Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More on the "Jesus' Tomb" story

Several of these links were included in an e-mail from the Biblical Archaeology Society.

From
Crypt Held Bodies of Jesus and Family, Film Says by Laurie Goodstein New York Times 02/27/07:

Mr. Kloner said in a telephone interview that the inscription on the alleged "Jesus" ossuary is not clear enough to ascertain. The box on display at the news conference is a plain rectangle with rough gashes on one side. The one supposedly containing Mary Magdalene has six-petalled rosettes and an elaborate border.

"The new evidence is not serious, and I do not accept that it is connected to the family of Jesus," said Mr. Kloner, who appears in the documentary as a skeptic.

New Testament scholars also criticized the documentary as theologically dangerous, historically inaccurate and irresponsible.

“A lot of conservative, orthodox and moderate Christians are going to be upset by the recklessness of this,” said Ben Witherington [an evangelical scholar], a Bible scholar at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. “Of course, we want to know more about Jesus, but please don’t insult our intelligence by giving us this sort of stuff. It’s going to get a lot of Christians with their knickers in a knot unnecessarily.”
Der Heiland würde im Grab rotieren von Stefan Schmitt Der Spiegel Online 27.02.2007:

Ein Blick in die Tageszeitungen vom Dienstag weckt jedoch Zweifel am potentiellen Erfolg der Cameronschen Geschichtsauslegung: "Jesus-Grab entdeckt?", zweifelt das "Hamburger Abendblatt". "Ist hier das Grab Jesu?", wundert sich die "Bild"-Zeitung. Die "Welt" berichtet von "Skepsis", "unrealistisch" schimpft die "Berliner Zeitung".

Man darf davon ausgehen, dass diese Ablehnung nicht allein dogmatisch begründet ist. ...

Als das Feuilleton der "Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung" ("FAZ") am Tag der New Yorker PR-Veranstaltung den Film vorab als "Cameron-Code" verulkte, setzte sie den Trend für die Berichterstattung. Jürgen Zangenberg von der Universität Leiden, Experte für die Bestattungen imPalästina der Zeitenwende, verbreitete den Argwohn des Gelehrten: "Hier geht es um Geld und um Schlagzeilen." Er wurde nicht nur in der "FAZ" zitiert, sondern auch von der Deutschen Presseagentur. Andere Archäologen, Bibelforscher und Historiker reihten sich ein.
Jesus' burial saga: Raiders of the Lost Tomb by David Horwitz [not the kook who runs FrontPageMag.com] Jerusalem Post 02/27/07:

Kloner: A great story, but nonsense by David Horwitz Jerusalem Post 02/27/07

Israel may open 'Jesus tomb' to public by Etgar Lefkovits and David Horwitz Jerusalem Post 02/27/07.

This article,
Analysis: Christian heresy of the Talpiot tomb? by Matthew Wagner Jerusalem Post 02/27/07, suggests that the documentary could produce some unpleasant consequences in the current arrangements for the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site for Jesus' tomb and Resurrection, in the Christian part of Jerusalem:

Throughout history all the major traditional Christian churches have vied for control over the site, one of the holiest, if not the holiest, to the Christian religion.

Infighting and conflict led to an Ottoman decree in the mid-1800s. Thanks to an intricate framework of time-sharing, space division and mutual recognition of jurisdiction, six distinct Christian communities - Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic, and Ethiopians (who have minimal rights) - have shared the Holy Sepulchre with varying degrees of peace.

Any change in the Holy Sepulchre edifice - from replacing broken toilets to creating emergency exits - is hotly disputed. Rights of possession, procession, cleaning and restoring are carefully guarded.

The status quo is so fragile and the balancing of opposing interests is so complex that the sides refrain from adhering to daylight savings time so as not to upset the delicate equilibrium of prayer times.

