The Times of India on February 26th, 2007 reported an article with the title “Docu Claims Jesus tomb found”. The article (in print and not in the web) itself reports that archeologist who oversaw the excavation has refuted the conclusion of the filmmaker by saying: (a) The names found in the tomb were common in the first century therefore it cannot be concluded that it was Jesus’s family tomb (b) Jesus family could not afford such a luxurious tomb as they were poor. Here are our initial few questions to the documentary filmmaker. By Liny J.
After we published the article refuting the titanic claims, more evidences have unearthed to discard the spurious theory. Here are a few:
- The inscription on the caskets is not clear whether it is Jesus or not. It is more likely to be Hanun.
- If the body was of the Lord Jesus, it should have been Jesus of Nazareth and not Jesus of Jerusalem.
- There are at least two other tombs which says Jesus, the son of Joseph. Why not the other two?
We would like to begin the discussion by looking at the alleged tomb.The Talpiot Tomb and Inscriptions On March 28, 1980, a construction crew developing an apartment complex in Talpiot, Jerusalem, uncovered a tomb, which archaeologists from the Israeli Antiquities Authority excavated shortly thereafter. Archaeologist Shimon Gibson surveyed the site and drew a layout plan. Scholar L.Y. Rahmani later published "A Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries" that described 10 ossuaries, or limestone bone boxes, found in the tomb. Scholars know that from 30 B.C. to 70 A.D., many people in Jerusalem would first wrap bodies in shrouds after death. The bodies were then placed in carved rock tombs, where they decomposed for a year before the bones were placed in an ossuary. Five of the 10 discovered boxes in the Talpiot tomb were inscribed with names believed to be associated with key figures in the New Testament: Jesus, Mary, Matthew, Joseph and Mary Magdalene. A sixth inscription, written in Aramaic, translates to "Judah Son of Jesus." "Such tombs are very typical for that region," Aaron Brody, associate professor of Bible and archaeology at the Pacific School of Religion and director of California's Bade Museum told Discovery News. DNA Test While DNA test can establish the relation between the bones of each person, it cannot establish the identity of the person. So we dismiss the claim that DNA test established that it was Jesus with the ridicule it deserves. Key Pieces of Information for Our Discussion.
- There is an alleged tomb. However we also note that there is a ‘rival’ empty tomb existing which also claims to be of Jesus. Initially, one needs to establish which tomb is the right tomb.
- Key information in the inscription is the "Judah Son of Jesus." If this tomb was of Jesus Christ, the Jesus should have been married and had a son. If Jesus did not marry, and had no children (one follows the other), this tomb must be of a different Jesus as archeologist Professor Amos Kloner who oversaw the excavation of this tomb had reported (yes, it is archeologist Vs. Film makers).
Now, we will look at the critical information and see whether the tomb is of Jesus Christ or not.
Which Tomb is the Right Tomb?
Our argument is: The empty tomb is the right tomb.
Reason 1: First century Christians proclaimed that Jesus was raised and the empty tomb was one of the evidence.
Reason 2: First century Christians reviled and wrote most of the tim
e against and sometimes for the Christians. But none of them charged them that tomb was wrong. They were the ones who had an unmistaken understanding of the tomb of Jesus than twentieth non Christians. So the empty tomb must have been the right tomb.
Reason 3: First century Christians were killed for what they proclaimed. If they were liars why would they do for a lie? Reason 1: The Early Christians Proclaimed that Jesus is Risen The early first century Church had declared the Jesus was raised from the dead. They not only declared but they died for it. The New Testament which has superior manuscripts evidence records this. You can read the manuscript evidence for the New Testament here Manuscript evidence for superior New Testament reliability (http://www.carm.org/evidence/textualevidence.htm)
A few questions based on this fact:
1) Why were the first century Christians ready to be burned alive, thrown to animals and crucified, if they resurrection was false.
2) Why would anyone die for a lie when they know it is a lie? People would die for a lie if they think it is truth. But knowingly it is highly improbable that any would die for a lie. First century Christians claimed that they saw the resurrected Christ and they died for it.
3) Aso is the fact that Jesus was crucified by the Jews and Romans and the tomb was zealed by Jews. They would have never allowed the tomb to be mistaken.
