Pharyngula

Lost Tomb of Jesus

Last week, I promised I’d watch this documentary about the “lost tomb of Jesus” because it was being advertised here on Pharyngula. Promise fulfilled, but the ghastly program was two hours long—two hours of nothing but fluff. I’ve put a bit of a summary of the whole show below the fold, but I’m afraid there’s nothing very persuasive about any of it, and it was stretched out to a hopelessly tedious length.

8:00-8:30 We learn that there were some ossuaries pulled out of a tomb in 1980. The names scrawled on them: Jesus bar Joseph, Jose, Mary, Matthew. They really didn’t have to drag that out for a half hour.
8:30-8:45 They poke around the site of the tomb, which is under an apartment complex in Jerusalem. I do learn that rabbis there insist on pipes being poked down to tombs so the spirits can get out, which is kind of freaky, but convenient if you’ve got a camera and some fiber optics. We also see some handwaving statistics, given the frequency of various names, and an estimate that it’s very unlikely that this can be anything other than Jesus’ family. I don’t buy it.
8:45-9:00 Another ossuary has the name “Miriamne Mara”. They speculate that this might be Mary Magdalene’s, despite it not saying “Magdalene”, because MM might have been a master (“Mara”) and preacher. Extensive confabulations follow.
9:00-9:05 You know that tomb they were poking around in earlier? They finally get a camera in. Wrong tomb.
9:05-9:15 Hey, Simon bar Jonah’s ossuary was found somewhere near here—maybe this was an area where lots of early Christians were buried! So they show some more piles of ossuaries nearby. It seems to me, though, that if they’ve got an association with a specific community of early Christians, that the statistical analysis which assumes a random distribution of names has just gone kablooiee.
9:15-9:25 Finally, the much ballyhooed DNA evidence. They extracted mitochondrial DNA from bone fragments in the ossuaries. The mito DNA from the Jesus ossuary and the Miriamne Mara ossuary don’t match—which is what you’d expect if it were Jesus and Mary Magdalene (they are not maternally related!) It’s also what you’d expect if it were a family tomb, and they were husband and wife. Therefore, they speculate for a while that Mary Magdalene and Jesus must have actually been married to one another! It’s an awful lot to spin from a lack of a DNA match.
9:25-9:30 The guys at the apartment complex find a cement cover 20 meters away, and open it up. It’s the right tomb! I don’t quite understand why they’re rummaging about in the old tomb—the ossuaries had been removed 20 years before, and stored in a warehouse.
9:30-9:45 They count the ossuaries in the warehouse, and the tally in the archaeological records. They don’t match—one is missing. So they dredge up Oded Golan and the “James son of Joseph brother of Jesus” ossuary, which is known to have had a forged inscription. They speculate that even if the “brother of Jesus” part was forged, if it came from the same tomb, it would still indicate a familial tie.
9:45-9:50 Patina analysis shows that the James ossuary probably came from the same tomb as the Jesus/Mary/Miramne/Matthew/Jose group. Uh, they don’t seem to care that they’ve just linked their inscribed ossuaries to a known forged ossuary inscription.
9:50-10:00 Bombshell! Now, at the end of the program, they mention another ossuary that was inscribed “Judah son of Jesus”. Let’s speculate that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a child together so that this all makes sense. Unfortunately, their earlier arguments relied on the compatibility of the names with scriptural evidence; now when they’ve got a name that contradicts the scriptures, they just pull an unsupported story out of their asses to make it fit. If they found “Kilroy” scrawled on one of the ossuaries, I suspect they’d make up something about a distant cousin mentioned in an apocryphal scrap of parchment somewhere.

It wasn’t very impressive. They really milked a paucity of hard data for an over-long ‘documentary’ that was mostly handwaving. The DNA data was pretty much non-existent—one pair of bone fragments were compared and found not to match. Most of the story was an assurance that the conjunction of names found in the tomb couldn’t merely coincidentally match the names found in the gospels…but they really had to reach to make excuses to turn “Miriamne Mara” into “Mary Magdalene”, and they had one name, this “Judah” kid, that didn’t match the biblical collection at all, so they just flat-out invented an unsupported tale of Jesus having a son. Flogging a link between some ossuaries stored in a warehouse (which did not look at all secure) for twenty years and a known forgery also simply obliterates any credibility the whole shebang might have.

Don’t waste your time with it. It’s nonsense. I was rather enchanted with the idea that some apartments in Israel have ‘spirit pipes’ that lead down to 2000 year old tombs, though, and that if you pry up the right slab in your garden you might find a ladder down to an ancient tomb. Otherwise, it was pretty much a bust.

One good thing: the commercials for an 11-part documentary titled “planet earth” to be shown later this month looked very, very good. I may have to catch that one.

Comments

  1. #1 Laelaps
    March 5, 2007

    Most painful 2 hours EVER! The “journalist” was such a sleazeball, which became even more apparent during the 1 hour criticism session after the documentary. It was good to see Ted Koppell and the two archaeologists tear him a new one, although I have to say I don’t know why the Discovery Channel didn’t make the guy change his film before showing it. The fact that they would actually air such a piece of crap is definitely a black mark on their record, although I’ll be tuning in to Planet Earth later this month nonetheless.

  2. #2 Callandor
    March 5, 2007

    I vaguely watched it and I wasn’t impressed either. They just dragged and dragged and dragged the show on. I kept waiting for something revealing but nothing. I gave up after the second pipe dive and decided I had a better use of my time.

  3. #3 dorid
    March 5, 2007

    You should have watched the whole thing, and the Ted Koppel “critical thinking” debate afterwards. Not that it was very good either. Mostly a lot of people arguing over who said what and in what context, with very little science referenced. The second half of the debate was with three theologians, who basically said “this is all bunk… and we don’t have to think of it at all because it doesn’t match with our faith.”

    What struck me the most was all the argument over the dramatizations, like they don’t occur in other documentary pieces… it became the MAIN FOCUS of the debate, rather than the science.

    BTW, I haven’t done the research on the “James ossuary” yet, but apparently the patina results from the lab are being used in a fraud lawsuit.

    oh, and you linked Wikipedia? ((SHUDDER)) I’m appalled!

  4. #4 Tiax
    March 5, 2007

    I noticed they didn’t mention the possibility that the mitochondrial DNA didn’t match because the Jesus and Mary ossuaries were father and daughter. Is there a good reason I’m missing that would exclude that possibility, or were they just doing a shoddy job?

  5. #5 PZ Myers
    March 5, 2007

    I think “shoddy job” is the right term. They came up with one reasonable explanation — the DNA was from individuals in a family tomb related by marriage — and then spun out a silly story about how Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. Making up a story about Mary Magdalene being the daughter of Jesus was too much for even that gang of fantasists to swallow.

    And yes, it was all drawn out to ridiculous lengths for nothing at all. It was a kind of Al Capone’s Vault story.

  6. #6 kyle
    March 5, 2007

    I seem to recall a video about the parasitic fungus Cordyceps being posted here awhile back. That was actually a excerpt from an episode of Planet Earth, I believe. Unfortunately, it seems that the American version of the series will be narrated by Sigourney Weaver in place of the BBC’s David Attenborough. I’m sure it will still be interesting though. The bits I’ve seen have had some beautiful footage.

  7. #7 CalGeorge
    March 5, 2007

    Judah, Judah, Judah.

    [I’m glad I missed that.]

  8. #8 Ichthyic
    March 5, 2007

    It wasn’t very impressive.

    that’s why nobody gave him enough money to make it into a hollywood summer blockbuster.

    uh, did they?

  9. #9 Ichthyic
    March 5, 2007

    And yes, it was all drawn out to ridiculous lengths for nothing at all. It was a kind of Al Capone’s Vault story.

    ahh, where’s Geraldo when you need him, eh?

  10. #10 beepbeepitsme
    March 5, 2007

    Ahhh. So, it basically was as much crapola as I thought it would be. I was kind of hoping for an ark of the covernant or something like that. (Maybe you only get an ark of the covernant in movies like “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”)

  11. #11 sinned34
    March 5, 2007

    …the commercials for an 11-part documentary titled “planet earth” to be shown later this month looked very, very good. I may have to catch that one.

    “Planet Earth” is a fascinating BBC series that has already been shown up here in Canada on the CBC. Light on details, but a wealth of incredible visuals.

  12. #12 Joshua
    March 5, 2007

    Hey, Judah?

    I was rather enchanted with the idea that some apartments in Israel have ‘spirit pipes’ that lead down to 2000 year old tombs, though, and that if you pry up the right slab in your garden you might find a ladder down to an ancient tomb. Otherwise, it was pretty much a bust.

    Actually, that sounds like a way cooler documentary to me. I’d love to see that one! You know, just interview people who live over these tombs. Ask what they think about living over crypts, how people react to the spirit pipes, whether their kids ever climb down and play with the corpses, etc.

  13. #13 Scott Hatfield
    March 5, 2007

    Apparently, the Discovery Channel gets its name from the fact that they have discovered novel ways of padding time for content-free television.

    This crap is everywhere, though. My wife loves crime shows and likes to have her feet rubbed during Court TV. I don’t mind the foot rubbing, mind, but so many of these crime shows have 5 minutes of fact for every half-hour of television. Especially annoying is their tendency to spend a minute or more of each segment recapping the key developments of the previous segment(s), with the same footage, albeit ominously ramped-up narration and music.

    At any rate, programs like this seem generally obnoxious:

    1) Serious, thoughtful people who question the utility of religion are going to be subjected to a lot of quasi-mystical crap that demonstrates nothing.

    2) Sincere believers are likely to be conclude that the shoddy presentation was put forward for no other reason than to discredit their faith by dishonest means, which will contribute to their likely isolation from centers of inquiry.

    3) Regardless of where we stand on the above issues, those of us who care about the practice of science are left rolling our eyes and wonder how much damage this piece of sensationalism will do to the general public’s understanding of science, and its practice.

  14. #14 BlueIndependent
    March 5, 2007

    I saw this coming a mile away. IMO it’s just nor worth the effort – to begin with – to try and prove Jesus didn’t exist. I won’t even touch on the myriad other reasons why this 2-hour “special” is such rancid material.

