Tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem and a joke …

Since, along with, most probably, the majority of archaeologists who deal with the ancient Levant, I have been asked about the question of the supposed tomb of Jesus and his family (that has been newly “rediscovered” in the Discovery Channel “documentary by Simcha Jacobovitz) scores of times in the last few days, by friends, students, the media, and even a couple of passing stray dogs, I thought that I should join the very clear message of the responsible archaeological communitee and say – this is HOGWASH!! (excuse my French!).

This is a completely regular, early Roman family burial, typical of Roman Judea during Herodian times. The names on the ossuarries are comletely typical of this period, and there is no connection between this and Jesus, and his family – asides from the fact that all parties were Jews.

Unfortunately, this is not the first documentary that Simcha has taken the liberty of combining archaeological/historical evidence with a very active imagination (and very good PR), so, I believe that we can keep it at this level.

In any case – it is good that it keeps the public interested in archaeology – now, we, responsible archaeologists have to be able to present our finds to the public in an exciting, but yet scientific manner.

And if on this topic, one can mention the old joke of how one knows that Jesus was Jewish:

What are the 4 theological proofs that Jesus was Jewish?

  1. He lived at home until he was 30.
  2. He went into his father’s business.
  3. He believed his mother was still a virgin.
  4. His mother thought he was God.

All the best,


3 thoughts on “Tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem and a joke …

  1. it is interesting what is happening to historical record today. Consider a series like The Century Of The Self from the BBC which examines Freudian influence on public relations. At first I was impressed and then I began to study the various names mentioned and realized that it was simply an attempt to simplify the issue as to make it dramatic. They left important details in order to retain constant association back to Freud and his cousin Edward Bernays as the proprietors of the Culture Industry of today and the saturation of consumerism.

    One wonders what historical record will look like with such mockumentaries/documentaries taking prevalence in social conscience over more reliable resources. We havent reached that point yet but just looking at the internet, where rank is determined by popularity (google bases rank on who links to a resource the most for a certain keyword), i can only imagine it getting worse. I havent seen the documentary you are talking about but can imagine… im sure it was entertaining :/



  2. Achish Melek Gat

    All right, as someone who has a dog in this fight, I’ll chime in. Aren is accurate in calling this “Jesus Family Tomb” business “hogwash.” (That is a really descriptive term — imagine how disgusting the liquid in which a hog was washed would be — and certainly quite defiling!) The whole thing just isn’t “kosher”! :) The claims made by Jacobovici and Cameron are, as Joe Zias maintains, nothing but “pimping” a legitmate find into a totally bogus story. These film makers are attempting to add 1+2+3+4 and then attempting to convince the public that it equals 1,234! The common nature of the names inscribed on the ossuaries totally belies the absurd conslusions of the film maker’s “statistics.” And their reliance on a late 2nd or early 3rd century foreign source (the “gospel of philip”) to claim that Mary Magdalene’s name was really Miriamne instead of Miryam is functionally flawed — the first rule of interpretation is that earlier sources are more reliable, and none of the earliest sources (the four canonical gospels) refer to the Magdalene as “Miriamne.” The film makers are baiting and switching the evidence. If it were not for the canonical New Testament gospels, the world at large would have neither knowledge of nor interest in Jesus of Nazareth. The filmakers are simply attempting to transport the character of Jesus completely out of the earliest narratives of his life, and put that character in an artificial construct of their own making. But this accomplishes what? Nothing real about Jesus can be learned from such artificial and undocumentary reconstructionism. This “pimping” of the figure of Jesus by the film makers is just another example of the “Davinci Syndrome,” which has as its main symptom the uninhibited desire to make alot of money. As for Jesus having a child, I am sure that some man named Yeshua had a son named Yehuda, and that said son was entombed in the place we now call Talpiot. But there were probably two dozen men called Yehuda bar Yeshua during the run of the first century CE. This proves absolutely nothing about the person we know as Jesus of Nazareth. As for the earliest sources concerning his life and doings, there is not even a hint that he had a child of either sex. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the public arena, among a media who seem eager to legitimize all kinds of nonsense speculation. It will run its course, and then be gone. As for me and my house, I’ll be digging at Gat! :) The best to all!

    AMG (aka Jeffrey R. Chadwick, Utah USA)

    PS Aren, great joke. Even a conservative like myself thinks that Rav Yeshua would get a chuckle from it. :)


  3. Pingback: Pulpit Magazine » Blog Archive » Asking the Experts about Jesus’ Lost Tomb

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