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The Lost Tomb of Poor Scholarship

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I watched “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” from beginning to tortuous end. The first obvious conclusion any critical thinking viewer comes away with is that the tomb that held the ossuaries was not hidden away to conceal anything. The entrance was constructed in such a way that it invited visitors. If the tomb actually held the bones of Jesus, then why did His immediate disciples preach in His name and die for what was an obvious lie that any one could prove by going to the well marked tomb and producing the bones of Jesus? It makes no sense.

The Romans and Jews could have easily buried the Christian “cult” by simply taking the local media to the Jesus burial tomb and displaying the ossuary that had the inscription “Jesus Bar Joseph” (Jesus, Son of Joseph) inscribed on the limestone box. This was no hidden away crypt. If Luke could investigate everything from the beginning (Luke 1:1–4), then certainly the Christian critics could have done the same. End of story. Instead, the creative producers of “The Lost tomb of Jesus” string together a series of unproven assumptions based on disputed evidentiary findings to conclude that they have found the tomb of Jesus and His burial box.

There was one piece of evidence put forth at the beginning of the show that I had questioned. Here’s what I wrote in my notebook when the inscription on the Jesus ossuary was being discussed: “Difficult to read (looks like graffiti). The inscription was not shown clearly. Why are the names on the other ossuaries easy to read while the inscription on the ‘Jesus ossuary’ looks like first-century scribbling? And what is the significance of the large ‘X’?”

When I wrote my first article on “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” and discussed the topic on my radio show, I was reserving more critical judgment because I had not seen clear images of the inscriptions. Did they really say what was being claimed? If there was no Jesus ossuary, then this so-called lost tomb was nothing more than an archeological curiosity. In the discussion period that followed the two-hour special, I was frustrated that the question I was raising in my own mind had never come up.

Sure enough, after doing some digging on the internet, I came across an article that showed the inscription on the supposed Jesus’ ossuary. I wondered why the other ossuary inscriptions—most written in Hebrew and some in Greek—were clearly inscribed while the name of the central figure of the archeological find—Jesus—was faded and nearly unreadable. You don’t have to be able to read Hebrew to notice how carelessly the markings have been made, especially when compared to the inscriptions on the other ossuaries.

Amos Kloner, the Jerusalem District archeologist who officially oversaw the work at the tomb in 1980 when the tomb was first discovered and has published detailed findings on its contents, offers the following evaluation: “In contrast to the other ossuaries in this tomb, the incisions are here superficial and cursorily carved.”[1]

Hopefully a program like this will make Christians better critical thinkers.

Footnote:
[1]
http://www.telecomtally.com/blog/2007/02/against_my_bett.html
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