Much ado and yadda ya about James Cameron claiming to have found the tomb of Jesus, his wife and son, lately. The first time I saw a news item about this online, I said something along the lines of:
Rather odd that this wasn't mentioned long ago, it's not as if the New Testament church had a shortage of enemies.
Since then, others have weighed in and demonstrated that these claims don't hold much water, except as controversy that may briefly draw in advertising dollars. Frank at Atheism Sucks! has a round up of several criticisms here. (excerpts)
"How possible is it?" Pfann said. "On a scale of one through 10 _ 10 being completely possible _ it's probably a one, maybe a one and a half."
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.
The statistical analysis is of course only as good as the numbers that were provided to the statistician. He couldn’t run numbers he did not have. And when you try to run numbers on a combination name such as ‘Jesus son of Joseph’ you decrease the statistical sample dramatically. In fact, in the case of ‘Jesus son of Joseph’ you decrease it to a statistically insignificant number! Furthermore, so far as we can tell, the earliest followers of Jesus never called Jesus ‘son of Joseph’. It was outsiders who mistakenly called him that! Would the family members such as James who remained in Jerusalem really put that name on Jesus’ tomb when they knew otherwise? This is highly improbable
Frank also includes some points from JP Holding.
As McCane's study has shown us, Jesus would never have been permitted to have been buried honorably with his family. Strike 1.
The ossuaries in question were found in Jerusalem area. Beg pardon, but have they forgotten that Jesus' family was from Galilee? Strike 2.
The names in question were outrageously common...
"Captain Ed" weighs in as well here:
Let's take a few things in the context of the times. Jesus was a well-known agitator whose crucifixion creates a cult following, in the eyes of the Romans and the leading Jews of the time. The basis of that cult formed around the notion that Jesus rose from the dead. If the Romans knew where his body was buried, why then did they not produce it as proof of his immutable death? In order to be placed in an ossuary, he would have to lie in the tomb for a year, decomposing to skeletal remains. During that time, the Romans could easily have produced the body -- or the cult followers could have stolen it and buried it elsewhere to prevent it.
The familial ties also seem rather odd. In the first generation of Jesus, no one mentions his marriage or family. Yet his familiy and followers -- ossuaries of Matthew and James are supposedly among the discoveries -- supposedly felt it of no moment to bury him with his wife and son, despite their refusal to acknowledge a marriage. By the time his son would have died, the Gospels would already have been written and prophesied in the region and further to Greece and Rome.
And all of this evidence would have been left in the open, in a tomb in the middle of the largest city in the region, where anyone could have discovered it.
I'm sorry, but this relies on faith at least as much as the Christian religion does, and contradicts common sense. It's nonsense. None of this makes any sense at all, but I'll bet it sells lots of advertising.
But what I found most interesting was this video from The View, where in Rosie asks, "Wasn't the Bible written 200 years after the death of Jesus?"
Sigh, my dear little Rosie, the Bible consists of the Old Testament written before Christ and the New Testament, that last book of which was written before 100ad. This would put the last book within 70 years of Christ with some arguing for an even earlier date. The apostle Paul wrote within 20 or so years as I noted here.
Furthermore, the time from Christ to the NT writings is better than much of ancient history and easily fall within the time frame that disallows legendary embellishment, as established from secular historical data. Paul wrote within 20 years while some were still alive that had seen Jesus after his resurrection, to previously established churches, imploring them to remember what they had already received. He also includes a Christian statement of faith that most date within 3-8 years of the crucifixion.
For those who say we can't use the Bible to prove the Bible, that is much too simplistic in this case. One needs to show that the writers are so biased as to have distorted the data, rather than just imply this. In the New Testament there are claims of eyewitness testimony that should be examined, not dismissed by mere assertion. More on such errors here.
As to that quote Rosie reminded me of
'Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. - Abraham Lincoln
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