Reason 2: None of the Non Christians Charged With A False Tomb The non Christians who opposed Christians accused Christians of stealing the body though this was also highly improbable. In fact, there was even a verdict against stealing bodies by the Roman Empire: Here is it:
Emperor Tiberitus (14-37) or Claudius (41-54) issued an edict against grave robbing. An inscription of it was found in Nazareth. It reads:
"Ordinances of Caesar, it is my pleasure that graves and tombs remain undisturbed in perpetuity for those who have made them for the cult of their ancestors or children or members of their house. If however any man lay information that another has either demolished them, or has in any other way extracted the buried, or has maliciously transferred them to other places in order to wrong them, or has displaced the sealing of other stones, against such one I order that a trial be instituted, as in respect of the gods, so in regard to the cult of mortals. For it shall be much more obligatory to honor the buried. Let it be absolutely forbidden for anyone to disturb them, in case of contravention I desire that the offender be sentenced to capital punishment on charge of violation of sepuiture." However, they did not accuse Christians of finding a wrong tomb. Here are some of the writings.
Leland M. Haines compiled the early non-Christian witnesses to Jesus Christ. Here is it:
Josephus (A.D. 37-100), the Jewish historian: "At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. . . . Pilate condemned Him to be condemned and to die. And those who had become His disciples did not abandon His discipleship. They reported that He had appeared to them three days after His crucifixion and that He was alive; accordingly, He was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders" (Antiquities, xviii.ch. 3, subtopic 3, Arabic text). "Now, there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works–a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew ever to him both many of the Jews, and many Gentiles. He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestions of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to be condemned and to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not foesake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and the ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day" (Antiquities, xviii.ch. 3, subtopic 3, Greek text).
Cornelius Tacitus (A.D. 55?-after 117), the Roman Historian, wrote of Nero's attempt to relieve himself of the guilt of burning Rome: "Hence to suppress the rum
or, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also" (Annals XV.44).
Lucian (second century), Greek Satirist, alludes to Christ in these words: "The man who was crucified in Palestine because he introduced this new cult into the world. . . . Furthermore, their first lawgiver persuaded them that they were all brothers one of another after they have transgressed once for all by denying the Greek gods and by worshipping that crucified sophist himself and living under his laws" (On the Death of Peregrine).
Suetonius (c. A.D. 120), a Roman Historian and court official under Hadrian made two references to Christ. In the Life of Claudius (25.4) he wrote "As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chestus [another spelling of Christus or Christ], he [Claudius] expelled them from Rome."In the Lives of the Caesars (26.2) he wrote:"Punishment by Nero was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition."
Pliny the Younger (c. A.D. 112), when writing to the emperor about his achievements as governor of Bithynia, wrote how he had killed multitudes of Christian men, women, and children. He wrote: "All who denied that they were or had been Christians I consider should be discharged, because they called upon the gods at my dictation and did reverence, with incense and wine, your [the emperor's] image . . . they curse Christ, which a genuine Christian cannot be induced to do" (Epistles, X.96).He also wrote in the same letter: "[Christians} were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verse of a hymn to Christ as to a god, and bound themselves to a solemn oath, not to do any wicked deeds, and never to deny a truth when they should be called upon to deliver it up."
Thallus (c. A.D. 52) was a Samaritan-born historian. Julius Africanus (c. A.D. 221) wrote: "Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away this darkness [at the time of the crucifixion] as an eclipse of the sun-unreasonably, as it seems to me."This was unreasonable, of course, because a solar eclipse could not take place at the time of the full moon, and it was the time of the paschal full moon when Christ died. Mara Bar Serapion (after A.D. 73) wrote a letter that now resides in the British Museum.
According to F. F. Bruce it was written by a father to his son in prison. In the letter he compares the deaths of Socrates, Pythagoras, and Jesus: "What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King? It was just after that that their kingdom was abolished. . . . But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the teaching of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise King die for good; he lived on in the teaching which he had given" (Bruce, op. cit., p.14).
The Jewish Talmud was completed by A.D. 500. The Babylonian Talmud reference to Jesus: "On the eve of Passover they hanged Yeshu (of Nazareth) and them herald went before him for forty days saying (Yeshu of Nazareth) is going to be stoned in that he hath practiced sorcery and beguiled and led astray Israel. Let everyone knowing aught in his defense come and plead for him. But they found naught in his defense and hanged him on the eve of Passover" (Sanhedrin 43a, "Eve of Passover").
