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The Lost Tomb of Jesus? Experts Say, “No Way!”

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Film director James Cameron made a pretty good movie when he filmed Titanic. He even recreated the interior of that great and tragic ship down to the last authentic detail, giving the movie an eerie authenticity. But even the best of Hollywood craftsmanship and the magic of digital imagery could not fool us into believing that we were watching actual events taking place on the real Titanic. Even the guy falling onto the ship's propeller was a fake. It was all an illusion of reality — nothing more than an expensive and incredibly profitable piece of historical fiction.

Now, James Cameron is trying once again to recreate another time and place for us on film. This time, however, Cameron is not only trying to resurrect that same eerie authenticity but he is trying to really fool us into believing that the fictional and illusory magic of cinematic imagination is more real than the reality it attempts to recreate!

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingCameron's latest project, titled The Lost Tomb of Jesus, is an attempt to demonstrate and prove that some ossuaries (bone boxes) found over 25 years ago in a tomb outside of Jerusalem contained the remains of Jesus, his mother, Mary, his wife, Mary Magdalene, their son, Judah, and the disciple Matthew.

The film's producers have concocted a statistical theory of "coincidence" that they say effectively validates their claims beyond a reasonable doubt.

Unfortunately for Cameron (and the Discovery Channel that is planning to air the film) their hyped-up claims have been torpedoed by the top archaeologists in Israel, including the man who did the original excavation back in 1980.

William Dever, who the Washington Post describes as one "who has been excavating ancient sites in Israel for 50 years and is widely considered the dean of biblical archaeology among U.S. scholars" has responded to Cameron by saying,

"I'm not a Christian. I'm not a believer. I don't have a dog in this fight … I've known about these ossuaries for many years and so have many other archaeologists, and none of us thought it was much of a story, because these are rather common Jewish names from that period," he said. "It's a publicity stunt, and it will make these guys very rich, and it will upset millions of innocent people because they don't know enough to separate fact from fiction.

The Washington Post added that

Similar assessments came yesterday from two Israeli scholars, Amos Kloner, who originally excavated the tomb, and Joe Zias, former curator of archaeology at the Israeli Antiquities Authority. Kloner told the Jerusalem Post that the documentary is "nonsense." Zias described it in an e-mail to The Washington Post as a "hyped up film which is intellectually and scientifically dishonest."

The Lost Tomb of Jesus comes in the wake of such pseudo-historical projects as The Da Vinci Code, The Gospel of Judas, and The Secret Lives of Jesus. I can only conclude that Cameron (in the tradition of P.T. Barnum) seems to be betting that people are gullible enough to believe anything — especially something that, in this case, appears to undermine the legitimacy of the world's largest and most historically researched and validated religious faith.

Apart from all the archaeological bickering over this matter there is this one, simple, fatal flaw in the whole of Cameron's thesis:

How in the name of rational and sane humanity could a contemporary and universal belief in Jesus' death, accompanied by a story of an empty tomb and his resurrection from the dead, have produced thousands of new believers if Jesus was still alive, married, having children, and hanging out with at least one of his disciples (who was running around telling everyone that Jesus had died, risen, and ascended back into heaven as the Son of God)? And then later died and was buried along with everyone else in a local tomb with his bones later placed in an ossuary with his name carved into it! Would no one have noticed this?

James Cameron seems to think so.

My conclusion to all of this is that either Cameron is doing a very shabby job of deceiving us or he is doing a very good job of deceiving himself.

Either way, Jesus and the followers who proclaimed him to be Lord and Savior are, through this production, being publicly accused of being charlatans and frauds and the written records of the New Testament Gospels and Letters to be lies on top of lies.

While my Lord and my God can take this foolishness with heavenly laughter, I take this whole affair as just one more personal insult to my own faith, integrity, character, and intelligence.

James Cameron is a despicable man and those who are using this inexcusable fabrication to make a profit (including the Discovery Channel) are worth every bit of scorn that honest and decent folks can bring to bear against them.

No doubt Cameron already has an advance on his 30 pieces of silver.

I suppose someone might ask the question: "Does any of this cast any doubts about the fundamental truth of my Christian faith?"

In reply I offer the following headline: "James Cameron and the Discovery Channel Cause the Collapse of Christianity."

As they say in Hollywood, "Get real!"

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About Bird of Paradise

  • Chris Rosebrough

    For a comprehensive and scholarly rebuttal of the film’s evidence please visit ExtremeTheology.com.

    Read and hear the evidence fore yourself.

  • jaz

    trying to refute any theory by using literalist interpretations of scriptural stories as Fact is logically flawed form the beginning due to unproven or blatantly false Postulates being utilized as axioms of theory

    try waiting until the broadcast shows, and take it from there…goes for each view of the discussion

  • You were doing ok at criticizing an as yet unseen documentary. Your citations of Israeli archaeologists were not linked or cited which might have been fine in this opinion piece but your personal comments are linked to a bible site which has nothing to do with the subject.

    The theory as I have read about it is interesting but unproven and, for the foreseeable future, unprovable. However the indication of hysterical-reactions-to-come is undeniable. Already someone of intelligence feels that a film might “insult” their “… faith, integrity, character, and intelligence.”

    Cameron is already on my list for the tedious and boring Titanic . After that turkey all his films will be taken with a grain of salt.

    However, the study of archeology continues. All its findings may not make fundamentalists happy, may or may not prove the ancient stories as they have been written and translated over the centuries.

  • dustin

    im skeptical. im going to watch the documentary out of interest, but it sounds like a lot of crappidee crappidee.

  • Greg

    Heaven is patient. That’s why blasphemers are given enough time and rope to hang themselves

  • Howard, All quotations are cited through the link to the article in the Washington Post. Also, since this is an “opinion” piece rather than a “review” (how can I review what I have not seen?) my personal opinions ought to considered relevent! I simply tied in a link to the Bible verse that I made passing reference to in my comments. I cannot assume that everyone is Biblically literate enough to catch my somewhat obscure reference. ( I could have done the same for my “30 pieces of silver” reference but chose not to). Lastly, while the “biblegateway” site is not part of the critique it does represent one of the most useable and accessible “Bible-text” sites on the internet. Since the entire issue of veracity is grounded in the context of James Cameron’s assertions against the backdrop of archaeological concensus, historical context and the New Testament texts I should think that a website that contains the text of the Bible to be more than relevent to the issue being discussed.

    Who knows, someone reading this post might actually dare to read more than the one verse in the Bible to which I had a link! Would this be a bad thing? or irrelevent?

  • Hollywood and Christianity. Not a good Holy Alliance.

  • Anton

    You want facts? Here are some:
    1. The joy and happiness resulting from my religion are real;
    2. The peace and hope emanating from my faith are real;
    3. My appreciation of religious artistic works is real;
    4. My inclination to the name Jesus is real;

    Now you are asking us to despise our religion because of some funny claims? We chosed light, and we’re enjoying it. Now if you are rotting in your hellish world, don’t ask us to join you. Enjoy your hell on earth!

  • Melanie

    Even in modern times,many people are risking persecution just to hear one Mass. They were not forced into it, its their free choice. So Cameron has to come up with something more believable to challenge these kind of people.

  • zingzing

    good for you anton.

    but why are the rest of us in hell just because we aren’t happy for the same reasons you are?

    it’s not hot today. it smells nice in here.

    you want some other facts? this is a documentary that won’t change minds. those who believe in the bible won’t suddenly not believe in it because some documentary told them to, unless they are weak-willed souls who believe whatever they are told. most won’t even bother with it.

    it’s not religion that gives you happiness, it’s faith. religion is political. faith is faith. peace and hope don’t come from faith, faith comes from peace and hope. i would hope you could appreciate art, religious or not, because if you can’t, how are you appreciating anything but the reaffirmation of your faith whenever you view art?

    how are you inclined to a name? i don’t get that.

    no one is asking you to despise anything. no one is asking you to do anything. i guess someone might be asking you to watch a documentary on cable t.v., but i’m not really sure.

