Tomb of Jesus – Husband, Father – Found, Says Film

NEW YORK ~ The burial site of Jesus has been found and suggests he had a wife and son, according to highly sensitive claims in a documentary by Titanic director James Cameron and Israel-born Simcha Jacobovici.

By Alfons Luna
Agence France-Presse

The claims inject controversy into the issue of resurrection central to Christianity and, if accurate, could reignite questions about Jesus’ earthy family life popularized in the book The Da Vinci Code.

Cameron and Jacobovici, an award-winning documentary director, said their research suggested Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a son, Judah.

“I am not an archeologist or a Bible scholar” but “as a documentary filmmaker I should not be afraid of pursuing the truth,” Cameron told a press conference.

“I know they will say that we try to undermine Christianity. That is far from the case. This investigation celebrates the real existence of these people,” Cameron insisted.

The tomb was located in Talpiot, Jerusalem, March 28, 1980, by a construction crew developing an apartment complex.

Scholar L.Y. Rahmani later published A Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries that described 10 ossuaries, or limestone bone boxes, found in the tomb, said a statement from the Discovery Channel, which is to screen the documentary.

Five of the 10 discovered boxes in the Talpiot tomb were inscribed with names believed to be associated with key figures in the New Testament: Jesus, Mary, Matthew, Joseph and Mary Magdalene. A sixth inscription, written in Aramaic, translates to “Judah Son of Jesus.”

“Such tombs are very typical for that region,” Aaron Brody, associate professor of Bible and archaeology at the Pacific School of Religion and director of California’s Bade Museum, told Discovery News.

In addition to the “Judah son of Jesus” inscription, which is written in Aramaic on one of the ossuaries, another limestone burial box is labeled in Aramaic with “Jesus Son of Joseph.” Another bears the Hebrew inscription “Maria,” a Latin version of “Miriam,” or, in English, “Mary.”

Yet another ossuary inscription, written in Hebrew, reads “Matia,” the original Hebrew word for “Matthew.” Only one of the inscriptions is written in Greek. It reads, “Mariamene e Mara,” which can be translated as, “Mary known as the master,” the television network said.

Jacobovici, director, producer and writer of The Lost Tomb of Jesus, and his team obtained two sets of samples from the ossuaries for DNA and chemical analysis. The first set consisted of bits of matter taken from the “Jesus Son of Joseph” and “Mariamene e Mara” ossuaries. The second set consisted of patina, a chemical film encrustation on one of the limestone boxes.

The human remains were analyzed by Carney Matheson, a scientist at the Paleo-DNA Laboratory at Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada. Mitochondrial DNA examination determined the individual in the Jesus ossuary and the person in the ossuary linked to Mary Magdalene were not related.

Since tombs normally contain either blood relations or spouses, Jacobovici and his team suggest Jesus and Mary Magdalene could have been a couple. “Judah,” whom they indicate may have been their son, could have been the “lad” described in the Gospel of John as sleeping in Jesus’ lap at the Last Supper, they argue in their documentary.

Israeli archaeologist and professor Amos Kloner, who documented the tomb as the Jewish burial cave of a well-off family more than 10 years ago, is adamant there is no evidence to support claims that it was the burial site of Jesus.

“I’m a scholar. I do scholarly work which has nothing to do with documentary filmmaking. There’s no way to take a religious story and to turn it into something scientific,” he told AFP in a telephone interview.

“I still insist that it is a regular burial chamber from the 1st century BC,” Kloner said, adding that the names were a coincidence.

“Who says that ‘Maria’ is Magdalena and ‘Judah’ is the son of Jesus? It cannot be proved. These are very popular and common names from the 1st century BC,” said the academic at Israel’s Bar Ilan University.

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