A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Jesus Family Tomb - Not!

Another television network tries to boost its ratings and to assault the faith of billions with sloppy scholarship and sleight-of-hand headlines.

Amy samples some of the debunking and criticism of this nonsense.

CNN has the AP story, which starts with "Archaeologists and clergymen in the Holy Land derided claims in a new documentary..."

UPDATE - The Washington Post story begins this way: "Leading archaeologists in Israel and the United States yesterday denounced the purported discovery of the tomb of Jesus as a publicity stunt."

Other excerpts:

"'I'm not a Christian. I'm not a believer. I don't have a dog in this fight,' said William G. Dever, who has been excavating ancient sites in Israel for 50 years and is widely considered the dean of biblical archaeology among U.S. scholars. 'I just think it's a shame the way this story is being hyped and manipulated.'"

* * *

"Dever, a retired professor of archaeology at the University of Arizona, said that some of the inscriptions on the Talpiyot ossuaries are unclear, but that all of the names are common.

"'I've know 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.'

"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.'

"Jodi Magness, an archaeologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, expressed irritation that the claims were made at a news conference rather than in a peer-reviewed scientific article. By going directly to the media, she said, the filmmakers 'have set it up as if it's a legitimate academic debate, when the vast majority of scholars who specialize in archaeology of this period have flatly rejected this,' she said....

"'This whole case [for the tomb of Jesus] is flawed from beginning to end,' she said."