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Scholar: 'Jesus Tomb' Makers Mistaken (Ossuary's inscription does not say Mary Magdalene)
PhysOrg ^ | March 13, 2007 | MATTI FRIEDMAN

Posted on 03/14/2007 7:50:29 AM PDT by DaveLoneRanger

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.

The film's director, Simcha Jacobovici, responded that other researchers agreed with the documentary's conclusions.

Produced by Oscar-winning director James Cameron, the documentary has drawn intense media coverage for its claims challenging accepted Christian dogma.

Despite widespread ridicule from scholars, "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" drew more than 4 million viewers when it aired on the Discovery Channel on March 4. A companion book, "The Jesus Family Tomb," has rocketed to sixth place on The New York Times nonfiction best-seller list.

The film and book suggest that a first-century ossuary found in a south Jerusalem cave in 1980 contained the remains of Jesus, contradicting the Christian belief that he was resurrected and ascended to heaven. Ossuaries are stone boxes used at the time to store the bones of the dead.

The filmmakers also suggest that Mary Magdalene was buried in the tomb, that she and Jesus were married, and that an ossuary labeled "Judah son of Jesus" belonged to their son.

The scholars who analyzed the Greek inscription on one of the ossuaries after its discovery read it as "Mariamene e Mara," meaning "Mary the teacher" or "Mary the master."

Before the movie was screened, Jacobovici said that particular inscription provided crucial support for his claim. The name Mariamene is rare, and in some early Christian texts it is believed to refer to Mary Magdalene.

But having analyzed the inscription, Pfann published a detailed article on his university's Web site asserting that it doesn't read "Mariamene" at all.

The inscription, Pfann said, is made up of two names inscribed by two different hands: the first, "Mariame," was inscribed in a formal Greek script, and later, when the bones of another woman were added to the box, another scribe using a different cursive script added the words "kai Mara," meaning "and Mara." Mara is a different form of the name Martha.

According to Pfann's reading, the ossuary did not house the bones of "Mary the teacher," but rather of two women, "Mary and Martha."

"In view of the above, there is no longer any reason to be tempted to link this ossuary ... to Mary Magdalene or any other person in biblical, non-biblical or church tradition," Pfann wrote.

In the interest of telling a good story, Pfann said, the documentary engaged in some "fudging" of the facts.

"James Cameron is a great guru of science fiction, and he's taking it to a new level with Simcha Jacobovici. You take a little bit of science, spin a good yarn out of it and you get another 'Terminator' or 'Life of Brian,'" said Pfann, who briefly appeared as an ossuary expert in the documentary.

In Israel on Tuesday for a screening of the film, the Toronto-based Jacobovici welcomed Pfann's criticism, saying "every inscription should be re-examined."

But Jacobovici said scholars who researched the ossuary in the past agreed with the film's reading. "Anyone who looks at it can see that the script was written by the same hand," he added.

Jacobovici has faced criticism much tougher than Pfann's academic critique. The film has been termed "archaeo-porn," and Jacobovici has been accused of "pimping the Bible."

Jacobovici attributes most of the criticism to scholars' discomfort with journalists "casting light into their ossuary monopoly."

"What we're doing is democratizing this knowledge, and this is driving some people crazy," he said.


TOPICS: Extended News; Miscellaneous; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: epigraphyandlanguage; faithandphilosophy; godsgravesglyphs; gospelofjesuswife; hewasarabbi; jamescameron; jamesossuary; jerusalem; jesuschrist; jesustomb; karenking; letshavejerusalem; losttombofjesus; mariame; mariamne; marymagdalene; ossuary; rabbismarry; sectarianturmoil; simchajacobovici; talpiot; talpiottomb; weddingatcana
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1 posted on 03/14/2007 7:50:36 AM PDT by DaveLoneRanger
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To: DaveLoneRanger

2 posted on 03/14/2007 7:54:10 AM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Perhaps the next documentary will be about the "tomb of Jesus" in Kashmir

http://www.tombofjesus.com/2007/home/welcome.html


3 posted on 03/14/2007 7:58:44 AM PDT by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
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To: dead

Who ever believed this anyow.


4 posted on 03/14/2007 8:00:05 AM PDT by gulfcoast6
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Hmmm...Mary and Martha were the sisters of Lazarus.


