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James Cameron's attempt to undermine Christianity

He claims to have found the tomb of Jesus. He also claims that Jesus was married to Mary Magdelene and had a child with her. Hmmm. This sounds familiar. Oh, right. The DaVinci Code. Cameron's a little late to this party.

A Hollywood director will today unveil three coffins he claims were those of Jesus, his mother Mary and his 'wife' Mary Magdalene.


James Cameron says he has proof that Jesus married Mary and that she bore him a son, Judah, who was buried alongside them.

The Lost Tomb of Jesus, made for the Discovery Channel, will be shown in the U.S. this week and later in Britain by Channel 4.

Today, Cameron is holding a press conference on what he describes as 'one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time'.

Crucially, he is not denying the resurrection - as there were no bones in the caskets.

But the £2million film still strikes at the foundation of Christianity in the same manner as the novel The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown, in claiming that Jesus married and had a family.

His theory, which has already met with derision from experts, centres on a tomb found in the Talpiot suburb in 1980. Inside, archaeologists found ten coffins, or caskets for bones, and three skulls.

Six had names etched into them, which were translated as Jesus son of Joseph, Judah son of Jesus, Maria, Mariamne (thought to be Mary Magdalene's real name), Joseph and Matthew.

At the time the inscriptions provoked little interest. The Israeli Antiquities Authority said the names were common at the time.

A connection to the holy family was not made until 15 years later, when a film crew stumbled across the collection in a storeroom.

Though the bones had long since been reburied elsewhere, as was the custom, tiny traces of DNA left in the caskets were tested.

The results for the coffins labelled Jesus and Mariamne showed the two were not related by blood, leading Cameron and his team to conclude they were married.

But the archaeologist who was on site says no way:

However, the archaeologist who oversaw the work at the tomb described the theory as 'nonsense'.


Amos Kloner said the names found on the coffins had been found in tombs before, adding: 'It makes a great story for a TV film, but it's impossible.

'Jesus and his relatives were a Galilee family with no ties in Jerusalem. The Talpiot tomb belonged to a middle-class family from the first century.'

And Mr. Kloner isn't the only one dismissing Cameron's claim:

But CBS News correspondent Mark Philips reports that, although archeologists have long argued over the factual and historic accuracy of Christianity's version of history, in this case, the archeological establishment has lined up to label this claim as bunk.


[...]

But scientists have argued the names etched into the stone ossuaries which held the bones, which can be seen at left in a photo from Kloner's book, were extremely common during that time period, and in no way prove that the Jesus of the Bible was buried at the site with his family.

Another researcher whose work has focused on the Middle East, biblical anthropologist Joe Zias, has dismissed Cameron's claims as "dishonest".

"It has nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus, he was known as Jesus of Nazareth, not Jesus of Jerusalem, and if the family was wealthy enough to afford a tomb, which they probably weren't, it would have been in Nazareth, not here in Jerusalem," he said.

He said the appearance of the names proved nothing.

Mr. Kloner makes another point that warrants mentioning: how are we do determine that the bones in the tomb were actually the bones of the Biblical Jesus of Nazareth? Compare his DNA to God's? How does one get a mouth swab from God?


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Comments (47)

Cant help but think cameron... (Below threshold)
Gianni:

Cant help but think cameron is just a repeat of the geraldo-capone vault concoction.

I wonder what this wackos g... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

I wonder what this wackos got planned anyway no big time hollywood director shows off anything without promoting some movie

At least Da Vinci Code was ... (Below threshold)

At least Da Vinci Code was sold as fiction from Day One.

This fella is just thirsting for more hype after the glowing limelight of the Titanic has faded.

You gotta love the picture of him. All black, collarless, twirling the chablis. Typical Hollywood.

It's pure sensationalism--C... (Below threshold)
Richard Romano:

It's pure sensationalism--Cameron is trying to revive his career, and what better way than do attack the West via Christianity?

In the end, the DNA stuff is just too much--how will you exactly prove it's Jesus' DNA? Will they go to James' bone box and swab the dust inside?

Cameron, stick to Terminator films.

Maybe when he's through sla... (Below threshold)
hermie:

Maybe when he's through slamming Christianity, he can do just as good a job on Mohammed.

Great point, Hermie, but do... (Below threshold)

Great point, Hermie, but don't hold your breath. Cameron has no interest in having a fatwa on his head.

