Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Jesus Family Tomb

I'm sure many of you have heard about the archaeological find in 1980 that is supposedly the tomb of Jesus, Joseph and Mary along with Mary Magdalene and Judah, son of Jesus and Mary as well as a Matthew and Yosef. On March 4 (Sunday Night), the Discovery Channel will be airing "The Lost Tomb of Jesus." Last night, Dr. Albert Mohler Jr., president, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was on Larry King Live discussing this. A full transcript is available here. Also, he has a podcast about this that I will have to listen to tomorrow.

First of all, I would like to say that this is nothing to get up in arms about. Whether or not a filmmaker truly believes this, he has no proof that this is Jesus' tomb. Regardless of your belief in the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, we all know by watching enough CSI that to prove that DNA belongs to someone that you need two samples of DNA. One has to vouch that one of the samples belongs to the person in question. However, there is no sample of DNA from Jesus. Unless, of course, James Cameron has spent some time with Harrison Ford going through the Great Temple at Petra looking for the Holy Grail.

One interesting thing to note is that Dr. James Tabor, Chair Religious Studies locally at UNCC is really going out and supporting this new theory of the Jesus tomb. I've seen that the local newscasts have talked about his support of this. However, it's great that Dr. Mohler called him out on the hypocrisy of that notion because Dr. Tabor wrote a book in which he claimed that Joseph was NOT the father of Jesus. But in this transcript you can read where he believes this theory and asserts that Joseph was the father of Jesus. So, like Dr. Mohler, I would like to know what Dr. Tabor believes? Was he mistaken in his book or is he just following this controversial theory because it supports some of his other notions?

In the transcript, Ben Wedeman (a CNN correspondent) even said "they are referring this story to Israel's prominent archaeologists, who, by and large, as I said, are fairly skeptical."

But I mostly wanted to pass along to you some of what Dr. Mohler had to say on the show. I hope that it can help clear up some of the mud...
Well, it is only startling in terms of the sensationalism, I think, of public relations here. You are talking about a tomb that was discovered, as you said, well over two decades ago. The archaeologists there in Israel, who are the closest to this, have the greatest expertise, are not only looking at this with skepticism, but basically dismissing its claims.

You are talking about frankly trying to dress up an old documentary, the BBC did something like this over a decade ago, with this kind of supposed statistical research and DNA testing. The DNA testing is to me the most laughable aspect of all of this. I mean, frankly, there could be a thousand, thousand different explanations for whatever DNA pattern they could find.

No one has the DNA of Mary. You know, trying to bring this into a modern crime investigation is like trying to go back and figure out who exactly put the first dagger into Julius Caesar. It's impossible....
I'm going to base my beliefs on the scriptures which hold together far better than the kind of farcical documentary we are talking about here, throwing in a little bit of statistics. I mean, you're talking about the most common names, especially the most common male names, also frankly, female with the name Mary, you're talking about anything that could be found just about anywhere.

And then there are some rather really far-fetched claims. I mean, after all, you're talking about a poor, peasant family from Nazareth with an ancestral heritage in Bethlehem. There's no logical reason why their bones should end up in a middle class tomb in Jerusalem.
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