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The Fruit of Thy Tomb
Discovery Channel's phony Jesus show.

March 2, 2007 6:15 AM
By John J. Miller   NR National Political Reporter

Apparently moviemaker James Cameron wishes he had obtained the film
rights to The Da Vinci Code.

What else could explain his association with The Lost Tomb of Jesus? This
much-hyped show makes a series of provocative claims about the Christian
messiah and his kin: Jesus was betrothed to Mary Magdalene, they had a son
named Judah, DNA testing of their remains proves it, and so on.

Yawn. Haven't we read this novel?

As the mastermind behind Hollywood blockbusters such as The Terminator
and Titanic, Cameron knows a catchy story when he sees one. For The Lost
Tomb of Jesus, which debuts on the Discovery Channel this Sunday at 9:00
P.M., he's credited as an executive producer.

"I think it's the biggest archaeological story of the century,' Cameron has said
of this current project. "It's absolutely not a publicity stunt."

No, of course not. That's why its wild assertions are scheduled for unveiling
on a breathless television program rather than in a scholarly journal. We all
know that genuine publicity hounds would risk eternal hellfire for the chance
to submit an academic paper to a low-circulation quarterly that's peer
reviewed by professional archaeologists and scientists. Television is for
losers, right?

Cameron and his director, Simcha Jacobovici, describe The Lost Tomb of
Jesus as a documentary. But it's not. It's a "documentary" just as Michael
Moore's Fahrenheit 911 is a "documentary" on the Bush administration.
They both actually fall into the genre of conspiratorial advocacy.

At the crux of the program is the assertion that a tomb discovered in
Jerusalem in 1980 and reopened only recently contained a group of intriguing
ossuaries, i.e., limestone coffins that were popular burial devices two
millennia ago. Their chiseled exteriors bear names such as Jesus, Joseph, and
Mary. In an inadvertently hilarious segment, the show hauls out a Canadian
statistics professor who scribbles numbers on a chalkboard and proclaims
that the odds are precisely 600 to 1 that this confluence of names in a single
tomb means that Team Cameron has unearthed the final resting place of the
holy family.

Yet the filmmakers' methods are highly questionable. Harvard's Frank
Moore Cross, for instance, makes several on-screen appearances, mostly to
read the inscriptions on the ossuaries. The presence of Cross, a distinguished
scholar at a top-notch university, is meant to provide intellectual heft to the
program. Yet Jacobovici merely has him read the words on the ossuaries. As
it happens, nobody denies that they carry these names. But are they actually
the ossuaries of the son of God and his earthly parents? Jacobovici doesnâ
€™t get around to asking Cross, this eminent professor, for an opinion.

So I did. Here's how Cross replied in an e-mail:

I am skeptical about Jacobovici's claims, not because of a faulty reading
of the ossuary which reads yeshua bar yosep [Jesus son of Joseph] I
believe, but because the onomasticon [list of proper names] in his period
in Jerusalem is exceedingly narrow. Patriarchal names and biblical names
repeat ad nauseam. It has been reckoned that 25% of feminine names in
this period were Maria/Miryam, etc., that is variants of Mary. So the cited
statistics are unpersuasive. You know the saying: lies, damned lies, and

For some reason, Cross doesn't have a chance to say this on camera.
The Lost Tomb of Jesus runs perilously close to Erich von Daniken territory â
€” no prehistoric astronauts, but definitely a flight of fancy. It runs for 90
minutes (with commercials stretching it to two hours). Views that dissent
from its relentlessly uncritical presentation of a madly speculative theory --
which is to say, the opinions of Cross and virtually every mainstream Biblical
scholar who has examined the film's central contentions — receive almost
no air time.

The show tries to dress up its half-cocked conjectures with clips of
archaeologists using Q-tips and paint brushes to flick debris from ancient
ossuaries. These scenes, which are supposed to convey a sense of
authenticity, were almost certainly faked. There's also a heavyhanded appeal
to modern feminism: a reference to how the "male-dominated church" has
suppressed the true story of Jesus and his lady love, Mary Magdalene.

Say what you will about Dan Brown, who certainly volunteered a few
thoughts about woman-hating Catholics in The Da Vinci Code. At least
bookstores continue to stock his novel on their fiction shelves.

Yet The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Tomb of Jesus approach the
traditional Christian narrative in essentially the same way: They expose
it to a severe, Torquemada-like scrutiny and then propose to replace
Western civilization's foundational story with a newfangled alternative
that's based on a flamboyantly credulous reading of a few cherry-picked
Gnostic texts.

It doesn't take a religious skeptic to understand what this requires: A gigantic
leap of faith.

My advice to James Cameron is to quit documentaries and go back to what
he does best, which is to make hugely entertaining movies such as
True Lies.
It turns out that most lies, even when they're presented as the gospel truth,
are in fact false.

© National Review Online 2006-2007. All Rights Reserved.

-----------------END OF ARTICLE----------------------------

CRM's Closing Thoughts:

The claims by the film makers is that Jesus Christ did not ascend bodily into
Heaven. Consider what Jacobovici said in an interview:

"...If people believe in a spiritual ascension, there is no issue. People
believe in a physical ascension then that's something Christian theologians
will have to discuss. But what we have done, we have just come back and
reported a set of facts. There is a tomb. There are inscriptions in it. They
match the gospel story. They match the noncanonical text: The text that
didn't make it into the Christian bible."

Notice these are their facts:

2) "Inscriptions In It" - WOW! THAT IS SO UNIQUE?
3) "They match the Gospel story" -
Uh, NOT! The Gospel story says that
Jesus ascended bodily into Heaven and was seen on earth by over 500
witnesses after His PHYSICAL resurrection:

The Lord Jesus said in Luke 24:39  
Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I
myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see
me have.

4) "They match the noncanonical text"- Well, that we can believe. The
reasons why those texts have been rejected for 2000 years is because they
are spurious and are not consistent with the true Gospel account. They are
not even consistent with one another-- yet alone consistent with the Gospel
record. The 4 Gospels in our Canon are there because they LINE UP with
what the Old Testament prophesied of Messiah AND ARE CONSISTENT

The foundation of the Christian faith is a risen Savior-- the One who died for
the sins of mankind and who was buried and who rose again on the third day
bodily and ascended into Heaven bodily. To deny this is to deny the
Christian faith!

Luke 24:3  
And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
Luke 24:4  And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout,
behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
Luke 24:5  And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the
earth, they said unto them,
Why seek ye the living among the dead?
Luke 24:6  He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you
when he was yet in Galilee,
Luke 24:7  Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of
sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
Luke 24:8  And they remembered his words

Luke 24:39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me,
and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and
believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,
thou shalt be saved.

Notice that one must believe that God raised Jesus from the dead in
order to be saved!

Copyright © 2007 Cobblestone Road Ministries
All Rights Reserved

Jesus Died For Our Sins
The Importance of the Resurrection
The Antichrist and The DaVinci Code
Proof That Jesus Is The Messiah From the Old Testament Prophecies
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