Holy ground or wholly bunk?
Israeli archaeologists excavated a burial tomb’s entrance, above, in the Jerusalem neighborhood of East Talpiot in 1980. Inside they discovered 10 limestone ossuaries, or small burial boxes, including one first-century box, inset. Filmmaker James Cameron, right, says the ossuary is where Jesus is buried.
Cameron is producer of “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” a documentary about the site that premieres next week on the Discovery Channel.
The boxes hold no bones, but scientific evidence indicates, Cameron said, that the boxes — six bear inscriptions that indicate the identities of the individuals once buried therein — had earlier held the remains of Jesus and members of his family, including his wife, Mary Magdalene, and the couple’s children. Among the Hebrew inscriptions: “Jesus, son of Joseph.”
To a layman, the evidence “seemed pretty darn compelling,” Cameron said. “This is the beginning of an ongoing investigation. If things come to light that erode this investigation, then so be it.”
The documentary’s claim, that Jesus was married and was not resurrected, would contradict core Christian dogma.
“The problem is that these [inscribed] names are so common” for their time, said Lawrence Schiffman, professor of Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University. “All they have succeeded in proving is that there are tons of people who had names similar to the names of the people in the New Testament.”