Centuries of infighting, power struggles and jockeying for positions emanate from the heart-felt belief that a tiny plot in Jerusalem's Christian quarter is the site of Jesus's resurrection.
Predictably, fundamentalists are using the controversy to say, look, you just can't trust all this science stuff. From "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" a made-for-television flight of fancy, Mohler says on Larry King Live by Jeff Robinson Towers Online 02/27/07:

Calling the documentary's claims "far-fetched," [Albert] Mohler said Christians will continue to stand on the truth of Scripture that Jesus rose from the dead and will not be swayed neither by pseudo-science nor statistics.

"There is no time machine here that is going to take us back to the First Century and actually tell us what happened there," he said.

"I'm going to base my beliefs on the Scriptures which hold together far better than the kind of farcical documentary we are talking about here, throwing in a little bit of statistics. I mean, you're talking about the most common names, especially the most common male names, also female with the name Mary, you're talking about anything that could be found just about anywhere."

James Tabor, chairman of the department of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, also appeared on the program. (my emphasis)
What makes the anti-Semitic bigot Bill Donohue any kind of authority on Biblical archaeology? I have to question the judgment of Albert Mohler, who is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, for agreeing to appear on a program with a low-grade sleazebag like Donohue.

If you're so moved, you can hear Brother Al's own version on his
radio show of 02/27/07.

Mysterien um das Heilige Grab von Lars Langenau Süddeutschen Zeitung 27.02.2007:

Die Windel des Heilands ist in der Schatzkammer des Aachener Doms zu bewundern - und sein Leichentuch gleich in mehreren Orten. Allein mit den in katholischen Kirchen aufbewahrten Holzsplittern des Kreuzes von Jesus sollen weltweit mehrere Galeeren zu bauen sein. So ähnlich verhält es sich mit den Nägeln, mit denen er ans Kreuz genagelt wurde.

Als Entdeckerin des überwiegenden Teils dieser wundersamen Dinge gilt die Heilige Helena. Die Mutter von Konstantin dem Großen - dem Begründer des Oströmischen Reiches - lebte bis 330 nach Christus. Heute gilt sie als eine der ersten Pilgerreisenden. Bei einer Tour nach Jerusalem im Jahre 300 fand sie zielsicher das Grab des Erlösers - und ließ darauf eine Kirche errichten.

1700 Jahre später stellt sich in die Reihe von Helenas geistigen Ahnen der dreifache Oscar-Preisträger James Cameron ("Titanic"). Gemeinsam mit dem israelisch-kanadischen Dokumentarfilmer Simcha Jacobovici will er in Jerusalem einen Sarg aus Kalkstein gefunden haben, der eine wahre Sensation wäre - wenn denn alles stimmt, was die beiden behaupten. ...

Auch die Namenskombination auf den steinernen Knochenkisten ist für den Religionswissenschaftler kein Beweis. "Die Namenskombination kann damals viel häufiger vorgekommen sein", sagte [Jürgen] Zangenberg. Die Auswahl der Namen sei damals sehr klein gewesen: "Jesus ist wie Hans oder Kurt."
Experts question claims behind Jesus documentary by Dion Nissenbaum, McClatchy Newspapers 02/26/07:

The documentary used DNA testing on samples taken from the ossuary for Jesus and a second for Mary to show that the two sets of bones weren't related, evidence the television researchers said indicated that the two probably were married.

The documentary suggests that the ossuary labeled Judah, son of Jesus, may have carried the bones of their son, though the researchers make no mention of doing DNA testing on that box.
That does seem to be a strange part of the argument the filmmakers have made in the advance publicity. If they tested for DNA on the "Jesus" and "Mary" bones, why did they not test for DNA on the supposed son? It presumably would at least have confirmed that it was the son of the two whose bones were in the "Jesus" and "Mary" boxes.

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1 comment:

tembelg said...

Whatever the scientific evidence indicates, people won't change their minds about this subject.
A thriller published last year -"The Bone Box"- revolves around an early attempt to commercially expose this very same Talpiot tomb. Great read, whether you believe the bones of Jesus have been found, or not.