    Joe Scarborough was on Bill Maher on Friday and seemed to take serious offense to Mr. Cameron’s program. However, he couched it on a platform of the existence of a massive movement to “irritate Christians”, which was about the only point I totally disagreed with him on the entire hour. He was essentially saying – in a conspiracy theorist-stoking way – that shows like this were made merely to piss off a bunch of church-goers to try and goad them into dropping all of their beliefs. I felt it was a pretty stupid argument, because – of course – he didn’t acknowledge the proliferation over the last 50 years of anti-science and anti-atheist rhetoric found in countless books that normally pad the NYT bestseller list (and bookstore shelves), and was using the present NYT list (which is something of the opposite) to show that there was apparently this massive movement to oppress Christians.

    As I figured, Cameron has succeeded at not only making himself look really dumb and flaccid professionally, but in stoking the anger of a bunch of people who already believed in a very vaporous and shoddy conspiracy, and in allowing them to continue believing there is some unseen force (which inevitably ends up being filed unreasonably under the pejorative “liberal”) pushing the buttons that enslave them.

    Cameron should stick to cutting celluloid about head-splitting acid-spitting aliens invading large Guilded Age shapes that split in half in icy north Atlantic waters. Or maybe he’ll pen a script about said aliens erupting from tombs in Israel via barely breathing DNA escaping via “spirit pipes”. Perhaps he could also work in something about free energy…

  15. #15 Dave
    March 5, 2007

    Thank goodness I didn’t make the promise that PZ made. I got to shut it off after 20 minutes (20 minutes that I’d like back thanks, where do I send the bill?). I tuned back in for the “critical” look thing after, but only lasted 5 minutes with that.

    If they made money on this load, I think I am going to excavate my bathroom for remnants of the FSM. That HAS to be worth something.

    Dave

  16. #16 autumn
    March 5, 2007

    I recall that in the ubiquitous ad for the show there was a clip of Koppel saying “we present both sides of the story”, and wondering what the hell he meant. Are there only two sides? Was he going to present only two of the sides of one interpretation?

    When the hell was the last time anyone encountered an argument with only two sides?

  17. #17 BlueIndependent
    March 5, 2007

    Ya know, they started pimping the Koppel follow-up only a day or so ago (based on my viewing habits vis a vis Discovery Channel). If you ask me, Discovery management made a decision to enter in a concession piece to try to bring the hype and resultant uproar back to center and focus on the debate. It seems like such a half-assed affair to me, all 3 hours of it.

    Not one of Discovery’s finest decisions, whether you agree with religion or not.

  18. #18 386sx
    March 5, 2007

    2) Sincere believers are likely to be conclude that the shoddy presentation was put forward for no other reason than to discredit their faith by dishonest means, which will contribute to their likely isolation from centers of inquiry.

    What, just because of that “spirit pipes” thing for the spirits to escape? No no, I think that was from a different religion. The sincere believers you’re talking about think Jesus floats up on a cloud and there are magic angel spirits flying around everywhere, and the really big spirit who turns into doves and flies around all over the place. However, I do believe that both religions are related somehow and that both of them believe invisible “poofy” things that “poof” the universe into existence and fill it (eventually) with creatures who are never quite worthy enough to be, er, “worthy” of something or other. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. #19 g33kgrrl
    March 5, 2007

    Thank you for this! I just deleted the entire thing unwatched from my DVR, and I’m glad I didn’t waste my time. Way to take one for the team!

  20. #20 Alex
    March 5, 2007

    Dave – if you really want to cash in on the FSM remains, try any college apartment. Each strand of hardened Raman is evidence that a term paper was inspired by one of his noodley appendages.

  21. #21 ben
    March 5, 2007

    Sounds like they *nailed* the TV adaptation of “The Da Vinci Code”.

  22. #22 truth machine
    March 5, 2007

    Ted Koppell

    Hey, Laelaps must have seen TK change his name from Koppel to Koppell on Conan O’Brian’s “dubble letter week”.

  23. #23 Dave Godfrey
    March 5, 2007

    As the visuals include cannibalistic chimps, lions hunting elephants, snow leopards, whale sharks, and some fantastic cave faunas, it shouldn’t be missed. The DVD will keep the original narration.

    There’s a three-part series accompanying Planet Earth about Man’s impact. Another David Attenborough narration, only in America I think he’s being replaced by Matt Damon for this one. Maybe they’ve changed the narration to remove any references to either of the dreaded “e” words?

  24. #24 Jim Harrison
    March 5, 2007

    What was missing from the discussion after the show was anybody making the obvious point: “Well, this evidence is pretty weak; but there’s nothing intrinsically unlikely about his body turning up. He was buried someplace.”

  25. #25 Heleen
    March 5, 2007

    The Planet Earth documentary by the BBC is fabuloaus!

  26. #26 Great White Wonder
    March 5, 2007

    Speaking of Noah’s Ark, how is that research going? I seem to remember some “exciting” news on CNN a couple years ago, about an ark-shaped blob in some photo of a mountain in Turkey.

  27. #27 possummomma
    March 5, 2007

    You forgot the part where the blind woman comes out of the apartments and says, “Oh yes…the children played in that tomb and we had to install a concrete cover to keep them out.” That kind of destroys the whole, over-dramatized portion of the documentary where the IAA asks them to leave and they (the film makers) whine about the fact that the IAA is preventing them from gathering more evidence. Um. Hello!?! If the ossuary was open to CHILDREN, you just might find KILLROY scratched into a wall. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Furthermore, did you note the slight of hand with the Act of Phillip/Mara connection? Let’s see…the Acts of Phillip were “discovered” in the 1970’s. The AoP is the FIRST place (according to the docu people) to reference the “Magdalene as Master” phrase. Then, conveniently (in the 80’s) someone discovers an ossuary with that EXACT name!! Why isn’t it, at the very least, plausible that someone – knowing that a tomb had been discovered- went in and etched in the name from AoP. ESPECIALLY since the patinas matched and these ossuaries didn’t appear to be under any really tight security!

    As much as I’d love for the whole Jesus story to be proven false, I still like to imagine that I have some shred of academic and intellectual integrity.

  28. #28 Zombie
    March 5, 2007

    I spent those two hours playing a video game, and I’m happy I did so.

  29. #29 Paul
    March 5, 2007

    They remove David Attenborough’s narration from the US version of ‘Planet Earth’?
    Blasphemy!
    Or at least philistinism of the highest order!
    Don’t you know that this man brought the world ‘Match of the Day’?

    The only downside of Attenborough’s amazing narration style is that his voice is so soothing, I tend to nod off half way through the programme and wake up at the credits. I’m sure it’s a cunning ploy to make people buy the DVD boxed set.

    ‘Planet Earth’ is an amazing series – well worth the watch.

  30. #30 RickD
    March 5, 2007

    I thought the main selling point of Christianity was that Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb. Wouldn’t the fact that there actual bones in the tomb labeled ‘Jesus’ deserve a mention? Perhaps a breathless commentary to the effect of “This discovery could destroy the faith of BILLIONS of Chrstians?”

  31. #31 G. Shelley
    March 5, 2007

    Changing the narration seems so strange. here in the UK, it is viewed as a David Attenborough series. It is excellent though, and the lengths they went to to get some of the shots are amazing

  32. #32 D.Hill
    March 5, 2007

    The Planet Earth series is quite brilliant. The DVD set has an extra 3 episodes about preservation and conservation, which are also worth watching.

  33. #33 Drhoz!
    March 5, 2007

    Yes, Planet Earth is BRILLIANT! Attenborough excels himself, again. You’ll like the Squid Sex Garden scene especially, I suspect ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. #34 beepbeepitsme
    March 5, 2007

    Jim Harrison

    RE:”What was missing from the discussion after the show was anybody making the obvious point: “Well, this evidence is pretty weak; but there’s nothing intrinsically unlikely about his body turning up. He was buried someplace.”

    From: –
    Once More into the Breach
    http://www.telecomtally.com/blog/2007/03/once_more_into.html

    “When the women entered the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea on Sunday morning, the loculus where Jesus’ body had been laid was empty. The theological explanation for this phenomenon is that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. However, once Jesus had been buried in accordance with Jewish law, there was no prohibition against removing the body from the tomb after the end of the Sabbath and reburying it. It is therefore possible that followers or family members removed Jesus’ body from Joseph’s tomb after the Sabbath ended and buried it in a trench grave, as it would have been unusual (to say the least) to leave a non-relative in a family tomb. Whatever explanation one prefers, the fact that Jesus’ body did not remain in Joseph’s tomb means that his bones could not have been collected in an ossuary, at least not if we follow the Gospel accounts.”

  35. #35 Thony C.
    March 5, 2007

    This is going to be shown on German TV on Good Friday! I know what I’m not going to be doing on that day!

  36. #36 Ginger Yellow
    March 5, 2007

    . I do learn that rabbis there insist on pipes being poked down to tombs so the spirits can get out,

    Say what? So the soul isn’t immaterial? What’s it made of? Is there any good info on t’internet about this practice?

    Unfortunately, it seems that the American version of the series will be narrated by Sigourney Weaver in place of the BBC’s David Attenborough.

    You have got to be shitting me. For the love of FSM, why?

  37. #37 Laelaps
    March 5, 2007

    truth machine-

    Thanks for calling out my errant spelling; that falls into the “It was late and I was tired” file of mistakes.

  38. #38 Ryogam
    March 5, 2007

    ‘Wouldn’t the fact that there actual bones in the tomb labeled ‘Jesus’ deserve a mention? Perhaps a breathless commentary to the effect of “This discovery could destroy the faith of BILLIONS of Christians?”‘

    Not when there are other people named Jesus buried hither and yon. Imagine finding a tomb labeled ‘Abraham Lincoln’, no other info, in which the body showed no signs of being shot. Would that cast doubt on the historical accuracy of President Lincoln’s assassination?

  39. #39 wrg
    March 5, 2007

    When the hell was the last time anyone encountered an argument with only two sides?

    If there were any controversies with more than two sides, American politics would be in trouble.

    Dave – if you really want to cash in on the FSM remains, try any college apartment. Each strand of hardened Raman is evidence that a term paper was inspired by one of his noodley appendages.

