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Jesus Family Tomb In the News

Read the latest news about the Jesus family tomb discovery, including what the critics are saying and reactions from religious communities.

Experts Remain Divided Over Jesus Tomb Find

Professor James H. Charlesworth, a chief New Testament expert from Princeton Theology Seminary, led the Third Princeton Symposium – a four-day academic conference that began on Sunday January 13th to evaluate "the Talpiot Tomb in context". This conference bought together over 50 guests including statisticians, archaeologists and biblical experts to discuss the issue Canadian-based journalist Simcha Jacobovici brought to the attention of global headlines last February with this his documentary film The Lost Tomb of Jesus .

The crucial moments at this year's conference unraveled as Ruth Gat, the widow of Yosef Gat, the archeologist who excavated the Talpiot tomb in 1980, explained why her husband kept his discovery of Jesus' family tomb a secret.

After Mrs. Gat accepted a lifetime achievement award on the behalf of her late husband, she said Mr. Gat being a Holocuast survivor, feared the wave of anti-Semitism that would follow if he announced that the Talpoit tomb was actually Jesus'. Since the discovery challenged Christian doctrine.

However, Amos Kloner, the former Jerusalem District archeologist that Mr. Gat reported to said Mrs. Gat was "mistaken about her husband." Since Mr. Gat never mentioned or documented anything about the tomb belonging to Jesus or his family.

After four days of vigorous debate and discussion of whether or not the Talpiot tomb belonged to Jesus and his family, the opinions of the panelists remained divided ranging from "not possible" to "very possible".

Professor Charlesworth dismissed the idea that the tomb at Talpiot belonged to Jesus, because the ossuaries were scribbled on like graffiti and lacked the expected ornamentations. However, he noted that the tomb was from a Jewish family from the time of Jesus. He also said that it was very possible that the tomb could be linked to Jesus' family.

Similarly, Professor Charles Knohl, one of the notable panelists, on the last day of the conference said there was no evidence not to evaluate the tomb in Talpiot as Jesus' family tomb. He also suggested that the surrounding caves should be excavated to gain more evidence.

However, Shimon Gibson, a fellow archaeologist on Mr. Gat's 1980 excavation team, noted that the haredi (most conservative form of Orthodox Judaism) opposition would dispute any effort of reopening the First Century cave in Jerusalem's Talpiot neighborhood for further investigation.

What does Mr. Jacobovici have to say about the conference on his movie? Mr. Jacobovici felt honor that such a diverse and expert group gathered to discuss the issue at hand. He noted that since the time he made the documentary to now, the public and scientific community's feelings has shifted from "no way" to "perhaps it might be true".

Source: Israel.jpost.com


Jacobovici Welcomes Continued Debate on Tomb Find

Filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici is thrilled that his documentary The Lost Tomb of Jesus is continuing to spark heated debate months after it drew millions of television viewers around the world.

"[A]ll in all, the reaction has been positive," the Emmy Award winning writer and director said. "Millions of people have seen the film now and you always have people who say negative things. That’s to be expected."

Jacobovici continues to dismiss one main thread of criticism put forth by some archeologists, namely that the names inscribed in the ossuaries discovered in the East Talpiot tomb were common names during the time that Jesus lived. "My point is, it’s useless to say names are common," Jacobovici stated, emphasizing instead the exceptionality of the names appearing together as a single cluster.

The director is also stressing the importance of unraveling assumptions that he believes has clouded some individuals' ability to consider the tomb findings in an objective light. "[W]e have to re-examine historical assumptions. I use my skills to reconnect the dots.”

Jacobovici has also directed such documentaries as The Exodus Decoded and Falasha: Exile of the Black Jews. He is currently preparing 26 new episodes of his hit televsion series, The Naked Archeologist.
Source: The Canadian Jewish News


Experts Dig for the Truth

Three months after the Jesus tomb discovery was made public, archaeologists continue to dig for the truth surrounding a hotly contested debate: what historical value does the Bible have?

Spanning the two extreme ends of this argument are individuals who identify themselves as biblical minimalists – who believe that the Bible is a text made up of narrative that does not have a historical basis – and maximalists, who, like creationists, believe that the Bible is based on historical fact.

Most archaeologists, however, identify themselves as falling in between this spectrum of thought, a view shared by even archaeologists that use the Bible as a historical starting point for their excavations. This standpoint is one that is espoused, for example, by Amnon Ben-Tor, considered to be one of Israel’s leading archaeologists. “The two claims of the biblical minimalists, that ‘there is no way of knowing' and that the Bible represents an agenda, do not explain anything,” says Ben-Tor.

"Records were kept, which were studied by historians of their time, which often paralleled the biblical narrative,” continues Ben-Tor, who holds the chair of renowned Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The discussion of the role of the Bible in archaeology is ever more pertinent as more tombs connected to central biblical figures are uncovered. In addition to the discovery of the Jesus family tomb – a finding that was the basis for The Lost Tomb of Jesus documentary which drew over 4 million viewers – a tomb believed to be that of King Herod was recently discovered in Israel. Herod the Great is best known in Christian theology as the king who ordered the massacre of male newborns shortly after the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.
Source: NewsMax


In The News Archive

Experts Remain Divided Over Jesus Tomb Find01/24/2008
Jacobovici Welcomes Continued Debate on Tomb Find05/30/2007
Experts Dig for the Truth05/23/2007
Tabor to Host Jesus Tomb Seminar05/07/2007
Jesus Tomb Director Encourages Further Investigation05/01/2007
Jacobovici: No Scholars Backtracked on Jesus Film04/24/2007
Jesus Tomb Director Takes Time to Reflect Amidst Controversy04/24/2007
Radio Discussion Supports Jesus Tomb Find04/12/2007
Jesus Tomb Scholars Retrace Their Steps04/11/2007
Church to Hold Discussion on Jesus Tomb Find04/09/2007
Seminar to Examine the Lost Tomb of Jesus04/04/2007
Most Non-Born-Again Christians Still Believe in Physical Resurrection, Study Finds04/03/2007
Opinions on Jesus Tomb Linked to Views of Resurrection03/31/2007
Tomb An Opportunity to Discuss the Life of Jesus, Pastor Says03/30/2007
Scholars Propose Alternative Theories About Jesus Family Tomb03/26/2007
Candid Interview with Jesus Family Tomb Filmmaker03/21/2007
Tomb Find Raises Questions, Criticism03/19/2007
Scholar Rejects Jesus Tomb Find03/16/2007
Fresh Criticism of Jesus Family Tomb03/16/2007
Jesus Family Tomb Statistics Don’t Add Up, Experts Say03/15/2007
Jerusalem Bishop: Jesus Tomb Film Misleading03/09/2007
Christian Leaders Weigh In on Jesus Family Tomb Discovery03/07/2007
Experts Weigh in on Jesus Tomb Find03/02/2007
Israel Authorities May Open Talpiot Tomb to the Public02/27/2007
Jacobovici and Cameron Defend Claims02/26/2007

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