Have the Bones of Jesus Been Found?
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
Simcha Jacobovici, a television director, and movie director James Cameron (of Titanic fame) have teamed up to produce a television documentary for Discovery Channel titled “The Jesus Family Tomb.” In this production, Jacobovici suggests that the real tomb of Jesus has been discovered, complete with ossuaries for His body, Mary Magdalene’s body, His mother Mary’s body, and the body of Judah, allegedly the son of Jesus. This outlandish claim, although supposedly backed by scientific and historical “evidence,” is another sad example of senseless hype surrounding baseless claims about Jesus Christ.
The available historic evidence overwhelmingly destroys the false assertions made by Jacobovici. First, the idea that Jesus’ bones were buried would contradict the most historically accurate book ever written—the Bible. As Newsweek writers Miller and Chen wrote: “Good sense, and the Bible, still the best existing historical record of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, argue against Jacobovici’s claims” (2007). Indeed they do. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most historically documented event in ancient history (see Butt, 2002). The New Testament documents have been examined with a scrutiny beyond any applied to other historical books, and their authenticity and reliability have dumbfounded the most skeptical observers. With one voice, the books of the New Testament declare that Jesus Christ was buried in a borrowed tomb, rose three days after His death, and ascended to heaven, leaving no bones behind to be buried in an ossuary.
Furthermore, besides the fact that Jacobovici’s idea goes against the Bible, other details militate against the tomb being Jesus’ (not that any are needed). For instance, the names on the ossuary were very common. In fact, almost one-fourth of women in Jerusalem at the time would most likely have been named Mary or some derivative form of the name (Miller and Chen, 2007). In addition, the tomb is of a wealthy family and was located in Jerusalem. But Jesus’ family was poor from Nazareth. As Alan Segal, religion professor at Barnard College, stated: “Why would Jesus’ family have a tomb outside of Jerusalem if they were from Nazareth? Why would they have a tomb if they were poor?” (as quoted in Miller and Chen).
In truth, this latest “discovery” is little more than an attempt to cash in on the hype created by Dan Brown (author of The Da Vinci Code) and his ilk. It is so devoid of truth and legitimate historical scholarship that it is more of a science fiction film than a documentary. This and a host of future attempts to cast doubt on the biblical narratives will come and go, but rest assured that “the Word of the Lord endures forever.”
Butt, Kyle (2002), “Jesus Christ—Dead or Alive?” Reason & Revelation, 22:9-15, February, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/121.
Miller, Lisa and Joanna Chen (2007), “Raiders of the Lost Tomb?” Newsweek, March 5, [On-line], URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17328478/site/newsweek/.