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Your Views: Is this the biggest archaeological story of the century?

Titanic director James Cameron has unveiled two ancient stone boxes which he claims could have held the remains of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene.

Speaking at a press conference in New York, the Oscar-winning filmmaker said: "This is the biggest archaeological story of the century."

If true, would this be the biggest?

>> Read the story

This forum debate is now closed. Here is a selection of your views:

I am dumbfounded by how many normally rational people will jump on conspiracy theory band wagon to get out of actually taking a position with God. It saddens me that many people will probably be mislead by the haphazard science and political motivations of Hollywood film producers - perhaps Dan Brown will get another book out of it. Within my life and within the lives of many millions Christians, Jesus has proven himself real - and he is more than willing to prove it to you. Just ask him!

If James Cameron were promoting a film purporting to show the discovery of the tomb of the Terminator I would take him far more seriously.

Seriously, with what has the DNA of the remains in the ossuary bearing the name Jesus (which is itself doubtful, for serious scholars advocated alternate readings) been compared in order to establish that Jesus identity with the Jesus of Nazareth mentioned in the New Testament? On what basis is the Mamre of another ossuary identified with Mary Magdalene as opposed to, say, some Mary-down-the-road? One could go on and on..

For those of you not familiar with Christianity, Jesus was resurrected meaning that he rose from the dead. He lives today and there have been several witnesses to this. Read the Bible. There are also living witnesses that he lives.

Craig Le Roux
I have made a major discovery in my garden .I found a huge box in my shed, with the name HOLLY inscribed on it.I believe it "could" or "may" have contained the brains of all the Hollywood movie producers who think we Christians are stupid.

Nomo Stew
Folks, you have to appreciate how delightfully ironic all this sounds to a non-Christian. Shabby as Camerons science is, there is far less proof of the "resurrection" claim than anything he is putting out. The main accounts were not written down until generations later, by true believers with a very high stake in claiming Jesus divinity. By that time, the folks who might have walked around with a living Jesus were not available to dispute matters. While the odds are against Camerons claims, the rational result is not belief in a resurrected Jesus; it is assuming that most likely things went as we experience them - normal birth, normal death, and a wise, charismatic teacher who was built up to be something else way after all the actual evidence was gone. In short, if you put Christianity to the same evidentiary test to which you now want to put Camerons blustering, you have zilch. Okay, not exactly. You have a fine body of ethical teachings that can stand on its own as a great religion without all the "rebirth" and "heaven" hoodoo. Why that isnt enough has always escaped me.

Science is truly wonderful. By proof through falsification. we can come much closer to true knowledge of the past including claims of historical events. Here are two big whoppers from Judaism/Christianity: death entered the human race through Adam; Christ has conquered death via his resurrection. Jews claim direct descendant from Adam, the first human and keep copious genealogies (similar to the Mormons who claim the American Indians are the 10 lost tribes of Israel). And secondly first century Christians formulating the Good News already knew that if the story is not true then Christian faith is 1) vain, 2) problem of sin remains, 3) the dead have permanently perished and finally 4) in this life, Christians are pitiful more than all people.

Bob Hope
I think it really is Jesus. I think he was crucified, then rose from the dead. But when the Jews found out he was alive again they shot him & put him in that box.

Dump this
Prof. Amos Kloner (who actually did the archaeology that found these ossuaries) says that there were over 900 other tombs in the area and that well over fifty others were inscribed ‘Jesuah’ (Jesus), including two that were also ‘son of Joseph’. Who decided that this one is the right one? What about the others? Have they been given the same degree of scrutiny? And the link for that quote:
The person I feel most sorry for here is James Cameron. He has made some great films & documentaries and he never claimed to be doing anything other than that here. But because he is involved with archaeologists who don’t bother to address the most obvious questions regarding the find - which have been asked again by others who have posted here - his good name as a producer / director is going to be linked with this conspiracy-idiocy.

