[This is one of four articles on the so-called "Lost Tomb of Jesus" on this blog. Please see blog archive on the right side of this page].
The resurrected Jesus said to His disciples:
"Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (Lk. 24:39).
A SPIRIT HATH NOT FLESH AND BONES
Does it matter whether or not Jesus of Nazareth’s bones were placed in an ossuary. The answer to that is a resounding yes! The Apostle Paul wrote: “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Cor. 15:14).
Could Jesus have risen from the dead and simply "left His body behind" before he ascended as Dr. James Tabor suggested to Ted Koppel last night? That would make a mockery of the Apostle Peter’s sermon which hinged on the difference between David’s bones resting in his tomb and the fulfillment of the prophecy that David made about Christ; namely, that the flesh of the Holy One of God would not “see corruption” (Acts 2:27-31).
If there is any value to the future study of this tomb, it is hard to see past the heresy for the blasphemy. The Apostle Paul prophesied a "falling away" before the end time. These are interesting times in which we live.
“CHEVRON AND CIRCLE”
What about the mysterious “chevron and circle”? Often on tomb facades there were decorative connections related to the temple. What did the temple facade look like before the renovations of King Herod? What did it look like afterward? Never mind that… on the official site we are fed theories related to the “all-seeing eye.”
Did we see a film on the “Lost Tomb of Jesus”--or Simcha Jacobovici’s cash cow?
Count the many agendas name them one by one--
Count the many agendas see what Simcha & Co. have done.
1) Direct a dramatized hypothesis in coordination with his book’s release $.
2) Promote his dramatized hypothesis just before Easter $.
3) Conclude a dramatized hypothesis leaving room for Talpiot Tomb II $.
4) Use these ossuaries to help the case for his other book on the James ossuary $.
5) Use scholars for analysis of inscriptions while editing out their opinions.
6) Order the inscriptions so that those most acceptable to Christians appear in the “documentary” first—while the radical suggestions are left as a sneak attack.
7) Present a not-so-subtle feminist agenda in depicting Mary Magdalene.
8) There was no mention of the fact that 35 persons were buried in this tomb: “17 in the ossuaries (based on an average of 1.7 individuals per ossuary), and 18 outside the ossuaries” [See Amos Kloner, “ A Tomb with Inscribed Ossuaries in East Talpiot, Jerusalem,” ‘Atiquot (Jerusalem), vol. 29 (1996), 15, fn. 2]. With an average of almost two persons per ossuary, exactly how were they certain that they had the DNA of the person mentioned in the inscription? This is just one of many gaps in logic in this “documentary.”
DIFFERENCE IN QUALITY OF INSCRIPTION
As I point out in the article below [“The Talpiot Tombs: Again and Again and Again!”] the difference in the quality of the inscription on the “Yeshua bar Yehosef” ossuary was given little attention.
According to Amos Kloner’s report, the tomb was vandalized in antiquity and the blocking stone, known as a golal, was never found for this tomb. It was supposed to have been removed in antiquity. Or was it removed in more modern times? Though the original maps of the Talpiot tomb shows that the soil level was almost a foot above the buried ossuaries, the inscription on the “Yeshua bar Yosef” ossuary was scratched in a messy fashion near the lid. Only one or two of the first four letters are fairly legible.
In an article for MSNBC [“Have Researchers Found Jesus Christ’s Tomb?” March 5, 2007 issue], Lisa Miller and Joanna Chen related the Concern of John Dominic Crossan, “leader of the liberal Jesus Seminar and author of “Excavating Jesus.” According to Crossan, “the biggest questions relate to the early break-in: who vandalized the cave, when, what did they do there and why?”
Many Palestinian Arabs and also Israelis have been known to enter tombs to find and sell antiquities. An ossuary inscription from Talpiot was the focus of Islamic claims against the resurrection of Jesus in 1945. The inscription “Yeshua bar Yosef” is the most interesting that has been found in the tomb for many reasons. Several ossuaries have been found bearing this same inscription. Of all of the inscriptions it is the one done poorly—scratched—with apparent lack of light or visibility. The others appear possibly to have been done outside the tomb in antiquity and are more deeply etched. “Jesus, son of Joseph” looks suspiciously like it was accomplished inside the tomb itself. If so, when was it inscribed?
Even if all of the inscriptions are genuine, these were very common names. As I point out below, several of these names were Maccabean and very popular in this period. As for Mariamenon e Mara, I offer a few suggestions below that the "documentary" did not explore. How many possibilities did it explore? Oh, yes... one.
Can anyone call this “documentary” what it is—callous, prideful, sensational, unscholarly opportunism! As I described below, there were sensational claims for an ossuary in 1931 with the same inscription (Yeshua bar Yosef) and again in 1945 (two ossuaries with the name “Jesus” appeared—from a Talpiot tomb). Yet in those days there was no Hollywood producer biting—and no Emmy-award-winning directors who had read Dan Brown’s book.
R. Kirk Kilpatrick
Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew
Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary
Jesus Tomb Exposed: Excellent collection of links
Faithmaps: Another good collection of links
Targuman: "The Chevron and Circle on "Jesus'" Tomb
Dr. Craig A. Evans: "The Tomb of Jesus and Family? Second Thoughts"
Rod Bennett: Progress on the Lost Tomb