time all this "alternate Jesus" thoeries began sprouting like locusts?


12 posted on 03/02/2007 9:06:04 AM PST by camle (keep your mind open and somebody will fill it full of something for you)
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To: camle

Well, that idiot "Jesus seminar" started in 1985 . . . ;-)


13 posted on 03/02/2007 9:11:44 AM PST by maryz
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To: Cicero

Sounds a lot like Scientology. which was started as a means to make money. People pay a lot of money to reach the "clear" state.


14 posted on 03/02/2007 9:19:25 AM PST by DeweyCA
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To: DeweyCA

Scientology's a scam? Just ... damn.


15 posted on 03/02/2007 9:29:42 AM PST by agere_contra
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To: DeweyCA

Yes, as it happens I bought a pulp SF magazine when I was a teenager, and one of the letters to the editor was from L. Ron Hubbard, at that time a science fiction writer.

The going rate for the pulps was a penny a word. Hubbard wrote in to say that he had thought of a better way to make a living than that. He proposed to start a religion.

I think I still have a copy of that pulp magazine somewhere in my attic, but I disremember exactly which one it was.


16 posted on 03/02/2007 9:36:54 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: maryz
 We are a Jesus-haunted culture that is so historically illiterate that anything can now pass for knowledge of Jesus.
 
 We are a  haunted culture that is so BIBLICALLY illiterate that anything can now pass for knowledge of Jesus.


17 posted on 03/02/2007 10:31:16 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going....)
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To: maryz

They can't wait to debase and smear the Catholic Church and Christians in general, especially around Easter or Christmas. And all for money. Well, we know where James Cameron and the author of the 'Da Vinci Code' are going when they assume room temperature.


18 posted on 03/02/2007 12:15:57 PM PST by hershey
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To: maryz
The tomb was empty. What would He have done with His old three-dimensional body and why wouldn't the Jews and Romans eager to disprove the Resurrection have found it?

If I have read my Rudy Rucker correctly, a 4 dimensional being can put 3 dimensional objects into a 4 dimensional bag and lift it out of the tomb and out of the third dimension entirely.What He did specifically with the old body after that, only He knows.

19 posted on 03/02/2007 3:00:29 PM PST by mjp (I don't want to live in Mexico, Marxico, or Muslimico. I want limited government and lower taxes.)
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To: maryz
One day an archaeologist will find one of my term papers from when I was in Catholic grade school. A Hollywood slimebag will note that the words Jesus, Mary, and Joseph inscribed on top will point to it as an indication that the bloodline of Jesus lives on.
20 posted on 03/02/2007 4:14:11 PM PST by etradervic (Newt in '08)
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To: mkmensinger

Sounds like a good opportunity - but was the menu signed, like the one I've got?


21 posted on 03/02/2007 11:38:42 PM PST by GregoryFul (There's no truth in the New York Times)
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Just adding this to the GGG catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
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22 posted on 03/09/2007 8:45:52 PM PST by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Thursday, February 19, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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