Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Archaeologists, scholars dispute Jesus documentary

CNN has this report about a documentary by Academy Award winning director James Cameron. It reveals "two ancient stone boxes they said may have once contained the remains of Jesus and Mary Magdalene." It will air on the Discovery Channel on March 4th.

This is controversial of course. It is already being challenged for historical accuracy. Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to examine the site, said the idea fails to hold up by archaeological standards but makes for profitable television. Kloner also said the filmmakers' assertions are false. "The names on the caskets are the most common names found among Jews at the time," he said.

And of course, a tomb with the remains of Jesus contradicts the Bible which means the vast majority of Christians will dismiss the documentary out of hand. The angel in Matthew 28:6 said at Jesus's grave, "He is not here, for he has risen even as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord was laid." And later after the resurrection in Luke 24:51, "And it came to pass as he blessed them, that he parted from them and was carried into heaven."

Of course, quoting the Bible does not change anything relating to the historical evidence being investigated. The Bible may be wrong. However, it certainly does mean the documentary has a tough task and is going to be dismissed out of hand by many.

I will be watching this documentary. It will be interesting to see the evidence being presented. As Cameron knows how to make entertaining films, this may be worth watching even if the documentary is wrong in historical assertations being made.


ironparson said...

I hope that such a valuable archaelogical discovery can get the attention it deserves instead of serving as a way for Cameron to "expose" Christianity and cash in on that silly "Da Vinci Code" cult movement for the biblically and historically illiterate.

There is not much liklihood that Jesus would have a visible tomb given the activity of a vibrant and authoritative Jerusalem church attested to in both the New Testament (Acts, Galatians 2) and Josephus. This church preached a resurrected Jesus and a visible tomb would have been a major embarassment. In Matthew's gospel the Jewish High Priests ask Pilate to place a gaurd outside Jesus' burial place for the fear that his followers would steal the body and make outrageous claims. Now this is probably not a historical fact but the evangelist's way of rebutting Jewish claims that the folowers of Jesus had somehow "cooked up" the whole resurrection story and showing that the event had indeed been witnessed by Roman soldiers.

In short why go through so much trouble to rebut this claim if the Jewish leaders could have gone and pointed to a tomb?

M-Dawg said...

I had discussed this documentary with my 9th grade World History students during Current Events - even they are doubtful! :-)

I did encourage them to watch the documentary since it's good to see different perspectives.