  • Mezzo P.

    James, beware, the real owners of the bones might just haunt you tonight for misrepresenting their true identity.

  • Faith and religion are both more interesting if one looks past the literal meanings of the text and reads them as literary meanings within the texts. But I guess everyone can’t read on a high level, so they see the Bible as a story book with fanciful Mother Goose tales, to be taken literally or else not to be taken seriously. I just wish both sides would acknowledge the limitations of their own points of view.

  • Eastern

    From the bored of judges: ‘James Cameron is not the one’. Next candidate please! Hurry, easter is fast approaching!

  • Stephen Kunze

    Well I am from Australia and I have not done any research into this and I will not.
    As it stands their are no bones of Jesus christ left, he was resurrected from this earth, and I will stand by this truth and fight it until the end.
    The Jesus I serve and love is more real then ever, he may have died, but thank god he rose again 3 days later proven by the most historically correct book in history.

    So people that are agreeing with Camerons claims are really suggesting that the bible in incorrect? If you guys would rather believe something like the Da vinci code which is based on mainly fiction then go ahead, its your eternity you are dealing with.
    Staright to the point is the way I am, and the way I like it.

  • Eric

    James Bone at Discovery channel?

  • Filipino

    From the Philippines: It didn’t even made the news. We only learned about it in the internet.

  • Thos Graham

    Why would or could you not think that this could be the tomb of jesus and his family.?. First thing he rose from the dead and at no point in time does the bible say he was not a spirit. Second if you are a spirit you have no bones… Next, to even think that this is not possible is just insane.. I think there is enough evidence to do more research into this theory. It may be true is may be false but just because it involves jesus doenst mean it cant be real.. Stop being so one sided and stop bashing someone for showing you a theory..

  • Rey

    That’s right, give the bonehead a chance. He’s the smartest guy that came out in 2000 years. Archaeologists were amazed by his speed and skills. He must have studied archaeology at the university of hollywood.

  • Donkey Oatie

    Delusion: A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence.
    Religion is one of the most powerful of delusions.
    The deluded are highly unlikely to consider any evidence which might challenge their faith and are incapable of objectivity in that process.
    My guess is that this will free many to think for themselves and to pursue these questions further.
    They will find truth a demanding master.

  • Arphaxad

    Beware of the christian delusion. It will propagate love and brotherhood in the world. Worse, it will insist on justice and fidelity. This mentality is polluting our world. Look, if we will not stop the onslaught of christian delusion, we can no longer enjoy our crimes.

  • Rey

    Lets stop being pretentious. The conflict is not about evidence or scientific proof, but whether you like what Jesus was saying or not. He predicted long time ago that his church will be hated by the world because his teaching is a scandal to them. Jesus’ enemies will continue to disprove him, and his followers will continue to prove Him.

  • donna roy

    no one ever said the devil was a bad lier

  • I watched this tonight, along with the Ted Koppel roundrable discussion which followed with considerable interest, and as a Christian I didn’t really see anything presented that would shake or otherwise challenge my faith. The premise they presented was a somewhat intiguing one, but at the end of the day offered way too little in the way of actual hard evidence to support it, relying instead on both speculation and a series of interesting, but hardly conclusive coincidences. Too many unconnected dots there to support this theory as being, umm, you know “gospel.”

    As for all this stuff about Jesus being married to Mary Magdalene and having kids, didn’t Hollywood already try to sell that bill of goods with the DaVinci Code last year?

    As filmaking goes, I did enjoy the whole archeaological backstory though.


  • J.J. Hunsecker

    “James Cameron and the Discovery Channel Cause the Collapse of Christianity.”

    Wow, if a TV show could do that, then how strong is your faith to begin with?

  • Pamela

    Well, you can mixed it up, or twist a little bit to suit your taste: “Christianity caused the collapse of James Cameron and Discovery channel”.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    I have to agree with Howard Dratch in his general assessment of your article.

    But I also point out to you that I am persuaded by the possibilities that this discovery presents. In its present form, it is being exploited as a freak might be, and real science is being pushed to the side.

    I would point out that it does not pay for Israeli archaeologists to throw rocks at Christianity. Secular Israeli are scared of the Gentiles (just like Jews in Russia were scared of the Cossacks) and are afraid to throw rocks at them with discoveries in Israel. These self-same archaeologists will have no have no trouble declaring that there is no evidence to prove the Tana”kh. So they have an agenda in what they say – repect for the Gentile, contempt for the fellow Jew.

    The real issues here are the provenance of the various books in the NT, and the story of who Jesus really was, assuming that he actually lived.

    I do not know enough of these books to discuss them intelligently and would not even insult your intelligence by trying to. But others on this site do. I await their appearance on the comment thread…

    Best regards from Ma’aleh Levona,

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    BTW, BoP,

    Yesterday, me and the boys went to a Purim “Se’udá”, a meal in honor of queen Esther and her cousin Mordekhai;

    The oldest teen had the TV on and there was a movie on cable – “Pearl Harbor”. I remembered you mentioning a long time ago that you had seen this attack as a boy living in Hawaii, and thought of you as the screen showed Zeros flying low over Oahu, hitting ships of the American Pacific fleet.

  • AnArchist

    What’s different between your form of blind faith and Islamic fundamentalism? And don’t say, the violence, twenty centuries will prove you wrong.

  • Ruvy, Happy Purim. I’ve always been inspired by the story of Esther. She sure beats the modern image of a superhero hands down! Too bad last year’s movie (supposedly based on the Bible story) rewrote the story thinking they could improve on it! They made a mess of the whole thing . . . especially with the goofy pendant with the hidden star of David flashing around like a mirror-ball at a cheezy senior prom!

    In any case, you have a good memory. I did post on Pearl Harbor Day in Hawaii here and mentioned jets flying in formation over my home. But this was just back in 2005. Personally, I wasn’t born until 10 years after the real-deal Pearl Harbor Day. I can’t say that I have actually survived much of anything in my life except for the occasional snarky comment on the internet!

    Aloha, Jim

  • jaz

    ok, actually watched the program last night, and have a few Thoughts to toss out for chewing upon that i thought were significant

    many have tried to discount the statistical evidence (notice my choice of words, evidence is NOT proof) due to the names being very common in the first century in the geographical area

    but what those detractors toss aside, are some of the unique details about the names which make the probabilities MUCH greater than the very conservative numbers put out in the program

    examples: Jose, Mariah, and Marianme

    Jose – is considered a diminuative of Joseph, which is a very common name then, but the spelling of said diminuative NEVER occurs in ANY other ossuary in all of Jerusalem…which is significant because it only appears in the Gospels referring to ONE individual, Jesus’ brother…making this a very high probability of a match

    Maria – a latinization of Miriam(Mary)…while Mary is indeed common, the latinized spelling is NOT…this is bolstered by the Greek written original Gospels referring to here in the same latinized manner, as well as other early scriptures which do the same (some like to discount it all because of the “Matthew” buried there, and his name not being among the Jesus direct geneology as laid out in the Gospels, they forget that Matthew is a VERY common name on Mary’s side of the family…again, check your geneology…)