    We recently had desks moved around at my office, a typical grad student shared one. At one point, we miraculously found intact noodle packets between the desk and the fridge. I knew his noodly appendage was at work, for how could there be packets without a noodly designer?

  40. #40 Denis C
    March 5, 2007

    Most modern biblical scholars maintain that there never was a tomb that jesus was laid in at any time. All the gospel stories date from the late 1st and early 2nd century. This is generations after the events depicted, and therefore suspect as to reliability. So any story based on accepting data from the gospels are intrinsically flawed from the beginning. The most likely scenario, (assuming there ever was an historical person, jesus of Nazareth), is that after the crucifixtion and all the followers, including the women, fled back to Gallilee and hid for some time, the Romans merely cut down what was left of the half eaten body of jesus and threw it into an unmarked common grave for criminals and the bones are still undiscovered and undiscoverable.
    The Tomb and Ossaries may in fact be from a period when a remnant aramaic early christian group sought to provide tangible support for a worship system built around bones.
    We will never know.

  41. #41 Peter McGrath
    March 5, 2007

    Pipes in ossuaries? Sounds to me like the Messiah died waiting for a plumber. Just like the rest of us, then.

  42. Don’t waste your time with it. It’s nonsense. I was rather enchanted with the idea that some apartments in Israel have ‘spirit pipes’ that lead down to 2000 year old tombs, though, and that if you pry up the right slab in your garden you might find a ladder down to an ancient tomb. Otherwise, it was pretty much a bust.

    As hokey as it must have been (didn’t waste my time on it), I did notice that the fact that it was shown was bothering the god-heads at work this morning.

    So it can’t have been all bad. ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. #43 Lago
    March 5, 2007

    Enough of this silliness. Can’t we all get back to taking about Anna Nicole Smith?

  44. #44 Chris Rosebrough
    March 5, 2007

    Before you make up your mind on the “Lost Tomb of Jesus” you need to see and hear the rest of the evidence.

    For a comprehensive and scholarly rebuttal of the film’s evidence please visit ExtremeTheology.com.

    Read and hear the evidence for yourself.

  45. #45 David Marjanovi?
    March 5, 2007

    When the hell was the last time anyone encountered an argument with only two sides?

    I have long suspected that in American journalism every argument has exactly two sides. Like duct tape and the Force.

  46. #46 David Marjanovi?
    March 5, 2007

    When the hell was the last time anyone encountered an argument with only two sides?

    I have long suspected that in American journalism every argument has exactly two sides. Like duct tape and the Force.

  47. #47 Carl Zimmer
    March 5, 2007

    It seemed odd to me in the pre-show reports that the producers didn’t test all the DNA. (The “I’m a journalist” excuse was pure gold.) From your description of the show, it sounds like those tests could have offered a clear-cut test of whether “Judah” was the son of “Mary Magdalene.” If yes, same mtDNA. If not, not same. Hmmm…you don’t think they wanted to avoid an unpleasant test result?

  48. #48 spencer
    March 5, 2007

    Chris Rosebrough –

    I think most, if not all, of us agree with you that the show was crap . . . but not necessarily for the same reasons.

  49. #49 dzd
    March 5, 2007

    I have long suspected that in American journalism every argument has exactly two sides.

    Actually, there’s three–the third one represented by the South Park-ian “the truth is exactly in the middle between these two positions!” pseudo-argument.

  50. #50 Kurt
    March 5, 2007

    Speaking of crap, did anyone see the “Noah’s Ark” show that aired before the Jesus thing? After that, the Discovery Channel lost much credibility in my book.

  51. #51 ukexpat
    March 5, 2007

    Yawwwwwn…oh wait James Cameron was involved, so of course it was waaaay too long!!!

  52. #52 BlueIndependent
    March 5, 2007

    Mr. Rosebrough is looking for easy hits on his blog. It doesn’t sound like he’s paying attention to what people here have said about this “documentary” either.

  53. #53 Lago
    March 5, 2007

    “”For a comprehensive and scholarly rebuttal of the film’s evidence please visit ExtremeTheology.com.
    Read and hear the evidence for yourself.””

    Can I just poke myself in the eye instead?

  54. #54 Lago
    March 5, 2007

    “#48
    I have long suspected that in American journalism every argument has exactly two sides.”

    Are you making claim I can enjoy RC Cola in place of either Pepsi or Coke?

    That borders on sacrilege.

  55. #55 Uber
    March 5, 2007

    Well I made the mistake of going over to ‘Extreme theology’ and bumped around for awhile. What a wasteland! It is more of the same from nutters. They are pretty much bashing other Christians and of course making alot of nonsense claims.

    Save yourself the time and trouble for while I agreed with some of what they said it is nothing new and frankly people that into their religion don’t seem so stable.

  56. #56 ordinarygirl
    March 5, 2007

    I didn’t watch it. I’m not sure if Simcha Jacobovici was the “I’m a journalist” guy, but I’ve come to the conclusion that anything with him is, at best, only going to contain psuedo science. He draws conclusions based on fluff in his History channel show “The Naked Archaeologist”. After two episodes (I gave him the benefit of the doubt after the first) I couldn’t watch it anymore.

    The History channel, Discovery channel, and even the Science channel all have shows with very little scientific/historic backing. The dramatization-type shows are the ones that really irk me.

  57. #57 Umilik
    March 5, 2007

    I would always ask a blind woman in my neighborhood for updates on construction activities.
    Did anybod get why the bones were never shown ? If a guy gets crucified and then speared, you’d think that would leave a few marks on his bones. Did I miss something ?

  58. #58 SteveM
    March 5, 2007

    In the Koppel program, when asked why they didn’t test Judah’s DNA to test the maternal connection to Mary, he replied that the Judah ossuary was very clean and it would take much more careful methods to try to recover DNA from it.

    Would proof of Jesus bones destroy Christian faith? That quation was asked in the documentary by that Irish theologian that seems to be in all these TDC documentaries. He gave a good answer, “God will do what he wants with the bones”, and the show itself speculated that the Bible could be read as a purely spiritual resurrection with the body remaining behind just like any other.

    I did not catch the whole discussion about the James ossuary during the Koppel program, but it seemed that the decision about whether it is a forgery or not is still being decided?

    The Koppel program did teach me a new neologism, “archeoporn” that I thought was pretty funny.

  59. #59 Chemist
    March 5, 2007

    While waiting on the start of Jesus’ tomb at 9PM I watched the classic B&W movie of Harvey with Jimmy Stewart. Switched over to Discovery at 9…went back to Harvey by 9:15. Far more informative, enlightening, and entertaining! Seemed like Jesus’tomb was chasing imaginary rabbit friends, as well…not very successfully, either, IMHO. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  60. #60 S. Rivlin
    March 5, 2007

    What caught my fancy about this too long film has been the great efforts of both scientists (archeologists) and theologians to discard the whole story as nonsense. Also intersting is the fact that both the film maker and the man who conducted the debate afterwards are Jewish.

    Here’s my take: The scientists who dug the tomb in 1980 never made the possible connection between the people whose names were on the ossuaries and the biblical Jesus family. Being pompus scientists (most of the archeologists are pompus), they don’t have either the guts are the honesty to admit that they may screwed up 27 years ago and missed a possibly great find, especially when a shmock journalist getting all the air time. The theologians will fight tooth and nail to discredit anything that may point to the possibility that Jesus was married (especially to an adulterous woman) and had a son. Even more scarry for them is the possibility that Jesus stayed on earth and his bones are still here.

    For me, and I think for the film maker too, the uniqueness of the names on the ossuaries is the most facinating of all. Thus, the name Maria (????) in Hebrew is extermely uncommon, likewise the name Jose (????), which according to Mark’s gospel was the nickname of Jesus’s brother, Joseph. The fact that Mariamme’s name was written in Greek letters on the only ossuary to bear such letters in a tomb, where all the other ossuaries bear names in Hebrew only, should not be dismissed as just another common occurrence.

  61. #61 Kevin W. Parker
    March 5, 2007

    If atheists were as desperate for evidence as ID proponents, we’d be fawning all over this documentary. It’s telling in many ways that we’re as skeptical about it as the Christians.

  62. For a comprehensive and scholarly rebuttal of the film’s evidence please visit ExtremeTheology.com.

    That’s a humor site, isn’t it?

  63. #63 Steve_C
    March 5, 2007

    I managed to just catch the Theology vs. Documentary panel after the Jesus Tomb show.

    The woman from Virginia was the most coherent in her objections to it… not very scientific. She was right.

    The man from Texas, another theology professor was rambling about most Christians believe that Jesus’ physical body actually floated up into the sky. So he has a big issue with any bones being found whatsover.

    The minister basically said sciene wouldn’t shake the faith of believers regardless of what was found. It’s managed to ignore science this long.

    The film maker and his professorial counterpart (can’t remember his affiliation or realm of knowledge) didn’t get alot of chances to speak and weren’t particularly agressive about anything. They looked actually kind of annoyed that they were even there.
    It seemed thrown together in order for the Discovery channel to not have to answer the outrage that was sure to follow. Lame.

    The show that followed was about Noah’s Ark… sort of. It basically said that there’s no way in hell was there a global flood or that the boat could of been built or even possibly hold all the animals mentioned in the bible. However, they did trace back the myth to the story of Gilgamesh, who essentially had built a barge that floated out into the Persian gulf on a Mesopotamian River flood.

    Watched some of the Dark Ages show. They told the story of Charlemagne.
    Brutal christian king who executed anyone caught worshipping pagan gods.

  64. #64 TAW
    March 5, 2007

    Besides planet earth (narrated by David Attenborough, so you KNOW it will be great), I’d also suggest “galapagos”. It’s in HD as well, and it’s going to be shown in the national geographic channel march 18 … not sure what time because the site doesn’t say ๐Ÿ˜› http://www3.nationalgeographic.com/channel/galapagos/

    Another David Attenborough narration, only in America I think he’s being replaced by Matt Damon for this one.

    They BETTER not!

  65. #65 LiberalDirk
    March 5, 2007

    Only in the US would they dub David Attenborough. I mean he is speaking the same damn language.

