Skip to comments.Jesus Tomb Case Closed for Most Scholars (It's NOT His Tomb).
Posted on 01/30/2008 4:52:14 PM PST by SeekAndFind
A group of scholars posted a statement rejecting the identification of the Talpiot tomb as belonging to Jesus, a week after a conference in Jerusalem revisited evidence on claims presented in the controversial film "Lost Tomb of Jesus."
In a statement posted Monday on the Duke University Religion Department's blog site, key figures in the discovery of the 1980 Talpoit tomb and other experts who attended the conference agreed that most scholars in attendance rejected the claims that the tomb belonged to the author of Christianity, despite the consensus being represented by the media as otherwise.
"We wish to protest the misrepresentation of the conference proceedings in the media, and make it clear that the majority of scholars in attendance including all of the archaeologists and epigraphers who presented papers relating to the tomb either reject the identification of the Talpiot tomb as belonging to Jesus family or find this claim highly unlikely," reads the statement.
Among the scholars who signed the statement were Shimon Gibson of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, an archaeologist who participated in the dig, Amos Kloner, who supervised the dig, and Duke University professor Eric Meyers, who was among the five panelists in the concluding session.
"It's very unfortunate that a serious meeting of scholars on Jewish belief of the afterlife got so mixed up with media spin," Myers told The Christian Post on Tuesday.
The consensus by the scholars dealt a huge blow to claims made by The Lost Tomb of Jesus" filmmakers, Titanic director James Cameron and Jewish investigative journalist Simcha Jacobovici.
In the film, Cameron and Jacobovici suggested that archaeologists had found the family tomb of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, challenging most Christians belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The duo went further to 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 alleged son.
The experts which included archaeologists, statisticians and experts in DNA, ceramics and ancient languages arrived at their conclusion after five days of testimonies and presentations at last week's conference entitled, Third Princeton Theological Seminary Symposium on Jewish Views of the Afterlife and Burial Practices in Second Temple Judaism: Evaluating the Talpiot Tomb in Context.
Myers said he was "unalterably" and "unequivocally" opposed to the identification of the East Talpoit tomb as belonging to Jesus.
New Testament Language and Literature Professor James Charlesworth of Princeton Theological Seminary, the conference's organizer, also joined Myers and Gibson in the concluding panel to reject claims that the tomb belonged to Jesus.
While there was no formal vote on the matter, the professor said that virtually all the scholars at the conference held the same views.
Myers, who specializes in archaeology and the history of Second Temple, said there are two main reasons why he rejected the claims put forth by Cameron and Jacobovici.
The first dealt with the statistical analysis presented by Andrey Feuerverger, professor of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Toronto. Feuerverger had calculated that there was a 1 in 600 chance that the particular cluster of names found on the Talpoit ossuaries would occur in one of the roughly 1,000 tombs discovered so far.
It wasn't the statistical process he used that flagged the analysis for Myers, but it was the Feuerverger information used to calculate those odds.
Most of that information centered around the reading of the inscriptions on the ossuaries which bore the names used in the analysis. One was interpreted to read "Mariemene e Mara" and in some early Christian texts was believed to refer to Mary Magdalene.
But epigraphers at the conference, however, contested the reading as "Mariemene e Mara" a crucial part of the calculation.
Among them included Stephen Pfann, a biblical scholar at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, who asserted at the conference and in earlier writings said the reading doesn't read "Mariamene" at all but instead "Mariame" and "kai Mara." According to a detailed article he published online last year, he said the ossuary housed the bones of two women, "Mary and Martha."
Citing inferences drawn by Camil Fuchs, head of Tel Aviv University's statistics department, Myers said there is almost no probability that the ossuary belonged to Mary Magdalene.
At the conference, an expert panel of scholars on the subject of Mary in the early church dismissed the link between "Mariamene" and Mary Magdelene. They also firmly rejected the suggestion that Mary Magdalene was married to Jesus and that they had a son.
Pfann also questioned whether the inscription, reportedly reading "Yeshua, the son of Joseph," could even be read.
"These are common names so it's impossible to equate them with familial relationships," commented Myers.
In addition to the problems associated the inscriptions and statistical analysis, Myers also pointed to holes in the analysis of the DNA taken from the bones found in the ossuaries.
Earlier reports indicated that the DNA taken from the bones of the two ossuaries were not related. But Christian theologians were quick to point out there was also no proof that the DNA belonged to Jesus.
In the most recent report, the head of the DNA laboratory at Hebrew University said that the sampling was invalid and contaminated, thereby eliminating any inferences that could be drawn between the non-familial relationship of the bones.
"It was not even worth discussion. That should have closed the case," said Myers of the contaminated DNA.
Myers also denounced a sensationalized remark made by Ruth Gat, the widow of the archaeologists who discovered the Talpiot tomb.
Upon receiving a lifetime achievement award on behalf of Joseph Gat, Ruth Gat said that her late husband always thought the tomb he uncovered belonged to Jesus but never published his opinion from fear of anti-Semitism.
"It's ridiculous," said Myers. "He couldn't read the epigraphy the study of ancient scripts. He was not a scholar; he was just a technical field archeologist."
“..challenging most Christians belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead.”
How often in the past 2000 years have attempts been made to disprove Jesus’ Resurrection? Guaranteed that there will be more to come.
Films and TV shows like that always lose money, yet Hollywood continues to make them.
Cameron is as much of a revisionist blowhard as Oliver Stone. His film ‘Titanic’ should have been titled ‘Titanic Lies.’
