Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Now the French are all up in arms

Credit Jennifer for exposing me to the latest "Jesus married Mary Magdalene" trendiness. This appears to be one case in which religion and science are in agreement - and opposed to the Bogus Discovery Channel.

OSCAR-winning director James Cameron is attempting to challenge fundamental tenets of Christianity by suggesting that Jesus may have been a father whose body was buried far from the Jerusalem tomb where believers say he rose from the dead.

In a documentary set to air in the US on Sunday, Cameron and his team contend that they've produced new evidence that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and fathered a son named Judah.

Biblical experts and archaeologists who are familiar with the central evidence instantly discounted the claim, which Discovery Channel has touted as possibly "the greatest archaeological find in history," as an ill-informed, recycled publicity grab....

The Discovery Channel documentary and an accompanying book centre on a 2000-year-old limestone tomb that was discovered more than a quarter of a century ago during a construction project in a residential Jerusalem neighbourhood between the Old City and Bethlehem.

When the tomb was uncovered in 1980, specialists were called. The man who led the effort was Amos Kloner, an archaeologist from Bar Ilan University, who meticulously documented the findings.

The tomb contained 10 limestone burial boxes and scattered bones. Among the inscriptions found on the ancient caskets: Jesus, son of Joseph; Mary; and Judah, son of Jesus....

Then and now, Professor Kloner took no note of the names, saying they were common among residents of the area at the time....

The documentary used DNA testing on samples taken from the ossuary for Jesus and a second for Mary to show that the two sets of bones weren't related, evidence the television researchers said indicated that the two probably were married.

The documentary suggests that the ossuary labeled Judah, son of Jesus, may have carried the bones of their son, though the researchers make no mention of doing DNA testing on that box.

After watching a review copy of the documentary, Professor Kloner criticised it as little more than a publicity stunt.

"The claim that the burial site has been found is not based on any new idea. It is only an attempt to sell," he said. "It's a waste of money."...

The Discovery documentary and book aren't the first to focus on the so-called Talpiot Tomb. A BBC team stumbled across Professor Kloner's research in 1996 and concluded that the tomb was that of Jesus and his family. Then, as now, scientific scholars and religious leaders challenged the report.

Leading the latest Discovery documentary team was director Simcha Jacobovici, who was at the centre of a similar stir four years ago when he produced another piece for the cable company. That documentary focused on an ossuary that was thought to be the oldest archaeological find to bolster the Bible. It bore the inscription: James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.

Within months, however, Israel's Antiquities Authority deemed the ossuary a fake. Israel charged the antiquities dealer who owned it with being part of an artifact forgery ring, and the historic find was treated as a joke.

Jacobovici said he continued to believe in the findings and to stand by his work.

Somewhere, Al Capone is laughing (Geraldo Rivera is probably laughing also).


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Jennifer said...

You brought up one of the several points everyone keeps missing: why have they not tested Judah's DNA to see if he truly is the son of Jesus of Mary? And have they tested Joseph and the other Mary to see if Jesus was their son? The whole thing is just completely idiotic.

Ontario Emperor said...

And it's not even sweeps period any more, I don't think. Crikey!

Ontario Emperor said...

I recorded this, but haven't watched it yet.