Scholars criticize new Jesus documentary





JERUSALEM -- Archaeologists and clergymen in the Holy Land derided claims in a new documentary produced by James Cameron that contradict major Christian tenets, but the Oscar-winning director said the evidence was based on sound statistics.

"The Lost Tomb of Jesus," which the Discovery Channel will run on March 4, argues that 10 ancient ossuaries —- small caskets used to store bones —- discovered in a suburb of Jerusalem in 1980 may have contained the bones of Jesus and his family, according to a press release issued by the Discovery Channel.

One of the caskets even bears the title,"Judah, son of Jesus," hinting that Jesus may have had a son...

Cameron told NBC'S"Today" show that statisticians found"in the range of a couple of million to one in favor of it being them."...

Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to examine the site, said the idea fails to hold up by archaeological standards but makes for profitable television...

Stephen Pfann, a biblical scholar at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem who was interviewed in the documentary, said the film's hypothesis holds little weight...

Pfann is even 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...

"It was an ordinary middle-class Jerusalem burial cave," Kloner said."The names on the caskets are the most common names found among Jews at the time."...

"I don't think the James Ossuary came from the same cave," said Dan Bahat, an archaeologist at Bar-Ilan University."If it were found there, the man who made the forgery would have taken something better. He would have taken Jesus."

Related Links

  • Reuters report on 'The Lost Tomb of Jesus' (video)
  • 'The Lost Tomb of Jesus' (Discovery Channel)


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