Gianni, along with you I th... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

Gianni, along with you I thought of the Capone vault thing immediately. The most I think this does is confirm the bias someone might already have against Christianity. I certainly can't see many leaving the faith as a result of this. If anyone buys this, I would doubt they had faith to begin with. Was Cameron's career really that much in the tank? I hope he can make enough from Terminator royalties to feed his family.

However flawed the evidenc... (Below threshold)
Tuco Ramirez:

However flawed the evidence is, at least it represents a desire to actually learn the truth, rather than inventions of the Catholic church written years after Jesus' death. Odd that the scrutiny brought to bear on these claims is never brought to bear on the claim of resurrection itself. After all, it is far more reasonable to believe that Jesus' body was hauled into the sky on on fiery chariot than to believe he rotted like everyone else. LOL.

at least it represents a... (Below threshold)
Clay:

at least it represents a desire to actually learn the truth,

You're kidding, right?

We get a mouthswab from God... (Below threshold)

We get a mouthswab from God everytime it rains: He is spitting on all of us :)

A desire to learn the truth... (Below threshold)
Gianni:

A desire to learn the truth??


Since when was this EVER important to anyone on the left???

Tuco, you're going to Hell.... (Below threshold)

Tuco, you're going to Hell. You won't know it until it's too late, and then you'll remember that very comment above and think to yourself, "how stupid am I."

Heh...well, I'm not particu... (Below threshold)
the wolf:

Heh...well, I'm not particularly religious and I don't think anyone is going to hell, but I scoff at how brave the Hollyweirdos consider themselves. Very brave of Mr. Cameron to take on a group that will do him no harm, regardless of how callously he insults them. Very brave of Mr. Gore to accept his award among his acolytes. Perhaps in time Hollywood will genuflect at the feet of Mr. Cameron the way they have Mr. Gore and offer him the validation he craves. These are all such brave people.

Be sure to check out the of... (Below threshold)

Be sure to check out the official website for the
Jesus Family Tomb at http://www.jesusfamilytomb.com/

This is like digging up a p... (Below threshold)
geobandy:

This is like digging up a pair of old eyeglasses in a Philadelphia park and concluding that they must be Benjamin Franklin's. Actually, it's more like digging them up in New York and concluding they're Franklin's.

At least Da Vinci Code w... (Below threshold)
mantis:

At least Da Vinci Code was sold as fiction from Day One.

Wrong. The only things that were sold as fiction were the main character and his uncovering of so-called facts. The book begins with this:

FACT:

The Priory of Sion - a European secret society founded in 1099--is a real organization.

In 1975 Paris's Bibliothèque Nationale Discovered parchments known as Les Dossiers Secrets, identifying numerous Members of the Priory of Sion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Boticelli, Victor Hugo, And Leonardo da Vinci

The Vatican prelature known as Opus Dei is a deeply devout Catholic sect that has been the topic of recent controversy due to reports of brainwashing, coercian, and a dangerous practice known as "corporal mortification." Opus Dei has just completed construction of a $47 million National Headquarters at 243 Lexington Avenue in New York City.

All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.

Opus Dei is real but his other claims of "fact" are largely bullshit (yes, he may have described some art and architecture accurately). Plus in an interview on The Today Show on 6/9/03, Brown was asked:

"How much of this book is this based on reality in terms of things that actually occurred?"

Dan Brown answered, "Absolutely all of it. Obviously, Robert Langdon is fictional, but all of the art, architecture, secret rituals, secret societies--all of this is fact."

Except for, you know, the central claims.

"However flawed the evidenc... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

"However flawed the evidence is, at least it represents a desire to actually learn the truth, rather than inventions of the Catholic church written years after Jesus' death."

Posted by: Tuco Ramirez

Contrary to your very limited historical perspective, Tuco, the Catholic church did not exist until hundreds of years after Jesus time here on Earth. There is plenty of evidence from archaelogists (Christian and non-Christian) that have dated most of the oldest New Testament texts we have in the first century, AD, or the second in some cases. There was plenty of time for the people who lived at the time to dispute the eyewitness accounts of the NT, yet modern day archaelogists keep finding things, even on peripheral issues (geography,politics) that support NT accounts. So drop the anti-Catholic BS. Frankly, if you cared about finding the truth, you would see that all the significant events and accounts of them pre-dated it. But I wouldn't be surprised in the least if that meant nothing to you.

