Jesus was here? Or not? 2,000 year old tomb controversy

‘Jesus Tomb’ Controversy Rages as Archaeologists Explore Another 2,000-Year-Old Tomb – Yahoo! News.

Archaeologists working in Jerusalem claim that a discovery they made inside a burial tomb, dating back to the time of Jesus Christ, could shed new light on the origins of Christianity.

Biblical historian James Tabor, professor and chair of religious studies at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, is working with the team, led by controversial filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici. Using a camera mounted on a robotic arm, the team found a 2,000-year-old engraving, which they claim depicts Jesus’ resurrection, on an ossuary — a limestone burial box that contains human bones — in a first-century tomb.

Tabor believes the engraving found on the ossuary depicts the Biblical story of Jonah, who was swallowed by a whale in the Book of Jonah.

For many Christians, the Old Testament story of Jonah and the whale has come to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus. If the engraving is of Jonah, as Tabor believes, he said it would be the earliest Christian symbol of resurrection ever found.

However, many biblical scholars don’t see it that way at all.

Tip: @dustcircle on Twitter (Steve Dustcircle)

Photo: Discovery Channel

Who WOULDN’T want the publicity surrounding the discovery of evidence for the Old Testament story? So are they seeing things that just aren’t there. That’s what makes this kind of discovery controversial. Are they after truth or sensationalism? Religious scholars are highly dubious. This is a great quote:

“He’s seeing things that simply aren’t there,” Goodacre said. “His head is so full of ‘DaVinci Code.'”

Ah, yes. Pseudoarchaeology. Even though other scholars say this has nothing to do with Jesus, we’re reporting it, aren’t we?

Sorry. But, be skeptical!

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  5 comments for “Jesus was here? Or not? 2,000 year old tomb controversy

  1. April 12, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    As soon as I read Simcha Jacobovici’s name I became very skeptical. As much as I find him highly entertaining, I have yet to be moved by any of his “discoveries”. He is a great TV personality, but we must remember he gets paid to find things that play well on TV.

  2. Mint
    April 14, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    In this case, I don’t think you’re being completely fair. I see no indication here that they think they have discovered Jesus’s own tomb, or even his family’s, at least on this occasion. A true believer, after all, would not expect (or want!) to find Jesus’s bones, now would he? It merely says they may have discovered an early Christian tomb. That’s a credible and sound hypothesis, worthy of consideration, and further research and debate. What I see in the back-and-forth documented in the stories is nothing more than normal academic debate, with a dose of payback for past wrongs thrown in. It’s unsurprising the reaction it’s heated, given the subject, but I’ve read much worse spats in journals over much less sensation claims. It’s their job to be skeptical. Just as in the sciences, if this is a proper expedition–which I must assume it is, given the sensitive location–there will be a published, peer-reviewed paper, and the matter will be discussed in academic circles for many years to come. It’s nothing to get excited or upset about.

    • Mint
      April 14, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      I would add that even somebody who has done bad work in the past can improve, and hope to contribute something to human knowledge. It’s not like they’re hunting for bigfoot. We apply the term “pseudo” to grave robbers like Indiana Jones and Hiram Bingham, not tenured professors at UNC. Show some professional courtesy.

  3. April 14, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    Their goal sounds like it’s to support the literalness of the Jesus story as I read this report. I feel as if either the discoverers and/or the press framed this in a way that was deceptive. Use of the words “Jesus” and “Bible” are hot button words that will get people’s attention. These folks are making entertainment, they aren’t doing careful archaeology. For example, uncovering something and immediately making broad pronouncements about it’s significance is NOT good science.

  4. Joe
    April 18, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Mint, respect is earned, not granted via ones tenured position at the university.

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