Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Another Commentator on the Tomb Story
03/07/2007 - James White
I would like to comment on your Jesus family tomb article. You can always find arguments to support your belief system and disregard other arguments that do not fit in with your beliefs. This is only natural. Because you only chose to choose quotes from people that would like to discredit the documentary it is clear where you stand. I found the film to have a very compelling argument. The filmmakers truly believed they 'may have' found something profound. They are not saying it is definitive proof but encourage discussions and further scientific study. It amazes me how many had their minds made up before it even aired.... I'll continue to view this issue with an open mind and the question.. what if? JohnWell, John, I suppose I could pull a Simcha here and say, "Hey, you haven't read my book, so you really can't say anything," but I'll avoid that.
Most of my commentary on the topic has been done on radio programs and web casts, actually, and in those programs I have played every bit of audio recording I could find, allowing Jacobovici and Pellegrino and Cameron and Tabor to define their own terms and make their own claims. So it is simply false to say I have only quoted those who "agree" with me. The fact is, John, I was writing about this before there were others to agree with me in the first place! The problem is that Jacobovici et al are making wild claims that even secular scholars identify as far-fetched, and part of their M.O. has been to play fast and loose with the data they have at hand (such as the mitochondrial DNA evidence). Further, I have quoted from men like Carney Matheson, from correspondence I have had with him, and he was the DNA expert used in the film! So how can you possibly make the assertion you have?
The filmmakers do not just suggest that they "may have" found something profound. May I ask you if you have read the book? I surely have. For example, on page 172 we read,
Impossible. But the details extracted from the tomb so far had failed consistently to negate the conclusion and were in fact adding up, one positive indicator after another, in support of it. They had begun to read the DNA of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Unimaginable. But there it was.You say they are encouraging discussions and "further scientific study." John, if that was their goal, they would have submitted this information to the scholarly community and allowed it to go through the process set up for that kind of inquiry. They by-passed all of that, remember? If I may quote Jodi Magness of the Archaeological Institute of America,
First let me point out that by making this announcement in the popular media, Jacobovici, Cameron, and the others involved have chosen to circumvent the usual academic process. Archaeology is a scientific discipline. New discoveries and interpretations typically are presented in scientific venues such as professional meetings or are published in peer-reviewed journals, where they can be considered and discussed by other specialists. By first making the announcement in the popular media, those involved have precluded legitimate and vital academic discourse. This is because it is impossible to explain the many flaws of their claim in a one-minute segment on TV or the radio, or in two or three sentences in the newspaper, as I have been asked to do repeatedly since the announcement was made. The history and archaeology of Jerusalem in the first century are far too complex to be boiled down to a short sound bite, yet that is precisely what has happened here. This is a travesty to professional archaeologists and scholars of early Judaism and Christianity, and it is a disservice to the public.How does this media circus they have created encourage "further scientific study"? It doesn't. Just the opposite.
If you wish to talk about having your mind made up, how about considering the dismissal of sound, solid NT scholarship in favor of the most wild, speculative gnostic fantasies? Can you not see that it was Jacobovici and his group that had their minds made up from the start, and then chose what "facts" they would present, and which ones they would ignore? Such is surely the case.