5 posted on 03/14/2007 8:03:07 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: gulfcoast6

Another "fake but accurate" liberal attempt to rewrite the events of the world.
Good grief!!


6 posted on 03/14/2007 8:03:50 AM PDT by jackv (just shakin' my head)
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To: DaveLoneRanger
Jacobovici has a lot more serious things to be concerned with than 'driving some people crazy.'

Like a Holy and Righteous God on the Day of Judgement......

7 posted on 03/14/2007 8:04:51 AM PDT by ohioWfan (PRAY for our President and our troops!!)
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To: ohioWfan

AMEN!


8 posted on 03/14/2007 8:06:07 AM PDT by gulfcoast6
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Jacobovici has faced criticism much tougher than Pfann's academic critique. The film has been termed "archaeo-porn," and Jacobovici has been accused of "pimping the Bible."



This part of the article makes me question the integrity of both the magazine and its author.


9 posted on 03/14/2007 8:08:41 AM PDT by DeerfieldObserver
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To: Alamo-Girl; AnalogReigns; AnAmericanMother; Angelas; AniGrrl; annyokie; Aquinasfan; aruanan; ...
More "tomb" debunking by real scholars... PING!

If you want on or off the Shroud of Turin Ping List, Freepmail me.


10 posted on 03/14/2007 8:11:29 AM PDT by Swordmaker (Remember, the proper pronunciation of IE is "AAAAIIIIIEEEEEEE)
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To: AppyPappy

So, the next movie will be "Jesus, the Bigamist".


11 posted on 03/14/2007 8:12:58 AM PDT by true_blue_texican (...against all enemies, foreign and domestic...)
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To: AppyPappy

Yes. That occurred to me too. It seems a bit ignorant to say that the names "Mary and Martha" have no scriptural significance. On the other hand, these were very common names at the time. Maybe if it said Mary, Martha, and Lazarus are buried here, it would be stretching coincidence a bit.


12 posted on 03/14/2007 8:17:07 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: DaveLoneRanger
Even the Christian hating MSM gave up on this story before it aired.
13 posted on 03/14/2007 8:21:33 AM PDT by BallyBill (Serial Hit-N-Run poster)
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To: Swordmaker

...and check out THE RAPE OF THE TURIN SHROUD by William Meacham.


14 posted on 03/14/2007 8:21:37 AM PDT by Monterrosa-24 (...even more American than a French bikini and a Russian AK-47.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Anyone who may be intellectually interested in this would do well to visit James Tabor's blog at www.jesusdynasty.com.


15 posted on 03/14/2007 8:40:48 AM PDT by JmyBryan
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To: AppyPappy

Both names were very common in those days. It would be like discovering a grave today with "John and Mary" on it and deducing it was one particular couple.


16 posted on 03/14/2007 8:48:23 AM PDT by DaveLoneRanger (As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

The inscription actually says "Made in China".


17 posted on 03/14/2007 8:52:54 AM PDT by The Great RJ ("Mir we bleiwen wat mir sin" or "We want to remain what we are." ..Luxembourg motto)
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thanks go to GoLightly and xcamel for compiling the list (thus far) of such topics, and to whomever started the handy keyword:

Sorted this to chrono order:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/keyword?k=jesustomb

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1789769/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1789966/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1790456/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1790579/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1790608/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1790818/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1790884/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1790953/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1791244/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1791251/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1791276/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1791284/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1791352/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1791365/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1791383/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1791513/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1791533/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1791544/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1791583/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1791588/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1791610/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1791875/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1791891/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1791894/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1792121/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1792190/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1792305/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1792583/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1792663/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1793097/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1793996/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1794091/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1794203/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1794358/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1794359/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1794668/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1794698/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1794854/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1794997/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1796250/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1796310/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1796994/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1797491/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1798942/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1800146/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1800706/posts


18 posted on 03/14/2007 8:56:25 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Sunday, March 11, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Psalm 14:1 [[To the chief Musician, [A Psalm] of David.]] The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good.


19 posted on 03/14/2007 8:57:18 AM PDT by savedbygrace (SECURE THE BORDERS FIRST (I'M YELLING ON PURPOSE))
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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.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

20 posted on 03/14/2007 8:57:19 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Sunday, March 11, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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