    The mind boggles.

  66. #66 Kristine
    March 5, 2007

    He was essentially saying – in a conspiracy theorist-stoking way – that shows like this were made merely to piss off a bunch of church-goers to try and goad them into dropping all of their beliefs.

    Well, think about it, Scarborough’s not exactly wrong.

    It’s makes a perfect foil to all this manufactured “evidence” of man’s existence alongside dinosaurs, the “discovery” of arks all over Mount Ararat (there must have been arks on the ark, or else the ark had babies), the Flood “laying down the fossil strata,” visions of Mary and Jesus in maple syrup, and our quintessential fav, intelligent design, doesn’t it?

    Scarborough’s lifeblood is conspiracy theories, and so are the careers of the pseudoscientists pushing intelligent design. Create a conspiracy, and you’ll see them everywhere. (And you’ll invite money-grubbers like Cameron to make crap films “disproving” a religious belief that was itself propped up by smarmy “research” and crap films, like the “designed banana” rot by that other Cameron.)

    The two sides deserve each other.

  67. #67 Uber
    March 5, 2007

    the show itself speculated that the Bible could be read as a purely spiritual resurrection with the body remaining behind just like any other.

    This to me is very telling. You cannot get a spiritual resurrection from the reading. It seems pretty clear what is said to have happened.

    Daniel Dennett is correct. It’s not about the belief, it’s about belief in belief for these people. Now we just need to figure out why it is so hard for them to admit the bible isn’t what they where raised to think it is.

  68. #68 Sherry Konkus
    March 5, 2007

    Glad I didn’t watch it yesterday. I was way too busy with my wordpress blogs and Mom and I was watching Iron Chef America on Food Network.

  69. #69 Dan
    March 5, 2007

    Daniel Dennett is correct. It’s not about the belief, it’s about belief in belief for these people. Now we just need to figure out why it is so hard for them to admit the bible isn’t what they where raised to think it is.

    Because it’s not about belief, or even about belief in belief, it’s about using one’s beliefs as the sole generator of one’s identity.

    Without their beliefs, these people have and are, quite literally, nothing. They’re blank robots, but someone downloaded god(s) into them instead of Lucy Liu.

  70. #70 the giggler
    March 5, 2007

    I exclaimed “oh jesus!” exactly 250 times.

    I slapped my head to my forehead exactly 300 times.

    I giggled once, a nice long giggle.

  71. #71 frog
    March 5, 2007

    The story of Gilgamesh: It was not about Gilgamesh building a barge. The story is about Gilgamesh visiting an immortal named Utnapishtim, in order to learn how to be immortal – Gilgamesh is 1/3 god (?? divine reproductive processes), and is afraid of death. It turns out that Utnapishtim gained immortality because he followed one of the gods’ instruction in building an ark and saving mankind from a great flood. The flood was sent to kill mankind because man was too noisy – kept on waking the gods up early on Sunday, like evangelists in the suburbs. One of the gods (I believe Enlil) was a bit brighter than the rest and realized that killing all mankind would lead to an end of sacrifices (lunch will be late for eternity!) There was also a bird used to find the recession of the flood, etc – basically the same Noah story, but with a different(?) moral.

  72. #72 the giggler
    March 5, 2007

    *hand to my forehead… though the first thing I wrote would be 1000 times awesomer.

    Good day.

  73. #73 Anton Mates
    March 5, 2007

    He gave a good answer, “God will do what he wants with the bones”, and the show itself speculated that the Bible could be read as a purely spiritual resurrection with the body remaining behind just like any other.

    Wait, so Doubting Thomas was right?

    And from Luke:

    24:12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

    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.
    24:40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
    24:41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
    24:42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
    24:43 And he took it, and did eat before them.

    “Then did Jesus add, ‘Now technically, I’m not actually in my flesh and bones, which Bartholomew buried in Jerusalem after nipping round the back of the cave two days ago, but I still, you know, have them. Just not on me. And I didn’t really eat that fish, just hacked into your visual cortex to make you think I did. Still, good trick, right?’ And all the apostles did groan and slap their foreheads.”

  74. #74 llewelly
    March 5, 2007

    (there must have been arks on the ark, or else the ark had babies)

    We know that there was more than one Ark, because it required at least 6 Arks to transport a single Diplodocus. (Yeah – imagine a mated pair of Diplodoci skating across the ocean like two ginormous D&D ninjas on watershoes.)

  75. #75 garth
    March 5, 2007

    I avoided turning on discovery at all until later, when there was some hot leopard seal-on-penguin action to be had.
    Imagine how bummed you’d be as a penguin with some monster leopard seal pushing around the ice chunk you were chillin on….my goodness. That was the saddest looking marine bird i’ve ever seen, and they’ve got a notable lack of facial features.

  76. #76 Matt R
    March 5, 2007

    I saw the preview for planet earth while watching the ‘pre’-previews at the movies…man am I glad i’ve got HDTV. It looks like it will be an incredible mini-series.

  77. #77 DominEditrix
    March 5, 2007

    Having grown up the daughter of a Biblical archaeologist/Episcopalian priest who renounced his orders when he decided that a belief in God was probably a prerequisite for remaining a member of the clergy, I watched the far more scientific Dresden Files. Not as good as the books, but…

  78. #78 Aloysius
    March 5, 2007

    Scientific American talked to Andrey Feuerverger, the statistician cited in the documentary…Unlike the snake-oil peddlers, Feuerverger freely admits that his analysis is completely inconclusive. His probability calculations are only as good as the data he was given, which is not very good at all.

    http://www.sciam.com/print_version.cfm?articleID=14A3C2E6-E7F2-99DF-37A9AEC98FB0702A

  79. #79 Rey Fox
    March 5, 2007

    “Imagine how bummed you’d be as a penguin with some monster leopard seal pushing around the ice chunk you were chillin on….my goodness. That was the saddest looking marine bird i’ve ever seen, and they’ve got a notable lack of facial features. ”

    That’s nothing compared to the photo in National Geographic a few months ago of a leopard seal ripping the head off a penguin.

  80. #80 the giggler
    March 5, 2007

    It would actually be hilarious if they were jesuses bones… Teenagers making out next to him.. before all the parents had the hole sealed up.. people jogging over him everyday.

    It would be pretty much perfect.

  81. #81 Chris Rosebrough
    March 5, 2007

    Uber,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment at extremetheology.com. Here is what you said…”I like your review but referring to the New Testament as ‘eyewitness accounts’ calls your creditibility into question.

    It is well known and has been well known for a couple hundred years now that the NT writers are not eyewitnesses. ”

    I noticed that the name of this site is ‘scienceblogs’. Can you tell me what you know about the SCIENCE of Historiagraphy. I minored in history during my undergraduate degree.

    Since you are making the claim that I am not credible because I along with other historians, agree that the historical proof that the New Testament documents are not only written early in the First Century but that two of the gospels constitute primary source data, why don’t you educate us about the Scientific rules that historians following in determining whether a document is primary or secondary source material.

    While your at it please provide the historical proof that the New Testament authors were not eye-witnesses. You made the claim you therefore have the burden of proof when it comes to supporting your claim.

    You are scientific in your thinking, aren’t you? Or are you a materlistic-mystic and only believe what you are told without checking the facts?

  82. #82 Steve_C
    March 5, 2007

    While your at it please provide the historical proof that the New Testament authors were not eye-witnesses. You made the claim you therefore have the burden of proof when it comes to supporting your claim.

    You are scientific in your thinking, aren’t you? Or are you a materlistic-mystic and only believe what you are told without checking the facts?

    The irony is sweet.

  83. #83 doug
    March 5, 2007

    This show sold a lot of soap. No doubt about it, and I can’t even remember the commercials but you just know it did with all the attention it got for this ridiculous “hot button” issues for the 85% of the intended audience who think Darwin is the same as Karl Marx. It was interesting in the way it was done…surely no reader here is just “watching” TV anymore. I did laugh quite a bit through it, so again it was worth watching, and I especially appreciated the fact they didn’t add a laugh track. I don’t know why Xians are so sensitive about people laughing at some of their outrageous perspectives…really, if they want people to take ’em seriously, they should take off the clown suit and red rubber nose (unless you’re Wavey Gavey or that guy from Spawn)…really, Jesus and all those names were so common that seeing ’em on an ossuary is no big deal, but Xians pretty sure the guy they are callin Jesus is only one guy, not as if there could have dozens of Jesus guys whose legendary stunts oughtta make him an immortal and whose exploits have been ballooned into certified miracles no less.
    So, anyhow, I disagree with those who say it wasn’t worth it…oh, it was worth whatever kind of attention you might normally hold in reserve for the quirky, and odd. And who knows, but you have to know with all your hearts that “the decider” must have been watching too, and I doubt that it so much as dented his rock solid faith in believin’ in whatever it is he thinks he believes in.
    That Planet Earth program; how much longer can we resist high-definition TV?

  84. #84 frog
    March 5, 2007

    Steve_C and Chris:

    I can’t believe you’re trying to peddle that mistaken notion of the burden of proof. There are two claims: 1) That the authors are eye-witness, or 2) that they are not. Claim 1 is a positive claim: it can have positive proof, such as internal structure, dating of early Gospels, etc. The second is a negative claim: it can’t be proved by itself, because it makes a claim of lack of evidence. The first claim is the one with the burden of proof. The “proof” of the second would be that the arguments embedded in the gospel’s reflect second century apologetics, and not the first. In other words, “proof” of the second is simply refutation of the first, therefore logically it can’t have the burden of proof. We assume the simplest explanation given the facts presented – your claim is more complicated, requiring longer chains of authenticity.

    You understand, this is why we have in the US the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” Prove your positive assertion, instead of giving smarmy statements about “scientific thinking”. Those will find you no allies.

  85. #85 Inky
    March 5, 2007

    Though the penguin’s head getting ripped off by the leopard seal was a fantastically gory picture, you must admit that the bit of film showing the seal offering the hapless penguin by holding the penguin by its ass and waggling it in front of the camera was REALLY CUTE.

    As for Jesus–hey, I don’t suppose they could recover his bones and take a good look at his wrists and hands? I think the actual method of affixing a human onto the tree/cross/whatever is in contention.

