“Jesus Tomb” Controversy Erupts—Again

Introduction

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Claims that the family tomb of Jesus has been found in the East Talpiot section of Jerusalem have sparked bitter debate for a second time by a scholarly conference organized in Jerusalem by the Princeton Theological Seminary to assess the likelihood that the Talpiot tomb is indeed the tomb of Jesus. You can follow the heated discussion using the links below.

 


 

Initial Statements

15 Scholars Protest “Vindication” Claim

The Vindication Claim

DeConick: Dubious Mary Magdalene Identification

Lemaire: It’s Very Improbable

Vermes: No Support Whatever

Gibson: Not Vindicated in Any Way

Tabor: It Could Be the Tomb

Zias: Deliberate Misrepresentation

Statments in Response

Simcha Jacobovici Responds to His Critics

Princeton Theological Seminary Statement

DeConick: Response to the Conference Participants’ Letter

Tabor: Response to the Conference Participants Statement

Vermes: No Deep Divisions

Shimron Responds to Jacobovici

Kenyan: Some Very Uncommon Names

Fuchs: The Statistics Are Not “Nil”

Statments in Response, cont’d.

Charlesworth Comments Reported by The Jerusalem Post

Zias: Further Comments

Comments of Dr. Claude Cohen-Matlofsky

Further Comments by Cohen-Matlofsky

Further Comments by Charlesworth

Further Comments by Kenyan

Additional Comments by Cohen-Matlofsky

The Tomb and Statistics

Background

Magness: Has the Tomb of Jesus Been Discovered?

Tabor: Two Burials of Jesus of Nazareth and the Talpiot Yeshua Tomb

Evans and Feldman: The Tomb of Jesus? Wrong on Every Count

 


 

More on the Talpiot Tomb Controversy

The first furor occurred in March 2007 when the Discovery Channel aired “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” which claimed that the Talpiot tomb not only contained the ossuary (bone box) of Jesus but also that of Mary Magdalene, who the program claimed had been Jesus’ wife, and also that of a Judah son of Jesus, who the program suggested had been the son of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Now a second wave of controversy has been sparked in the wake of a scholarly conference organized in Jerusalem by the Princeton Theological Seminary to assess the likelihood that the Talpiot tomb is indeed the tomb of Jesus.

Even though most of the conference attendees felt that the Talpiot tomb was unlikely to have been the tomb of Jesus, Simcha Jacobovici, director of “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” issued a press release claiming that the conference had “vindicated” his program. Several conference participants then issued a statement to the contrary. Here you can read the scholars’ statement, Jacobovici’s press release and initial comments by several scholars. Not surprisingly, those comments have led to more comments and reactions.

In addition to claiming that the Talpiot tomb contained the ossuaries of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Judah son of Jesus, “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” program further suggested that one ossuary, originally discovered along with nine others in the Talpiot tomb but which has since been lost, was in fact the “James brother of Jesus” ossuary that first made headlines of its own in late 2002. “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” was directed by filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici and produced by James Cameron, the director of the blockbuster movie “Titanic.”

Many scholars immediately criticized the program, saying it contradicted much of what we know historically and that it made numerous dubious assumptions.

At the end of the scholarly conference organized by the Princeton Theological Seminary, Ruth Gath, the widow of Yosef Gat, the original excavator of the Talpiot tomb in 1980, told the audience that her husband had believed that the tomb was indeed that of Jesus but had kept his views private for fear of stoking a worldwide anti-Semitic backlash. Despite Ruth Gath’s revelation, most of the conference attendees felt that the Talpiot tomb was unlikely to have been the tomb of Jesus.

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2 Responses

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  1. okjin says

    Oh! my god! The symbol over the entrance of the tomb must be alpha and omega

  2. Wardell says

    Check the date of the Talpiot Tomb, The Talpiot Tomb is 1st Century BCE not CE. The Tomb is pre-Herodian,. It is a Hasmonean Tomb. Jesus was born in 100 BCE.


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