How not to debunk a religion

Have you heard of the latest attempt to destroy Christianity? Apparently some people have decided to make a big deal over an ossuary that supposedly held the remains of Jesus and His family. Books have now come out, and James Cameron of Titanic and Terminator fame has a new documentary coming out talking about how it once held the body of Jesus of Nazareth.

Just how ridiculous is this? Pretty darn. Find out why by clicking for more!

In case you don’t know what an ossuary is, here’s a rundown. You know how the Bible says how, following His crucifixion death, Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb outside Jerusalem. Typically, these tombs were used by a whole family, as seen with the Capulet tomb from Romeo and Juliet. When space got constricted, a body that’d been there a certain time would be placed inside a box, the ossuary, which would then be left in the tomb. It was basically a combined ancient urn meets Space bag meets coffin.

So the deal here is that they’ve found a tomb with ten ossuary boxes, one of which is marked with the following: “Jesus, son of Joseph; Maria; Mariamene; Matthew; Judas, son of Jesus; and Jose, a diminutive of Joseph.” So the claims are that it’s the Jesus of the New Testament, which inconveniently claims that He never died, and that He married Mary Magdalene and had at least one child by her.

There’s so much screwed up about this that it’s neither funny nor seriously debateable. I’ll relate what I’ve read of it.

First, the names are so common as to be totally unremarkable. It’d be like “Jim, son of John and Jane, husband of Sue of Alabama, father of Jack” etc. etc. etc. But even at that, it’s not perfectly clear that those are even the names on the box anyway…the one said to be Jesus (“Yeshua”) could be read as “Hanun”, and the one supposed to be Mary Magdelene (“Mariamene”) is possibly a Greek attempt at “Miriam”. See point seven for more on this particular name.

Second, there are three different languages used on the box, making it very probable that it was a forgery. Several years ago, there was a find similar to this, but the ossuary of interest was labeled “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”. It was determined that, while it could have been that of the early church leader, the fact that “brother of Jesus” was added many, many years after the reburial and in Greek renders it not only suspect but most likely false. Given Catholic predisposition to the veneration of relics, it was deemed a Dark Age money grab. This is probably yet another example of that.

Third, families were buried in their hometowns–Jesus was from Nazareth, not Jerusalem–and Jews didn’t generally break with tradition in this sort of thing. When you add the fact that other supposed Jesus burial sites have been found, one of which was near a town called Safed, this hardly carries any weight behind it.

Fourth, ossuaries housed the remains of several generations of a family and not just immediate ones, so it’s no shock that some of them were not genetically close. How genetically like are your siblings and their spouses? Chances are you’re not any more alike than your sibs…at least, I hope not, as that’d pretty much make you a family of perverts par excellence.

Fifth, tombs such as those the ossuary was found in are expensive…if you believe the best (rather, only) record of His life (that being the Bible), Jesus and His family, carpenters by trade, were as poor as the proverbial church mouse. That takes us to the next point.

Sixth, the gospel records are used in an attempt to identify the remains, so it stands to reason that its account of His post-death status shouldn’t be discounted out of sheer intellectual honesty. Otherwise, you shouldn’t use it at all. But that’d render the find unimportant, unworthy of anyone’s attention. You just can’t trust the Bible with the people it portrays yet disavow what it says about their lives.

Seventh, the basis for ascribing remains to Mary Magdelene depends on a rendering from the Acts of Philip, a highly suspect text at best, which uses “Mariamene” as her name. There’s a reason very few people are aware of this document, as it’s considered by all but the most asinine scholars to be irrelevant and purely Christian entertainment in the days it was written.

Eighth, if Jesus and Mary were scrolling little Judas down the streets of Jerusalem as this would indicate, why don’t historical records show it being used to dispel the sect of the Way back when it was first starting? All you’d have to say to these guys would be, “no, Jesus isn’t dead, see, he’s in his shop teaching his boy to use a hammer and nails.” Arguments of silence may be cheap, but so are money stunts like this.

Ninth (continuing the previous point), if Jesus’ body was around to stick in a box later on, why didn’t the Jewish/Roman authorities produce it to drive the stake into early Christianity and be rid of it forever?

Tenth, archaeologists already debunked this claim over ten years ago when it first aired on the BBC.

So, in a nutshell, I think James Cameron wants his own Da Vinci Code cash-in but needs to leave the amateur archaeology to Harrison Ford.

Thanks to Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry for the cogent info.

Scott

This on-again, off-again, would-be commentator proves that attitudes are contagious, and that some can even kill. To this end, every written word is weighed carefully to ensure the precise delivery of the author's intent while inflicting blunt force trauma to the psyche of the reader.

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