    Marianme – again, this is tossed aside due to it being translated as just another “Mary”, that name being common to about 1 in four women at the time in Jerusalem based on archeological evidence…what it fails to take into account is the linguistic unusualness of it being a unique spelling but also it being Greek…which fits with someone from the trading town of Magdalene
    the VERY big thing here is that there is only ONE instance of anyone being called such in scriptures, the Acts of Philip, written by Mary Magdelene’s brother…discount the veracity of this text all you like, it’s provenance is accepted by all biblical scholars, and copy in the best condition refers to Mary Magdalene with that EXACT use of a name

    the James ossuary – this is a separate thing that does appear to fit due to spectrograph evidence involving the residue patina on the ossuaries having identical properties…which NO other sampled ossuaries had even a resemblance to

    when taking ALL of these names into the calculation, even using the very conservative methodology…the statistical analysis becomes far too convincing to be discounted easily

    what would be required to further the case would be complete DNA testing of all the occupants of the tomb, to see is everyone except Marianme shares maternal DNA and if Judah (some of Jesus and Marianme) does indeed carry both Maia and Marianme’s genes…

    such would be about as conclusive as possible,and would show that the Iraneus tradition was false in some instances (bodily ascension into Heaven), but tend to bolster the Valentinian school of early Christian thought (Enlightened/Gnostic)


    Bird_Paradise: “…I can only conclude that Cameron… seems to be betting that people are gullible enough to believe anything…”

    Millions of seemingly ‘rational’ people believe a guy walked on water, **brought a stinky dead guy back to life, was later killed, stayed a stiff for three days, came back to life, walked around grossing out his friends by asking them to poke a finger in his wound — and later disappeared into the sky like a plateful of cash at a whorehouse bar after tent revival.

    Based on that, I’d say Cameron’s Bet has better odds than Pascal’s Wager.

    **Frankenstein is a jewish name, right?


    Worst/Best unconscious ironic use of language by BoP:

    “This time, however, Cameron is not only trying to resurrect that same eerie authenticity…”



    BTW, Bird’oParadise: here’s a writing tip:

    NEVER start out an “opinion” piece with an assertion that is so Universally Wrongheaded that it undermines everything that follows:

    “Film director James Cameron made a pretty good movie when he filmed Titanic.”

    Yer welcome,

  • Victor

    Sorry guys, you can’t win against a God. You can try….


  • Fuentes

    The conspiracy against christianity only proves the following:
    1. Jesus’ words hurts. Therefore He is an effective teacher.
    2. He is an effective teacher because He is real.
    3. They envied Him
    4. They feared Him
    5. Though considered dead by non-believers, he remained a threat to the earthly rulers of today

    Not a conspiracy? I had done my research and my sources aren’t idiots. All this war against the divinity of Christ, the christmas tree, etc. are organized. They even have a tight schedule, and they always make it during chritmas or lent.

  • jaz

    put the kool aide down , and back away slowly

  • Zu Biao Chi

    30 pieces of silver is enough to transform an educational network into a great liar. So much with my favorite cable channel ,we discovered its dishonesty.

  • Nestor G.

    Let there be chaos on earth, and let it begin at Hollywood

  • Philip

    I dislike zionism and the Israelis because of their occupation of arab territories, but this time I wish to express my appreciation for the professionalism and integrity of Amos Kloner, Joe Zias, and the rest of their Israeli team for standing by the truth.

  • The premise they presented was a somewhat intiguing one, but at the end of the day offered way too little in the way of actual hard evidence to support it, relying instead on both speculation and a series of interesting, but hardly conclusive coincidences.

    Hmmmm…now what does that remind me of?

    Isn’t it a touch hypocritical for someone to demand hard evidence for one telling of a 2000-year-old myth when the followers of “the official” version of the myth reject calls for any kind of evidence to support their version of events? Ya gotta have faith in one case, but only evidence will do in the other. That just doesn’t seem fair, does it?

    I haven’t seen the film, but maybe it’s okay for Cameron’s “followers” to just have faith in his story, even if they haven’t seen hard evidence to support it.

    Worldwide religions have been founded on less. What’s one more fairy tale added to the pile?

  • Kevin son of Terry Brother of Chris

    “The premise they presented was a somewhat intiguing one, but at the end of the day offered way too little in the way of actual hard evidence to support it, relying instead on both speculation and a series of interesting, but hardly conclusive coincidences. Too many unconnected dots there to support this theory as being, umm, you know “gospel.””

    Thats funny, I think the same way about ALL religions. BTW “My God can beat up your God” has been the cause for Billions of deaths through out history. Darwin is the one true God. 😛

  • Kevin son of Terry Brother of Chris

    The premise they presented was a somewhat intiguing one, but at the end of the day offered way too little in the way of actual hard evidence to support it, relying instead on both speculation and a series of interesting, but hardly conclusive coincidences. Too many unconnected dots there to support this theory as being, umm, you know “gospel.”

    That’s funny I think the same way of all religions. I think there are too many relgions in the world. Which do you choose? If there is a God would he not smyte those following the wrong path?

    The only reason that Christianity is so popular is because it is easy. A life long serial killer could kill 600 people,but if he “finds Jesus” before they through the switch, he will be in heaven sitting at the kids table right next to Pope John Paul II eating Thanksgiving turkey.

    If you are a Christian, Please stop giving your money to the church. I think your Preist can go 1 summer with out his country club membership and his new BMW.

  • Lori, Fairytale Pie sounds yummy! The only problem with it is that one hour later you’re hungry again. One (pie)ce of evidence for the Christian faith is its staying power . . . its ability to change lives for the better . . . even its ability to repent of, condemn and self-correct its own historical misbehaviors. One more thing . . . Fairytale Pie never ever gives anyone a case of indigestion . . . The Christian religion, on the other hand, will give almost anyone a case of severe heartburn! Because it is such a potent diet and can easily be misprepared if the recipe is not followed properly.

  • Zu Biao Chi

    There is no shortage of fairy tale books from where I live. But for this religion, we placed our lives on the line because its power to satisfy spiritual thirst is out of this world. But I don’t expect you to understand us.

    Lets just say people of this world are of two kinds, the blind and the wise. Non-believers say Christians are blind while blasphemers are wise. But majority believes that its the other way around.

  • Dan

    Those who were not invited to the feast cannot understand the sweetness of the secret manna from Heaven. I pitied them, they missed the best experience they could have enjoyed. Millions do not flock to the church for nothing.

    But scriptures are never wrong. The devil planted his own people upon this earth, and they shall do battle with the church. But in the end, they will fulfill their part in the script which is to be the loser.

  • zingzing

    a lot of people believe that islam is the true faith as well. why don’t you guys fight it out?


    well, i’m glad that those who are enlightened are showing us the true path to salvation.

    i really don’t get why death and destruction have to be a part of it.

    based on what i see from all your religions, i’m gonna turn buddhist. it seems to be fairly peaceful.

    wait, wait… if christianity’s proof is it’s staying power, what does that say about judaism? and, wait, wait… if judaism is older than christianity, why should i believe christianity over judaism? and wait, wait, if judaism is nothing but christianity without a messiah, then which am i to believe based on all this james cameron nonsense? judaism has time on its side… according to one of the christians here, that’s all you need.

    oh yeah, the secret manna from heaven. forgot about that. you mean like the roman gods? didn’t your god kill those gods? murdering gods… i can’t fucking take it when they murder. like that whole flood thing. fucked up, that.

    the blind and the wise… oh, what is it that you see, doubting thomas? am i to believe that you have seen proof positive that christianity is the way? where? what?

    science and logic have been around as long as christianity has, and we’ve got bigger, longer books than you do. so there. and lots of people have believed it for a long time, and you guys look foolish with your 6,000 year old earth and your “we couldn’t have come from monkeys” and “gay people are evil” and “kill the jew” and all that.

    you consider every other viewpoint to be false and all the people in the world who believe a different religion or no religion at all to be damned and foolish, yet what makes you figure that a vast majority of the world is wrong and you are right? a book? written by men? that contradicts itself?

    find your own faith. spirituality is not wrong. organized religion is the work of the devil, if you believe in that, or, more rightly, is the work of evil men.

