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The Jesus Tomb, Did They Find It?

By now, many of you have gotten wind in the news, read the book, or watched the Discovery Channel special about director James Cameron’s amazing claim that he discovered the tomb of Jesus. You may remember that James Cameron is the award winning director of the epic, “The Titanic,” along with the Terminator and various other movies. 

Cameron is claiming that the “real” tomb of Jesus has been found, and there they also found a box with his bones, and the bones of Mary Magdalene (Jesus’ supposed wife) and at least one child. If Cameron is correct, to say the least, this will disrupt one of the major tenants of the Christian faith—that Jesus died and rose again to life which means there are no bones in the tomb!

The truth of the matter is that James Cameron’s new discovery is anything but new. The tomb and burial box which he is claiming as Jesus’ was discovered and discredited twenty-seven years ago as having little to do with the New Testament.

As the story is fully scrutinized, look at some of the following key facts:

1. Amos Kloner, the Jewish archaeologist in charge of the investigation in 1980 (and a non-Christian), concluded that this tomb has nothing to do with Jesus or anything else in the New Testament. He is strong insisting on this view in response to Cameron’s alleged new insights.

2. The box allegedly holding Mary Magdalene’s bones has a name on it that is very different than her name in the Bible. Despite Cameron’s fanciful conjectures, there is no good linguistic reason to relate it to Mary. As the English New Testament scholar Richard Baukam states it: in reality, the name usage is decisively against such a connection. This one fact alone, destroys Cameron’s case.

3. The names utilized on the boxes were very common from the first century and we should expect to find many to match names in the Bible.

4. It is very important to note that there is not a single respected archaeologist from the Holy Land willing to endorse Cameron’s claims as true!

It is disturbing that the Discovery Channel would air a show that is aimed at propagating lies. Yet, there is a real craving by people who do not believe in Christianity to find and propagate anything that undermines the wide respect for the Bible in our culture. From the Jesus’ Seminar, to the Da Vinci Code, to Cameron’s outrageous claims, these are nothing but concerted attacks that blind people and keep them from seeing the truth. As Christians, we must respond.

The reason people have not heard more about this amazing discovery is not because it has been kept under wraps but because nearly all of the world’s best scholars (Christian, non-Christian, Jewish, Atheist, etc.) have seen nothing of particular historical value in them. The New York Times published a balanced critique of Cameron’s claims shortly after they were made (which was unexpected). “This is exploiting the whole trend that caught on with ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ ” they quoted Lawrence E. Stager, the Dorot professor of archaeology of Israel at Harvard, as saying in a telephone interview.

“One of the problems is there are so many biblically illiterate people around the world that they don’t know what is real judicious assessment and what is what some of us in the field call ‘fantastic archaeology.’ ”

Let’s stay on our toes and know what both the Bible and good history show us so that we do not fall for such rubbish.

A few years ago, when accepting the Oscar for best director, James Cameron shouted, “I am king of the world!” Unfortunately, Cameron has gone from being the self-proclaimed king of the world to being a peddler of untruth to exploit unknowing people into buying a book filled with lies.

For the record, there are remains of Jesus’ family that have been found on earth. It’s called the Church. But we’re not dead, either.

See Comments by respected New Testament Scholar Richard Bauckham – and Ben Whitherington –

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