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.
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