I'll comment on Mr. Cameron's find of Yeshua's grave and bones. Starting about 60 B..C.E to 60 C.E. a newer form of burial was used in Israel NO coffins were used. Below is a quote regarding the find.
"Today, Hollywood director James Cameron, whose claim to fame is a fictionalized account of the sinking of the Titanic, unveiled a documentary claiming a coffin found in Jerusalem 27 years ago once contained the remains of Jesus Christ" In a cave.
An Ossuary was always used after the body decayed for a year and only bones were left. If there is a name written in the "cave" as opposed to the newly carved grave as witnessed, the name would most probably appeared on hte Ossuary and there would have been Ossuaries for each body made of limestone most likely.
The name would not have been a derivative name spelled Jesua 3 centuries ago. As with the Ossuary of Ciaphis found a few years ago, any name would have been in the Aramaic of the time, 30 C.E., and been a derivation of Yeshua, Jesus' actual name not His translated name.
The last known bretheren of Yeshua were brought before the then Ceasar in Rome from Galilee because he was heard Yeahua was of royal blood. They were farmers. Seeing their condition, he apologized to them, gave them money and returned them to Galilee.
In the end, is one to believe an account written down from eyewitnesses and told among the people withing 30 years of its happening? Or believe something which neither matches known archaelology, translation and custom of writing, burial practices and is suddenly discovered in a land over populated with biblical archaeologist, bibilical geographers, liguists, historians and scholars of all credentials both Jew and Gentile?
Posted: 2007/3/19 17:12 Updated: 2007/3/24 12:15
Dr Robert B Turcotte
From: Wakefield RI
Reprinted with permission from Ã‚Â© 2007 B&L Publications.
The first thing which bothered me about "The Jesus Family Tomb" (Jacobbovici and Pellegrino, 2007), was that the tomb facts were not presented as a scientific find, rather as a story. Though peppered with archeological terms and interesting information which match know science, and, which plucks out New Testament passages out of context, the usual route is to expose your finding to collegial scrutiny and stand by your scientific opinion by publishing in a reputable journal. This was not done.
The original archaeological team that excavated the tomb in 1980 determined it to be from the Second Temple period, between 538 B.C. and A.D. 70. Typical of the area, a tomb of this type would be assumed to have belonged to a wealthy Jewish family. About 900 similar tombs have been unearthed in the same area. (Milstein, Milstein. "Jesus' tomb claim slammed by scholars", National Geographic News, 2007-02-28. Retrieved on 2007-03-14).
Family tombs are family tombs and the tradition in those days would be to bury the family together. In addition to the facts given below in the reprint, common sense tells us not to avoid certain obvious known practices of the day. If it were important to bury the family together, it would have been in the family's home town of Nazareth with Yehosef, were the family Patriarch were Yeshua's family still lived. They are buried in the wrong place? If they are relatives of Yeshua?
And if it were important to scribe "Taw", Yeshua [son of Yehosef]" on Yeshua's ossuary, how more important would it have been to scribe "Maryan" [mother of] Teshua or Maryan [wife of] Yeshua. But what of Mariamme? A nick name> "Mara" the masculine feminie of "lord"?
The Hebrew form of her name is miryam denoting in the Old Testament only the sister of Moses. In I Par., iv, 17, the Massoretic text applies the same name to a son of Jalon, but, as the Septuagint version transcribes this name as Maron, we must infer that the orthography of the Hebrew text has been altered by the transcribers. The same version renders miryam by Marian, a form analogous to the Syriac and Aramaic word Maryam. In the New Testament the name of the Virgin Mary is always Mariam, excepting in the Vatican Codex and the Codex Bezae followed by a few critics who read Maria in Luke, ii, 19. Possibly the Evangelists kept the archaic form of the name for the Blessed Virgin, so as to distinguish her from the other women who bore the same name. The Vulgate renders the name by Maria, both in the Old Testament and the New; Josephus (Ant. Jud., II, ix, 4) changes the name to Mariamme.
Josephus, upon whom the authors rely, shows Mariamme to be a common form of Mary. (The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV Copyright Ã‚Â© 1912 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright Ã‚Â© 1999 by Kevin Knight)
Reprinted with permission from Ã‚Â© 2007 B&L Publications.
The Family Tomb of Jesus and Cameron's Discovery TV documentary attempt to prove. And if Jesus Christ's tomb has really been discovered, then all of Christian history has been based upon a false claim---that Jesus physically rose from the dead, was seen alive by over 500 followers at once, spent 40 days teaching his disciples, and then ascended into heaven. But before we get caught up in another Da Vinci type conspiracy, let's look at the facts behind Cameron's claims.
The facts claimed:
1. In 1980 ten limestone bone boxes (ossuaries) dated to the first century, were discovered in an excavated tomb in the Jerusalem suburb of Talpiot.
2. Six inscriptions were discovered with names similar to or the same as some of Jesus Christ's family and disciples:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Jesua, son of Joseph,
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Mariamene e Mara
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Judah, son of Jesua.