  • Dan

    I repeat (pay attention this time), those who are not invited to the feast cannot understand the sweetness of the secret manna from Heaven, the word who became flesh Jesus Christ. I would like to highlight “cannot understand” (like dumb or something).

  • zingzing

    answer the questions, then, dan.

    if you can’t answer a question, or at least respond, then why should we pay attention to what you have to say, dummy-boy?

  • Dan

    Jesus taught the disciples that those who are not against them are not their enemies, even if they are from other flock. Individuals from other religion who do not hate Christ like you do are obviously not dumb. They have no problem with the love and peace preaching. Those from other faith who knew nothing of Christ but believe in brotherhood, justice, and love, are obviously in their right mind. But those who oppose the tenets of love and peace may have some mental disorder or something.

  • zingzing

    i don’t “hate christ.” that’s just silly. i just don’t believe in the bible. christ, the man, the idea, was and is just fine. i’m sick of all the violence that religion causes. that’s nothing against peace, “brotherhood, justice, and love,” which are all wonderful things.

    what have i said that makes you think i “hate christ?” i am not “against” jesus at all. those who believe in jesus without falling for all that false hatred (for those that the church, never jesus, deems evil) are okay, too.

    if you can separate what jesus ACTUALLY taught from all the bullshit that you find in the bible and in church teachings, then i have no problem with you.

    some of what is to be found in the bible is good. there is a lot there that forms a good moral basis upon which to live your life. unfortunately, it also teaches a lot of hate, and it teaches a lot of things that christians pick and choose (homophobia is good, because it’s taught in the bible, women are subserviant, becuase it’s taught in the bible, but what about slavery, which is also condoned in the bible?)

    you shouldn’t believe the bible as literal truth. that’s the problem with religion. every religion thinks that THEIR book is to be completely believed, while all others are just so much silliness. do you think it right when muslims interpret the koran literally? “kill the infidel?”

    does this foolishness not extend to you? yes, there is much to learn from the bible. overall, it is an okay book. but why is so much of it used to hate? and why would you believe the way that that is the way it was intended?

  • Dan

    Well, I agree with you that interpreting the Bible is dangerous business. Of course, it is also a historical account of the Jewish people and we cannot say that its a fake just because it recorded violent events. As for our church, we have a magisterium (official teaching authority) that can be traced back to the apostles and Jesus Christ, and it interpreted the Bible just fine. God reigns in the hearts of men of goodwill (Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc.) for His laws are written in their hearts. Those people will obviously dine with Him in His feast.

  • Leslie Bohn

    …on the entrails of non-believers! Bwa-hahaha-haha!

    A vengeful, wrathful god

  • Arlene

    Now you know how satan laughs. For him, God is vengeful and wrathful. Well, he deserves to be treated that way by God anyway.

  • Nancy

    Zing, your comments go for me, too. If longevity is the ruler of truth, then Judaism is more true than Christianity, and Buddhism more true than either. “Staying power” means nothing. Superstitions & fairy tales can go on & on with each generation. For example, take the ‘virgin birth’ myth, which has occurred in just about every religious myth recorded – or better, the resurrection theme, which also recurs in every major religion. Each new religion just borrows elements from the older ones. A very large proportion of Christianity is lifted/plagarized wholesale from Mithraism & other, older middle-eastern traditions involving gods, demi-gods, & heroes.

    Then there are the recorded historical contradictions within the christian bible itself. Add in the other main versions – the Gospel of Thomas, of Mary Magdalene, of the Gnostics, etc. – & you have an unintelligible mismash of gibberish.

    Most of the current christian theology is not derived from JC per se, but from Paul, who taught almost exactly the opposite of what JC himself is reported to have preached – & practiced. Consider that Paul was a flaming & zealous anti-christian. The likelihood that he suddenly DID “see the light” is dim; far more likely is that he is history’s most successful agent provocateur & mole, who succeeded in making a mockery of the actual original christianity by subverting the teachings of The Master & substituting his own: equality of women before God for submission of women to male authority; forgiveness & tolerance for separation & shunning; etc. I could go on but you all have copies of this book for yourselves to find all the contradictions betwixt the messages given in the gospels as opposed to the teachings of Paul.

    The towering edifices of christianity were built on the mechanations of men – venal, corrupt, power-hungry men at that. Had it not been for the whimsy of Constantine & his official imperial patronage, christianity would still be skulking in the shadows – if it still existed at all. That it came to prominence is due to its political exigencies to people like Constantine, NOT to any inherent superiority per se. And since history is almost always written by those who conquer, the “truth” of christianity & its various permutations (“churches”) is extremely suspect to any but the vacuous, gullible, or desperate.

    You say, “oh, you don’t believe – you’re on the side of Satan”. Bullshit. That’s the glib & easy disclaimer & sorry excuse for every christian since the beginning when they can’t explain or justify the religion & have no facts to fall back on – nothing except fairy tale pie, as one commenter wrote. Easy to weasel out of argument & proof by claiming that faith alone is the justification & anybody who doesn’t line up for shearing like the willing sheeple who do choose to believe has got to be on the side of the Enemy. This kind of argument/’proof’ has been the refuge of charlatans, con artists, & swallowed whole by idiots since the beginning of human time. It’s just another scam.

  • jaz

    “But scriptures are never wrong.”


    ok, what were the last words of Jesus, and what was the inscription over his head at the crucifixion?

    careful, there’s two different version..depending on which Gospel you read.

    the words of Men are indeed fallible, and that’s what scriptures are…the words of men.

  • edward

    Were there were remains in the ossuary of Jesus? Were the remains examined for evidence of crucifixion? If Jesus had a son named Judah were is his name in the new testament? Surely the son of the founder of Christianity would have some recognition in the new testament or even the Gnostic Gospels? Was the name Judah also included in the statistical equation that was used in the documentary? If not, why not? Nowhere in the new testament and that includes the Gnostic Gospels is there a mention of a Judah son of Jesus. Surely the founders son would merit a mention somewhere in the historical documents. If the names used for statistical analysis used those that are only mentioned in the historical documents,then the stats may not be reliable.One should include all the ossuarys’names that were found in the tomb as part of the equation. That means Judah son of Jesus should have been included in the equation. The stats may be quite different if all the ossuarys’ names are used. If one is trying to prove a thesis of this sort one must rely on historical documents for guidance when possible. All the historical documents make no mention of Judah son of Jesus.The documentarians have tried to prove a thesis without taking into account Judah son Of Jesus. Otherwise they use the documents to help prove their thesis when it suits them .But they forget about those possibilities that don’t help their thesis.

  • truasian

    Hi, I’m commenting all the way from Malaysia. We don’t have the documentary here yet, and what I’ve read is straight from the internet (there seem to be a media blackout on this over the mainstream papers as well).

    OK, let’s go back to the findings. Of all the statistical, DNA forensics and patina testings, I would say that the patina test is the most interesting. The producers have added a ‘dramatic’ twist to the show by saying that the tenth missing ossuary actually belonged to the ‘James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus’ ossuary discovered earlier. The patina ‘fingerprinting’ test, which is a relatively new technique, scans samples on stone surfaces, in this case samples from ossuaries taken at random from a dozen tombs from various locations in the Jerusalem area, with an electron microscope to reveal a chemical spectrum/measurement of elements such as magnesium, aluminum, phosphorus, potassium, titanium and iron. The preliminary results indicated that the chemical spectrum of the James ossuary strongly “echoed” those of the Talpiot wall surfaces and its ossuaries.

