While I was away in China, Jacobovici's documentary film on the "Jesus Family Tomb" aired on the Discovery Channel. I'm sorry that circumstances prevented me from commenting in a timely fashion on why Jacobovici's claims are outrageous and why the Talpiyot tomb in Jerusalem cannot be the tomb of Jesus and his family.
At this point, let me merely direct readers to the excellent analysis by Dr. Jodi Magness, a distinguised professor of early Judaism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (click here
). Here are a few noteworthy quotes:
...Jesus' family, being poor, presumably could not afford a rock-cut tomb, as even the more "modest" ones were costly. And had Jesus' family owned a rock-cut tomb, it would have been located in their hometown of Nazareth, not in Jerusalem. For example, when Simon, the last of the Maccabean brothers and one of the Hasmonean rulers, built a large tomb or mausoleum for his family, he constructed it in their hometown of Modiin. In fact, the Gospel accounts clearly indicate that Jesus' family did not own a rock-cut tomb in Jerusalem — for if they had, there would have been no need for Joseph of Arimathea to take Jesus' body and place it in his own family's rock-cut tomb! If Jesus' family did not own a rock-cut tomb, it means they also had no ossuaries.
...If the Talpiyot tomb is indeed the tomb of Jesus and his family, we would expect at least some of the ossuary inscriptions to reflect their Galilean origins, by reading, for example, Jesus [son of Joseph] of Nazareth (or Jesus the Nazarene), Mary of Magdala, and so on. However, the inscriptions provide no indication that this is the tomb of a Galilean family and instead point to a Judean family.
In a second article (click here
), also posted on the SBL site, Christopher A. Rollston analyzses the data in terms of genealogy, onomastics, demographics, and DNA evidence, and gives the following conclusion:
...Based on the prosopographic evidence, it is simply not possible to make assumptions about the relationships of those buried therein, and it is certainly not tenable to suggest that the data are sufficient to posit that this is the family tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. Finally, it should be stated that at this juncture there is nothing in the statistical or laboratory data that can sufficiently clarify the situation, and I doubt that there ever will be.