    Then there’s the foolproof Jesus test: put a bit of that aforementioned bone powder into water and see if it turns into wine.

  86. #86 Mazdor
    March 5, 2007

    frog,

    I get what you’re saying about proving a negative. However, it was dear Uber who ascerted the that “It is well known and has been well known for a couple hundred years now that the NT writers are not eyewitnesses.”

    I think that since he is the one making the ascertion that the “NT writers are not eyewitnesses”, that he should have to defend that ascertion.

    It is not the extreme religion guys fault that Uber chose to ascert a negative claim.

    Uber’s appeal to “well known information” is shallow and sounds like one of those logical falacies.

    Uber should defend his claim. Quite frankly I’m bored today and watching Uber squirm his way out of the mess he made through his own hubris sounds like a hell of a lot more entertaining than writing that term paper I have due on Thursday.

  87. #87 David Marjanovi?
    March 5, 2007

    Thus, the name Maria (????) in Hebrew is extermely uncommon

    Was that really the name on the ossuary? If so, it’s a forgery. Period. Sure you’ve heard of “Miryam” or “Maryam”? Those end im M. ???? begins with one letter and ends in another. Specifically, it ends in H, which is just there to indicate that the word ends in a vowel (or, maybe, to make stupid spellings like “Mariah Carey” possible). (In front of that, there’s a Y, preceded by an R; I don’t know the first letter, but obviously it must be an M.) “Maria” is the version that’s squeezed into Greek and Latin grammar so that speakers of those languages were able to understand the name refers to a female. Again: if that’s what it says on the ossuary, it’s fake. In that case I have trouble believing that so many people overlooked that simple fact, however.

    Can you tell me what you know about the SCIENCE of Historiagraphy.

    How to spell it: historiography. I know that plenty of Americans pronounce that the same, but you should be aware that most of the rest of the world does not, and that included the ancient Greeks and Romans. Incidentally, your use of capital letters (for emphasis) looks quite 18th century.

    I minored in history during my undergraduate degree.

    Ah, really.

    mater[ia]listic-mystic

    That’s a contradiction in itself.

    As for “primary source material”, what about “Q”, the supposed list of Jesus quotes used by the synoptic gospels and possibly reproduced in the first half of the Gospel of Thomas?

  88. #88 David Marjanovi?
    March 5, 2007

    Thus, the name Maria (????) in Hebrew is extermely uncommon

    Was that really the name on the ossuary? If so, it’s a forgery. Period. Sure you’ve heard of “Miryam” or “Maryam”? Those end im M. ???? begins with one letter and ends in another. Specifically, it ends in H, which is just there to indicate that the word ends in a vowel (or, maybe, to make stupid spellings like “Mariah Carey” possible). (In front of that, there’s a Y, preceded by an R; I don’t know the first letter, but obviously it must be an M.) “Maria” is the version that’s squeezed into Greek and Latin grammar so that speakers of those languages were able to understand the name refers to a female. Again: if that’s what it says on the ossuary, it’s fake. In that case I have trouble believing that so many people overlooked that simple fact, however.

    Can you tell me what you know about the SCIENCE of Historiagraphy.

    How to spell it: historiography. I know that plenty of Americans pronounce that the same, but you should be aware that most of the rest of the world does not, and that included the ancient Greeks and Romans. Incidentally, your use of capital letters (for emphasis) looks quite 18th century.

    I minored in history during my undergraduate degree.

    Ah, really.

    mater[ia]listic-mystic

    That’s a contradiction in itself.

    As for “primary source material”, what about “Q”, the supposed list of Jesus quotes used by the synoptic gospels and possibly reproduced in the first half of the Gospel of Thomas?

  89. #89 David Marjanovi?
    March 5, 2007

    Oops, wanted to write “blockquote” instead of “b”.

  90. #90 David Marjanovi?
    March 5, 2007

    Oops, wanted to write “blockquote” instead of “b”.

  91. #91 David Marjanovi?
    March 5, 2007

    Sorry for the third comment in a row… The bones were buried right after discovery, as is apparently customary in Israel.

  92. #92 David Marjanovi?
    March 5, 2007

    Sorry for the third comment in a row… The bones were buried right after discovery, as is apparently customary in Israel.

  93. #93 Farb
    March 5, 2007

    I didn’t have high hopes going in.

    Cameron’s pitiful excuse for archaeology managed to underperform even my most pessimistic anticipation.

    The “Maria” thing was certainly priceless, but soon I got so bored with all the eyewash that I fell asleep, only to be awakened by the cat, who decided I needed to play with it. That turned out to be much more interesting than all the boredom I experienced watching them endlessly dismiss any and all potential questions.

    I didn’t even wait to watch Koppel’s “eyes glaze over.” I went to bed.

    At least “Titanic” was more realistic. The ocean won.

  94. #94 Chris Rosebrough
    March 5, 2007

    David,

    Apparently you are also not immune to keyboard fumbles.

    I don’t think this is a spelling contest, nor a contest about who can type better. Therefore, let’s keep things on topic.

    1. the term Materialistic-mystic was intended to be a contradiction, I utilized it to make a point. Materialists accuse mystics of avoiding and ignoring facts. Since, I subscribe to a religious truth claim people like Uber frequently dismiss me as a mystic. Yet, I am far from it. The reason I accused Uber of being a materialistic-mystic is because it was obvious that he was making an a priori assumption and wasn’t backing it with facts. Much the way a mystic would.

    2. There is no Q document. There is not one copy of it that we can touch and scrutinize. Q is the invention of Higher Critics. As far as Historians and Textual Critics are concerned Q has not been established as being a primary source document. It cannot be until we actually find a copy of it. Til then I think it is fair to say that it is the invention of liberal scholars.

    If you ask me, I think the gospel of Mark fits the bill for being the earliest and most quoted of the synoptic gospels. It is the closest thing to Q that we’ve got.

    3. Back to Historiography. Are you going to be a surogate for Uber and tell us what the rules are for establishing primary and secondary source documents?

  95. #95 Ichthyic
    March 5, 2007

    I minored in history during my undergraduate degree.

    so, you took at least two history classes as an undergrad?

    It’s a wonder Cameron didn’t hire you to work on his documentary!

  96. #96 Ichthyic
    March 5, 2007

    really, if they want people to take ’em seriously, they should take off the clown suit and red rubber nose (unless you’re Wavey Gavey or that guy from Spawn)…

    oh yeah, leguizamo’s portrayal of clowny in Spawn was classic.

    I often think of this line from that movie when I’m forced to argue with a creobot:

    Boy you were just tied to that track and that stupid train just kept runnin’ over ya didn’t it? Just runnin’ over you.

  97. #97 Ichthyic
    March 5, 2007

    I think that since he [uber] is the one making the ascertion that the “NT writers are not eyewitnesses”, that he should have to defend that ascertion.

    I’m curious to see this as well, I have heard the assertion before, but I actually would like to see the source for it. Not to pin uber down, but simply because it sounds interesting.

    The way I’ve heard it phrased before, the doubt about the eyewitness nature of the gospels mostly came from the contradictions found between many of them.

    Is that what uber is talking about?

  98. #98 Mazdor
    March 5, 2007

    Ichthic be nice to the extreme religious guy or he’ll leave and then I won’t have any entertainment for the night and will have to do my term paper.

    I’m minoring in Mirco-Biology and I have had to take more than 2 classes to get my minor. I think if I take 4 more classes I can actually get a double major. But I just want to be done with school and go get a real life.

  99. #99 Ichthyic
    March 5, 2007

    Ichthic be nice to the extreme religious guy

    *kicks dirt*

    oookaaaay.

    you should do your term paper though; far more important than anything discussed here.

  100. #100 frog
    March 5, 2007

    Icthyic,

    As I understand it, these arguments are all about the internal structure of the documents in question. The problem is that there are no early copies of any of these documents, scraps from the 2nd century, and actual extended portions from the third. So, the only think left is the nature of the arguments embedded in them. So you have prophesies about the fall of the Temple in Jerusalem; if you’re a believer, they are evidence of early sources; if not, they are evidence that the gospels are post-70’s. The battle against the pharisees seems more to reflect the post-Temple battle between Christianity and Rabbinical Judaism, than conflicts occurring between pharisee and others in the 1st century (unless Jesus wasn’t a Jewish messiah, but some kind of pro-Hellenistic reformer, which is even farther from orthodox interpretations).

    But at the end of the day, there’s precious little evidence of what occurred in the Christian world before the 3rd century, what they believed, or why, just an endless stream of fourth century polemics and quotations of earlier works, with the unorthodox thrown out because it is unorthodox (from a later point of view), thereby proving that it is untrue. Check out extreme-theology. Half of their argument for why the Jesus burial is untrue is that it doesn’t fit scripture, which from an outsider view is begging the question, since we really have no basis for saying anything other than certain names were probably involved, and the general locale of some unclear events.

  101. #101 Ichthyic
    March 5, 2007

    Ok, but to clarify, I was under the impression that even given the modern translations and modifications found in the KJV, there were still glaring inconsistencies between events as portrayed in each of the various gospels.

    what you are speaking of seems like adding another level of argument based on the actual structure of the documents themselves.

    Is this correct?

  102. #102 frog
    March 5, 2007

    Icthyic,

    Yes. They look for anachronisms in the nature of the arguments themselves. For example, the little sense that revelation makes, it makes in light of the period of the ’70’s and later, and not the ’30’s and earlier. That one is also traditionally from that period. The renting of the veil of the Temple, and Jesus’s statement regarding how he’ll rebuild the Temple in three days are either prophecy regarding the fall of the Temple, or were written after the fall of the Temple to explain the relationship of the church to the Temple cult.

    There’s also chronolinguistics. Some of the analysis is in terms of the language itself, by looking at when terms were coined from extant literature, whether the terms were available in Aramaic, or were later Greek and Latin insertions and so forth. It seems that main stream scholarship is in pretty strong concensus of the relatively late date of the Gospels – post ’70’s to 200’s.