    The hypothesis that the James ossuary belongs to the Talpiot tomb has already been discounted by most scholars as the dimensions of the missing ossuary is different from the one documented (65 x 25 x 30 in the Jesus ossuary vs 57.5 x 25 x 30 in the James ossuary) and it is not plain as noted in the Talpiot excavation. However, Dr James Tabor in his blog, has pointed out that the initial excavation findings reveal only a very faint rosette pattern which is due to accumulation of earth which is not initially brushed off yet. Furthermore, he gave an example of certain ossuaries, eg Mariamme, which is quite elaborately decorated and not ‘plain’ as in the James ossuary.

    However, the statistical findings that this is a unique cluster of names not to be found elsewhere fail to convince me. The odds can be 1 in 100, 1 in 600 or 1 in 1000 or whatever. The findings were only based on certain assumptions in the calculation done by Andrey Feuerverger from the University of Toronto. For example, it is assumed by the producers that, Mariamme e Mara refers to Mary Magdalene. This drives up the computation substantially.

    Speaking from everyday experience, what are the chances of meeting your friend at a train station in London? Have you ever found a word you require by the first flip of a dictionary? (Well I have!). What’s the probability of seeing 3 patients with the same name on the same day in a clinic? I’ve actually seen them in my clinic. This is just my personal testimony.

    What’s the probability of the Jesus family having a tomb in Jerusalem when it should most likely be in Nazareth, his birthplace? – the answer is we don’t have the statistical figures to work on, as we are looking from a purely historical and cultural point of view. Therefore, there is not going to be an absolute answer to this whole issue as far as statistics is concerned and people are going to argue till the cows come home. Statisticians are only there to give a rough estimate.

    The DNA test is also unconvincing although it is not the fault of the producers (they could not find bone fragments from other ossuaries. The bones were all buried, on discovery, according to Jewish law). The experts are only able to extract mitochondrial DNA, and not the nucleus, and it is found that the ones in the Jesus and Mariamme ossuaries are not related. The producers are quick to jump in and say that it may probably mean that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and they had a son named Judas. This is predetermined mindset and it has angered many people. I hope they would retract their assumption to defuse the widespread furore.

    In conclusion, I’m more interested in the intellectual debate that will prevail, rather than assumptions and wild accusations from both sides.

    Clearly, an independent team needs to be sent there to verify or discount the patina test. They need to take more samples from other ossuaries in the Talpiot area. This patina test is quite confusing – and as most of us have not heard of this technology before, unlike carbon dating. The producers have said that it is a match but how good a match? It is hoped that more random sampling will be done, and hopefully there will be more refined patina testing machines to clear the issue for the sake of analytical minded people like me! The tomb, itself, which has been sealed by the Israeli authority needs to be reopened and reexamined. More authoritative epigraphical work needs to be done and the final consensus should be made known.

    Hope I’ve not bored you on giving such a long comment, which to me, is the the most controversial discovery in the history of mankind.

  • I’ve been studying the Talpiot tomb find for years, long before it became public knowledge following the mass media exposure. I believe that it’s a serious find, which warrants further study.

    The critics of this find’s magnitude basically argue:

    1. That the Jesus family would be buried in Nazareth, not Talpiot;
    2. That the ‘Jesus’ ossuary would have been inscribed ‘of Nazareth’;
    3. That the Jesus family couldn’t have afforded a tomb like the Talpiot tomb;
    4. That the “Jesus son of Joseph” ossuary is not inscribed “Yeshua” (Jesus) at all;
    5. That the names inscribed on these ossuaries were supposedly common;
    6. That the “Mariamne” ossuary didn’t contain the remains of Mary Magdalene, but of two other women;

    I believe the first five of these allegations against the book’s premise don’t carry much water. The sixth argument actually supports the conclusion that this is the real thing. My comments:

    1. Talpiot is the right place for Jesus’ family tomb- Per Luke, 2:3-4, the family’s LEGAL residence was Bethlehem, not Nazareth. The fact that Joseph and the pregnant Mary could not take the census in Nazareth but had to take it in Bethlehem indicates that Bethlehem was their DOMICILIUM under Roman Law. That basically means that they had no intention to reside in Nazareth permanently. Therefore it would have made little sense for them to have a family tomb in Nazareth, that they wouldn’t be able to frequently visit at a later stage in their lives. They would have wanted a family tomb close to Bethlehem and Jerusalem, easily accessible also to future generations of the family. The fact is indeed that Mary and her children moved to Jerusalem around 30 AD.

    2. The traditional name of Jesus in Hebrew, as reflected also in the Talmud, is “Yeshu Hanotzri.” This appellation stems from “Netzer” (Shoot or Branch). It alludes clearly to Isaiah 11:1, indicating the Royal birth of Jesus, to substantiate his claim for Jewish messiahship. Not to indicate the place he comes from.

    There’s actually no evidence in Jewish sources, such as the Old Testament or the Mishna and Talmud, that a place called “Nazareth” even existed in or before the first century. I’m not disputing the evidence per the NT, that there was indeed a place called Nazareth. But to the best of my knowledge, there’s no mention of Nazareth at all in any ancient writings outside the New Testament. So the place existed, but nobody knew about it. And those in close proximity in Galilee who did know about it, obviously thought derogatorily of it , cf. “can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46.) Therefore there was no reason to call Jesus “of Nazareth.” Either in life or on an ossuary. He was called “Jesus the Branch” (of David) in Hebrew/Aramaic.

    The line of argumentation detracting this discovery around the supposed Nazareth origin of Jesus’ family may therefore be based on a very shaky foundation.

    3. Talpiot is located about 2.5 miles North of Bethlehem. Jesus’ family, of Davidic descent according to the New Testament, could have held the burial cave there even before it moved to Nazareth. Davidic birth was absolutely the most exalted in Judaism, always. The suggestion that any person of Davidic descent could be of the lowest social echelon, that couldn’t fund or get funding for a burial cave, doesn’t make much sense, if any. There’s substantial evidence to the contrary, e.g. 1. Jesus had some very wealthy active supporters like Joseph of Arimatea and Nicodemus (known as Nakdimon ben Gorion in post biblical Jewish sources-one of the richest Jews in Judea;) 2. Josephus, A.J. XX, 9:1. Note the prominence of James, brother of Jesus.

    4. The inscription on the Jesus ossuary does say “Yeshua bar Yehosef” (“Jesus son of Joseph”)to my eye. All letters but one are quite clearly there. The only letter which is somewhat more difficult to discern at first blush is the second letter- “Shin”. That’s because it’s written in a somewhat irregular form (in a regular Shin there are three teeth in the fork, pointing upwards. Here there are two teeth, pointing sideways to the right.) But that particular irregularity appears also on other ossuaries- notably numbers 9 (this one has two “Shin”- one with three teeth pointing to the right, and one with TWO teeth pointing to the right. Exactly like the subject inscription) and 121 in the Rahmani catalogue, which both feature also a “Yeshua.”

    Still, the name “Yeshua” on this ossuary is among the most, if not the most, difficult to read names of all ossuaries listed in Rahmani’s catalogue of Jewish ossuaries. It is almost written as a person’s complex signature on a check. Contrast that with the patronymic following the first name. This is written in a simple straightforward fashion, which is very easy to read. There’s no other example in Rahmani’s catalogue of a first name that has to be deciphered, and a patronymic that’s so plain and clear. Is this merely a coincidence?

