A brief comment on this, as so many people have asked me about it. It would have to be an archaeologist’s worst nightmare. Imagine – your careful academic work, as was Amos Kloner’s supervision of the tomb’s excavation for the IAA (Israel Antiquities Authority) in 1980 – hijacked by Hollywood. And that to produce a sensationalist documentary that the Discovery Channel website, for whom the “Lost Tomb of Jesus” was produced, foretells “will be carried round the world”. It is possibly the most cynical claim yet to be made in the field of Biblical Archaeology and only serves to give the subject a bad name.
Will the world take heed to the comments of Amos Kloner, quoted in the Jerusalem Post who said that the documentary’s claims were “impossible” and “nonsense” and that there was “no likelihood that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb in Jerusalem”? Jesus and his family hailed from Nazareth in Galilee, as anyone with a shred of Bible knowledge knows and there was no reason for them to have a family tomb in Jerusalem. It is worth knowing that Jacobovici and Cameron are not original in their claim. The assertion that the family tomb of Jesus has been located was made in James D. Tabor, “The Jesus Dynasty, The Hidden Story of Jesus, His Royal family, and the Birth of Christianity” (2006).
Watch this theory go the way of all such contrived “sizzling” and “staggering” “discoveries”!
14 thoughts on ““Lost Tomb of Jesus” claim”
Joe Zias just reported on ANE-2 on a visit to the tomb with Reuters and AP reporters
One of my staff actually asked me if we should put this in our news scroller on our site. I’ve never been so quick to say no. Total garbage. I really hope they don’t make Kloner’s interview with them sound like he believes it’s really Jesus’s tomb.
Should be fun to see how it plays out though.
Excellent post Leen. Great words and conciseness as well.
Just one more thought to add to what you’ve already so marvelously said. The claim of the movie of the “long lost tomb of Jesus and his family” completely omits the Scriptural references at all.
Where are the Scriptures in this? If one were to search the Scriptures, it would disprove these claims almost immediately.
Leen, yours is the best comment yet on the subject. Which I also say here: http://drjimwest.wordpress.com/2007/02/26/the-best-comment-on-the-tomb-story-yet/
I wonder if Kloner knows they are using him as an “expert” on thier website?
Thank you for your sensible comments on this subject. I’ve added my own thoughts on my own blog at http://blue.butler.edu/~jfmcgrat/blog/
Commendable observations. I welcome you to consider my own comments on the “Lost Tomb of Jesus,” and the flaws in the argumentation used by its promoters, at
My review includes a study of the statistics used, and what they do and don’t mean.
Perfect work. Great site. Add more pictures. It’ll make your site more attractive.
Looks good! Very useful, good stuff. Good resources here. Thanks much!
To the discerning observer, criticism of the documentary `The Lost Tomb of Jesus’ has proven one thing if nothing else about its critics – a profound and immutable absence of intellectual honesty and objective thought, underscored by a near pathologic aversion to empirically based scientific inquiry, opting instead to shamelessly peddle as documentable historical fact, long held personal beliefs, institutional biases, religious and political agendas.
The fact that an `expert’ may have and eloquently articulate an opinion and find their way to the front of a functioning camera renders, neither them objective, nor their opinions authoritatively accurate.
Fraud is revealed in what the perpetrator seeks to obscure from the intended target in order to achieve a net gain at the expense of their victims. Render impermeable the mind of those who seek and are otherwise inclined to accept and be guided by truth and a victim you shall find. Ted’s eclectic assortment of high brow, self anointed biblical scholars who rose in opposition to the substance of what had been revealed proved sensationally feckless and inarticulate in their rhetoric as they sought to return the Genie to its bottle.
Tactics employed by Israeli authorities involving the confiscation and destruction of ancient ruins and `reburial’ of non-Jewish remains under the auspices of adhering to `strict traditional Orthodox Jewish Law’ revealed a level of arrogance more closely associated with its well documented human rights record.
A significant subtext to the program – a naive public is lead to believe that the burial customs of those, both Jewish and early Christian who passed 2,000 years ago were somehow `deficient’ and so inconsistent with `strict traditional Orthodox Jewish Law’ unique to the period in which they were practiced, that their disturbance, mass exhumations, removal, confiscation, and mass disposal in anonymous unmarked graves and pits 2,000 years later were motivated exclusively some imperative religious duty. As for confiscation, stacking and warehousing of ossuaries (analogous to modern day caskets) in which their loved ones had buried them, in government controlled warehouses, confiscation and leveling of land within which they were entombed, encouragement of private contractors to construct residential high rises and commercial establishments, both above and adjacent to them, amounts to common grave robbing, plunder for profit, and an irreparable crime against history by any other definition. What civilized society on the planet would permit such activities, let alone engages in it as an official government sanctioned enterprise? Collectively, it was these revelations which proved the source of Koppel pronounced discomfort. It should also be noted that Ted is Jewish and a staunch supporter of Israel, warranting heightened scrutiny for the presence of bias in his assessment of, both the documentary and its producers.
For Christian archeologists and theologians, the documentary presents a profound dilemma. The universally recognized eleventh commandment – possession being 9/10ths of the law, applies to and is aggressively observed in Israel in the context of the Palestinians land, personal property, and its unfortunate human rights record toward them. Criticism of official Israeli government policy, particularly regarding the exhumations, reburial, and destruction of ancient human remains, confiscation, warehousing and sale of ossuaries, destruction of ancient tombs and significant Christian archaeology sites, confiscation of land directly above and adjacent to them for profit, are understandably awkward issues, subject to extraordinarily aggressive government censorship as memorialized in the program. Criticism limits access to the country, prohibition from access to certain sites, denial and revocation of licenses for engaging in archaeological activities, accelerated government confiscations, plundering and destruction of site contents by private contractors with the acquiescence and encouragement of Israeli authorities. Construction on these sites is intended to obscure, if not actually prevent access to them, averting subsequent claims, both to the land and their archaeological content, both by Christians, and Muslims.
In the end, it was not merely the reputation of Israel which lay in ruin. Koppel, heretofore recognized and embraced for decades as the consummate, objective, unbiased, honest, fact finding inquisitor (Walter Cronkite of his time), revealed several unflattering things about himself – what was clearly a religious and politically motivated bias and hostility, both toward the documentary resultant from what it revealed and, by extension its producers for what they failed to edit out regarding the Israeli Government’s disturbance and destruction of significant Christian artifacts and archaeological sites, his extraordinary ineptitude in the selection of rebuttal `experts,’ and the fact that there remains something to be said for timely retirement.
By the time ABC pulled the plug on him, and/or he exited the building of his own free will for the last time, he had accrued more than ample empirical evidence regarding sequels – always compared against, more often diminish, seldom an enhancement of the original, destined to be dismissed as a second act in what was essentially a one act play. This documentary proved one too many sequels for Ted who became the story within the story. The corrosive effect of this performance invited an overwhelmingly negative public impression of his work, not merely for the future, but through this misstep, the past.