I commend the Jewish scholars who were honest and objective in reaching their decision, going against their natural bias against the resurrection of Christ.
It’s not about profit or loss,it’s about pushing a certain mindset-an agenda.
Yeah but Leonardo DiCrappy-o dies in it, so it's worthy of an Oscar nod in my book.
We know where Jesus is, and He isn’t there.
Someone involved with that film spoke at Lunacon, a sci-fi convention in Rye, NY, last March. I listened politely and thought how ironic that he came to a sci-fi con to talk about his work. (Granted, there’s a lot of real science and tech talk at the con, too, but it still struck me as odd.)
That is because the purpose isn’t to make money, but to put doubt into the mind of people sitting on the fence. Satan doesn’t care how much it costs.
All they have to do is read the Book of Acts Chapter 9. If it wasn’t the risen Christ that met Saul on the road to Damascus, then who was it that “forced” him to completely turn his life around?
Instead of a Christian hating zealot, he became Paul, the Apostle, a persecuted and jailed Christian, that brought Christ to us gentiles.
Your tagline says it all!!
The tomb was empty and that is the real story.
It’s a big time thing with the Moslems ~ just about every 4th or 5th sermon at Friday prayers is about their claims that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead.
Nonsense. They've long since moved on to more money making projects and are likely laughing their ways to the bank.
Of course Easter’s coming soon, so I presume they’re already working on their next Christianity-bashing media event.
Okay. So the tomb in question is not Jesus's tomb.
How does that challenge Christian belief?
I thought Jesus and his family were from Galilee. And I think I'd like to have a nickle for every "Judah son of Jesus" there were in Judaea and the surrounding provinces in the first century a.d.
Thanks Fractal Trader.
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What do you mean? I realize the main characters were fictional but apart from that where did he lie?
It isn’t just that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. They claim He didn’t die on the Cross in the first place!
Exactly. And the worst part was that, during all of the hype, many in the media seemed to be saying that even if this was Jesus' tomb it was really no big deal. Scripture says otherwise:
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. ~ 1 Corinthians 15: 17-19
2. The nearly consistent portrayal of first class society as little more than the excesses of greedy pigs and his fawning embellishment of steerage passengers as the salt-of-the-earth was so lopsided as to be little more than a rote socialist boilerplate. Being working class filth myself, I know a thing or two about life in the steerage class.
3. His portrayal of Mr. Guggenheim as a drunken fop was absolutely groundless. By all accounts, he did, in fact, die like a gentleman with dignity.
4. His portrayal of the ship’s officers was a disgrace to the actual men. To a man, he made them incompetent, arrogant and utterly careless. To be sure, it is easy to make judgments from the perspective of a century later (especially from a warm place on land), but both the British and American inquiries found little direct negligence on the part of the ship’s officers either before or during the collision.
5. Cameron chose to portray the final minutes of the Titanic as one of chaos and panic. Actually, the facts weighed by corroborated testimony show the ship was quite orderly right up until she went perpendicular to the water. In the film, pandemonium is present from an early stage and included rushes on the boats, pistol fire by officers and the shooting of passengers. In fact, almost all stations were loaded in an orderly fashion. Gunfire to control panic remains, to this day, a largely unsubstantiated story. No reliable testimony includes the story of officers shooting passengers.
6. Perhaps the most egregious lie was his bald face smear of First Officer Murdoch. Mr. Murdoch was shown taking a bribe, acting as a coward and general incompetent, shooting a passenger and, ultimately, killing himself. None of these events occurred. No direct testimony concludes that Mr. Murdoch shot himself - only a couple second hand stories that under closer scrutiny only described the suicide as that of a "senior officer". Mr. Lightoller himself says he saw Murdoch swept from the deck while attempting to launch a collapsible from his vantage point directly above him. This groundless attack on Murdoch was so outrageous that his hometown rose up and demanded an apology - in fact, it became an emotional national story in Britain at the time of the film’s play in theaters. Fox admitted that much of the film’s portrayal had no reliable basis and quietly came through with an 5,000 Pound endowment for the scholarship set up in his memory. True to form, however, the weasels involved (Cameron & Fox) refused to make an open and public apology. Cameron’s later film ‘Ghosts of the Abyss’ describes First Officer Murdoch as heroic and said his actions saved many lives.
In short, lying scum who are gutless and unable to admit their agenda or face the fallout of their smear tactics. Too bad Cameron’s ancestors weren’t on the Titanic... I could go on, but Cameron isn't worth the time.
Someone looked at the ossuaries and said”well it could be... What if? and the press ran with it.
Thanks for the response. I’d have to say that my major objection was the Billy Zane character, who was an over the top caricature. I don’t know enough about the actual events to otherwise comment but I appreciate your sharing your knowledge.
Cameron was scrupulous (maybe obsessive is a better word) in accurately recreating the portions of the vessel where extensive shooting was done. In fact, he even went to Harland & Wolff for the original blueprints to rebuild a scale replica. In full scale, he had the same carpets woven by the original manufacturers, china patterns recreated by the same Houses that did the originals, exact lifeboat davits built down to the castings - the whole shebang. Then, he proceeded to make-up a revisionist story about class warfare and Marxian economics all cast in the language, behavior and morals of today’s youth. Even the present day ‘heroine’ was a typical aged hippie archetype; proto-feminist, free-love, free-spirit potter artist. Blechh!
There is quite of bit of Titanic revisionism going on today. She has ceased to be history and has become a trademark and business vehicle and, as such, an attractive tool for co-option by the left. IMO, it is the same as serving dung on a sterling silver service.
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