    5. Some critics make the following comment to my post:

    “The inscription, Pfann said, is made up of two names inscribed by two different hands: the first, “Mariame,” was inscribed in a formal Greek script, and later, when the bones of another woman were added to the box, another scribe using a different cursive script added the words “kai Mara,” meaning “and Mara.” Mara is a different form of the name Martha.

    According to Pfann’s reading, the ossuary did not house the bones of “Mary the teacher,” but rather of two women, “Mary and Martha.'”

    Here’s my thought about that:
    If the Mariamne ossuary indeed housed the bones of Mary and Martha, these are two sisters of NT fame. One of them could have been married to “Jesus son of Joseph.” -Whether or not she was Mary Magdalene (Maybe the Mary who anointed Jesus’ feet and then dried them with her hair- very intimate scene.) The other sister would than also automatically belong in the family. It still fits. Actually it increases the statistical odds that this is the real thing quite substantially.
    This is a very intriguing possibility indeed, fitting perfectly with John 12:3. Intimate contact with a man, as described in this NT passage, was allowed only to a woman who was an immediate blood relative of that man, his wife (…or a working woman.) That’s all. Therefore Mary of Bethany was quite possibly by elimination Jesus’ wife or in the process of becoming his wife. In that context, Margaret Starbird already theorized that similar anointing with spikenard oil was part of pre marriage ritual of a Davidic king, per certain passages in the Song of Songs. Note also that intercourse by itself was sufficient under Jewish Law in certain circumstances to constitute valid marriage. That practice, termed Bi’ah marriage, was abolished in the 6th century, but it was lawful in Jesus’ time.

    Mary of Bethany could have become pregnant by Jesus while he stayed at her house, shortly before his crucifixion. In that case it’s quite possible that she bore Jesus’ son posthumously and named him “Judah.” And in that case both she and her sister Martha would have become part of Jesus’ family, which earned them a place in the Talpiot family tomb..

    Reminds me of the reaction to this find of a BBC reporter in 1996- It seems like all balls in the national lottery coming one by one.

    I have no knowledge of Greek, so I can only discuss the two propositions. Assuming that the ossuary does say “Mary and Martha”, here’s what I think the names are:
    * 1.”Jesus son of Joseph”(“Yeshua bar Yehosef” in Hebrew/Aramaic script;)
    * 2. “Mary” (“Marya” in Hebrew/Aramaic script);
    * 3. “Joseph” (“Yose” in Hebrew/Aramaic script. Precise nickname of Jesus’ second brother- cf. Mark 6:3);
    * 4. “Mary and Martha” (“Mariame kai Mara” in Greek)-they must have been sisters because Jewish law didn’t allow burial together of two unrelated women;
    * 5. “Matthew” (“Matya” in Hebrew/Aramaic script)- Name of Jesus’ first cousin, son of his father’s brother Alphaeus/Clophas. As James Tabor suggests in a different context, Matya could also well have been Jesus’ half brother, considering a certain specific rule of the Torah (Deuteronomy 25:5-10.) This rule was applied in Jesus time- see Matthew 22:24-28;
    * 6. “Judah son of Jesus”(“Yehuda bar Yeshua” in Hebrew/Aramaic script.)
    * Therefore out of eight names actually inscribed on these ossuaries (including the “Joseph” father of Jesus on the first ossuary) four names undoubtedly relate to Jesus’ immediate family, and three other names relate to the same with a somewhat lower probability. In any event, they all relate to Jesus’ extended family. Note that first century Jewish family tombs were usually a clan thing.
    * The eighth name is “Yehuda bar Yeshua”- must have been the son of Jesus and one of the sisters Mary or Martha. More likely Mary, as explained above.

    6. While the full versions of all these names were indeed common in Jesus’ time, the derivatives, nicknames and contractions were not. Thus “Yeshua” for Jesus was less common than “YeHOshua;” ditto “YeHOsef” instead of “Yosef” for Joseph; “Marya” for Mary was extremely rare in Hebrew/Aramaic script; “Yose” for Joseph is unique. Therefore out of these eight names, two are irregularities, one is a particularity, and one a singularity.

    BOTTOM LINE- Ask yourself inversely a hypothetical question- If the Talpiot tomb hadn’t yet been found, how would Jesus’ family tomb have looked , which ossuaries would it have contained, to when would it have been dated and where would it have been located.

    I would have thought of a tomb just like the tomb we’re discussing. It fits perfectly with what I’d have expected Jesus’ family tomb to be. Right place, right period, right names. I therefore believe that this matter, delicate as it obviously is, warrants further investigation. This could include opening and examination of the adjacent tomb, and forensic examination of the skeletal remains found in the Talpiot ossuaries, and apparently reburied back in 1980. These could hopefully be relocated by comparison to the mithochondrial DNA samples already taken from two of these ossuaries.

  • Itamar, Shavua Tov

    Where do you hail from?

    I used to live in East Talpiot but moved before this was publicized.

  • Irene Wagner

    Itamar (and Ruvy who has just asked you where you come from, might be interested, too) I wouldn’t mind reading more about this tomb (old news, but hey, it’s an old tomb) even if those who presented the facts and hypotheses were nonbelievers. I wouldn’t be interested if it were another “The God Delusion” or “God is not Great” spat out by the New Atheist merry band of “Brights.”

    On your comments about Nazareth: I’m guessing you know about the punning “shaqued-almond-shoked-on the watch” in Jeremiah 1:11-12. Similar wordplay appears to exist in Matthew 2 (“as it is written, he shall be called a Nazarene.”) The humorous outburst from Philip after he’d learned the name of Jesus’ hometown “can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46) touches again on the absurdity of the idea that the Messiah, the Righteous Branch (netzir), would come from a hick town named “Branchville.”

    But that’s just the sort of thing a Deity who peppered his Holy Book with puns and, perhaps, even stuffed it full of encoded messages, might do.

    Speaking of the latter, the Actuarial Review invites colleagues to review the statistical analysis of a Richard Sherman, Fellow in the Casualty Actuarial Society, who has been doing Bible Code investigations with Moshe Shak (an Orthodox Jewish expert in Hebrew.)

    I must admit I haven’t looked into Bible Codes much, having been preoccupied with the kind of Bible reading for which no computer is required, but it’s tempting. No truly intellectually curious (or honest) person would dismiss Bible Code or the Tomb just because it might mess with his view of reality. That’s not the way physicists think, after all.

  • Irene,

    I looked at your link and have this much to say to you. Drosnin was a fool who exploited the Torah Code to do what the Torah specifically prohibits – divination, predicting the future. And most of his predictions were worth less than the toilet paper I used recently after defecating. The point of the coded ESL messages found in the Torah is not that it is a predictive tool, but rather that it is the watermark for one single Author of the Torah – thus providing a total rejection of the bullshit known as “Higher Criticism” that I had to learn in college many years ago.

    If you honestly want to understand the Torah Code, read the book “Cracking the Bible Code” by Dr. Jeffrey Satinover. The information in the indices alone is worth the price of the book.

  • Ruvy! It’s good to hear from you. It’s been a long time. To all the rest of you I was the author of this item nearly two years ago. I have been impressed with the recent exchange of information. I had not realized that interest in the tomb had resurfaced most recently with a Jerusalem symposium sponsored by Princeton Theological Seminary for more on this.

    I hope you will keep discussing this matter and I will be all eyes (or ears?). Archeology is a very inexact science. Even the Israeli Antiquities people have been declaring almost every interesting artifact to be a forgery lately! In the case of this tomb, however, it is significant that all the items were found in situ (I had not heard the speculation tha the “James” ossuary might have originally been in the tomb as well . . . hmmmm)

    In any case I have only two things to add: 1. I still affirm my opinion that it would have been impossible to proclaim Jesus’ resurrection from the dead if he was still running around with a wife and children . . . or when his body was clearly buried in a well-known tomb with his name carved on the bone box; and 2. The fact that my blogcritic article was “dead” for nearly two years and is now alive again is compelling evidence that this is, indeed, a resurrection from the dead! lol

    Aloha to you all.

