Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Lost Tomb of Jesus

I just finished watching the 2007 Discovery Channel special "The Lost Tomb of Jesus". The documentary is about the Talpiot Tomb that was unearthed in Israel in 1980 while construction workers were digging the foundation for an apartment complex to be built.

The show claims that there is a very high statistical probability that the tomb is that of Jesus and his family. This conclusion was based on the names inscribed on the ossuaries (the stone coffins). While names like Mary, Jesus, Joseph, James, Matthew, etc. are not exactly rare during that period, the statistician claims that the likelihood of all these people taken together in the same tomb is very rare and it can only point to one conclusion -- this was the tomb of Jesus, his brothers, mother, and 'yes', "wife" (Mary Magdalene) and their 'son'. For Dan Brown / Da Vinci Code fans, this has all the conspiracy theories for a good novel. I just wonder why this did not really make such a big splash on the press.

Israel's agency that handles historical antiquities certainly is not convinced this is Jesus' tomb and sticks to their assertion that these names were too common back in the early days. Supposedly, 1 out of 4 women back then were named "Mary". While the show makes a big fuss about the uniqueness of the way the names are written, counter arguments say otherwise. I guess its up to the discerning reader to come up with their own conclusions. I wonder though why Israel would not want to try and prove that this is Jesus' tomb. After all, wouldn't that vindicate their Jewish belief that Jesus was just a mortal?

The documentary is executive produced by James Cameron of Titanic and Avatar fame. I don't think this documentary will go into 3D anytime soon. :P Here's another reference to the tomb for those interested in knowing more:

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