Ten Reasons Why The Jesus Tomb Claim is Bogus

March 10, 2007

Leading Scholars Say Discovery Channel ‘Documentary’ Makes for Good TV, Bad History and Bad Science
MEDIA ADVISORY, Feb. 26 /Christian Newswire/ — The claim of James Cameron and the Discovery Channel that a tomb contains the bones of Jesus is bogus, said leading Biblical and archeological scholars today.

“Unfortunately, this is a story full of holes, conjectures and problems,” said Dr. Ben Witherington, author of What Have They Done With Jesus? and New Testament professor at Asbury Theological Seminary. “It will make good TV and involves a bad critical reading of history. Basically, this is old news with a new interpretation. We have known about this tomb since it was discovered in 1980. There are all sorts of reasons to see this as much ado about nothing much.”

Witherington and other leading biblical scholars and archeologists say there are at least 10 reasons why the “Jesus Tomb” claim is completely bogus:

There is no DNA evidence that this is the historical Jesus of Nazareth
The statistical analysis is untrustworthy
The name “Jesus” was a popular name in the first century, appearing in 98 other tombs and on 21 other ossuaries
There is no historical evidence that Jesus was ever married or had a child
The earliest followers of Jesus never called him “Jesus, son of Joseph”
It is highly unlikely that Joseph, who died earlier in Galilee, was buried in Jerusalem, since the historical record connects him only to Nazareth or Bethlehem
The Talipot tomb and ossuaries are such that they would have belonged to a rich family, which does not match the historical record for Jesus
Fourth-century church historian Eusebius makes quite clear that the body of James, the brother of Jesus, was buried alone near the temple mount and that his tomb was visited in the early centuries, making very unlikely that the Talipot tomb was Jesus’ “family tomb”
The two Mary ossuaries do not mention anyone from Migdal, but simply has the name Mary, one of the most common of all ancient Jewish female names
By all ancient accounts, the tomb of Jesus was empty, making it highly unlikely that it was moved to another tomb, decayed for one year’s time, and then the bones put in an ossuary

“In light of all the incredible number of problems with the recent claim that Jesus’ grave has been found, the time-honored, multi-faceted evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus is more convincing than ever,” said Dr. Gary Habermas, an expert on the resurrection of Jesus and author of The Case for the Resurrection. “Even the early opponents of the Christian message acknowledged that Jesus’ tomb was empty. And the evidence for Jesus’ bodily resurrection appearances has never been refuted.”

These leading Biblical and archeological experts are available for media interviews:

Dr. Ben Witherington
Bible scholar, speaker, author of 30 books including What Have They Done With Jesus? and The Jesus Quest
Professor of New Testament Interpretation
Asbury Theological Seminary
Wilmore, Kentucky
curriculum vitae

Dr. Darrell Bock
Media spokesman / Editor-at-large for Christianity Today /Author, Breaking the Da Vinci Code and Jesus in Context
Professor of New Testament Studies
Dallas Theological Seminary
Dallas, Texas
214-824-3094 x3715

Dr. Craig Evans
Author, Jesus and the Ossuaries and Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels
Professor of New Testament
Acadia Divinity College
Wolfville, Nova Scotia
curriculum vitae

Dr. Gary Habermas
Shroud of Turin expert / Author of 27 books including The Case for the Resurrection
Chair, Department of Philosophy and Theology
Liberty University
Lynchburg, Virginia

Dr. Paul Maier
Bible scholar / author of more than 15 books including The Da Vinci Code – Fact or Fiction?, More Than a Skeleton and Josephus – The Essential Works
Professor of Ancient History
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, Michigan
(269) 387-4816
faculty profile

Joe Zias
– Thirty years professional experience in the field of Medical/ Physical anthropology
– Over 80 articles in peer reviewed medical and scientific journals
– Science and Archaeology Group at Hebrew University. Former senior curator of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Israel Antiquities Authority for which he was responsible for the curation of the antiquities stored in the Israel Antiquities Authority, ranging from the Pre-historic periods up to the 18th Century AD. These objects, numbering over 75,000, included the Dead Sea Scrolls, pre-historic human skeletal remains as well as artifacts from the regions premier archaeological sites such as Jericho, Megiddo, and Gezer.
972-2-588-2811 Hebrew University (from United States first dial 011)

Dr. Amos Kloner
Officially oversaw the work at the tomb in 1980 and has published detailed findings on its contents
Professor, Department of Land of Israel Studies
Bar-Ilan University
Jerusalem, Israel
972-3-531-7283 (from United States first dial 011)

Christian Newswire


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