If you haven’t already heard, James Cameron today held a press launch for his new documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, to be aired on the Discovery Channel. The film is based on the discovery, in a suburb of Jerusalem, of a tomb containing the graves of Jesua, son of Joseph, Mary, Mary, Mathew, Jofa and Judah, son of Jesua. He’s apparently confirmed from DNA evidence that Jesus and Mary were married and the some of those buried were their children.
If you’re interested, the film web site is at jesusfamilytomb.com [I’m denying it the benefit of a hyperlink] There’s quite a lot of purportedly historical, cultural and theological detail and it’s got an interesting page called ‘provisos’ which notes that Jesus might still be resurrected, but from this tomb, not the one in Jerusalem.
There’s a BBC item on it here which very humbly fails to mention that the BBC produced a programme about this grave in 1996.
As usual with these sorts of things, the ‘experts’ who worked with Cameron turn out to be, how shall we say, less than renowned for their world-wide reputation in such matters. “Archeologist” Simcha Jacobovici turns out to be a film maker and writer with an interest in religious history and Charles Pelligrino has a Ph.D. in paleobiology but is best known for being a writer for Star Trek: Next Generation, author of several science fiction novels and has produced a number of books about the lost city of Atlantis. To make comparisons with Dan Brown’s ‘The DaVinci Code’ is too easy, people!
Among the various responses, is this from the London Evening Standard and there’s a good write up here with helpful cross-referencing.
Expect much interviewing of raving atheist pseudo-historians and raving fundamentalist Christians. Also a certain amount of anxiety and confusion by some Christians and a mild case of bemused disinterest by most of the general public.
After an initial flurry of interest I suspect everyone will be bored of this by about a month after broadcast.
Tuesday 27th Feb
There’s an excellent analysis by Ben Witherington here, particularly from the perspective of Biblical and Church history.
Thursday 1st Mar
Reaction from the Washington Post. Top quote is surely this:
“I’m not a Christian. I’m not a believer. I don’t have a dog in this fight,” said William G. Dever, who has been excavating ancient sites in Israel for 50 years and is widely considered the dean of biblical archaeology among U.S. scholars. “I just think it’s a shame the way this story is being hyped and manipulated.”