The Jesus Family Tomb: Fact or Fiction?

Asking The Experts

Stephen Pfann, who was interviewed in the documentary, said the film’s hypothesis holds little weight. “I don’t think that Christians are going to buy into this,” Pfann said. “But skeptics, in general, would like to see something that pokes holes into the story that so many people hold dear.” “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.”

Osnat Goaz, a spokeswoman for the Israeli government agency responsible for archaeology, said the Antiquities Authority agreed to send two ossuaries to New York, but they did not contain human remains. “We agreed to send the ossuaries, but it doesn’t mean that we agree with” the filmmakers, she said.

William Dever, an expert on near eastern archaeology and anthropology, who has worked with Israeli archeologists for five decades, said specialists have known about the ossuaries for years. “The fact that it’s been ignored tells you something,” said Dever, professor emeritus at the University of Arizona. “It would be amusing if it didn’t mislead so many people.”

In fact, Cameron and Jacobovici are not the only ones to assert Jesus’ tomb has been discovered. Let’s look at others who have cited “evidence” in books and on websites.

Scholar’s Verdict

So has Jesus’ tomb really been discovered? To find out, let’s hear from leading experts.

Jodi Magness, an archaeologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, expressed irritation that the claims were made at a news conference rather than in a peer-reviewed scientific article. By going directly to the media, she said, the filmmakers “have set it up as if it’s a legitimate academic debate, when the vast majority of scholars who specialize in archaeology of this period have flatly rejected this,” she said.

Magness noted that at the time of Jesus, wealthy families buried their dead in tombs cut by hand from solid rock, putting the bones in niches in the walls and then, later, transferring them to ossuaries.

She said Jesus came from a poor family that, like most Jews of the time, probably buried their dead in ordinary graves. “If Jesus’ family had been wealthy enough to afford a rock-cut tomb, it would have been in Nazareth, not Jerusalem,” she said.

Magness also said the names on the Talpiyot ossuaries indicate that the tomb belonged to a family from Judea, the area around Jerusalem, where people were known by their first name and father’s name. As Galileans, Jesus and his family members would have used their first name and home town, she said.

“This whole case [for the tomb of Jesus] is flawed from beginning to end.”

And that conclusion seems to be the consensus of the vast number of archaeologists. As an unbiased scholar who has been excavating ancient sites in Israel for 50 years,William G. Dever shares that view. He is widely considered the dean of biblical archaeology among U.S. scholars. Dever writes,

“I’m not a Christian. I’m not a believer. I don’t have a dog in this fight, I just think it’s a shame the way this story is being hyped and manipulated.”

The Resurrection Of Jesus: Myth Or Reality

But aside from the tomb, the unanswered question for many is: what evidence exists in the 21st century that proves or disproves Jesus’ resurrection? The recent media attention about “The Jesus Family Tomb” calls for an honest investigation into the evidence. Some skeptics thought there wasn’t any evidence and began writing books to disprove Jesus’ resurrection. What surprising evidence did they discover?

Click here to take a look at the evidence for the most fantastic claim ever made—the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Did Jesus Say What Happens After We Die?

If Jesus really did rise from the dead, then he must know what is on the other side. What did Jesus say about the meaning of life and our future? Are there many ways to God or did Jesus claim to be the only way? Read the startling answers in “Why Jesus?”

Click here to read “Why Jesus?” and discover what Jesus said about life after death.

Can Jesus Bring Meaning To Life?

“Why Jesus?” looks at the question of whether or not Jesus is relevant today. Can Jesus answer the big questions of life: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” And, “Where am I going?” Dead cathedrals and crucifixes have led some to believe that he can’t, and that Jesus has left us to cope with a world out of control. But Jesus made claims about life and our purpose here on earth that need to be examined before we write him off as uncaring or impotent. This article examines the mystery of why Jesus came to earth.

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