Full disclosure: I left the... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

Full disclosure: I left the Catholic church about 24 years ago over doctrinal issues, but ignorance spouted in the name of "finding the truth" always raises my hackles.

Laughable.So, we a... (Below threshold)

Laughable.

So, we are to believe the Romans and Pharisees who crucified Jesus had his bones right under their noses, yet ignored this and allowed a "Cult of Resurrection" to grow when merely bringing out the bones would have disproved it?

Right.

Oh, and mantis: What do you call fiction which is "based on fact" anyway? I call it "fiction." Somehow, though, it is fitting you should be out there defending the "Da Vinci Code" baloney.

Somehow, though, it is f... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Somehow, though, it is fitting you should be out there defending the "Da Vinci Code" baloney.

You completely misread my comment. I am not defending it, I'm pointing out that Dan Brown promoted his bullshit book as based on facts, which it certainly was not. If he had not made those claims to factuality about his work of fiction, I would have no problem. Except for his atrocious prose.

After re-reading my earlier... (Below threshold)
mantis:

After re-reading my earlier comment, Jim, I have no idea how you could have come to the conclusion that I was 'defending the "Da Vinci Code" baloney.' Except, I guess, your preconceived, and wholly off-base, assumptions about me prevented you from reading what I actually wrote. Good work!

Jim AddisonYou too... (Below threshold)
goddessoftheclassroom:

Jim Addison

You took the words out of my mouth. If the Romans could have put their hands on Jesus's body to disprove the reports of His resurrections (or even gotten away with a fake), they would have.

"how are we do determine th... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"how are we do determine that the bones in the tomb were actually the bones of the Biblical Jesus of Nazareth? Compare his DNA to God's? How does one get a mouth swab from God?"

Someone has trouble reading and understanding.

The DNA evidence is used to compare the people of the tombs together and determine if they are truly related. It is also used to determine age. The chances of a man named Jesus being buried in a tomb with a Joseph and Mary and another Mary and a Judah and a Matthew are extemely low and nearly impossible for two seperate families.

But then again, I'm sure Kim and many of her readers would be more likely to believe in burning bushes, seas parting and a zombie savior than "DNA" "evidence" even if it came from the mouth of "god."

Jp1, why don't you show som... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Jp1, why don't you show some balls and insult islam? Is it because you are a low life fucking coward? I hear you started life as feces and were converted to the form you now take by evil democrats. There is no DNA proof of that because no one wants to swab that thing you call a mouth with anything but hydrocloric acid. I pity you.

"I hear you started life as... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"I hear you started life as feces..."

I think that's Buddhism. You, know the oneness of everything. (And I am certainly not going to denouce it, because you know, those monks are pretty badassed)

jp2,Hmmm, if you u... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

jp2,

Hmmm, if you upset them, they set themselves on fire versus upsetting muslims, who will cut your head off.

Which one takes more guts to insult?

Oh, btw, reincarnation is Hinduism, not Buddhism.

Though the bones h... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Though the bones had long since been reburied elsewhere, as was the custom, tiny traces of DNA left in the caskets were tested.

I understand that DNA can survive a long time inside bones and even longer inside teeth. And while hair can survive a long time hair alone doesn't contain testable DNA, only the hair root does and it doesn't survive long. So what was the source of these "tiny traces of DNA left in the caskets"? Can you really recover the DNA from where someone spit 2000 years ago? How long does the DNA in a blood stain survive in such conditions? Given the degradation of 2000 year old samples I doubt there would be anything left that was testable. Even if so, it would require PCR based testing, during which contaminants may be amplified up to a billion times their original concentration.

It's more likely the DNA is contamination introduced by the people who were either involved in the original find in 1980 or more recently. The only DNA finding was that what was found in the casket attributed to Jesus showed no close relationship to the DNA found in the casket attributed to Mariamne. It doesn't mean the two were married, but that's the results one would expect if the DNA was actually recent contamination.

"Oh, btw, reincarnation is ... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"Oh, btw, reincarnation is Hinduism, not Buddhism."

Sheik: You get an A for ignorance. Congrats, you know absolutely nothing about Buddhism. Maybe you can turn this into a learning experience.

http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/samsara.html

The conceptions of reincarn... (Below threshold)
mantis:

The conceptions of reincarnation in Hunduism and Buddhism differ, but not very much. Gautama was, after all, a Hindu.

mantis, point taken -- I gu... (Below threshold)

mantis, point taken -- I guess what I really meant to say is that the book's place at the top of the Best Seller list was in the FICTION category, where it belongs.