Joel Coutts
In 2003, Jacobovici directed the much-discussed documentary "James, the Brother of Jesus," which featured the analysis of a bone box that bore the inscription, "James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." Later that year, the IAA declared that bone box a forgery. I dont think this guy learns from his mistakes.

Its interesting how no one seems to notice that the person conducting the findings himself refuses to back the findings. Basically Cameron is following his God and his God is money.

Jesus Christ Our Saviour is Lord.

Yunsheng Jiang
I think the following sentences in the article play a pivotal role. They revealed all. "It’s a beautiful story but without any proof whatsoever," Professor Amos Kloner, who had published the findings of his research in the Israeli periodical Atiqot in 1996. "The names that are found on the tombs are names that are similar to the names of the family of Jesus," he said. "But those were the most common names found among Jews in the first centuries BCE and CE," he added.

Justus Tonks
Religion is based on faith, not fact. So I do not think this claptrap would have any significant impact on Christianity (sane Christians!), neither does it significant.

Sandra Walker
This is more likely to be the greatest archeological hoax of the 21st century, than its greatest archeological discovery. If Jesus had been buried in a stone coffin in Jerusalem (rather than placed in a shroud within in a tomb carved out of rock) those wanting to discredit the Christian faith have had almost 2000 years to locate the evidence - and a strong motivation to do so. I do not think that a filmmaker, who has made a career out of fantasy and illusion, really has the credentials to be taken seriously. But no doubt it will fool the gullible and allow them to feel that their ignorance of history and Christian belief are justified.

Some people will claim anything for a little publicity. I believe that the deity known as Jesus Christ was just another normal human that a few more people listened to than the rest of the preachers at the time. And even if these are the true coffins that hold the bones of him, who really could figure it out? Its not like we have samples of his dental records or DNA to take tests against.

I would ask why the filmmaker is doing this first, before reading or watching his new story.

Frank van der Zwaag
Surely Helen Clark must be able to say something about this.

Did you know that Mary Magdalene actually was not the prostitute everyone thinks she is? In A.D. 591, Pope Gregory the Great gave an Easter sermon in which he erroneously declared that the prostitute of Luke 7 was Mary Magdalene of Luke 8. People liked celeb scandals back then just as much as now, and it stuck. Besides, then as now no one actually read the Bible, they prefer to get all their intel secondhand. In 1969, The Vatican corrected 14 centuries of misrepresentation by acknowledging that there was no basis for her identification as a prostitute. Too little, too late. As for this "evidence", it does not constitute proof at all, like the article states at the end. Besides, Jesus resurrection was highly uncomfortable to the Jewish religious leadership at the time, because of the thousands of Jews that held Jesus as the promised Messiah and abandoned the Judaism for becoming a follower of "the Way", i.e. Christianity before it was called that. If the Jewish religious leaders could have produced evidence that Jesus was not resurrected, they would have. If they could have produced a body, they would have. If they could have pointed to a living person that was around for years and years and living in the hood, they most definitely would have. As it stands, no such thing was recorded. However, Jesus death was documented in several separate historical records. There was something (resurrection and ascension) which made Jesus disciples turn from quivering nobodies into zealous followers that were all martyred for their faith. They would not have done that if he was living in the neighbourhood with his little family and a carpentry business. The fact is that people believe what they want to believe. If it excites you to believe that Jesus was a mere mortal and that he has no authority over you during your life or after your death, then you will cling to this news as fact, even though there is no proof. (I suggest you at least investigate Jesus claims by checking out a true bible-believing church). If you know him as your Lord and Saviour then this dodgy "evidence" (which is nothing more than a suggestion) dug up by a filmmaker who makes his millions off providing people with the fiction they want to pay for will not throw you off.