Was Jesus Married?
Mark D Roberts, a Harvard University scholar evaluates this in his article “Was Jesus Married?” After looking at the New Testament, he examines the early heretical writings which Dan Brown and others have depended. We highly recommend reading his entire Jesus series in www.markdroberts.com . However, we are giving the relevant excerpts for the present discussion.
Mary Magdalene in the Gospel of Thomas Since I've mentioned the Gospel of Thomas, and since it's probably the earliest and best known of the non-canonical gospels, let's begin by seeing how it portrays Mary Magdalene. Mary plays a tiny role in the Gospel of Thomas, asking Jesus a question about the disciples: "Whom are your disciples like?" (section 21, trans. Thomas O. Lambdin). This is the only place she speaks. She is mentioned at the end of this gospel in a most curious passage, which reads: Simon Peter said to them, "Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of Life." Jesus said, "I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven." (section 114) One would be hard pressed to see in this passage much hope for women, let alone for the thesis that Jesus and Mary were married. This passage, in its own strange way, does affirm what we already know from the canonical gospels: that Mary was included among Jesus' followers and that Jesus himself intentionally included women. Of course in the biblical record he valued them as women, not as beings that had eternal value if they became male. Maleness, in this text, should not be understood literally, but as a symbol of one's spiritual or divine nature. So, one who is looking for evidence of a secret marriage between Jesus and Mary will be disappointed by the earliest of the non-canonical gospels. The Gospel of Thomas, in its peculiar way, simple underscores what we know of Mary from the biblical gospels.
Mary Magdalene in The Gospel of PeterThe Gospel of Peter, written in the second century A.D., focuses only on the last hours in the life of Jesus. It is noteworthy for its view that Jesus felt no pain when crucified (section 10) and for its exoneration of Pontius Pilate for the death of Jesus (sections 1, 45-46). Mary Magdalene appears only on Easter morning, when she and her women friends come to the tomb of Jesus to weep for him. She is described as "a female disciple [Greek mathetria ] of the Lord" (section 50,). At the tomb, Mary and her friends see an angel who announces the resurrection of Jesus, and they run away frightened (section 56-57). In the Gospel of Peter we find no evidence whatsoever for a marriage between Mary and Jesus. But, once again, Mary is portrayed as a female disciple of Jesus.
Mary Magdalene in The Dialogue of the Savior The Dialogue of the Savior, also written in the second century A.D., is a dialogue between the Savior (never called Jesus or Christ) and some of his disciples, including Mary. The disciples ask questions about esoteric religious things, and Jesus gives equally esoteric answers. Although Mary is one of the frequent interrogators of the Savior, at one point she makes an observation. The text explains, "This word she spoke as a woman who knew the All" (Section 139, trans. Harold Attridge). In other words, Mary has special knowledge of spiritual reality. There is no hint in The Dialogue of the Savior of a marriage between Jesus and Mary (or the Savior and Mary). She is seen, once again, as central among the disciples of the Savior, and as a person with special insight.
Mary Magdalene in The Sophia of Jesus ChristThe Sophia of Jesus Christ is a post-resurrection dialogue between the risen Christ and some of his followers, including Mary. It may have been written as early as the middle of the second century A.D. Twice in this gospel Mary asks questions of Christ, such as "Holy Lord, where did your disciples come from, and where are they going, and (what) should they do here?" (section 114, trans. Douglas M. Parrott). Mary is not singled out further, nor is there a suggestion of a marriage to Jesus.
Mary Magdalene in The Pistis SophiaThe Pistis Sophia is a Gnostic gospel written sometime during the third century A.D. It is a revelation of Christ in which Mary plays a prominent role, asking the majority of the questions about all measure of esoteric matters. Mary is praised in The Pistis Sophia as one "whose heart is more directed to the Kingdom of Heaven than all [her] brothers" (Chapter 17, trans. Carl Schmidt and Violet MacDermott). Jesus says that she is "blessed beyond all women upon the earth, because [she shall be] the pleroma of all Pleromas and the completion of all completions" (section 19). In other words, Mary will have the fullness of knowledge and therefore spiritual life within her. So impressed is Jesus with Mary's spiritual excellence that he promises not to conceal anything from her, but to reveal everything to her "with certainty and openly" (section 25). She is the blessed one who will "inherit the whole Kingdom of the Light" (section 61). From The Pistis Sophia we see the growing interest in Mary among Gnostic Christians, who valued knowledge ( gnosis in Greek) above all. She has come to be regarded as a source of hidden revelation because of her intimate relationship with Jesus. Nothing in this gospel suggests a marriage between them, however.