And aside from what Dan Brown might have said, when a fiction book opens with the words "everything in this is true," I take that as part of the fiction -- I did when reading that book anyway. Sort of effective too.

From God's mouth to ... (Below threshold)
Lily:


From God's mouth to your swab.


Ohterwise known as Come Holy Spit.

I like jp2's conclusion tha... (Below threshold)
moseby:

I like jp2's conclusion that since it says "Jesus" on the tomb it must ne "Him". Time to go look for yer brain dummy! Either way, I know a guy named Larry Christ down the street from me...he must be related...take some DNA from him HA HA HA HA HA.

jp2,You get an A f... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

jp2,

You get an A for being an ignorant, arrogant asshole.

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/reincarnation.htm

I could give you many more, but you can find them yourself.

Buddhism believes in rebirth. Hinduism believes in reincarnation. They are similar to the unstudied, but are quite a bit different if you actually do a bit of reading (and comprehending).

Perhaps when you are (eventually) reborn as a human with intelligence, you'll be able to tell the difference.

You people are unbelievable... (Below threshold)
John Passineau:

You people are unbelievable. I mean, funny but unbelievable all the same. I used to think that if someone actually produced the body of Jesus Christ then the fraudulency of the ressurection would finally put the nail in the coffin of Christianity. From the sound of it, some of you aren't going too far beyond the conservative comfort-zone of FOX news to get your arguments against the actual archialogical findings. Really, you should do a bit digging on your own instead of regurgitating talking points from unqualified talking heads. Or are you afraid of what you'll find? I can only imagine the horror of accepting these ideas, or at least the validity of the research, because they completely turn beliefs you've had before you were potty-trained upside down. I'm sorry but its just something you're gonna have to cope with. Its over.

I can only imagine the h... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

I can only imagine the horror of accepting these ideas

I imagine it will pale in comparison to the horror you will feel when you realize "Holy crap! I was wrong!" as you are awaiting God's judgment after you die.

Also, none of the articles linked to for this post came from FOX. You might try reading them.

Wow! Well directed rebuttal... (Below threshold)
John Passineau:

Wow! Well directed rebuttal, sir. You're pretty goddamn brilliant there. First, little-brain, the argument is not about the existence of god. Don't oversimplify the argument. That's stupid. The argument is about the fraudulency of the resurrection and ultimately of the Christian faith altogether. If you had half a brain you might be able to stand up to this discussion but... you should have a seat. I also was not referring to FOX-extracted links, but your attempt to redefine the discussion is duely noted, rather the talking points from their broadcasts where they leave inconvenient facts out of their morning one-sided debates with themselves. Basically they just stroke themselves all morning like you do while listening to Rush Limbaugh.

I am certainly not afraid of god because he/she/it's most likely not the god you think he/she/it is. Rather he/she/it is a god that would not throw one of his/her/its own out of heaven for simply being misinformed (which I certainly doubt is true in THIS case). The piece-of-shit-god is your god and you can keep him. You can also stop being so fucking arrogant as to think you could ever possibly know what does or does not please god. Pinhead.

What did they compare the D... (Below threshold)

What did they compare the DNA to? Did they get a mouth swab from God?

If some nutcase was to kill the producer of this movie I wonder if Christianity would get the respect from the mainstream media that they afford Muslims after they kill a few authors and threaten others.

Probably not.

John,Touched a ner... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

John,

Touched a nerve there, did we?

You think that by vomiting enough words it will make you right or sound like you have a clue??

YOUR argument is that MY God does not exist. That's not oversimplifying anything, Mr. Arrogant, Condescending Potty Mouth.

I've read quite a few pieces on this current feeble attempt to discredit the resurrection. None of them were from FOX News, or Rush Limbaugh. And to say that what "evidence" they have proves anything about Jesus of Nazareth is laughable.

It's quite obvious that you have issues with FOX, Rush and Jesus of Nazareth. None of those are the sources for this post or any of my comments. So, do everyone a favor and leave them out of the rest of it, mmmKay? Of course that wouldn't leave you with anything left but calling me names.

And for someone who is so all fired sure that my God is not THE God, why do you say "most likely not the god..."? Hmm...

John Passineau,<block... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

John Passineau,

From the sound of it, some of you aren't going too far beyond the conservative comfort-zone of FOX news to get your arguments against the actual archialogical findings. Really, you should do a bit digging on your own instead of regurgitating talking points from unqualified talking heads.