3. Cameron attempts to prove that Mariamene e Mara is Mary of Magdalene.
4. DNA analysis identifies that tissues from the ossuaries of Jesua and Mariamene e Mara were not related, raising the possibility they may have been married and had a child.
So, what are the odds that this is Jesus' tomb? According to Cameron and Jacobovici, the statistical improbability of these names belonging to another family than that of Jesus Christ is 600 to 1. However, scholars challenge many of the assumptions in their interpretation of the facts. Let's look:
1. It is true that these ossuaries were discovered in an ancient tomb. But thousands of similar tombs have been discovered in Jerusalem. And ossuaries were often used for the bones of more than one individual. In fact, according to Dr. Craig Evans, PhD, author of Jesus and the Ossuaries, the tomb carried the bones of about 35 different individuals, and about half were from these ossuaries. There was considerable contamination of the site.
2. Are Cameron and Jacobovici correct about the names they assert are on the ossuaries? Not according to many experts. Some were written in Aramaic, others in Hebrew, and another in Greek. This indicates they were not buried in a similar time period. It is not even clear that "Jesus" is named on any of the ossuaries. Dr. Evans's personal examination of the ossuary was inconclusive. Stephen Pfann, a biblical scholar at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, is also unsure that the name "Jesus" on the caskets was read correctly. He thinks it's more likely the name "Hanun." Ancient Semitic script is notoriously difficult to decipher.
Additionally, it should be noted that the names of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were extremely common in the first century. About 25% of the women in Jesus' day were named Mary. Joseph was also a common name. And about one in ten had the name, "Jesua". Dr. Evans indicates that approximately 100 tombs have been discovered in Jerusalem with the name "Jesus" and 200 with the name "Joseph." The name "Mary" is on one out of every four ossuaries discovered.
Each name with the exception of Mariamene seemed common to their period, and it was only in 1996 that the BBC made a film suggesting that, given the combination, it might be that family.
The idea was eventually discounted, however, because, as Bauckham asserted in a subsequent book, "the names with Biblical resonance are so common that even when you run the probabilities on the group, the odds of it being the famous Jesus' family are "very low."
3. The statistical support for the entire "Jesus tomb" theory rises or falls on the question of Mary Magdalene. So did the name Mariamene e Mara mean Mary Magdalene, as Cameron and Jacobovici attempt to prove? Not according to most experts. Their interpretation is simply not supported by evidence. New Testament expert Richard Bauckham notes, "The first use of Ã¢â‚¬ËœMariamene' for Magdalene dates to a scholar who was born in 185, suggesting that Magdalene wouldn't have been called that at her death. "
4. But what about the DNA tests? Doesn't that prove Jesus was in the tomb? Let's look closer at what the DNA test measured. It took residue (there were no bones to examine) from the ossuaries Jacobovici identified as belonging to both Jesua and Mariamene, and used mitochondrial DNA testing to see if they were related. The results proved to be negative, indicating to him that the two individuals were not related maternally. He thus assumes the two were married. But Bauckham isn't impressed. He writes, "If Ã¢â‚¬ËœJesus' and Ã¢â‚¬ËœMariamene' weren't related matrilineally, why jump to the conclusion that they were husband and wife, rather than being related through their fathers? "
It is the fact that these particular names have been discovered in the same tomb that has fueled speculation that it really could be Jesus' tomb. But many scholars believe Cameron and Jacobovici have skewed the evidence to build a case that just isn't there. Additionally, there are many contradictory questions that need to be answered before one jumps to a conclusion that overturns centuries of historical scholarship.
IF IT REALLY WAS JESUS' TOMBÃ¢â‚¬â€œÃ¢â‚¬â€œ
1. Why don't Cameron and Jacobovici cite scholars who disagree with their conclusions? For example, in 1996, when the British Broadcasting Corp. aired a short documentary on the same subject, archaeologists challenged the claims. In fact, the vast majority of archaeologists dispute their claim.
2. Since the custom was to bury the dead in their home town, why would Mary and Joseph's family tomb be in Jerusalem instead of Nazareth? Middle East researcher and biblical anthropologist Joe Zias states, "It has nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus, he was known as Jesus of Nazareth, not Jesus of Jerusalem, and if the family was wealthy enough to afford a tomb, which they probably weren't, it would have been in Nazareth, not here in Jerusalem." Zias dismisses Cameron's claims as "dishonest".
3. Why didn't Jesus' enemies, the Jewish leaders, expose the tomb? They searched unsuccessfully throughout Jerusalem for any evidence of Jesus' body, claiming that Jesus' disciples had stolen it. They hated Jesus enough to want him crucified, and would have been elated to discover his tomb, if it indeed existed.
4. Why didn't the Romans expose the inscriptions as belonging to Jesus? Roman soldiers controlled the entire city of Jerusalem, and they knew his body was missing from a tomb they had been guarding.
5. Why didn't contemporary Roman or Jewish historians write about the tomb? Not one single contemporary historian mentions the tomb in question.