    But the entire field is a mess, because no primary sources really exist. All we have are copies of copies of copies, in an age where scribes altered and updated documents as they came through their hands, and writers considered it reasonable and required to claim that their writings came from some ancient oracular source; you see the same thing in Chinese literature from that period and earlier, claiming authorship by the “Yellow Ancestor”, or some historic Duke. And of course, any one in the field has a pretty strong religious axe to grind in the first place. So strong idealogy + underdetermined data = lots of gobbledygook.

    But the same methods are considered de rigeur in all these fields of early literature analysis; analyzing the Chinese is just much less controversial in the West.

  103. #103 Chris Rosebrough
    March 5, 2007

    Frog,

    Great post.

    Here is the issue. Textually, speaking liberal scholars and higher critics make a big deal about the fact that there is 200 year gap between our earliest complete copy of the NT and the events they record. What is truly interesting is the fact that they don’t apply the same scrutiny to the writings of Plato, Aristotle and even Julius Caesar despite the fact that the textual gap is many times greater when it comes to these docuements. Many times the gap is 800 to a 1000 years between the lives of these other historical figures and the earliest copy of a manuscript that we have by them or about them.

    Why the double standard? Because liberal scholars and materialists have already decided a priori that miracles are not possible.

    The New Testament has to have been changed and mythologized, they reason becuase it contains stories of the miraculous.

    I hear echos of David Hume’s circular logic. Miracles break the laws of nature, since the laws of nature cannot be broken we know that miracles can’t happen.

    It is one big presuposition.

    Fact: the NT is the best attested document of antiquity. Nothing else comes close.
    Fact: our oldest codices, manuscripts and fragments demontrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that the New Testament documents haven’t experienced any substantial changes in the content of its text.

    Therefore, textually speaking the evidence shows that the authors intended to tell us about a miracle working man who walked the earth 2000 years ago.

    The internal evidence in the texts themselves shows that 2 of the gospels were written by eye-witnesses, one was written by a Doctor who conducted a historical inquiry the other was more than likely the sermon notes of the apostle Peter.

    The central substance of the eye-witness testimony is consistant. They all claim that this miracle working preacher from Galilee claimed to be God in human flesh and proved his claim by raising himself from the dead three days after the Roman Govenor Pontious Pilate had him crucified.

    Furthermore, substantial portions of Jesus life and ministry were foretold in the Jewish scriptures.

    The reason given by the NT authors for Jesus’ death was to pay the penalty for your sins and for mine. Literally to satisfy God’s justice for our sin and rebelion against him.

    As outlandish as the story sounds, there is no way to just dismiss it out of hand and continue to be intelectually honest.

    In fact, history is full of people who’ve set out to systematically disproved the claims of the NT documents about Jesus who’ve ended up surrendering to the overwhelming weight of the evidence in favor of the claims about Jesus.

    I’m not asking anyone to blindly believe anything. Christianity is the only religion on the planet that can be ‘disproven’ objectively. All you would have to do is find the bones of Jesus Christ. Do that and you’ve proven that it is a lie.

    The fact is the Discovery channel didn’t find Jesus’ lost tomb. His tomb is still empty. If you actually take the time to objectively examine the evidence you will conclude that Jesus’ Resurrection is a fact of history. But it takes faith to believe that He died for your sins.

  104. #104 Ichthyic
    March 5, 2007

    It seems that main stream scholarship is in pretty strong concensus of the relatively late date of the Gospels – post ’70’s to 200’s.

    which also sounds like there should be some references, do you have some links to current research one might peruse?

  105. #105 D
    March 5, 2007

    Ichthyic: If you are really interested, I’d recommend Bart Ehrman’s text book on the new testament. Also perhaps a synopsis gospels. There are contradictions between the gospels and perhaps more importantly differences in the earliest found copies of such.

  106. #106 Ichthyic
    March 5, 2007

    liberal scholars

    so, do you mean that politically, or in the sense that that liberal means taking the broad view, as opposed to the narrow?

    if the former, the rest of your entire post can be summarily dismissed.

    What is truly interesting is the fact that they don’t apply the same scrutiny to the writings of Plato, Aristotle and even Julius Caesar despite the fact that the textual gap is many times greater when it comes to these docuements.

    are you absolutely sure you can’t see another reason why you think the same scrutiny isn’t, applied?

    are you even sure your contention is at its face, correct? let alone whether your comparison is even applicable given why the dates are important to begin with, as clearly outlined by frog?

    in calling this a “double-standard”, even someone like myself, who hasn’t even looked at the details, can clearly see a strawman of your own creation here.

  107. #107 Chayanov
    March 5, 2007

    Give me a break. Using the New Testament to prove the events of the New Testament is the ultimate in circular logic. There is no good evidence that Jesus was even a real person outside of the New Testament, whereas we have any number of contemporary corroborating texts regarding the lives of Plato, Aristotle, and Julius Caesar.

  108. #108 Ichthyic
    March 5, 2007

    Why the double standard? Because liberal scholars and materialists have already decided a priori that miracles are not possible.

    completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

    the issue is not whether the gospels purportedly represent eyewitness accounts of “miracles”, but why they differ so much in their accounts, if they were all supposedly eyewitnesses to begin with.

    ..and not just in small details, either, IIRC.

  109. #109 frog
    March 5, 2007

    But Chris, how do you then handle the rest of the literature in that tradition? If we are to take seriously the miracles of the NT, then why not those from the “Golden Ass” where Isis turns a man into a donkey, and then back to a man, to spiritually resurrect him?

    The basic problem is that to show such a fundamental change in the laws of physics and biology as you believe in, the burden of proof on you is massive. We have many tales of similar miracles. But, for all, we lack sufficient evidence. I’m not even sure what “evidence” means when you’re trying to prove the supernatural, since all evidence depends on physical laws of universality to be interpreted.

    So no, Christianity can’t be “objectively” disproved, since it assumes from the beginning that miracles can occur. Once you throw in the monkey wrench that the laws of physics can be interrupted, the basic principle of rational analysis that from a then b has to be thrown out. If you say 1+1=3, then all math is trivial and everything is true, as a mathematical metaphor.

    The advantage of the other figures you cite, is that the historical record for them is from sources outside of their local cohorts. In addition to the documents that were actually written by JC (Julius Caesar), there are also documents from historians as opposed to theologians and prophets. For Plato and Aristotle, we have centuries of arguments about their ideas, both pro and con. For Christianity, we have the writings of Christians, but not just that, we only have the writings of one small sect of Christians. The major Christian Church of the 2nd century, the Marcionites, have almost no extant literature; one would expect some complimentary or distinct teachings, but all is gone. Or the texts of Jerusalem’s primitive Jesus-followers, who did not believe in his divinity. All we have is articles from the orthodox against those “heretics.”

    And, Chris, at the end of the day, how would you actually ID Jesus’s bones? Even if you found a sarcophagus labeled Jesus Christ, from the right era, how would you prove that those are actually the bones of that Jesus Christ, and not some other pretender to the crown of Israel from the first century name Joshua (as it appears every third guy in Jerusalem was named)?

  110. #110 Ichthyic
    March 5, 2007

    I knew i remembered seeing this discussed before somewhere:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John

    Critical scholarship starting in the 19th century further questioned the apostle John’s authorship, arguing that the work was written decades after the events it describes. The critical scholarship argues that there are differences in the composition of the Greek within the Gospel, such as breaks and inconsistencies in sequence, repetitions in the discourse, as well as passages that clearly do not belong to their context, and these suggest redaction.[11]

    this relates to what frog was talking about, not the inconsistencies in accounts between the gospels themselves.

  111. #111 frog
    March 5, 2007

    Icthyic,

    No references handy here. But a google search will give you all kinds of mutterings about this kind of material, relative datings by different schools, dates of documents, etc. Not my field, so it’s not locally stored in the wetware. There have been a couple of fairly accessible books on the matter – the Gospel of Q, and some commentaries on the Jesus Seminar, on the liberal side of aisle (by liberal, meaning the opposite of fundamentalist or traditionalist).

  112. #112 Hugo
    March 5, 2007

    dont miss planet earth! It just outright pwns this kind of documentary.

  113. #113 Uber
    March 5, 2007

    I see my comments over there caused a little stir.

    Ok let me restate although I think frog did such a nice job above I’ll just say ditto.

    Otherwise I’ll just say the following the gist of modern scholarship disallows the fundamentalist assertion that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses or were derived from eyewitness sources. Instead, the Gospels seem to be derived from oral traditions and from unknown documents. We cannot authenticate the New Testament accounts of or by use of historical evidences or modern scholarship (indeed, such methods confute the assertions of fundamentalism). In reality it appears the Gospels are based on hearsay.

    Likewise my initial statement may have been to strong and quick. What I should have said is that based on the consensus of modern scholarship it appears doubtful and perhaps impossible that the gospel accounts where written by eyewitnesses. Anyone willfully ignoring these facts puts doubt upon their creditibility.

    Because liberal scholars and materialists have already decided a priori that miracles are not possible

    See this is what always stinks. If you think differently about facts your a liberal or a materialist. Maybe your just wrong.

    And I don’t thinkmany think miracles are impossible just lacking in evidence. But then that does seem to make a supreme being a little less so when the rules of the universe get changed on this whim or that.

    Christianity is the only religion on the planet that can be ‘disproven’ objectively.

    Well we could find the bones of Allah or Elihjah or many other Gods who also got sucked into the air.

    The fact is the Discovery channel didn’t find Jesus’ lost tomb. His tomb is still empty.

    Can you prove this in any real sense? You making a claim so please back it up. Thats what you said to me above correct?

    If you actually take the time to objectively examine the evidence you will conclude that Jesus’ Resurrection is a fact of history. But it takes faith to believe that He died for your sins.

    Thats right it’s all about being objective. Never mind most people who change religion, become atheists/agnostics where raised on the stuff. If it actually is a fact of history then we don’t have to have faith in it and neither do you.

    If he died for our sins then it’s a fact and faith is irrevelant.

  114. #114 Jason
    March 5, 2007

    Chris,

    Joe Bloggs reportedly had been lying dead on a slab in the morgue for three days when he suddenly came back to life. There are several self-proclaimed eyewitnesses to this event. They even wrote down what they claimed to have seen. Do you think these reports constitute sufficient evidence to justify the belief that Joe Bloggs really did rise from the dead after three days? Don’t you think it’s more plausible that the “eyewitnesses” were simply mistaken, or lying, than that a type of event that would violate all sorts of laws and principles of biology and chemistry actually happened?