y Magdalene in The Gospel of MaryThe Gospel of Mary, written in the second century, goes even further than The Pistis Sophia in portraying Mary as a source of secret revelation because of her close relationship to the Savior. At one point Peter asks, "Sister, We know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of women. Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember–which you know but we do not nor have we heard them" (section 10, trans. George W. MacRae and R. McL. Wilson). So Mary reveals what the Lord made known to her in a vision, the content of which seems like mumbo-jumbo to anyone other than a second-century Gnostic. The Gospel of Mary reports that several of the disciples were none too impressed by Mary's purported insights into heavenly things. Andrew responded to her revelation by saying "I at least do not believe that the Savior said this. For certainly these teachings are strange ideas" (section 17). Then Peter asked, "Did he really speak privately with a woman and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did he prefer her to us?" But Levi speaks up for Mary, "Peter, you have always been hot-tempered. Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries. But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well. That is why he loved her more than us" (section 18). Ah, at last, here's fuel for the fire of a secret marriage between Mary and Jesus. She is the recipient of his secret revelations and private speeches. The Savior, who is not called Jesus in The Gospel of Mary, even preferred Mary to the other disciples, loving her more than them. Mary's relationship with Jesus has clearly entered a new dimension we have not seen before. But there is nothing here to suggest that Jesus and Mary were married. Jesus' love for Mary leads him to reveal special truth to her, not to take her as his wife. Nothing in The Gospel of Mary points to a sexual or spousal relationship between Jesus and Mary.
Mary Magdalene in The Gospel of Philip Finally we come to The Gospel of Philip, the last of the extra-biblical gospels to mention Mary Magdalene, and the one that excites proponents of her marriage to Jesus more than any other ancient document. The Gospel of Philip is one of the latest of the non-canonical gospels, written well into the third-century. It is not a gospel in any ordinary sense, but rather a collection of theological observations written from a Gnostic point of view. Some but not all of these observations mention Jesus. Two passages refer to Mary Magdalene, who plays a tiny role in this gospel. The first of these passages reads, "There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary his mother and her sister and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion" (section 59). Much has been insinuated about the word companion, which, in the Greek original is koinonos. But, contrary to the wishful thinking of some, this word doesn't mean spouse or sexual consort. It means "partner", and is used several times in the New Testament with this ordinary meaning (for example, when Paul refers to himself as Philemon's koinonos in the Philemon 1:17).
The second passage in The Gospel of Philip that concerns Mary is the most suggestive: "And the companion of the Savior is Mary Magdalene. But Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, 'Why do you love her more than all of us?' The Savior answered and said to them, 'Why do I not love you like her?' When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. Then the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness" (sections 63-63).
Even if we suppose that this passage, which appears in no other document, and which was written two centuries after the biblical gospels, conveys historically accurate information, the passage itself seems to disprove Jesus' marriage to Mary. Surely if Jesus had been married to Mary then his special affection for her wouldn't have been an offense. And surely Jesus could have satisfied the disciples' question by explaining that Mary was his wife. But he doesn't do this. Instead he explains his special affection for Mary by pointing to her ability to see the light, that is, to have knowledge. Nothing in this passage suggests that Jesus and Mary were married, even if we read it literally. Moreover, given what is said elsewhere in The Gospel of Philip about kissing (sections 58-59), it's possible that this passage isn't even meant to be taken literally. The text may very use the metaphor of kissing to say that Jesus revealed truth to Mary. If this is true, the The Gospel of Philip is consistent with what we have seen elsewhere in the Gnostic gospels. That's it.
That's the best non-canonical evidence for the marriage of Jesus and Mary: a passage which, even if taken at face value as a historically accurate account, which one would be silly to do, seems to contradict the hypothetical marriage. The only way to find this marriage in the non-canonical gospels is to interject it there yourself. The texts simply do not support this theory that Jesus and Mary were married.
Conclusion: Based on these reasons, we conclude that the empty tomb is the right tomb and the alleged tomb is a money making business.