Skip to comments.Is Israel hiding the secret source of Christianity?
Posted on 01/01/2013 6:32:59 PM PST by Theoria
Were the final resting-places of the family and disciples of Jesus discovered 30 years ago and then hidden as part of a religious-political conspiracy?
The archaeological controversy swirling around two Roma-era burial tombs in Jerusalem refuses to die. Indeed, it has become something of an ugly academic slugfest.
In one corner stands the Israeli archaeological establishment represented by the Israel Antiquities Authority and Professor Amos Kloner of Bar-Ilan University, backed by various respected archaeologists and scholars. In the other stands Simcha Jacobovici, the filmmaker and self-styled Naked Archaeologist, backed by another group of respected archaeologists and scholars.
In 1981, Prof Kloner led an archaeological survey of a 1st-century burial tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem, that was exposed during construction works in the area. Prof Kloner was able to spend only a few minutes inside the tomb before he was chased away by a group of ultra-orthodox Jews who objected to the disturbance of what they suspected were Jewish graves. A number of stone burial boxes or ossuaries were left inside the tomb and it was resealed, eventually hidden under the patio of a newly-built apartment.
The tomb briefly inspected by Kloner was very close to another tomb from the same era that been exposed during construction work a year earlier. That tomb contained 10 ossuaries, of which nine are in the IAA store rooms including ones with inscriptions identifying them as containing the bones of Yehoshua bar Yoseph, Miriam, and Yehuda bar Yeshua (Jesus).
Jacobovici made a film and wrote a book about each of these burial sites. He dubbed the first one The Jesus Family Tomb based on the collection of names that seemed to be members of the family of Jesus. Israeli scholars argued that the collection of names was a coincidence. He also argued that an ossuary inscribed James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus that came to light in 2002 was the missing tenth ossuary an argument denied both by its owner, who says he bought it before the tomb was discovered, and the archaeologists who said the missing ossuary had no inscription.
Jacobovici dubbed the other The Resurrection Tomb, arguing that it held the remains of the early disciples and images from early Christian iconography. Crucial to his argument about the second tomb was his discovery of an image inscribed on the side of one of the burial boxes that he said depicted Jonah emerging from a whale.
In the past, Professor Kloner has appeared in Jacobovicis films, but more recently he has denounced the filmmaker. On Thursday, Kloner laid into Jacobovici at an archaeological conference at Bar-Ilan University, rubbishing his revelations and saying the fish was an image of a vase or amphora commonly found in ancient tombs.
Jacobovici tried to ask a question at the conference, but was not allowed to speak. Instead, he has hit back at Kloner with his own scathing denunciation, accusing the professor of hiding his findings for 30 years and keeping secret files at home.
Jacobovici is no stranger to controversy. He is currently suing Joe Zias, a former Israel Antiquities Authority official, for libel. Zias has long denounced the discoveries of the Naked Archaeologist, criticism which Jacobovici reveals cost him hundreds of thousands when National Geographic and the Discovery Channel canceled broadcasts of his films after Zias challenged their accuracy.
Last year, Jacobovici announced he had found what could be the nails from the crucifixion and accused the Israeli establishment of ignoring their significance. Most scholars said his claims were nonsense.
Jacobovici believes he has discovered the truth about early Christianity and is being targeted from two directions: by the Israeli establishment who want to play down Christian findings in the Jewish state; and by Christians who dont want their religious beliefs undermined by historical evidence to the contrary. He accuses his detractors of being sleeper agents of Christian theology, masquerading as academics.
But the controversy highlights another problem the possibility that showbiz is corrupting archaeology. In the old days, scholars could spend years excavating a site, and then more years, perhaps decades, marshaling material and publishing their conclusions.
In recent years, a new hunger for publicity and acclaim has changed all that. As the cost of excavations and scholarship has risen, archaeologists have turned increasingly to private sponsors and commercial organizations to underwrite their expeditions. Publicity has become a key tool for raising money. With the proliferation of cable TV, channels like National Geographic and Discovery, closely followed by independent film producers, were able to provide huge injections of cash in return for exclusive access and production rights to the most camera-friendly expeditions. After such heavy investment, the producers expect discoveries that will create headlines and attract large audiences.
Suddenly, every archaeologist is being compared with Indiana Jones, and filmed in what appear to be similar settings.
It is understandable that scholars used to scraping together budgets for research and dusty expeditions might be tempted to participate in productions involving the huge sums revealed by the Jacobovici-Zias libel suit.
I dont agree with everything they say in the films, but they pay me an awful lot more than I could ever earn from writing or teaching, one archaeologist who has appeared in such productions told me.
no controversy ping.
Who cares where their bodies were buried? They’re all dust now.
... somebody call Dan Brown - he could write a book about this ....
Not everybody named Jesus is going to be a messiah, but fur shur, back in 01, none of them were Puerto Ricans!
Will this all lead to a remote island and dinosaurs running amuck?
Jesus wasn’t buried anywhere, because He is still alive.
Too bad they cancelled the show, I enjoyed it. National Geographic should have kept it going with peer review or opposing ideas segmented in.
interesting - secret source of Christianity.
And here all this time I thought it was the living Christ Jesus.
“... somebody call Dan Brown - he could write a book about this ....”
or John Brown, for that matter, he knows all about it because...
