Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Is the Lost Tomb, the Next DaVinci Code?

If you are a faithful follower of Jesus and the Christian Faith…before you blow out a vein in your head over the upcoming documentary, (The Lost Tomb of Jesus, Sunday 3/4 on Discovery Channel), which is proposing that the remains of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and their possible offspring (Judah), were found in a tomb in Jerusalem…understand the facts surrounding this. Trust me, it will ease your troubled mind a bit, and give you a better foundation with which to answer questions non-believing friends may pose to you.

First: Make no mistake…this film though a documentary is a moneymaking venture. Unless there was serious bling to be made, why would someone of James Cameron’s status get involved, (especially on the marketing end…I.E. press conferences), unless that is, he was a devote skeptic (which he is conveniently not addressing at this time)? Documentaries skirting the fringes of fiction by combining their facts with unproven assumptions are becoming pretty commonplace, since Michael Moore proved the format could be financially viable. Dan Brown’s the DiVinci Code (book and Movie) took this movement to new heights (or depths, depending on your frame of reference) as he approached this model from the other direction…veiling a work of fiction with pseudo-science.

If you doubt this contention, then read the words of Cameron himself, who has already stated, “This is the beginning of an ongoing investigation. If things come to light that erode this investigation, then so be it.” So whether the conclusions are true or not, apparently that doesn’t make much difference to Cameron. Spoken like a true spiritual fence sitter who will be laughing all the way to the bank at the controversy this creates!

Second: The conclusions apparently being made by this film, are not based upon hard archeological data or empirical evidence, but are more in the vein of a “Just Imagine If” kind of project, designed for one reason and one reason only…to create controversy. Why? To make money…lots’ of money. Dan Brown proved that poking a sharp stick at the foundation of Christianity, could net an 8-figure return. The renowned archeologist, Amos Kloner, who originally discovered this site and these ossuaries back in 1980, has stated for the record, “The claim that the burial site (of Jesus) has been found is not based upon any proof, it’s only an attempt to sell. With all due respect, they (the film-makers) are not archeologists.”

In my own research for my Eye Witness books, ( ), I’ve discovered (and Kloner agrees) that the names, Jesus, Mary and Judah were very common names in first century Palestine. “Of 900 burial caves found within four kilometers (two and a half miles) of Jerusalem’s Old City and from the same era,” according to Kloner, “the name Jesus (or Yeshua) has been found 71 times and that “Jesus son of Joseph” had also been found previously.” But no other archeologists of note have given these artifacts any particular significance or connection to Christianity’s founder. To put this in perspective, it would be like an archeologist finding a tomb with the names Bob, Sandy and Rob son of Bob…in Dallas 2000 years from now and conclude they’ve found the tomb of the legendary author Robert James Luedke (okay, legendary is wishful thinking….LOL).

The filmmakers have even gone to the extreme steps of giving themselves credibility by making sure everyone knows the film has been in research and production for over three years, and hey…they even have an expert in ancient DNA analysis on board. For what? There are no living descendents of Mary Magdalene (or even accredited historical record of there being any), so what would DNA have to do with anything? And these remains/ossuaries have been known for 27 years…why haven’t any other more respected archeologists come to these same conclusions?

Three: There is nothing new about this discovery. A film was produced by the BBC about this same site and artifacts, containing similar conclusions, a decade ago…that also was basically dismissed as having no empirical proof or evidence at its basis. And in case you forgot, just 5 years ago the prestigious organization, Biblical Archeological Review Journal, claimed it had found an ossuary with that housed the bones of James, brother of Jesus…only to later admit it was a hoax.

So what does this all mean to you? That as a faithful Christian you educate yourself about this story, so you can speak as someone who is doing more than just pooh-poohing it without anything to stand behind your words. Yes…I know that Faith and God’s Word is all we (as Christians) require to know what is the truth is, but when dealing with people who are already skeptics and do not yet know or understand the power of Faith in their lives, it helps to be able to speak in their language, so to speak, (“to the Greeks, I became a Greek”).

I don’t think organizing boycotts of Discovery Channel, or James Cameron films achieves anything but provides the film with more free PR. As someone who has never been afraid of hearing both sides of any question, I recommend we all just watch this program on Sunday Evening, so we can speak from a position of knowledge, (about what it actually presents), rather than from a position ignorance and fear.

Let’s use this situation to create dialog and discussion, not run away from it!

Bob Luedke
Copyright, 2007, Robert James Luedke ...Author/Illustrator Eye Witness: Acts of the Spirit...and A Fictional Tale of Absolute Truth

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