  • BoP,

    I thought I wrote you a response before rushing out of the house to catch the bus to Ariel. I guess the comment didn’t publish – or I didn’t hit publish.

    Long time no hear!

    I thought you got lost in a huge pot of poi.

    The politics section is the same as it has always been, but there are new faces. Gonzo seems to have left. Shark occasionally comments. Irene Wagner seems to be the wisest of the commenters to have joined; it’s her comment you see above mine.

    I figured out what happened to the comment I was going to send. I never finished writing it, getting lost in my thoughts and finally running out of time.

    In the time since wee talked last, my computer crashed twice and I lost your e-mail address, so please send me an e-mail. You can pick it up at my blogspot referenced above.

    See you later!

  • Irene Wagner

    Ruvy and Bird o’ Paradise: There’s a point where one’s certainty of a particular proposition’s truth changes an emotional unwillingness to consider refutations to be transformed into a an emotional willingness to consider, but a rational inability to believe the refutations.

    So, Bird O’Paradise, though your treatment of this topic seems fairly open-minded, I’m putting you in the “inability to believe” category, which I hope you will receive as a compliment; and as you say, there are others whose “inability to believe” the claims about the tomb under discussion have nothing to do with anything like a rock-solid faith in a Deity.

    Ruvy, the link I gave mentions Drosnin only because the splash he made in the news motivated Richard Sherman (fellow of Casualty Actuarial Society) to determine the probability that the presence of such encoded messages (not anything Drosnin derived from them) could have appeared by accident. And wouldn’t you know it, skeptic though he was, he ended up looking for encoded messages as enthusiastically and expectantly as the next guy, but he doesn’t view the codes as “date-setting prophecy”It’s a distraction from the duty of living every day with a “confident urgency” (no matter how far in the future anything apocalyptic happens to be) to spend too much time determining “the hour and the day” (which God has explicitly promised NOT to give us!)

    I posted the link because it related to the topic under discussion: Alleged presence of Bible Codes threaded through Isaiah 53: some people :: a tomb that has been supposed to have contained the bones of a married-with-children Jesus : Christians.

    I have put Satinover and his book, which you recommended on my reading list. It’s a long list, but hopefully I will have a long life.

  • zingzing

    “The point of the coded ESL messages found in the Torah is not that it is a predictive tool, but rather that it is the watermark for one single Author of the Torah.”

    well, it’s really proof that when you look for something hard enough, you can find… something.

    they did this for moby dick and found some very interesting codes in that too.

  • Brunelleschi

    “How in the name of rational and sane humanity could a contemporary and universal belief in Jesus’ death, accompanied by a story of an empty tomb and his resurrection from the dead, have produced thousands of new believers if Jesus was still alive, married, having children, and hanging out with at least one of his disciples (who was running around telling everyone that Jesus had died, risen, and ascended back into heaven as the Son of God)? And then later died and was buried along with everyone else in a local tomb with his bones later placed in an ossuary with his name carved into it! Would no one have noticed this?”

    This one is real easy to answer.

    Jesus’ life was a non event. He was barely noticed when he lived and died. The stories that came later developed with time depending on what the storytellers wanted and needed to say, for their own reasons.

    Paul’s account was decades after the fact. The rest were at least 40-50 years later.

    Ever play the game telephone? People can’t get a story straight when passed from one to the other in a few minutes.

    Christianity is a cult, based on a 40-50 year game of telephone. You can hardly believe any of it.

    The study of the historical Jesus is interesting stuff. It shows how an un-noticed normal life can turn into a whopper of a tale, and how that can change history and become a violent, tragic cult.

  • Irene, Thanks for the compliment . . . I think!

    Brunelleschi,Your interpretation of New Testament history doesn’t add up. The apostle/followers of Jesus stayed in Jerusalem for 20-30+ years after Jesus’ public execution by the Romans. Saul/Paul, who was a student of the great and still-renowned Rabbi Gamaliel in Jerusalem not only persecuted Christians for blasphemously worshiping a crucified and buried Jesus but later became a Christian himself. The idea that the Jesus story was a fabrication and a scam pulled off in the very place where the disputed events publically took place stretches credulity past the breaking point.

    Also left unexplained is why Jesus’ followers (who, according to you, presumably knew he was alive and married and having children nearby) would create and perpetuate a hoax that gained them little more than suffering and death? All but one of Jesus’ 12 “disciples” died violent deaths except for John (whe survived at least one attempted execution of his own). Jesus’ own brother, the James whose possible ossuary is surrounded by much controversy these days, became a leader in the Christian church and was killed by being thrown off of the Temple mount down into the Kidron Valley. Were these men and women complete idiots and fools, duped by their own crazed imaginations? You say “Yes.” I say “No.” Sigh . . .

  • they did this for moby dick and found some very interesting codes in that too.

    Not to mention Shakespeare, War and Peace and the back of a cereal box.

  • Brunelleschi


    What is your source?

  • Brunelleschi


    “The Jesus I serve and love is more real then ever, he may have died, but thank god he rose again 3 days later proven by the most historically correct book in history.”

    And riddled with errors, wishful thinking, borrowed myths, and written decades after the fact based on word-of-mouth legends.

    There are actually no records of his existence that date to his time. His life was pretty much un-noticed by contemporaries except for his small group of followers. Everything you know about him was legend and written after his death, and not even in his own language.

    Prof Bart D Ehrman has spent 25 years as a scholar studying the accuracy of the New Testament, his take-

    “The books seem to have been written 35 to 65 years after the events they narrate by highly educated, Greek speaking Christians (unlike the lower-class Aramaic-speaking disciples of jesus). As two of the authors admit, they inherited the stories from the oral tradition.”

    Prof Ehrman on the resurrection-

    “The sources are hopelessly contradictory.”

  • Irene Wagner

    Compliment! Bird’ O:
    You are a rare bird, indeed,
    In BC. Peace, bro. (haiku.4.you)

    Dr. Dreadful, re: cereal boxes. Perhaps you have codes on the back confused with Decoder Rings inside?

    Seriously though, Dr. D, I’m not a math genius, I’m just a sucker for wonders like patterns in prime numbers, Euler’s identity, the relationship both of these things have to recent discoveries in quantum mechanics (which I don’t pretend to understand), and things that Casualty Actuarial Society fellow Richard Sherman have to say about the long odds of realllllly long messages (not on the same order at all as a single name being found reversed in Moby Dick) being encoded in the Bible.

    That’s why the story about the 108-Letter-Long Buddhist Code Wrapping Around the Tanakh Nine Times caught my attention, as did the account of The Messiah messages. Just the same, though, Jesus was real to me before the codes, and will remain so, codes, or no codes.

    I know, Bruneschelli, I’m hopeless. 🙂

  • Brunelleschi

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster, creator of all forgives you and blesses you with it’s noodley appendage….

  • No, Irene, I’m cereous. Apparently somebody went looking for a prophetic message in the blurb on the back of a cereal box, and lo and behold (to coin a phrase) found it.

    It was more than a single name in Moby Dick – and, as I’m sure you’re aware, the discoverer doesn’t really think that there are hidden prophecies in Melville’s work.

    That 108-letter code may make sense to Buddhists – it certainly doesn’t to me. Somehow I suspect that you could find any message if you looked hard enough. ‘Blind my Welsh teeth, holy accountant, for my coffee is rebelling mistily’, for example.

