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February 26, 2007


Brandon A. Evans

Stuff like this makes me so mad -- why people would believe this ridiculous stuff is beyond me.
Jesus and his family would have NO INTEREST in having a tomb in Jerusalem. Why would he want to be laid to rest ANYWHERE besides his home world: Muria, the third planet in the Aldebaran star system? Hello! Have we learned nothing about our space prophet in the last 2,000 years?
(Ahem...no blasphemy intended...just a little sci-fi sarcasm...)

Bill Heyer

If James Cameron wasn't attached to this story,
I'd just put it down to "clap-trap." However,
THAT is NOT the case. I can't wait to see WHAT
happens next. Who knows, maybe Cameron is in
"cahoots" with Dan Brown. I say, keep an open mind!


Thank you Amy, for this post! I logged on this morning specifically to find info to debunk this ridiculousness. Thanks so much for the truth!

Rich Leonardi

Be aware that Witherington bases some of his debunking on "what we know" about Jesus' brother James.

Ed the Roman

This makes me even happier not to have seen Titanic than I already was.

Mark Windsor

Titanic - three and a half hours you'll never get back!

Father Elijah

This is another example of what happens when you separate fides and ration--faith and reason.

Just as faith separated from reason leads quickly to fundamentalistism and fanaticism, so reason separated from faith leads quickly into pseudo-science and relativism

However, it behooves Catholics and all Christians to be able to respond to this---begin with 1 Corinthians 15 and then work through the four Gospel Resurrection Narratives


We would need an independent control sample from some member of Jesus' family

Or, they could take a DNA sample from a consecrated host ;-)

Jordan Potter

"The assertion that the family tomb of Jesus has been located was made in James D. Tabor, 'The Jesus Dynasty, The Hidden Story of Jesus, His Royal family, and the Birth of Christianity' (2006)."

Dr. James Tabor has a well-worn track record of believing and promoting nonsense about the history of early Christianity. Many years ago he was a member of Herbert Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God, a seventh-day adventist sect that promoted all kinds of drivel, such as British Israelism and the conspiracy theory that Simon Magus, not Simon Peter, was the first Pope and was buried on Vatican Hill. Dr. Tabor is no longer an Armstrongist, and he has genuine credentials as a scholar, but like the Armstrongist he once was, he still thinks the true message of Jesus was distorted and suppressed, and he still has a yen for a "conspiracy theory" approach to early Christianity history. Dr. Tabor's theory is basically "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" without the stuff about the Order of Sion and Knights Templar. It's not surprising that someone like James Cameron would be attracted to such dubious and reckless speculations as Dr. Tabor promotes.


I do think we are going to have to offer a better rebuttal than the "those were all exceedingly common names back then" line. This may be true, but (speaking as a researcher) the statistical analysis that Cameron and his crew did of the probability of finding all the relevant names in one place is actually a reasonable way to conclude that this could be a family tomb. I don't know what the DNA analysis was supposed to prove.

For the record, I obviously believe this is bunk. I'm just suggesting that Cameron and Jacobavici anticipated the "common-names" defense a priori. Perhaps the statistical methods used (or the translation of the names themselves) were questionable.

Patricia Gonzalez

What bunch of baloney! Perhaps they could get DNA from the Shroud, but certainly not from that tomb, because, like, you know, He ... um... isn't there! Russell Stover chocolates are definitely better than Cameron's baloney any day, not just at Easter! As a Canadian, I'm ashamed to share common roots with Mr. Cameron. Sheesh ...

Jordan Potter

Fletch, Ben Witherington quoted Bauckham to show that they botched the statistical analysis. He also has a few other cogent arguments that establish that this "Jesus tomb" theory is, um, dubious at best.


Thanks much for pointing that out! Thats what I get for not clicking the link before posting.