    Sam Harris recently wrote the following:

    Many spiritual seekers in India testify to miracles performed by their gurus on a daily basis. These miracles are every bit as outlandish as the miracles attributed to Jesus. I have met literally hundreds of western educated men and women who are convinced that their favorite yogi has magic powers. I remain open to evidence of such powers (and my openness has exposed me to a fair amount of abuse in the atheist community). But as far as I can tell, all of these stories are promulgated by people who desperately want to believe them; all (to my knowledge) lack the kind of corroborating evidence one should require to actually believe that Nature’s laws have been abrogated in this way; and most people who report these events demonstrate an utter disinclination to look for non-miraculous explanations. In any case, stories about mystics (and charlatans) walking on water, raising the dead, flying without the aid of technology, materializing objects, reading minds, foretelling the future, etc., are being told now. Indeed, all of these powers have been attributed to the South Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba by an uncountable number of eyewitnesses-and the man claims to have been born of a virgin to boot! He has literally millions of followers, many of them educated westerners. You can watch some of his “miracles” on YouTube, performed before credulous throngs of spiritually hungry souls.

    You’re just another one of those credulous souls.

  115. #115 Uber
    March 5, 2007

    I can do you one better than that Jason. There is a preacher in Korea, Jong Jee Cho who states his son was brought back from the dead.

    Likewise Jesse Duplantis says he has been to Heaven along with many others. The simple fact is Jason is correct. What seperates the gospel stories from these other stories? Nothing other than age. The simple fact that the culture around us embraces them and the majority are raised with the stories adds to the mystery. But whether you or I believe them has little to do with whether they are true or not.

  116. #116 frog
    March 5, 2007

    Chris, to clarify about your statement:
    I hear echos of David Hume’s circular logic. Miracles break the laws of nature, since the laws of nature cannot be broken we know that miracles can’t happen.
    It is one big presuposition.

    It’s not a presupposition. It’s more like an axiom. The system of science does not work without that principle. In a similar way, some forms of Chrisitianity do not work without assuming the “revelation” is a valid source of evidence. It is logically necessary, not a presupposition. This is why the two systems are not compatible, why someone can’t be argued from one side to the other. You can’t argue a person into or out of an axiom of evidence – they are necessarily tautological. You can only “convert” them – in a sense, you must be born again to accept a different set of principles of thought, of logic.

    If this was understood, a whole lot less hot air would be wasted. What is being argued are the basis of culture and psychology, not a scientific argument. Which brings up the question, why do Christian apologists (and that’s not an insult) try to show the “scientific” validity of their beliefs? By doing so, they’ve already undercut their entire value system by putting themselves on that block – they should stop at revelation and leave it at that. In the long term, by playing the science game, they are validating science as a preferred mode of knowledge – and they can’t win at that game.

  117. #117 Uber
    March 5, 2007

    Which brings up the question, why do Christian apologists (and that’s not an insult) try to show the “scientific” validity of their beliefs?

    Because inside they know that idea leads to truth, something tangible, and things that actually provably work. Otherwise they are forced to admit there is no more evidence for their sets of given beliefs than any other faith group. They haven’t accepted Christian fideism as I have.:-)

  118. #118 frog
    March 5, 2007

    Well, I think there are 2 possible answers to my question. One is cynical: they are trying to play a tactical game to confuse the scientifically ignorant, and may burn themselves. The second less so: that they are actually living in a scientific world view, but can’t bring themselves to give up the non-science they grew up with. It must be painful.

    The Catholic apologists, who don’t have that problem, simply dismiss science as secondary to revelation, and never bother to “scientifically” prove their case; but some of the protestants have had the enlightenment seep from the culture into their beliefs, and are fighting a losing battle.

  119. #119 Ichthyic
    March 5, 2007

    The second less so: that they are actually living in a scientific world view, but can’t bring themselves to give up the non-science they grew up with. It must be painful.

    ask michael egnor or francis collins.

    cognitive dissonance can be a complete bitch.

    however the second answer to your question does not in any way prevent the first from being accurate as well. In fact, IMO, much of the projection and denial rampant in the extremely religious are merely defense mechanisms built around the cobbled-together barriers that keep their huge levels of cognitive dissonance from causing their minds to completely crumble.

  120. #120 Uber
    March 5, 2007

    Perhaps frog. I don’t think you option one has much viability. Which I guess leaves us at number 2. The RCC has bigger issues to deal with I guess and their belief structure allows them the 2 step when necessary.

  121. #121 frog
    March 5, 2007

    Uber, I doubt #1 for most. But don’t underestimate the deviousness of some of your fellow humans. If you really believe in a epistemological system that values revelation above empirical knowledge, then it is much less morally objectionable to misrepresent the empirical, particularly if you believe that apocalyptic consequences are hinging on conversion. Would a materialist hesitate to lie to her mother about a religious vision, if it would convince her to take medication saving her life?

  122. #122 Uber
    March 5, 2007

    Fair enough.

    I don’t really have enough interest in this thread to continue but it made for a nice diversion this evening. Thanks for the interesting posts.

  123. #123 Alan Kellogg
    March 5, 2007

    Joe Bloggs wasn’t dead, they just thought he was dead. He was merely in a deep vegetative state for three days.

    Note that Jesus got crucified on Friday, then lay in the tomb for three days, until Sunday when he rosefrom the dead. so Saturdays were 48 hours long back then? damn, we’ve been cheated. Bring back the 48 hour Saturday!

    Jesus didn’t die on the cross, he went comatose. He woke up later, found the door open because people were working in the tomb (likely on him) and walked out. He talks with people, finds his followers, and starts making plans with them. He thinks he’s been raised from the dead. They think he’s been raised from the dead. Nobody has any idea of the true state of things. So nobody’s treating his injuries. As they’re walking and talking Jesus collapses and dies.

    Nobody had any idea as to what really happened. So they rely on what they think happened, and the passage of time muddles matters even further. Add in true believer twits who insist it had to happen as they say it did, in order for Jesus’ work to have any validity, and you get libraries of crap defending events that never were.

    Either that, or it was a parody of the Adonis tale certain parties took way too seriously.

  124. #124 Jason
    March 5, 2007

    The Catholic apologists, who don’t have that problem, simply dismiss science as secondary to revelation, and never bother to “scientifically” prove their case; but some of the protestants have had the enlightenment seep from the culture into their beliefs, and are fighting a losing battle.

    Oh, the Catholic Church also prides itself on being consistent with science. “True” science, that is. Which, of course, can never conflict with Truth as revealed by the Catholic Church. If it does conflict, it must be false science. They call their version of science “Natural Law.” It’s through this “Natural Law” that the Church “knows,” for example, that contraception is intrinsically immoral and that homosexuality is a disorder.

  125. #125 The Physicist
    March 6, 2007

    They talk of the odds of those names all being in one place, but I wondered what are the odds of a Jesus and his family being from Galilee being buried in Jerusalem. Just a thought as a Bible reader.

  126. #126 Ginger Yellow
    March 6, 2007

    “Christianity is the only religion on the planet that can be ‘disproven’ objectively.”

    Oh really? What about my new religion, G๖delism? It posits that only one religion can be disproved objectively, and that is G๖delism.

  127. #127 Tukla in Iowa
    March 6, 2007

    it was stretched out to a hopelessly tedious length

    Just like “Titanic”.

  128. #128 Denis C
    March 6, 2007

    In response to comment #80, Chris, you should read what most modern biblical scholars maintain. A good place to start is with John Shelby Spong. Just Google Spong.
    Also the Westar Institute at: http://www.westarinstitute.org/
    is the home for this work.
    Denis C

  129. #129 Chris Rosebrough
    March 6, 2007

    The scriptures spoke correctly about ya’ll when it said….

    Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

    For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

    Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles – 1 Corinthians 1:20-24

    Yes I am a fool by your standards because I actually believe that Jesus Christ was crucified and died for my sins and for yours. Yet, the historical and documentary evidence as well as the prophecies foretold about Jesus hundreds and in some cases thousands of years before his birth testify that the story is true. Repent.

    I shake the dust from my feet as a testimony against you.

  130. #130 Ben
    March 6, 2007

    Yes I am a fool by your standards because I actually believe that Jesus Christ was crucified and died for my sins and for yours. Yet, the historical and documentary evidence as well as the prophecies foretold about Jesus hundreds and in some cases thousands of years before his birth testify that the story is true. Repent.

    I shake the dust from my feet as a testimony against you.

    I don’t think anyone called you a fool. I doubt that most would automatically assume you’re a fool simply because you’re a Christian. It’s just a strike against you… I can’t speak for everyone… but I have friends who I like and even admire who are hardcore Christians… I just see it as a character flaw.. like if they smoked or something…

    I think you’re a fool because rather than engage people in what actually is a pretty civil conversation… you end up basically dismissing everyone, pasting in a couple of passages from the bible, and running away. How often do you find yourself doing this? Every time you find something that contradicts your belief system?

  131. #131 frog
    March 6, 2007

    Ben,

    Chris is simply restating in Christian language the same thing I said earlier. He dismisses worldly knowledge as simply lacking the authority, epistemologically, that revelation has. No evidence of this world contradicts his system; the most you can accuse him and his fellow-travelers of, is that their revelations are self-contradictory, which is always easily dealt with. There is a basic gap here of epistemology – I wouldn’t take his ranting to heart. Just as someone with a system of knowledge base on empirical data sees as foolish accepting revelation as a basis for knowledge, the reverse is also true.

    At bottom, there is no speaking to each other when world views disagree on such a basic axiom. At best, temporary truces.

  132. #132 soulster
    March 6, 2007

    I think this documentary warrants a good exploration of proving things through statistical computation. According to creationists and ID theorists, Behe and others disproved evolution by exclusively naturalistic processes by running the numbers. Here are these guys who compute the probability of this being Jesus’ tomb to be 600:1 in similar fashion. In the same way, there’s this Bayesian reasoning that uses statisics to prove just about anything you want. When are the mathematicians going to step up and stop the spin, or has math just become another language moldable to rhetorical purposes of impressing and manipulating people?

