The Jesus Family Tomb

If any of you are wondering why I have made no comment on The Jesus Family Tomb documentary by James Cameron … [yawn] … despite my normal interest in historical questions about Jesus, the Gnostic Gospels, and all that [yawn] …. [nod’s off] …. What? Oh, yeah, where was I? Yeah, if you’re wondering why I haven’t written despite my normal interest, well, it’s because this latest “controversy” is just so damn boring and unmotivating.

Here’s an interview with Professor Amos Kloner who oversaw the work at the Talpiot tomb:

The name “Jesus son of Joseph” has been found on three or four ossuaries. These are common names. There were huge headlines in the 1940s surrounding another Jesus ossuary, cited as the first evidence of Christianity. There was another Jesus tomb. Months later it was dismissed. Give me scientific evidence, and I’ll grapple with it. But this is manufactured.

Need I say more?

4 thoughts on “The Jesus Family Tomb

  1. Actually, I find the criticism pretty unconvincing. I have yet to read something that doesn’t nickle and dime the odd cluster of the names in one tomb.
    Not that it matters. So what if they found Jesus’ bones? Somehow, makes you want to chuckle, though. Jesus said He would come back. Interesting if this were true, and no one recognized the myth re-appearing in inert matter. Consciousness and matter somehow always must remain separated in Christo-scientific culture. It would strike at the Church’s authority and control over the meaning of Jesus/Christ.
    But the critics are so lame. They are common names in the tomb, but don’t address the statistical likelihood of that specific cluster in one place. Why? Not to worry. Some grad student is working on it right now.
    Then there’s the impossibility of a Jesus family tomb in Jerusalem, because they were from Gallilee. Huh? Was Jesus ordinary, common? The tomb isn’t in Jerusalem, but half-way between the place of His birth, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem. Weird imagery there. What part of the Acts of the Apostles, and their family, friends and followers would fit into the ordinary lives of typical 1st century Jews, let alone Jesus? Wouldn’t it be fun if they found ‘Joseph of Aramethea’ in there? But Jesus couldn’t be buried in a middle class Jerusalem tomb. He had to be buried in Gallilee, if at all…
    But somehow this tomb must conform to the dumbed-down model of averaging. Why are those statistics of commonality legitimate, but not the statistical likelihood of that cluster of names in one tomb?
    The critics are dismissive, without really tackling the interesting detective work.
    Why is it that the texts and archaeology can’t come together in this instance, but historical texts and the science fit nicely elsewhere? The Minotaur and Labyrinth were thought myth, until they were found on Crete. Methinks both religion and science don’t really want to entertain this for a multitude of their own territorial reasons.
    Be that as it may, if it were true it would be one of the most hysterical stories in history. Jesus bones were found. The rabbis threw them into a pile with other bones and re-buried them. Lost again.
    And did anyone check for signs of crucifixion? Oops.
    So it plays well on many entertaining levels. The critics are just as suspect as the issues themselves. Funny how this Jesus guy won’t ever stand still, no matter how we try to wrap him up, or dismiss him.
    It is one of the maladies of mind culture. Our minds will control the knowledge. The knowledge will not control us.
    Hmmm, maybe we should pray on this and find out if it is Jesus’ tomb. But then that would be Wisdom, and we would still have to choose to accept it, or think of how many different ways it could possibly mean, so we find what fits best.
    Thanks for letting me rant, Matt…


  2. Hi Sun_Warrior
    You don’t seem to have been reading the better reviews of the Talpiot saga. Check out for my own collection of links.
    My reading of the inscription, from a photograph, is ‘Mariame kai Mara’ (just ‘Mary and Mara’, in Greek) rather than ‘Mariamenou Mara’, as Tabor & co require. Even from their starting point it would be a long jump to suggest that “Mara” implied ‘master’ from Aramaic, and that this figure must have therefore been Mary Magdalene. Stephan Pfann’s study (see links) has laid all this to rest by showing ‘kai’ is written in the same cursive style on other inscriptions.
    Without a plausible Mary of Magdala, the other names are unremarkable or ambivalent; there are three or four known ‘Jesus son of Joseph’ ossuaries. Listing most common names from inscriptions, Joseph and Jesus were 2nd and 6th amongst men, Mary and Mara 1st and 4th amongst women. Other names in the tomb have no gospel connection (Juda son of Jesus, and Matthias as a relative), and many gospel names are missing.
    That’s why the tomb impressed no-one when found in 1980, and why the original excavators think the current media circus is funny and/or sad.
    The only story here is that, post-da-Vinci, Mary Magdalene is marketable and newsworthy now.


  3. Thanks, Kalessin, for the links. They were what I was looking for.
    I saw the documentary, here in Canada, and thought it was interesting in how its affect on the media and public opinion played out. If Jesus’ body was or was not found seemed rather irrelevant. But its effect, if it were true, on our modern society, was the real story to me.
    Purusing articles and television shows on the subject was interesting to watch. Despite the decline of Church influence on society, Jesus remains such a flash-point of authority, showing a lack of resolution in the subconscious of Western culture.
    Serious scholars and journalists seemed more outraged at the lack of ‘sensitivity’ to peoples’ faith, than what the possibility might do to themselves. Much like Jesus Himself, the fun part about history is not the truth, but what it does to preconceived notions that society rests on.
    As much as secular society likes to think it has shaken religion off, incidents like this, and reminders of religious-based societies like the Islamic countries, speak much about what we have not dealt with in the last forty-five years when morality fell away, and values took control.
    The tension between the struggles with spirit and faith, and our dependence on empirical evidence is at the root of so much of who we are as a Christo-scientific culture. And science has done a great job over the last century in making us see this.


  4. Please advise if there has been any progress in determining the meaning of the symbols on the outside of the Talpiot tomb.


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