“John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave
Which very well be the reason there is not much to the story as being some secret source of Christianity. I doubt Jesus having had an additional source of Christianity that was kept secret would allow it to remain a secret for very long. If the secret source had any divine legitimacy, he would never have it remain secret, never allow his followers to remain deprived of it.
A gravesite for Miriam would rock a few boats. That would be Mary. Her presumed bodily assumption would be disproved and a key tenet of Mariology would have to be discarded. This, to me, would be a good thing, since the veneration of Mary has veered into excess and error. Others would fight it tooth and nail.
Are you talking about the Talpiot tombs?
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Thanks Theoria. Smell that? That's the smoke from the torches, they're streaming up the path to the castle right now. ;')
Suffice it to say, if this was genuine, I don't think Christians would be too happy with the results.
Miriam (Mary) is a very common name. Even within the Gospels there were many Marys (Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Mary the wife of Celophas, etc)... The sensationalism of the title notwithstanding, the article is a big nothing. Besides the reference to Miriam, it tries to also imply that the graves contain the bones of "Yehoshua bar Yoseph (I presume this is supposed to be Jesus - son of Joseph)... and Yehuda bar Yeshua (Jesus)". As stated by many others - if the grave of Jesus, or his bones, were available, they would have been placarded to put down this 'outrageous' claim that Jesus is the Christ who died (according to Scriptures), and was buried, and rose again (according to Scriptures). When Peter boldly proclaimed the Risen Saviour on that Pentecost day in Jerusalem (Acts 2), there was no response from the authorities. No grave, no bones to show...
So someone found some graves making references to some very common names at that time - OK. Extrapolating further is a waste of time and energy.
The answer of course is No. Otherwise, the Hollywood jews would have made a box-office smash hit about it.
Mary’s tomb is in Turkey near where the Apostle John lived. You can visit it to this day. The Assumption of Mary is a fairly late Roman idea.
>> including ones with inscriptions identifying them as containing the bones of Yehoshua bar Yoseph, Miriam, and Yehuda bar Yeshua (Jesus). <<
Thus marking this article as ridiculous fiction.
This is the kind of crap that prince Charles would enjoy.
Mary’s tomb in Turkey is very much empty, and the Assumption/Dormition of Mary isn’t of “Roman” or western origin at all.
It’s a very common claim on FR Religion Forum threads, that Mary has no grave, with such claims coming from believers in the bodily assumption of Mary. You should chime in sometime, it’s bound to be interesting, lol.
National Geographic has about the same credibility as Wikipedia.
Remember the faked “feathered dinosaur” pictures?
They’re a joke at best.
"Marys tomb is in Turkey near where the Apostle John lived."
"Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" (James 3:5)
Yes, National Geographic is tainted material. I was a member for over 30 years and quit when they went over to the dark side.
we will find the EXACT spot where Jesus was born....the EXACT spot where Mary was born, the EXACT spot where Cain ana Abel were born before we find out where the hell Obama was born.
Been there. Beautiful and peaceful place.
Hmmm I certainly know nothing about translating ancient hebrew inscriptions on ossuaries but Dan Brown and James Cameron teaming up together in support of this “find” certainly does make me skeptical....
I didn't catch that part of the article. Just more dung masquerading as scholarship. Brown and Cameron certainly made their millions on fiction, and I suppose they can add this one into their fairy tales...
Most ancient tombs are empty. The fact that hers is proves nothing more than that grave robbers don’t care about gender. Most of the Pharaohs of Egypt’s tombs are empty, were they assumed bodily into heaven?
The point is that at the crucifixion Jesus entrusted his mother’s life to John. Thus, she would not have been buried in Judea unless John was and we know that John died near Ephesus.
The only way the origins of Christianity could have been this hidden this completely is if Jesus had never lived. So the tomb actually helps validate Christianity rather than debunk it as said above. The Romans and Sanhedrin would have had these bodies paraded through the near East if Jesus was buried there with criers yelling “Behold your Lord is still dead!”
But no I do not believe in the immaculate conception, Mary was a human woman, just like my wife and daughters and the doctrine of her assumption into heaven is idolatry. That said you are free to believe it if you want.
Two Mary’s and a Sarah ~
OTOH, it is one less ethically challenged "scientist" standing in front of an impressionable classroom.
Belief in the Assumption is idolatry? Jewish tradition -- one that is referenced in passing in the NT -- holds that Moses was assumed into heaven. Are traditional Jews idolaters, then? The Bible says that Elijah was taken up into heaven. Is the Bible an idolatrous book? You may want to rethink that comment a bit ... or a lot.
differance being,,,,The Bible doesnt say Mary was transported to heaven.
She was a normal woman the bible says, chosen to carry out a duty from God, which she did. Only God is worthy of our praise and worship and prayer is done to Jesus himself, no others. I don’t understand why people insist on praying to other entities.
Joe Zias, a physical anthropologist and archaeologist who formerly worked for the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) but was let go during a budget squeeze in 1997... in August 2003, Zias (unnamed) had given a sworn deposition to the Israeli police swearing to having seen the ossuary in the antiquities shop -- without "brother of Jesus" on it.update:
Former IAA employee Zoe Zias told several archaeologists and BAR editor Hershal Shanks in 2003 that he had previously seen the James Ossuary in a Jerusalem antiquities shop without the words "brother of Jesus" at the end of the inscription. At the trial, he admitted he had not seen the inscription and could not read it if he had. -- Joe Zias Under Oath | Excerpts from the Forgery Trial of the Century | Biblical Archaeology Society Staff | 06/14/2012