6. Why was the James Ossuary, which has been labeled a forgery, cited by Cameron and Jacobovici as one of the reasons for the tombÃ¢â‚¬Ëœs validity? CBS News correspondent Mark Philips reports "the archeological establishment has lined up to label this claim as bunk. This is the second time The Discovery Channel has been involved in a disputed claim about an ancient tomb," reports Phillips. The man at the center of the previous case is now facing trial for forgery." Ben Witherington, an early Christianity expert who was deeply involved with the James Ossuary, says "there are physical reasons to believe it couldn't have originated in the Talpiot plot."
7. Why are Jacobovici and Cameron waiting until just prior to Easter to launch both the book and documentary? Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to examine the site, said the idea fails to hold up by archaeological standards but makes for profitable television. "They just want to get money for it," Kloner said.
8. Why would Jesus' disciples endure torture for claiming he was resurrected, if they knew it was a hoax? New Testament scholar Darrell Bock asks, "why would Jesus' family or followers bury his bones in a family plot and then turn around and preach that he had been physically raised from the dead?"
ASKING THE EXPERTS
Stephen Pfann, who was interviewed in the documentary, said the film's hypothesis holds little weight. "I don't think that Christians are going to buy into this," Pfann said. "But skeptics, in general, would like to see something that pokes holes into the story that so many people hold dear." "How possible is it?" Pfann said. "On a scale of one through 10 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 10 being completely possible Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it's probably a one, maybe a one and a half."
Osnat Goaz, a spokeswoman for the Israeli government agency responsible for archaeology, said the Antiquities Authority agreed to send two ossuaries to New York, but they did not contain human remains. "We agreed to send the ossuaries, but it doesn't mean that we agree with" the filmmakers, she said.
William Dever, an expert on near eastern archaeology and anthropology, who has worked with Israeli archeologists for five decades, said specialists have known about the ossuaries for years. "The fact that it's been ignored tells you something," said Dever, professor emeritus at the University of Arizona. "It would be amusing if it didn't mislead so many people."
In fact, Cameron and Jacobovici are not the only ones to assert Jesus' tomb has been discovered. Let's look at others who have cited "evidence" in books and on websites:
JESUS' TOMB DISCOVERED IN INDIA?
So called experts claim to have discovered Jesus' tomb in India. The website [http://www.tombofjesus.com] cites eight lines of evidence that leads to the conclusion that Jesus was buried in Srinagar, Kashmir, India. Among other "evidence" it cites:
"The Tomb of Yus Asaph is a fascinating site. The tomb is said to be that of a Prophet who came from a foreign land. His parables, teachings, and burial direction all suggest he was Jesus Christ."
JESUS' TOMB DISCOVERED IN JAPAN?
Another theory puts Jesus' tomb in the Shingo Village (Herai) in Japan. This is also supposedly based upon solid evidence from scholars. For example, the website, http://www.thiaoouba.com/tomb.htm cites the following as evidence:
"In 1935, Kiyomaro Takeuchi discovered a 1900 year old document stored in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, containing evidence Jesus (Joshua) born in Bethlehem to virgin Mary is buried in Herai Village in Aomori district of JapanÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.The document was SO authentic and new, and so explosive at the time that the Japanese government banned the document from public view and locked it in a museum in Tokyo."
So has Jesus' tomb really been discovered? If so, is it in Jerusalem, Japan, or India---or somewhere else? They can't all be true.
Jodi Magness, an archaeologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, expressed irritation that the claims were made at a news conference rather than in a peer-reviewed scientific article. By going directly to the media, she said, the filmmakers "have set it up as if it's a legitimate academic debate, when the vast majority of scholars who specialize in archaeology of this period have flatly rejected this," she said.
Magness noted that at the time of Jesus, wealthy families buried their dead in tombs cut by hand from solid rock, putting the bones in niches in the walls and then, later, transferring them to ossuaries.
She said Jesus came from a poor family that, like most Jews of the time, probably buried their dead in ordinary graves. "If Jesus' family had been wealthy enough to afford a rock-cut tomb, it would have been in Nazareth, not Jerusalem," she said.
Magness also said the names on the Talpiyot ossuaries indicate that the tomb belonged to a family from Judea, the area around Jerusalem, where people were known by their first name and father's name. As Galileans, Jesus and his family members would have used their first name and home town, she said.
"This whole case [for the tomb of Jesus] is flawed from beginning to end," she said.
And that conclusion seems to be the consensus of the vast number of archaeologists. Let us hear from William G. Dever, an unbiased scholar who has been excavating ancient sites in Israel for 50 years and is widely considered the dean of biblical archaeology among U.S. scholars. Dever writes, "I'm not a Christian. I'm not a believer. I don't have a dog in this fight," said "I just think it's a shame the way this story is being hyped and manipulated."
But aside from the tomb, the unanswered question for many is: what evidence exists in the 21st century that proves or disproves Jesus' resurrection? Some skeptics thought there wasn't any evidence and began investigations of their own. What did they discover?
Click here to take a look at the evidence for the most fantastic claim ever made---the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
Y-Jesus magazine examines the evidence for Jesus Christ in seven articles. Read or download the complete article on the resurrection plus the following:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ What is the truth behind the Da Vinci Conspiracy? Click here
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Why Jesus? Is he relevant today? Click here
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