Thursday, March 01, 2007

Hold It: The Not-So-Empty Tomb

So Titanic director James Cameron and documentary director Simcha Jacobovici claim they've found the tomb housing the remains of Jesus, Mary, and their son, Judah. You can read or hear about this pretty much anywhere. Scientists, archaeologists, theologians, historians, and ordinary bloggers like me are all weighing in on the controversy that this "discovery" was certain to provoke. You think gay marriage is a hot-button issue? Just try tampering with the resurrection, which is what Cameron et al are doing. If the bones they found belong to Jesus, then he was not resurrected in bodily form, as Christians believe.

This is what I call a "Hold It" story. Which is to say this: even when you consider all the evidence, all the arguments, all the opinions, both pro and con, a far more fundamental element arises. That is the "Hold It" element: Hold it! You mean to say that after two thousand years of archaeological studies and excavations, it took Hollywood to unearth one of the most significant relics in all of history? You mean to tell me Roman authorities managed to overlook the contents of this tomb even as they were persecuting Christians and attempting to discredit Christianity? Wow! How cool is it that our very own James Cameron could accomplish what no one else in history—not the politically motivated, not the religiously motivated, not the academically motivated—was able to achieve?

Otherwise intelligent people are embracing this story as if it was the gospel truth. The only thing I can figure is that their understandable skepticism of findings by supposed experts has left them vulnerable to believing theories that defy logic and common sense. (Yes, there are many other reasons people want to believe this story. I'm talking here about intelligent people who historically would have dismissed this discovery as the wishful thinking of someone with questionable expertise and transparent motivation.)

My inexpert guess is that we'll never know who this Jesus, Mary, and Judah were. Whoever they were, may they rest in peace.

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