  133. #133 The Atheist Jew
    March 6, 2007

    My theory is Paul invented the Jesus story around 50 AD. He only saw Jesus in a dream. From there, the story grew and morphed incorporating all sorts of beliefs and myths that were out there around that time. Perhaps even the names of Jesus’ extended family came from those tombs but the story kept evolving and the idea of a marriage and children was dropped by the time the bible was actually written 150-200 years “after the fact”

    That is my story and I’m sticking to it. At least for now.

    FYI, we didn’t get it in Canada, but I notice that at least the Southern Ontario region will be able to view it tonight at 8 on Vision TV. I’ll probably watch it, and switch back and forth to Idol a few times.

  134. #134 Uber
    March 6, 2007

    I don’t know frog.

    I am a Christian, albeit an honest one who accepts there is no evidence for my faith. Thats why I have faith. I enjoy it for more than a few reasons and none are remotely rational.

    He dismisses worldly knowledge as simply lacking the authority, epistemologically, that revelation has

    and then here:

    Yet, the historical and documentary evidence

    He wants it both ways and frankly he can’t have that and be consistent but you know that already.

    This is simply not true. He tries to use science to back up his claims.

    I shake the dust from my feet as a testimony against you

    You superstitous dude. Make sure you avoid the evil eye as well. Your a Christian in name only. I doubt seriously if Jesus would be pleased with your actions here. I shake the dust from my feet as a testimony to God not caring who you shake your feet at and I shake the dust from my keyboard as a testimony to your stupidity.

    I sincerely hope you provide a more truthful and honest witness to the faith in the future.

    Between this fella and the physicist’s(who I like) meltdown last night we can bring the nutters.

  135. #135 Ichthyic
    March 6, 2007

    I shake the dust from my feet as a testimony against you.

    *yawn*

    yes, yes; shake your fist harder, boy.

  136. #136 Ichthyic
    March 6, 2007

    …oh, and i suggest you sweep once in a while to take care of that dust problem.

  137. #137 Steve_C
    March 6, 2007

    What more likely prophecies fulfilled by people pretending to meet the criteria and creating stories to fill them… or prophecies actually coming true?

    Prophecies prove nothing.

  138. #138 Steve_C
    March 6, 2007

    Sorry, for the poorly structured thought.

    We need a Roomba for this place

  139. #139 Jason
    March 6, 2007

    Uber,

    I am a Christian, albeit an honest one who accepts there is no evidence for my faith. Thats why I have faith. I enjoy it for more than a few reasons and none are remotely rational.

    Why do you have faith in Christianity rather than Islam or Hinduism or some other religion? Is it just a random choice? A matter of aesthetics? A matter of believing it because you were taught to believe it as a child? Or what?

    Your comment that you “enjoy” it suggests that your “Christianity” is more akin to a hobby or recreational activity than to anything that could reasonably be called a religion.

  140. #140 Ichthyic
    March 6, 2007

    Your comment that you “enjoy” it suggests that your “Christianity” is more akin to a hobby or recreational activity than to anything that could reasonably be called a religion.

    actually, wouldn’t we all be better off if this stuff really were treated more like a hobby or recreational activity?

  141. #141 Uber
    March 6, 2007

    Why do you have faith in Christianity rather than Islam or Hinduism or some other religion? Is it just a random choice? A matter of aesthetics? A matter of believing it because you were taught to believe it as a child? Or what?

    It’s the religion in which I was raised.

    Your comment that you “enjoy” it suggests that your “Christianity” is more akin to a hobby or recreational activity than to anything that could reasonably be called a religion.

    Thats reading to much into my comment. It is a religion albeit less and less it seems. It is something that gives me an inner peace. I doubt much of what I was taught and know much of the same to be wrong but I retain a little for my own reasons.

    Discussing it on message boards is the hobby part.:-)

  142. #142 Brian N.
    March 6, 2007

    Dear Denis C.,

    Re: your posts, numbers 40 and 124. YOU should take the time to read something other than web pages that agree with you. As regarding the “Jesus left on the cross” theory, you are merely regurgitating a theory first put forth by Martin Hengel in his “Crucifixion in the Ancient World and the Folly of the Message of the Cross” (1977). John Dominic Crossan, dean of all “talking head” Biblical scholars on these shows, also uses it in his book, “The Historical Jesus” and its popularized, edited reprint, “Jesus a Revolutionary Biography.” Both authors believe that Jesus’ body would have been left on the cross for two main reasons: (1.) It was against Roman policy to allow a crucified victim to be removed from the cross and (2.) the skeleton of a crucified person has never been found in a tomb. However, the skeleton of a crucified Jew named Yehochanan was found in a family crypt at Giv’at ha-Mivtar in 1968, long before either man published their theories. This effectively trumps the “never” argument and forces those still holding this view to resort to the “rarely” corollary. Crossan tries to defend the “Jesus left on the cross” theory in his “Revolutionary…” update, but not very adroitly.
    Also, it is generally agreed on that Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians was written circa 50-51 CE, which is less than one generation after Jesus. Please feel free to look up some websites for these facts; I would, but I tend to refer to books rather than websites.

  143. #143 Jason
    March 6, 2007

    Uber,

    It’s the religion in which I was raised.

    Why have faith in it just because you were raised in it? It’s not more likely to be true than a different religion, such as Islam or Hinduism or Judaism, or no religion at all, just because you were raised in it.

  144. #144 Steve_C
    March 6, 2007

    I thought a generation was about 30 years.

    How is 50 years less than one generation?

    Oh the difference between, AD and CE.

    Still doesn’t make sense that he would wait 20 years to write a “letter”.

    What was life expectancy around 30 CE?

  145. #145 Uber
    March 6, 2007

    I think a generation is 20 years. It never ceases to amaze me that 20 years later is somehow seen as good as yesterday.

    but I tend to refer to books rather than websites.

    Sometimes they are one in the same and you may find information from both in either.

    Why have faith in it just because you were raised in it? It’s not more likely to be true than a different religion, such as Islam or Hinduism or Judaism, or no religion at all, just because you were raised in it.

    Oh I agree but for now it’s what I enjoy. Plain and simple.

  146. #146 I believe
    March 7, 2007

    I think your all missing the point here. Although I agre it was a pisspoor documentary and the ending made me want to slit my wrists, The truth is there is no such thing as Miracles, Moses parting the sea, or any other mumbo jumbo. Now I am not an idiot, I do beleive Jesus existed, and I do believe what they have found is in fact linked to him if not his families tomb. You cannot discredit the fact that everyone dies and in that time they would have been buried as family and this likely is *due to that symbol on the tomb, the jesus family tomb. Ya sure the numbers are crazy and the dna was weak, but I can guarantee they found more to this story than they will let on. I believe the conpiracy here is not the Jesus tomb but how much did Isreal pay Cameron and the rest of the guys to “shush” Science is way too good for to be wrong these days about something as simple as this. The sad part bout this whole thing is the documentarians and cameron leading this thing. 2 yrs of a team of good Scientists would have a 99% answer to the big question that these inexperienced people fumbled.
    people waste their time on religion and holy wars too much and let the world go to crap over nothing. Beleive in what stories you want, but for “christs sake”, stop dreaming about old men parting seas or a boat filled with one of each animal. Science overrules everything in the bible that is not humanly possible so stop being so sceptical and stop making Humans look like mongoloids.
    Peace to everyone and don’t believe the hype!!

  147. #147 JW Tan
    March 7, 2007

    Planet Earth is far more deserving of minute-by-minute reviews that this.

    How about it, PZ?

  148. #148 hayomtov8
    March 16, 2007

    THE LAST WORD

    YOU GUYS ARE SO FUNNY. YOU REMIND ME OF THAT STUDENT IN THE BAR SCENE IN “GOOD WILL HUNTING” HE KNEW ALL THE QUOTATIONS FROM THE TEXT BOOKS AND WAS SURE TO LEARN MORE NEXT WEEK SINCE THEY WOULD THEN BE IN CHAPTER 21. YOU EXIBIT CLASSIC INDOCTRINATION INSTEAD OF EDUCATION,HAVING SAT AT THE MASTERS FEET (FORMER POT HEADS AND TRIPPING BABY BOOMERS)NOW TURNED PROFESSORS. BUT YOU HAVEN’T HAD A ORIGINAL THOUGHT SINCE YOU LEFT HIGH SCHOOL. YOU SOUND LIKE YOU DON’T KNOW SQUAT! YOUR TOO APATHETIC OR JUST PLAIN AFRAID TO REALLY EXAMINE THE HISTORY APART FROM YOUR OUTDATED COLLEGE TEXT BOOKS.THE FACT IS WE ARE STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS ONE MAN “JESUS CHRIST”.MARCH ,2007. HE IS UNDOUBTABLY THE CENTRAL FIGURE IN ALL HISTORY. EVEN HIS ENEMIES STILL ADDMIT TO THIS FACT. WHEN YOUR DEAD AND GONE PEOPLE WILL STILL BE GIVING PROPS TO HIM . LOVE HIM OR HATE HIM ,ONE THING YOU CAN’T DO IS IGNORE HIM “ECHE HOMO” BEHOLD THE MAN!

    STOP BEING INTELLECTUALLY LAZY !

  149. #149 Dee
    March 29, 2007

    Perhaps the whole story was a Zionist attempt to discredit Christianity? A rather poor job methinks. For an excellent dissection on the whole episode visit Signs of the Times.

  150. #150 Monado
    April 12, 2007

    At least when you’re telling your students to avoid special pleading, you’ll have a good example to point out to them.

  151. #151 phil whiteley
    August 7, 2007

    I quite liked the program. It may be a load of crap but I
    thought it was well produced and the fact that they found
    the tomb they were talking about under a concrete slab, amazing. keep up the good work and eat more figs.

  152. #152 phil whiteley
    August 7, 2007

    I quite liked the program. It may be a load of crap but I
    thought it was well produced and the fact that they found
    the tomb they were talking about under a concrete slab, amazing. keep up the good work and eat more figs.

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