  • zingzing

    “No, Irene, I’m cereous.”


  • HeddaCabbage

    Dr. D. Cereus: I’ll see you a healthy dose of skepticism, and raise you an article comparing the length and complexity of the codes Sherman has found in the Bible to those of the relatively unimpressive encoded messages found in Moby Dick.

    The Hindu message is noteworthy for its length as well as for its abstruseness. There are other easier-to-understand codes discussed on the site linked to above. I wouldn’t sell the farm to buy all things Bible Code, but I’m not convinced by the arguments of the skeptics, either.

    Anyway Dr. D, if I could wish anything for you, it would be that you’d be blessed by something the Bible says left to right, rather than upside down and backwards. But it’s not up to me to make that happen.

    ZingZing: Akismet the Comment Nazi told me my link to the Cereus Poker site was spam. “My coffee is being spit-taken mistily, but I’m not sure why.”

  • Irene, I’ll see your article and hold onto the obvious point I made before. (If that’s the right terminology. I don’t know how to play poker.) If you look hard enough for codes, you’ll find them.

    Or, as one skeptic puts it quite succinctly:

    ‘My point is that finding initials and names and dates in an arbitrary “word find” array is not hard. Especially if you’re dealing with no vowels, and with numbers equivalent to letters. In a text that is 300,000 letters long, there should be hundreds of such coincidences. And if you can re-matrix as you please, the number of coincidences increases enormously.’

    The fact that the guys who looked at Moby Dick and War and Peace didn’t report any longer codes doesn’t necessarily mean they weren’t able to find any. Feeling that their point was proven, they stopped looking. They’re not ‘professional’ code researchers like those really high scorers, after all. They presumably have other jobs and better things to do with their time.

    That article is hardly more surprising than making statistical comparisons of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with Mike and Eddie who play tennis once or twice a month at the local park when they have time, and finding that Rog and Rafa are better players.

    Like you, though, I fail to see much use in looking for codes in sacred (or any other kind of) texts, other than for fun. I know Ruvy, for one, has other views, but from a practical or even a spiritual standpoint, what exactly are we to do with them? ‘So the Torah predicts that Rabin will be assassinated? Um. We were kind of already aware of that. Thanks for the… um… warning.’

  • Irene Wagner

    Dr. Dreadful. Point taken about there being perhaps better things to be doing with a Saturday afternoon. But I’ve got one more card to put on the table before I fold ’em!

    The link you’re posting to discusses Drosnin’s work, not Sherman’s. Richard Sherman is NOT a professional code-seeker; he is a professional actuary. Comparing the skeptics findings in Moby Dick to Drosnin’s findings in the Bible and assuming you’ve compared the Moby Dick findings to Sherman’s Biblical findings, is like comparing Moby Dick to Nemo and assuming you’ve compared Moby Dick to…to…Leviathan. In short, Dr. D. it’s looking like Sherman has matched the skeptics and raised the argument to the next level. Remember, Sherman wasn’t impressed with Drosnin when he set out to debunk Drosnin’s “The Bible Code,” and he still isn’t impressed with Drosnin’s work, even though it’s what motivated his own.

    As for the spiritual benefit of being interested in Bible codes, I agree with part of what Ruvy said about them. They are to baffle, and catch the attention of, the Higher Critics whose approach to the Bible is somewhat less humble than it might be. As for the prophetic value of the codes, some descriptions of the End Times (Ezekiel, Revelation) won’t be fully understood until future history has made prerequisites to their unwrapping clear. The Bible warns against setting dates. Bible prophecies can encourage people to stay hopeful about the future, no matter how bleak things look along the way. God knows how it will all turn out, and He is good.

    And some thoughts about your last question. Wasting time contemplating the the codes, if God put them there, is like wasting time thinking about any of the other things God made: how the eye works, the beauty of the stars on a clear night, the surprising deep math/physics correlation I mentioned before. A sense of wonder is what makes life worth living.

  • Point taken about there being perhaps better things to be doing with a Saturday afternoon.

    Irene, that wasn’t meant to be a dig at you.

    Yes, my link discusses Drosnin, but the point being made is the same.

    I’m having a bit of a poke around some material on Sherman’s long letter and word strings which he says are encoded in the Hebrew Bible, and it seems they may not be anything like as coherent or germane as he claims. More later.

  • BTW, his name’s Ed Sherman, not Richard.

  • Irene Wagner

    Hi again Dr. D: His name is Richard Edwin Sherman. Richard Sherman is the name he uses as professional actuary. R. Edwin Sherman is the name he uses as the author of the book “Bible Code Bombshell.” Here’s the article in the “Actuarial Review” where these two alter egos are linked.

    Dr. D, I haven’t taken anything you’ve said in the last two years as a dig at me! I understood it as a dig at the endeavor of FULL TIME Bible code-searching, an activity in which I know you know I am not employed. (Now you know now Richard Ed Sherman isn’t either.) Happy hunting.

    * collects her winnings and scampers off, humming a Kenny Rogers tune *

  • Irene Wagner

    …PS Sherman probably claims the Bible in the standard left to right rendering is a lot more coherent and germane than you would, Dr. D., so I don’t know that I’m really in for any surprises when I read the “more later!”

    I probably will come back to this thread though, as you said there would be more later, but it might not be for a few days, and it won’t be to argue, as I’ve said everything I know about Bible Codes, which admittedly isn’t much.

  • I will make one further observation for now, Irene: which is that the Bible read in the conventional, left-to-right, one-letter-at-a-time manner is certainly more coherent and apparently more germane than the hidden messages Sherman claims to have discovered in it!

  • So he is a Richard, Irene.

    There is another Richard Sherman – the celebrated Hollywood composer – which is presumably why the Bible Code guy uses his middle name when authorating.

  • Mark Twain used to observe how so many people were concerned with what they could not understand in the Bible. As for himself, Twain said, he was most concerned by what he DID understand in the Bible.

  • Irene Wagner

    Bird of Paradise and Dr. Dreadful. Dodginess of interpretation notwithstanding, some of the longer and more complex messages are written with consistent imagery throughout, reminding me of poetry interpreted by Literary Critics in very different ways.

    I just don’t know what to make of it all at this point, but lately I find myself checking the dashboard more frequently to see if I am “hurrying the thorn.” That’s probably a good thing.

    Bird of Paradise — …I don’t know if Mark Twain’s agnosticism was in spite of that fact, or because of it. One other interesting thing about Mark Twain was his and his family’s close friendship with George MacDonald (described as the literary grandfather of J.R.Tolkien and C.S.Lewis.) I would love to have listened to them talking.

    Anyway, sorry for poking the corpse of your Tomb article so many times–I’ll be giving it a rest for awhile. It was a good article, by the way!

  • telson

    Many syncretistic religions formed gnosticism. Gnosticism was rivaling against Christianity and gnosticism held itself better religion as Christianity was. Word gnosticism comes from Greek word gnosis, which means knowledge.

    Gnosticism was various effects, for instance, some Gnostics taught that divinity can be achieved through unity of the man and woman. This thought led some Gnostics to reach for divinity through sexual intercourse between the man and woman. There existed also some Gnostics, who abstained from sexual intercourse.

    When we know the fact that Gnostics held Christians as their enemies and that Gnostics held themselves better as Christians and that Gnostics wanted to show in every way that Gnosticism was better as Christianity, so Gnostics made so called gnostic gospels were they twisted, slandered and misrepresented the real gospels.

    Gnostics went so far in this misrepresent that they wrote “new gospels” by faking the real gospels. In these faked gospels Gnostics wrote that Jesus Christ was an ordinary man who has a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene.