Monday, February 26, 2007

Tombs of Jesus and family found

Was Jesus really resurrected? Christians believe this as a fact but an incredible archaeological discovery (tombs with the names The Virgin Mary, Jesus of Nazareth, Mary Magdalene and Judas, their son, have been found) in Israel and a new documentary based on it are hoping to change history and shock the world. From Time's The Middle East Blog:
In a new documentary, Producer Cameron and his director, Simcha Jacobovici, make the starting claim that Jesus wasn't resurrected --the cornerstone of Christian faith-- and that his burial cave was discovered near Jerusalem. And, get this, Jesus sired a son with Mary Magdelene.

...film-makers Cameron and Jacobovici claim to have amassed evidence through DNA tests, archeological evidence and Biblical studies, that the 10 coffins belong to Jesus and his family.

Ever the showman, (Why does this remind me of the impresario in another movie,"King Kong", whose hubris blinds him to the dangers of an angry and very large ape?) Cameron is holding a New York press conference on Monday at which he will reveal three coffins, supposedly those of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother Mary and Mary Magdalene. News about the film, which will be shown soon on Discovery Channel, Britain's Channel 4, Canada's Vision, and Israel's Channel 8, has been a hot blog topic in the Middle East.
As expected, scholars and clergymen in Jerusalem are not to pleased with the new Jesus documentary. From International Herald Tribune:
"The historical, religious and archaeological evidence show that the place where Christ was buried is the Church of the Resurrection," said Attallah Hana, a Greek Orthodox clergyman in Jerusalem. The documentary, he said, "contradicts the religious principles and the historic and spiritual principles that we hold tightly to."

Stephen Pfann, a biblical scholar at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem who was interviewed in the documentary, said the film's hypothesis holds little weight.

"I don't think that Christians are going to buy into this," Pfann said. "But skeptics, in general, would like to see something that pokes holes into the story that so many people hold dear."

"How possible is it?" Pfann said. "On a scale of one through 10 — 10 being completely possible — it's probably a one, maybe a one and a half."

Pfann is even unsure that the name "Jesus" on the caskets was read correctly. He thinks it is more likely the name "Hanun."
But both producer James Cameron and his director have defended the Jesus tomb findings and called out to the skeptics to watch the documentary and then make their comments. From MSNBC:
Appearing on TODAY on Monday, Cameron and Jacobovici said statisticians who have looked at markings on the bone boxes estimate that the probability that the remains uncovered in 1980 are not those of Joseph, Mary, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, a son of Jesus and other relatives are more than 100 to 1.

"I think people have their specific agendas and their specific kind of knee-jerk reactions, but I think when they see the film and they see how the evidence is presented, then they should comment," said Cameron.

TODAY host Meredith Vieira, who read the book and watched the documentary, said the implications are astounding given that billions of people have been taught that Jesus was resurrected both in spirit and body, ascended to heaven, never married and had no offspring. The film and book, if accepted, could shake the church that Jesus founded to its core.

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