The few archeologists who looked at Cameron's evidence dismissed it as meaningless, and one even stated that none of the coffins is inscribed with the name Jesus. Cameron is just out to make money selling his fiction to naive atheists like you. Yes, you're naive, otherwise you would know that what you think you know rests on tenets of faith just like everyone else.

Okay, condescension aside, ... (Below threshold)
John Passineau:

Okay, condescension aside, what are your reasons for calling the recent revelations (no pun intended) a "feeble attempt to discredit the resurrection"? I mean, point something out. Why is it feeble? Why is it laughable? What solid sources have you been researching in order to come to your conclusions? Are they other blogs? What?
I've been reading the news, watching the news, reading the skeptic reports, checking the backgrounds of skeptics and proponants. It's all very interesting and it looks very much like the proponants have the archialogical and historic edge on this debate so I was just wondering... how've you been forming your opinions? Truthfully, I don't care if god exists or not, that is irrelevant. For now, I'm more amused that this is all happening and that the Vatican may have to actually acknowledge and explain this event. I'm not very emotionally attached to this. It is tremendously fun though.

John Passineau,Kim... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

John Passineau,

Kim provides a link to a CBS News story titled "Scholars Dismiss Jesus Documentary", which goes on to say this:

...although archeologists have long argued over the factual and historic accuracy of Christianity's version of history, in this case, the archeological establishment has lined up to label this claim as bunk.

and this...

Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to examine the site, said the idea fails to hold up by archaeological standards but makes for profitable television.

Are you claiming the CBS story is wrong? How about sharing links to what you have read that makes you think it's not bunk?

Long time readers of Wizbang have seen many folks show up with your attitude, which is that we must all be a bunch of backward hicks that don't know anything. I've had the pleasure of seeing most of them sent packing with their tails between their legs once the regulars point out the flaws in their own knowledge and beliefs. I expect you'll be another one if you stick around and try to defend your position.

I love it. I love the idea... (Below threshold)
Amanda:

I love it. I love the idea that this could in anyway be true. It would throw religion right out the door. Make everyone question everything they've been indoctrinated with their whole lives. And gasp! They might actually have to think for themselves. Sure would solve alot of violence and problems if we could just get rid of religion.....guns don't kill people, religions do.

Amanda,Put down th... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Amanda,

Put down the bong and go back to sleep.

Amanda,Th... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Amanda,

They might actually have to think for themselves.

You should try doing that yourself sometime. You might discover you really can't know anything for sure. Once you have crossed that threshold of enlightenment you'll be in a position to contemplate the truth of the Bible.

Also, you might want to look up how many millions of people were killed by officially atheist communist regimes.

I understand that this "fil... (Below threshold)
lepewfan:

I understand that this "film" has everyone up in arms. The thruth lies in the fact that true Christians will never need proof of the Messiah. In these times of peril, when humans are doubtful of the true meaning of life, we must reflect on what we've been taught over many centuries. One book, one story stands alone...the Bible will give you the answers. It's the ONE book that has survived 2000 years +. A true believer needs no proof for it is faith that carries us through. That is what makes us believers. They can try as they wish--but if they never have faith, they will never appreciate the power of the Lord.

Amanda,Why are peopl... (Below threshold)
lepewfan:

Amanda,
Why are people wrong for believing in what is good? Our society, ethics, and laws are based on the Ten Commandments. Without them, we would be living in chaos. While you may be young and think that is fun, you have to agree that without a foundation, we would be lost as a human race.

I'd like to be sold a simil... (Below threshold)
A likely story:

I'd like to be sold a similar story with a different tomb. If they can't do that then barring new evidence on a revisit I think I find it reasonably likely this is the tomb it is claimed to be. but I'd like to see how close they could get to a convincing story with another tomb to help put it in perspective. even if the mathematical odds that these names may be found together with these relations is reasonably high, odds only ring true with a large pool of data (in this case number of tombs created in this period). I suppose it would be interesting also then to see how many such tombs are estimated to exist, and to compare that with the odds of finding the most compelling names (including all variations that could reasonably be interpreted to be these names) with these same alleged relations and see then really the likelihood of what was found. if it's something like 1 in a million of these tombs would contain these such names found together this way and there's only 500 000 tombs in existence then with quite high certainty this one is it. but odds mean flukes happen.




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