Monday, March 05, 2007

Lost Tomb of Jesus thoughts
So...unless you live under a rock you've heard I'm sure that last night they aired the "Lost Tomb of Jesus" on the Discovery Channel. The Christian blogging community has been going nuts over this thing. Some people condemning it as blasphemy (and rightly so) and others seeing it as an opportunity to talk about Jesus more in the open light (also plausible).

I watched the 2 hour docu-drama and the 1 hour critical look show after it. I must say that I LOVED the Ted Koppel debate that followed, but more on that later.

In case you didn't get to see the special, what this documentary asserted was: "In the feature documentary The Lost Tomb of Jesus a case is made that the 2,000-year-old "Tomb of the Ten Ossuaries" belonged to the family of Jesus of Nazareth."

So Jesus, Mary mother of Jesus, James brother of Jesus, Matthew Brother of Jesus, Mary Magdalen wife of Jesus and Judah, son of Jesus.

The documentary was very well put together and very convincing if you didn't approach it from a skeptics point of view. Here is my take on a couple of points:

1) I have a problem with how it was handled. The filmmaker said several times that "I'm just trying to report on these findings and present it as a possibility" (paraphrased) when in all actuality, the conclusion seems to be drawn from the very beginning. In other words, 'we think that because these boxes have the names of several people that we know from the NT, these must be the family of Jesus, lets do some tests to prove that and only that' and not giving any degree of another possibility. That bothers me.

2) The assertion that Mary Magdalen was the "woman caught in adultery". Well, first of all, her being a major Biblical character during the end of Jesus' ministry would of made sure that she was named the first time. Why no name when she is first recorded? That would make no sense. Also, there are many scholars that believe that this section of scripture is not consistent and shouldn't be in the Gospel record. It is a spurious passage.

3) Shocking part. The fact that Jesus could of been married and had a son does not bother me. I've heard many people say "Blasphemy!" when it was brought up in the Da Vinci code. Why? What is the big deal? Honestly, I think the big deal is that centuries long message of "sex is evil" by the catholic church is still sending shock waves today, and the thought that Jesus could of had sex with his wife to father a child seems blasphemy to many. Do we honestly believe that sex between a man and a woman in marriage is holy or do we just give it lip service? If we honestly believe that Jesus was tempted in all the ways that we were tempted, wouldn't that include adultery?

Jesus being married doesn't challenge his divinity, but increases his humanity. In fact, if I believe correctly, you had to be married to be a respected teacher and teach in synagogues, but I'll have to get back on that one when I have a reference for it. It was the Jewish custom to be married, why would Jesus, growing up in a Jewish culture ignore that or be an exception?

4) The best piece of evidence against this documentary is the fact that there were martyrs. Tradition holds that the brothers of Jesus died for their faith in the resurrected Christ.

Would you die for your faith if you knew that Jesus hadn't really resurrected? Would you subject yourself to the pain and torture of a cross or stones if you knew that all you preached about was false? Of course not. Now, one would say "Well, we've seen many delusional followers of religion before." Well yes, that is true. But if your faith was grounded in the belief in a physical resurrection of your Savior, wouldn't that be shaken a bit if you were the brother or husband of Jesus and you had to bury his bones in a ceremony yourself?

That just doesn't hold water.

5) The assertion that the "disciple whom Jesus loved" was actually Judah, Jesus' son. Sorry. That doesn't stand up to the test of scripture. There are too numerous of passages that suggest otherwise, not to mention that it is consistent with the writing style of John himself.

All in all it was entertaining and interesting to watch, it was neat to see the Talbiot tomb and the Jewish practices of those day. But the assertions made just don't add up. Obviously I am NOT an expert, and what I have posted were just my thoughts. I am not an archeologist, epigrapher, or historian. But I am someone who can put common sense into practice. Later I will link here to someone who is a lot more "learnt" them I am in this area if you're interested in reading a more scholarly reading.

But my final thought is this: I am glad they included the "A Critical Look" by Ted Koppel afterwards. He had 5 intelligent and capable scholars/clergy that did not care for the docu-drama. First he had 2 archeologists that attacked the processes taken by the film maker, and the lack of 'hoop jumping' they did to come to their conclusions. The 2nd set to debate with the filmmaker and Professor Tabor were 3 Christian scholars. They were intelligent! I say this because several nights ago on CNN they had some Christian leaders on there to debate this and they had no idea what they were talking about.

In the end, this debate shed a lot more light on this subject and how it is being ridiculed by scholars, both believers and non-believers. The documentary came out, by the end of this debate, to look ridiculous and full of holes.

So, I think this is going to be one of those things that we don't even hear about in another month. What was the Da Vinci code again? point exactly.