Jesus: Expert reveals how birth date is ‘wrongly recorded’
Millions of Christians across the UK will be gathering to worship on Easter Sunday, known as Resurrection Sunday, the day Jesus Christ had prophesied that he would rise from the dead, according to the Old Testament, and draws the week-long celebration of the son of God’s final days in Jerusalem to a close. Matthew 28:1 says that Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” went to see the tomb with all four Gospels in the Bible — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — reporting women as discovering Jesus’s empty tomb. However, a documentary produced by award-winning director James Cameron sought to prove that Jesus had not in fact ascended into heaven, as he claimed to have found his coffin.
In the early Noughties, the Titanic director joined forces with investigative journalist and director Simcha Jacobovic. Together, they produced The Lost Tomb of Jesus, which aired on the Discovery Channel in 2007.
In the documentary and accompanying book, they claimed to have “DNA tests, archaeological evidence and Biblical studies” that proved that a coffin found by Israeli construction workers 20 years earlier had belonged to Jesus and his family.
The two-hour-long documentary explored the discovery in 1980 of an ancient tomb in Talpiot, Jerusalem, within which archaeologists found ten 2,000-year-old ossuaries — small limestone coffins.
Six of the ossuaries were inscribed with names which were eventually identified. When put together, they all appeared to be closely associated with Christianity.
According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, the coffins read Mary, Matthew, Jesua son of Joseph and Jofa (Joseph, Jesus’s brother).
Mr Jacobovic claimed that Mary Magdalene was written on another, which he said proved that she and Jesus were married.
Not only this but one of the ossuaries is said to read “Judah/Jude, son of Jesus” in Aramaic with the ossuary thought to contain the remains of Jesus and Mary Magdalene’s son.
The suggestion that the Christian saviour had a son would refute the belief that Jesus ascended into heaven. However, filmmakers said it did not prove that he did not rise from the dead.
At the time, Mr Cameron said: “It doesn’t get bigger than this. We’ve done our homework; we’ve made the case; and now it’s time for the debate to begin.”
The claim was, however, slammed as unfounded by archaeologists and theologians.
While these names may sound familiar when clustered together, critics have argued there is no way of knowing that those in the Talpiot tomb are related. It was also suggested that the names were popular and were probably those of a Jewish family.
Israeli archaeologist Amos Kloner told the BBC that the names were common at the time, adding that he did not believe that the tomb was used by Jesus or his family. Instead, he claimed that the filmmakers were merely using the claim to “sell their film”.
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Academic Stephen Pfann, a scholar at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, said he doubted that Christians would do anything other than dismiss the findings.
He told the filmmakers: “I don’t think that Christians are going to buy into this. But sceptics, in general, would like to see something that pokes holes into the story that so many people hold dear.”
However, Mr Cameron compared the discovery of a grave marked Mary Magdalene to finding Ringo written next to graves marked with John, Paul, and George. He added: “Mariamene is Mary Magdalene — that’s the Ringo, that’s what sets this whole film in motion.”
As Abraham said in Luke 16:31: “They will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead”.
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