POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

Jesus' Family Tomb - Scholars Weigh In


Many of you heard yesterdays announcement of Jame's Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici's "documentary" entitled Jesus' Family Tomb which will air on the Discovery Channel Sunday March 4th at 9:00 EST.  There is a book, a DVD, and lots of hype.  As this is simply a bunch of selective and sensational "evidence" re-told from an archaeological find in the 1980s I think we need to look at the truth involved with this "new" discovery.  The documentary is a 4 million dollar project and from seeing the previous work of Cameron and Jacobovici it will be a fine production though based on fiction.  The problem here, unlike the fictional Da Vinci Code nonsense, this one is presented as fact.  The Toronto Star has a good summary of the story as well as the myriad of conjectures made in order to "prove" this thesis.  The last few lines of the story is quite revealing.

Several New Testament Scholars have weighed in so I wanted to link everyone to the reality about all of this goofiness.  Read these to see past all the connections and assumptions that will be made in this film.

Dr. Darryl Bock - Research Professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary weighs in with Hollywood Hype: The Oscars and Jesus’ Family Tomb, What Do They Share?

The tomb is an old story now being recycled in an effort to make far more of it than the evidence really requires. I was allowed to see a version of the story to air in March, but had to agree to a non-disclosure. I also wrote a summary report on it, some of the concepts I will now share on this blog, since I can now talk. There is no need to fear such discussions. The same evidence is there for all of us. We all want to discover the truth.

Dr. Craig Blomberg - Professor of New Testament, Denver Theological Seminary - Did They Really Find Jesus' Bones?

Recent works by Darrell Bock, Craig Evans, Ben Witherington, Tom Wright, and a host of others all rely on solid, sober scholarship of a kind Dan Brown, National Geographic and the Discovery Channel will apparently never care to publicize. Bolstering conventional belief about anything has never made much money and that’s all it’s really about in these endeavors. (Lest you think I’m being too cynical, Darrell Bock has shared stories with me of what representatives of the major networks told him face to face he’d have to raise in millions of dollars before they’d ever consider doing it.). In a postmodern world, post-Communist world truth gives way to fiction to fuel capitalism.

Dr. Paul Maier - Professor Department of History, Western Michigan University posts an e-mail to friends and readers.

Alas, this whole affair is just the latest in the long-running media attack on the historical Jesus, which – we thought – had culminated in that book of lies, The Da Vinci Code. But no: the caricatures of Christ continue. Please, lose no sleep over the Talpiot “discoveries” for the following reasons, and here are the facts:

Dr. Ben Witherington Research Professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary records his THE JESUS TOMB? ‘TITANIC’ TALPIOT TOMB THEORY SUNK FROM THE START over at his personal blog

So my response to this is clear--- James Cameron, the producer of the movie Titantic, has now jumped on board another sinking ship full of holes, presumably in order to make a lot of money before the theory sinks into an early watery grave. Man the lifeboats and get out now.For those wanting much more on the historical Jesus and James and Mary see now my WHAT HAVE THEY DONE WITH JESUS? (Harper-Collins, 2006).

Dr. Andreas Köstenberger Professor of New Testament Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary comments in his blog post The Jesus Tomb.

It is hard to know whether one should dignify this kind of warmed-up sensationalist commercial ploy with a serious rebuttal. Why would an orthodox Jew and an unbelieving Hollywood producer time the release of a television documentary denying Jesus’ resurrection just prior to Easter? Because of serious scholarship or maximum personal profit?

Finally, Dr. Al Mohler president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was on Larry King Live discussing this with Cameron, Jacobovici, Tabor, and Bill Donahue (Catholic league) - The transcript can be found here. 

As I said, there is no doubt this will be a flashy, highly produced, dramatic documentary which will no doubt "sound convincing" - yet its claims are so specious as to be laughable.  I hope the following links are helpful to you if you have friends and family who watch the Discovery Channel production.