Thursday, March 01, 2007

Are translations accurate

Lost Tomb of Jesus. Posting this item for the controversial aspects of the debate.

Discovery Channel video link

Ossuary In 'Lost Tomb' Documentary On Display In Ft. Lauderdale
POSTED: 2:43 pm EST February 28, 2007
UPDATED: 6:56 pm EST February 28, 2007

Hannity and Colmes gave attention to both sides of the controversy of the film.

Fox 'n Friends. Discovery channel shouldn't run this so-called documentary. Nonsense. Pure impossibility. Absolute nonsense. Findings give bad name to archaeology... deceiving the public by putting it on... if they went against Islam, the program wouldn't last five minutes... Brent Bosell, Media Research Center...

Following Bosell, Simcha Jacobovici, director of film that claims to have found Jesus Christ coffin.

Simcha Jacobovici: There is a tomb and there are names on the tomb... scholars know Mary Magdalin was a title... these are the facts...

Steve Doocy: Basing this on names, but names that were common back then. They were a poor family, how was he buried in an expensive tomb...

Simcha Jacobovici: Hasn't seen one statistician object... it's 600 to 1 weighing this is Jesus Christ bones in this tomb.

Bosell: This is man who oversaw last fraudulent film...

Scholars and clergymen criticize new Jesus documentary
By The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 27, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) — To resolve the question of whether the remains of Jesus and Mary Magdalene may have rested in two limestone boxes discovered in a Jerusalem suburb, the filmmakers of a new documentary took novel approaches — including turning to statisticians.
Some religious scholars and archaeologists, however, have not been convinced by the numbers.

Filmmakers showed the two boxes on Monday while promoting their documentary, "The Lost Tomb of Jesus," produced by Oscar-winning director James Cameron and airing on the Discovery Channel on March 4.

It argues that 10 first-century bone boxes, called ossuaries, discovered in 1980 may have contained the bones of Jesus and his family.

One of the boxes even bears the title, "Judah son of Jesus," hinting that Jesus had a son. The claim that Jesus even had an ossuary contradicts the Christian belief that he was resurrected and ascended to heaven.

A panel of scholars that joined the filmmakers Monday at the New York Public Library addressed that criticism and others.

James Tabor, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, said that while literal interpreters of the Bible say Jesus' physical body rose from the dead, "one might affirm resurrection in a more spiritual way in which the husk of the body is left behind."

But Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said Christianity "has always understood the physical resurrection of Christ to be at the very center of the faith."

Cameron, who won an Academy Award for directing "Titanic," said he was excited to be associated with the Jesus film, which was directed by Toronto filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici.

"We don't have any physical record of Jesus' existence," he said. "So what this film ... shows is for the first time tangible, physical, archaeological and in some cases forensic evidence."

He said that to a layman's eye "it seemed pretty darn compelling."

Jacobovici and archaeologist Charles Pellegrino also are the authors of "The Jesus Family Tomb," newly published by HarperSan Francisco. Jacobovici said that a name on one of the ossuaries, Mariamene, is a major support to the argument that the tomb is that of Jesus and his family. In early Christian texts, Mariamene is a name of Mary Magdalene, he said.

Most Christians believe Jesus' body spent three days at the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem's Old City. The burial site identified in the documentary is in a southern Jerusalem neighborhood nowhere near the church.

In 1996, when the British Broadcasting Corp. aired a short documentary on the subject, archaeologists challenged the link to Jesus and his family. Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to examine the site, said the idea fails to hold up to archaeological standards but makes for profitable television

Jesus' Tomb Claim Slammed By Scholars
Mati Milstein in Jerusalem
for National Geographic News
February 28, 2007

The archaeologist who excavated a Jerusalem burial cave featured in a new film is among the experts who have slammed the movie's claim that the cave is the tomb of Jesus, his wife, and their son.

The film—The Lost Tomb of Jesus, directed by Canadian journalist Simcha Jacobovici and produced by Hollywood director James Cameron—is set to air this Sunday on the Discovery Channel.

The movie presents what the filmmakers say is archaeological, statistical, and genetic evidence suggesting that the family of Jesus might have been interred in the burial cave.

"The evidence is compelling," Jane Root, president of the Discovery Channel, said during a press briefing. "The consequences are enormous."

But the Israeli archaeologist who originally excavated the tomb insists the claims are preposterous. And a leading Christian scholar who appears in the film agrees.

"Their movie is not serious," Amos Kloner, the Bar Ilan University professor who led the excavation in the 1980s, told National Geographic News.

"They [say they] are 'discovering' things. But they haven't discovered anything. They haven't found anything. Everything had already been published.

"And there is no basis on which to make a story out of this or to identify this as the family of Jesus."

Not Uncommon

Workers first discovered the burial cave in 1980 while building apartments in the Talpiot neighborhood of southern Jerusalem.

The Improper Application of Statistics in "The Lost Tomb of Jesus"
By Stephen Pfann

"Is not this the carpenter’s (Luke: Joseph's) son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph (Mark: Joses) and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us?" (Matt. 13:55-56a)

"The filmmakers asked Andrey Feuerverger, professor of statistics and mathematics at the University of Toronto, to study the likelihood of the cluster of resonant names found in the Talpiot tomb being merely coincidental. He concluded, according to the Discovery Channel, that 'the odds are at least 600 to 1 in favor of the Talpiot Tomb being the Jesus Family Tomb. In other words, the conclusion works 599 times out of 600.'" Jerusalem Post, Feb 27, 2007

The starting point for the supposed scientific investigation of a tomb in Jerusalem's East Talpiot neighborhood is an amazing claim that statistically, the viewer must accept the fact that the tomb is certainly (600 to 1 probability) the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth and his family. This statement is based upon a number of fallacies and a general misuse of statistics...

... The names Mary* (2x), Joseph/Joseh (2x), Judas and even Jesus, found in the Talpiot tomb should well be expected there (or in almost any other tomb in the area, for that matter). These are simply the most common names of the day. The only difference is that the Talpiot tomb has so many names preserved among its ossuaries! If other tombs contained so many inscribed ossuaries, the name census in most other tombs would be very much the same. This being the case, there very well could be numerous tombs which could have claim to the title "a Jesus' family tomb." However in all cases, as in this, there would be no compelling reason to connect them with Jesus of Nazareth!

*The naming of Mary Magdalene as "Mariamne" (or "little Mary", a diminutive) in a fourth century Gospel of Philip should be considered irrelevant to the discussion, being three centuries too late for consideration.

L. Y. Rahmani, A Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries, Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities (Jerusalem: 1994)

Copyright 2007. Stephen Pfann, University of the Holy Land. All rights reserved. (May be freely quoted if properly credited.)

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