Who comes up with this stuff?
I agree that it is important that Catholics/Christians be prepared to respond
to this idiocy. Thanks, Father Elijah.

chris K

One of the backers of Cameron wanted Christians not to worry about being without a resurrection since they still have the appearances of Jesus after His death to comfort them in at least a portion of their former belief! First of all, those appearances just happened to include a Jesus eating real food which is pretty difficult to do with one's digestive system still remaining elsewhere! On top of the convenient "spin" suddenly attempting to debunk all Jesus contemporary, corroborative testimonies, the decades of real scientific studies promote an unexplainable explosion of energy coming through and witnessed by the real remnants of death of the only crucified man matching all details of that early witnessing of actual events. And, of course, we also have that little inconvenient question about even the proper translations of names within Cameron's little hoax. Let the games begin!

Ed the Roman

You know, they could prove all the relationships in that tomb and it would mean nothing. Where are the known living relatives to compare to? Gonna try Audrey Tautou?

Rich Leonardi

Relax. DePaul's John Dominic Crossan is on the case and offering the media a uniquely Catholic perspective on the controversy:

If the bones of Jesus were to be found in an ossuary in Jerusalem -- and let's say they were definitely established to be the bones of Jesus -- would that destroy Christian faith? It certainly would not destroy my Christian faith. I leave what happens to bodies up to God.
pray for us

This is great stuff. It gives many of us a chance to reaffirm our faith. Its not like this is the first time such a statement has been made in our salvation history. The Spirit has guided us and will continue. I am hoping this will lead to some St. Paul conversions among those who doubt or persecute. It also is a great test to show us the fools in our midst such as a certain Today show co-host.


for me the tomb findings have given me a renewed faith in my beliefs. i think they are extremely exciting and relevant.

for unbiased information be sure to check out the movie's official site at http://www.jesusfamilytomb.com



If Jesus hadn't really risen from the dead, could Christianity's early enemies could have easily squelched His followers' claims of a Resurrection by PRODUCING THE CORPSE?

So why didn't they? Gee, could it perhaps be because there wasn't one?

So now we're supposed to believe that, during all the furor surrounding His death, His followers' subsequent claims that He rose from the dead and the tumultuous beginnings of Christianity, Jesus' body acutally mouldered away peacefully in a grave somewhere. Then His relatives collected His bones as usual and placed them in an ossuary in the family plot - without any early Christians or enemies of Christianity knowing that this was going on?

Sounds pretty crazy to me! The worst part is, though, that some people are sure to believe this tripe and lose their faith over it. That's what breaks my heart.

In Jesu et Maria,



>>>for unbiased information be sure to check out the movie's official site

Ah, yes, "unbiased" information at the site set up by the very people promoting this nonsense and most likely to profit from it. Sure. Tell me another one.


In Jesu et Maria,


anon -

How would the movie's official site be "unbiased"? And too, this is the sixth time I've encountered the same exact reccomendation to "check out the movie's..." - it's excessively tedious.



Nice job on this post. The info you've gathered will be very helpful to many!

I think the analysis that Witherington has done, especially in regard to the names frequency is really important given all the hype surrounding the 'statistical evidence' which suggests that the odds are 600:1 that this is NOT the tomb of Jesus. Those are pretty fantastic odds, no doubt!

I put together some other thoughts, especially in regard to the inscriptions, here:

chris K

If the bones of Jesus were to be found in an ossuary in Jerusalem -- and let's say they were definitely established to be the bones of Jesus -- would that destroy Christian faith? It certainly would not destroy my Christian faith. I leave what happens to bodies up to God.

Sorry, but those kinds of self assurances are usually made by those with an already firmly established faith within the very core of self based upon having digested the Entire deposit of faith. Start meddling with that entirety and the Creed means nothing; the intended remaking of Christ as just like us effecting the very meaning of the Trinity as well as the conquering of sin and death through the resurrection, etc. It would go on and on with its ramifications - including the Assumption and the Eucharist in its Presence. Talk about slippery slopes! The continuing effort by all such egoists is to lesson the moral imperatives of such a Person Who is the fulfillment - Perfection - of all man's experiences destined for union with God. Without that kind of responsibility there is no need to worry about any repercussions due to sin. I always find the reasoning of "well, God could do anything He wanted" to be separated from Faith since He didn't so He couldn't!!


Titanic was pretty bad, but the reenactment of the actual sinking in that movie was awesome!!

Doug Barber

I'll bet Geraldo Rivera is really ticked that he missed out on this one.


Just wondering : how do they know for sure that this particular "Jesus-Mary-Joseph-Jude" tomb is 1977 years old (if those are the remains of the Yeshua who died crucified in 30 A.D.)... Carbon dating? But carbon dating has limitiations in accuracy and precision. Let's say it's not actually a 30 A.D. tomb but a 80 A.D. tomb... Wouldn't early Jewish-Christian families pride themselves in naming their children Yeshua, Miriam, Jose and Judah (even more so than usual I mean)?

(Update) Just checked out the official site of the "Jesus Family Tomb"... They have a whole section on the *great* Freemasonery. Surprise, surprise.

Dennis Colby

This whole thing reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer searches the White House for "Lincoln's gold."

"But Lincoln didn't have any gold," Marge wearily tells him.

"That's exactly what THEY want you to think!" he replies triumphantly.


Here's the official site for anyone interested in the historical relevance:



But, But, But, didn't Jesus and MM have a daughter called Sarah ! Dan Brown said so and has the evidence.


Well, I'm never watching that channel again. I don't care what they are showing, they've taken sensationalism a mite too far this time and trampled on the beliefs of a billion people using dishonest scholarship.


A commenter at Dr. Witherington's site makes a great point on the morality of what Cameron and his crew are doing:

"I would take all of this a step further. Cameron, Jacobvici and Pellegrino are not just a lot wrong. They are irresponsible and, I would say, even immoral. There are 2.1 billion Christians in the world today. Minimally, it is irresponsible to leverage the faith of 2.1 billion for television ratings and book sales. The psychological effect this could have on the world's population -- taken in the aggregate -- is enormous. It is staggering. Is this really worth a 0.7 share for Discovery? Of course, most Christians will not be affected because the argument is so terribly weak. However, that does not excuse their intentions -- which were to deal a severe psychological blow to 33% of the world so as to gain ratings/book sales/notoriety/money.

This is a general phenomenon that is all too present in our society. People who specialize in areas of knowledge that are, at first glance, far removed from the foundations of modern society are often all too unaware of the social/cultural/moral effect that their findings could produce. Think of the Bell Curve by Herrnstein and Murray. Even if they were correct, which they weren't -- the effect that such knowledge could have had on society makes its publication very, very suspect.

In other words, the claim that scientific knowledge is the highest good is a specious claim. We as a culture are pro-science, so we do value it highly. As well we should, I would t hink. But none of us value it above all else. It is easy for each of us to imagine an instance where we would prefer NOT to have a certain bit of scientific knowledge because it would disrupt all of us so badly (e.g. pre-birth genetic screening could lead to eugenicsf; thus, it is best to deny parents this knowledge). This is a sign that any given discovery must be weighed against its social effect. The presumption, of course, should be on the side of science -- but there still must be a weighing and certain scientific truths would probably have to be rejected.

As I said, I think it moves beyond irresponsibility. They clearly have not weighed the consequences. So they are irresponsibile. Their ostensible motives make them immoral. Cameron et al. -- with their motives (money, ratings, prominence, etc) and their circus-show promotion (Behold, I give you...Kong!) -- have moved beyond the type of irresponsibility of which Herrnstein and Murray were guilty (those two could be said to have had a genuine and paramount interest in knowledge, but who failed to do the proper weighing of knowledge against social consequences). Cameron et al. are not just being irresponsible, they are immoral -- to intend to affect so negatively such a large porportion of your fellow-species for...money? Their actions are contemptible. No human being should be prepared to damage so many other human beings for money and fame."


(Scroll down to 11:36 a.m.)


Not to mention that, in addition to geography, Jesus' family did not have the income for family tomb. Truly absurd

Ed the Roman

"They clearly have not weighed the consequences. So they are irresponsibile."

No, I think they HAVE weighed the consequences. And I think that they LIKE the consequences.

Donald R. McClarey

I am greatly offended by this!!! As a con and a scam this is on a par with the Nigerian oil minister e-mails we have all received. Hucksters and grifters we will always have with us, but if they are going to use the King of Kings in one of their schemes to extract cash from the gullible, let it be done with art and craftsmanship. P.T. Barnum would have turned up his nose at this feeble attempt to deceive the boobs.


This seems plausible to me. It would seem that there should be remains of Jesus Christ of some type and although I didn't expect His bones to turn up, I would expect that evidence of His family and his life would eventually be known. He was a man of some note in His day, and it is reasonable that someone would put Him and His family up to a decent burial.

We know that much of Jesus's life is a contrived legend, such as virgin birth, so it would seem that we need to evaluate the truth from the catechism.

If the concensus is found that this is the family of Jesus Christ will it change that He said to love God and love your neighbor?

Christopher Johnson

At Kraalspace, Dr. Mabuse makes this rather trenchant comment:

Whoever are the Bad Guys in this scenario (the Church, or some of Jesus' more excitable followers) they must have been real incompetents. Imagine trying to flog a fake religion based on a guy who died and rose again, and not only is his real body left lying around, it's NEATLY LABELLED for debunkers to find!

Ellie in T.O.

Randy is so typical: a non-Christian who wants to talk about Christianity without bothering to learn anything about it. The ethical teachings of Jesus are all that Randy can see any value in. Ergo, that's all that should matter to Christians too. So he sends us on our way with a condescending pat on the head.

Um, right. Forget the Incarnation and the Resurrection and the Atonement, forget the main witness of Scripture, forget 2000 years of theology, forget the Easter message. Basically, forget Christianity. It was just a few ethical teachings, all along! Of course, anyone can follow those; an atheist could follow the ethics of Jesus. That's NOT what the Church is about. That's NOT the Great Commission.

I wish people would educate themselves on a subject before pontificating about it. Is that really so much to ask?


I posted about this yesterday.

According to the story, the Vatican will build a supercomputer in 2050 ("Sky" net - Ah! Now you get it!) that will discover time travel and send an Inquisator back in time to kill Mary Magdalene, and by causality, her family before anyone finds out the truth!



>>>If the concensus is found that this is the family of Jesus Christ will it change that He said to love God and love your neighbor?

The Torah said that long before Jesus came along. If all He's good for is to parrot the Old Testament then why bother with such a redundant fellow?

If Christ's bones are in some moldy old box somewhere, then Christianity is bunk:

"If Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God: because we have given testimony against God, that he hath raised up Christ; whom he hath not raised up.... If Christ be not risen again, your faith is vain, for you are yet in your sins. Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ, are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (1 Cor. 15:14-15, 17-19)

St. Paul doesn't say: "If Christ be not risen that would not destroy the Christian faith, for at least He is 'risen' in your hearts" or some nonsense like that. The Resurrection is historical fact, not myth.

In Jesu et Maria,

Ellie in T.O.

Drusilla, I'm with you re your post above. Is anyone else getting suspicious of all these anonymous posts exhorting us to go check out the movie's official site? This isn't the only religious blog they've appeared on.

I smell a rat...


Here we go again... The Da Vinci Code, Part Two. I suspect that Dan Brown might be behind this latest media blitz. Tonight I've been watching James Cameron's face and his road show popping up in cable news channels- CNN, MSNBC, etc. How the media absolutely LOVE this kind of stuff! They'd rather pay serious attention to a Hollywood movie director's crackpot ideas about Christ and Christianity over all long-established religious scholarship. This is just the latest in a tiresome parade of "sensational breakthrough discoveries". Hitler diaries, anyone?

James Kabala

This makes The Da Vinci code look intellectually respectable in comparison.


The Witherington protests too much, methinks!

Was it only 5 years ago when Ben Witherington claimed the “James Ossuary” as proof of the existence of Jesus Christ and as PROOF AGAINST the Ever-Virginity of the Mother of God? Was it only 5 years ago when BW was all over the news breathlessly arguing for the authenticity of his bone-box and revealing his humble belief that he was somehow chosen (like some Holy Prophet) to deliver this good news to the world and the bad news to the poor, benighted Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians?

Surely Witherington must realize by now, even as he is being used anew by the enemies of the Faith (Cameron & Co. have linked Witherington’s “James Ossuary” to the “Jesus Tomb!”), that he was never a Prophet but always just a pawn.

Witherington uses his “James Ossuary” against the Ever Virgin, Theotokos, Mary:


Witherington never disavowed his own ship/ossuary full-o-holes, and now that fraud is being tied to an even greater and possibly more dangerous fraud.

Sow the wind reap the whirlwind...


The more I think of this, the more it bothers me. This is not cool and we can't just let it go. Having our faith attacked by some Hollywood creep with bunk research and smoke and mirrors is not something we should put up with. I think it is time for 2 billion Christians to say that we won't be played with and we won't be mocked for profit. We talk a lot about sacrifice. I have one that shouldn't be hard- not watch a television channel ever again. Apologies won't cut it; saying "oops" and pulling the program isn't enough. I will never watch the Discovery channel or any of its sister channels again, and I hope we can all say that. If I like some of the programs, too bad. If I can fast for God I can sure as heck miss a little tv. A line has really been crossed here.

Sandra Miesel

I missed a chance to get on local TV because I was going off to see AMAZING GRACE when the reporter called. But I sent him to a priest from my parish who was filmed, saying it was ridiculous. This was a useful counterweight to a dean from the local interdemoninational seminary predicting that "some people will find this information very challenging."

Fr. Shawn O'Neal


Pile this story on the same dungheap as the James Ossuary of four years ago, y'all.

Ellie in T.O.

So what it comes down to is this: they've found a tomb of someone named Jesus (Joshua) who had a dad named Joseph. That's it. That's all they've got. I haven't heard any proof offered that one of the Marys (or Miriams) was his mom. And even if it WERE proven, what would it mean? A guy named Joshua in the 1st century had parents named Joseph and Miriam. Oh, and this Joshua had a son named Judah, and a possible relative named Matthew, neither of whom figures in scripture so their existence proves exactly nothing. Gee, stop the presses.

DNA tests can prove nothing except that some of these people had familial relationships. Duh, in a family tomb? Who'd a' thunk it??

The statistics are a joke. All they know for sure is that Joshua had a dad called Joseph and a son called Judah. The rest of the statistical model is based on unproven assumptions, such as the Jose in the tomb being Joshua's brother, when he might just as well be his father (Jose and Joseph are the same name). And once again, I haven't heard any proof that one of the Miriams was Joshua's mom. We only know for sure that one Miriam is NOT a blood relation. But to claim therefore that this Miriam was Joshua's wife? Why couldn't she be the wife of Judah or Matthew (or Jose if he's not the dad)? Or one of the other (presumably unidentified) people in the ossuaries??

Garbage in, garbage out. The sad thing is there are people gullible enough to swallow this without question.

Maclin Horton

I think this and similar guff are more of a problem than some of you seem to. Sure, it's easy enough to knock down this farrago for any one who cares enough to actually think rationally about it for a few minutes. But it will do its damage in people who aren't really paying attention or thinking and will only have a vague sense that "science" has spoken, or at least raised some more questions that religion can't answer.


Dear God, Please deliver me from the religous hobbyists.

Well the real question is can you and two billion of your brethern be wrong and the legend of Christ be contrived for the power of Rome? Well I don't know, was the Pope a Nazi? My feeling is that no matter the evidence faith will out over facts, as always.

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