One of the primary claims made by Discovery Channel:
It's important to understand that this is not a new discovery, no matter how sensationally it is billed as one. This tomb was excavated and the ossuaries inside it examined 27 years ago. The claims being made by the filmmakers are being challenged by archaeologist Amos Kloner, who oversaw the original excavation of the tomb in 1980. In the Jerusalem Post, Kloner had this to say:
"DNA analysis conducted at one of the world's foremost molecular genetics laboratories, as well as studies by leading scholars, suggests a 2,000-year-old Jerusalem tomb could have once held the remains of Jesus of Nazareth and his family.
The findings also suggest that Jesus and Mary Magdalene might have produced a son named Judah."
But Bar-Ilan University Prof. Amos Kloner, the Jerusalem District archaeologist who officially oversaw the work at the tomb in 1980 and has published detailed findings on its contents, on Saturday night dismissed the claims. "It makes a great story for a TV film," he told The Jerusalem Post. "But it's impossible. It's nonsense."
"There is no likelihood that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb," Kloner said. "They were a Galilee family with no ties in Jerusalem."
More scholarly voices than mine are able to refute the archaeological evidence. Ben Witherington provides extensive reasons why the physical evidence argues against the tomb belonging to the family of Jesus. Witherington labels the documentary and book, "a sensational story," going on to label it as "full of holes, conjectures, and problems. It will make good TV and involves a bad critical reading of history."
Every year it seems as if there is a book or movie released -- often just before Easter -- which challenges the basic tenets of Christianity (Gospel of Judas, anyone?). How should followers of Y'shua (Jesus) view this particular movie and book? This writer thinks we should not just completely ignore it. As followers of Jesus, we must be able to refute such claims with the truth of the Bible. Here are a couple of responses to the claims being made by Cameron, Jacobovici, and the Discovery Channel.
Nowhere in Scripture is there either suggestion or evidence that Jesus had a son. None. The notion that Jesus escaped crucifixion, married Mary Magdalene, and had a child with her is found in some Gnostic writings, but is without credibility. The New Testament record -- by eyewitnesses -- tells us that Jesus died on the cross (Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19), and rose from the dead (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20).
The family of Jesus did not own a tomb in Jerusalem. The family of Jesus as described in the New Testament was from Nazareth, in the Galilee. His supposed father, Joseph, was a carpenter -- a much-needed trade, but not one that would have generated the wealth sufficient to own a tomb in Jerusalem. It defies logic, then, that the family would have owned such a tomb in Jerusalem, and indeed we have confirmation within the New Testament that such a tomb did not exist. After Jesus was crucified and died, His body was buried by one of his wealthy followers:
"When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a arge stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away." (Matthew 27:57-59)
Had the family of Jesus owned their own tomb in Jerusalem, why would it be necessary for Joseph of Arimathea to bury Jesus in another tomb?
What are your thoughts about the claims of this movie and book?