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Theological Reaction

As expected, publicizing the discovery of what may be Jesus' family tomb sparked widespread controversy among theologians and lay people alike. Many Christians set out to disprove the theories of archaeologist Simcha Jacobovici, because they felt that as a result of his unusual find, he was trying to convince the world that the Resurrection of Christ is a myth.

Jacobovici and the other experts associated with the family tomb project have gone to great lengths to try and reassure Christian academics and ordinary people that this is not their intention. Jacobovici and his colleagues want people to simply consider and examine the possibility that Christ's rising from the dead took place from a second tomb.

Common Criticisms

Rejections of the validity of the Jesus family tomb theory have ranged from the emotional, gut reaction to more considered arguments based on Biblical history and scientific techniques.

Some have accused Simcha Jacobovici and those who helped him make the movie about the tomb of being interested only in the money to be generated from publicizing such a massive potential scandal. Others have argued that the names carved onto the tombs were so common in Jesus' time that it's not reasonable to assume they are the names of Jesus and his family - it's just a coincidence. Theologians have made the point that there is no historical evidence that Jesus had a wife (Mary Magdalene). They have also said that such a family tomb, if it had existed, would have been located in Nazareth, not Jerusalem. Other experts have complained that the DNA testing was not extensive enough and should have been carried out on all the graves, not just two.

Further Excavation?

While Jacobovici and his colleagues can use their wits and expert knowledge to refute the claims that are unfounded (such as the accusations of greed) and tackle the scientific counter theories, there is one thing that could help them to finally prove or disprove their theory - further excavation of the area around the tomb. Several academics have also called for an archaeological dig aimed at producing more evidence, to be extended to the caves surrounding the tomb. So why does Jacobovici's team play down that idea?

The answer is that archaeological digs in Israel in places where Jews may be buried, such as ancient cemeteries, can be very controversial. There are sections of the ultra-orthodox Jewish community for whom such activities constitute a desecration of the dead, and a crime against G-d. When archaeological digs have been carried out in the past in areas where people are buried, this has triggered organized protests, sometimes with literally thousands of ultra-orthodox participants. Protestors have even clashed with police.

This creates a very real problem for Israeli archaeologists, who have to take these considerations into account before they start digging. It is a reasonable assumption that there will be other graves surrounding the tomb in question, and there is therefore likely to be strong opposition to further digging.

Drawing A Blank?

This does not necessarily leave the situation in stalemate. The Jacobovici team believes it has produced enough evidence already to go a long way towards proving its theory, if only people would be open-minded enough to consider it. The information on this website explains how the evidence backs up Jacobovici's position, but does not have to be interpreted as a rejection of Christ's Resurrection.

Jesus of Nazareth Mary Magdalene: Mariamne Early Christianity
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