Sunday, March 11, 2007

Coffee Talk

Last week we saw the world premiere of the documentary, "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" on the Discovery channel. There were also many news stories published and hype created for this world premiere on the news. This was followed by an open discussion with the director and investigative journalist Simcha Jacobovici, and leading researcher and author Dr. James D. Tabor of North Carolina at Charlotte answering questions from archeologists and religious leaders with Ted Koppel as moderator. The executive producer of this documentary was no other than James Cameron.

In this documentary, the Talpiot Tomb, or "Jesus Family Tomb" was said to be discovered in 1980 in Jerusalem by a construction crew building apartment complexes. In this tomb was said to contain 10 ossuaries, but the locations of only 9 are currently known. These ossuaries are said to have contained the remains of family members as was the custom in 1st century Jerusalem. On 6 of these 9 ossuaries are marked the words/names of "Yeshua bar Yosef (Jesus, son of Joseph), Maria, Matia (Matthew), Yose (Joseph), Marimene e Mara (Mariamne, guessed to be Mary Magdalene), and Yehuda bar Yeshua (Judah, son of Jesus)." The other 3 names were not mentioned in the documentary as I recall and are not talked about on the Discovery website that I found. Either they did not have names on the ossuaries, or they left that part out in the documentary.

The claim in the documentary is that the 10th ossuary has been found and contained the remains of James, Brother of Jesus. A Discovery documentary on his ossuary is going to be televised on March 28th @ 6:00am. The documentary on the "Tomb of Jesus" would help prove that this was Jesus' tomb that was found, but no solid evidence was proved to link that James' ossuary indeed came from the same tomb. There could be more evidence in James' documentary.

Experts said that these are very common names for that period with the exception of Mariamne. With these names, they had Dr. Andrey Feuerverger, professor of statistics and mathematics at the University of Toronto, concluded a high statistical probability the Talpiot Tomb is the Jesus Family Tomb. In this probability, he used the occurences of all the names and came up that there is a 600:1 probability that it is in fact the Tomb of Jesus and his family. This probability did include taking out Matia, or Matthew out of the equation since there is no mention of a Matthew directly related to Jesus in the Bible.

DNA tests were also conducted on pieces of remains still found in only two of the ossuaries, Jesus, son of Joseph and Mariamne's. These mitochondrial results concluded that the remains of these two individuals were not of the same family. Nuclear DNA results could not be done and since the remains in all of the ossuaries were sent for proper re-burial, no other tests could be done on other ossuaries.

So many questions and discussions have already taken place as to did Jesus have a family? Why would Matthew be buried with Jesus? Who is Mariamne and why is she in the tomb?, etc.

Here are the questions that Orange Alert has...

1.) Why is the life of Jesus and his family been portrayed as such a hot topic lately? With documentaries on Jesus and the way he was crucified, his family, films like The Passion and The DaVinci Code, and now this documentary.

2.) Why have a lot of the recent films and documentaries lately been concluding that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene?

3.) How will any of this be proven without detailed DNA and other analysis of all remains of the tomb?

4.) With all of the research on Jesus lately, does that contradict the faith of Christianity and his being the Son of God and does any of these scientific finding change faith-based religion?

5.) How many people think that they are attempting to tie research together on purpose "to sell the film" as quoted by Amos Kloner, Israeli archeologist, or that it's just a film for skeptics to "poke holes into the story" of Jesus and the beliefs that millions of people hold dear as claimed by Stephen Pfann, scholar at the University of the Holy Land?

Answer one, all or discuss any of these related topics. Please talk amongst yourselves...