Trevor Mander
Camerons film is hardly the way to provoke academic discussion of a theological and archaeological topic. It is a great way to make money though. I find it more reasonable to listen to the evidence presented by eyewitnesses at the time rather than 21st century film makers. Archaeology is not entered while ignoring context. Finding a box and then making up your own story about it is not helpful at all. The silver lining to this cloud is a reminder that we can investigate the history behind world religions in more depth than simply watching it on TV. My coming ten week course, The Logic Behind the Love, is a good start for those that are interested. Further reading:

I think it is very telling that so many people are willing to jump on this story without, as the article shows, any scrap of evidence other than a bunch of coffins with everyday common names on them. What next? Someone digs up a tomb and claims that because it has the name Smith on it? It must be the Mormon leader?

Dr.Sandeep Reddy
If you coat falsehoods with aspects of pseudo-science and faulty Biblical history, you could present lies as actual Biblical events! This is certainly in this case. 1]First of all Cameron and Jacobovici are non-Christians and non-historians/archaeologists and top of it come from Hollywood. Taking anything coming from this duo as Biblical facts is as accepting an Mexican Shaman an authority on Propulsion Physics.
2] Secondly even if they have grouped some publicity hungry archaeologists together to present these deviant lies as facts, viewers must remember that these coffins have been lying around for 27 years and even BBC had made an programme on this in 1996. This is nothing new and will not shake the foundations of Christianity as Cameron claims.
3] The tomb in the documentary is on the outskirts of Jerusalem and not in the traditionally and historically accepted site of Jesus Burial.
4] Can it be possible that Jesus entire family , his brothers , and so called wife, mother all chose to be buried in the same place in Jerusalem- even though Jesus family originate from Galilee and traditionally would have been buried there?
5] Were 2000 people who witnessed the arisen Christ and Jewish Critics stupid to remain silent [ even in non-Christian accounts like Josephus Flavius and Tacitus works-there is no mention of Jesus Burial]when you had a mass burial tomb?
6] If Jesus had a wife, it would not have been an exception or shameful to hide it in the Gospels, as it was expected that all Jewish males should marry. So it is a simple fact that there is no mention of wife in the Gospels because Jesus did not marry!
5] Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Judas were very common names in first century Palestine ; and you cant pick coffins of namesakes and claim them to be Jesus Family. There is more to repudiate this foolish documentary, but this will suffice for now!

What James Cameron is reported to have said is quite true. Those coffins could have contained the bones mentioned, as equally could have a large box in the back of my shed. Just because it could have does not mean it did.

Andrew Stevenson
Dont you mean the biggest discovery of last century? The tomb was discovered in the 1980s. Joseph, Jesus and Mary (or derivatives of these names) were as popular back then as (for example) the name McDonald is in Scotland today. I am not convinced .

Rob Steele
As I have just finished reading Holy Blood Holy Grail,the story of the knights templar and their relationship with the remains of Jesus and his descendants (unconfirmed of course)I find this revelation a little intriguing. As we have all sorts of opinions relating to the foundations of Christianity, whether it be catholic or what have you I feel that if your belief is strong enough then you will have nothing to worry about will you. So lets not burn down the churches just yet.

Well if it is true, what does it mean really anyway? Life goes on.Maybe he will do a film about the future of Jesus coffin or something.

Lou Abbott
No such thing! Jesus was wrapped in burial clothing and placed in a tomb; no coffin. His resurrection and assumption are well documented; no bones. Like the shroud of Turin (Jesus wrappings were in two separate pieces),this is another rabbit trail.

Don Kavanagh
If it is true then, this is by far the biggest news story in history, never mind just in archaeological terms. While I realise that millions will not believe it purely because it removes the cornerstone of their lives, if true then this would mean an end to Christianity in all its forms. Better start updating Gods obituary, just in case.

Bruce Nixon
If this is Jesus tomb, then I, along with millions of Christians have and are now, living a lie! We have all been deceived and the Bible is wrong. If Jesus died, was buried and these are his bones, then he did not rise again after 3 days and eventually return to his father - God. That is the foundation of the Christian faith right there. It is simple. He overcame death and eternal separation from God and in doing so has offered us the same thing. It is all there in the Bible, so why Cameron thinks it might be Jesus coffin is beyond me. It is like saying hey, we have found the Titanic, it was sitting rusting in small Russian fishing village!

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