The Lost Tomb of Jesus
||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Talpiot Tomb. (Discuss) Proposed since January 2013.|
|The Lost Tomb of Jesus|
|Directed by||Simcha Jacobovici|
|Country of origin||US/Canada|
Ric Esther Bienstock
|Distributor||Koch Vision, Discovery Channel, and Vision TV|
The Lost Tomb of Jesus is a documentary co-produced and first broadcast on the Discovery Channel and Vision TV in Canada on March 4, 2007, covering the discovery of the Talpiot Tomb. It was directed by Canadian documentary and film maker Simcha Jacobovici and produced by Felix Golubev and Ric Esther Bienstock, while James Cameron served as executive producer. (Jacobovici and Cameron had previously created The Exodus Decoded.) The film was released in conjunction with a book about the same subject, The Jesus Family Tomb, issued in late February 2007 and co-authored by Jacobovici and Charles R. Pellegrino. The documentary and book's claims are the subject of controversy within the archaeological and theological fields, as well as among linguistic and biblical scholars.
- 1 Content
- 2 DNA tests
- 3 New views of Jesus endorsed by the film
- 4 Reception
- 5 Archaeological Questions
- 6 Criticism of the documentary
- 7 DVD Editions
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Published References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
The film describes the finding of the Talpiot Tomb during a housing construction project, and posits that it was the family tomb of Jesus. The film states that ten ossuaries were found in the cave, of which six are the subject of the film. Further, it claims that one of the ten ossuaries went missing years ago, presumably stolen.
The excavation report for the predecessor of the Israel Antiquities Authority was written by Amos Kloner, now professor of archaeology at Israel's Bar-Ilan University. Kloner dissociated himself from the claims made in the documentary. He said it was incorrect to call it "never before reported information" and that he had published all the details in the journal Antiqot in 1996. He had not said it was the tomb of Jesus' family. "I think it is very unserious [sic] work. I do scholarly work…," Kloner said. "[This film] is all nonsense."
Six of the nine remaining ossuaries bear inscriptions. The Lost Tomb of Jesus posits that three of those carry the names of figures from the New Testament. The meanings of the epigraphs are disputed. The makers of the documentary claim that four leading epigraphers have corroborated their interpretation of the inscriptions. As translated in The Lost Tomb of Jesus and The Jesus Family Tomb, they read as follows:
- Yeshua bar Yehosef' -- Aramaic for "Jesus son of Joseph"
- Maria—written in Aramaic script, but a Latin form of the Hebrew name "Miriam" ("Mary")
- Yose—a diminutive of "Joseph" mentioned (in its Greek form ιωσης "Joses") as the name of one of Jesus's brothers in the New Testament (Mark 6:3)
- Yehuda bar Yeshua—possibly Aramaic for "Judah son of Jesus"
- Mariamene e Mara—according to the filmmakers this is Greek for "Mary known as the master." The similar name "Mariamne" is found in the Acts of Philip. Francois Bovon, professor of the history of religion at Harvard University has said, based on his study of that work, "I do not believe that Mariamne is the real name of Mary of Magdalene. Mariamne is, besides Maria or Mariam, a possible Greek equivalent, attested by Josephus, Origen, and the Acts of Philip, for the Semitic Myriam."
- Matya—Hebrew for 'Matthew'—not claimed to be Matthew the Evangelist but "possibly a husband of one of the women in an unmarked ossuary." The filmmakers claim that there is evidence that Mary mother of Jesus had many relatives named Matthew.
In The Jesus Family Tomb, Simcha Jacobovici claims the James Ossuary would have been a part of this tomb, but was removed by artifact dealers, and thus discovered separately (citation needed). The James Ossuary's authenticity has been called into question, and Oded Golan, one of its past owners, was charged with fraud in connection to the artifact, but exonerated on all counts of forgery.
Ben Witherington III, who worked with Jacobovici on a Discovery Channel documentary on the James Ossuary, denies this connection on two grounds:
- "The James Ossuary, according to the report of the antiquities dealer that Oded Golan got the ossuary from, said that the ossuary came from Silwan, not Talpiot, and had dirt in it that matched up with the soil in that particular spot in Jerusalem."
- "Furthermore, Eusebius reports that the tomb marker for James's burial was close to where James was martyred near the temple mount, indeed near the famous tombs in the Kidron Valley such as the so-called Tomb of Absalom. Talpiot is nowhere near this locale."
Another consideration was that the measurements of the James Ossuary did not match the measurements listed for the tenth ossuary, which is no longer stored with the rest of the collection. The James Ossuary was listed as being approximately 50 centimeters long by 30 centimeters wide on one end, and 25.5 centimeters on the other end (citation needed). The tenth ossuary in the Talpiot collection is listed as 60 centimeters long by 26 centimeters by 30 centimeters (citation needed). Furthermore, Amos Kloner has stated that the tenth ossuary had no inscription. Also, Joe Zias, former curator of the Rockefeller Museum who received and catalogued the ossuaries, refuted this claim on his personal site (citation needed).
New information has now shown that the discrepancy in the measurements had to do with measuring the base of the ossuary, which is indeed 50 centimeters, rather than the length . The top length of the James Ossuary, not the base, which is trapezoidal in shape, according to the latest re-measurement carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority, is 57.5 centimeters (citation needed). While compelling, this does not prove that the James Ossuary is the missing tenth Talpiot ossuary.
Analysis of mitochondrial DNA performed by Lakehead University on the remains found in the ossuary marked "Jesus son of Joseph" and the one marked "Mariamne" or "Mary" (who some claim to be Mary Magdalene) found that the two occupants were not blood relations on their mothers' side. Based on these tests, the makers of the documentary suggest that "Jesus" and "Mariamne" were probably married "because otherwise they would not have been buried together in a family tomb," but the remains were not dated using radiocarbon to further sustain this supposition, neither was any announced DNA testing done on the others ossuaries to see if any familial relation existed there. Additionally, scholars argue the DNA tests only prove that they did not have the same mother and they could easily have been father/daughter, cousins, half brother/sister, or any number of possibilities that do not include a matrilineage line.
New views of Jesus endorsed by the film
The film proposes new interpretations of the events regarding Jesus depicted in the New Testament, as seen by mainstream Christianity. The film's suggestions contradict the basis of the faith and may be considered blasphemous by Christians:
- Jesus remains found (see Death and resurrection of Jesus, Nicene Creed)
- Mary remains found (see Assumption of Mary, Dormition of the Theotokos)
- Jesus being married (see Clerical celibacy (Catholic Church))
- Jesus having a child (see Clerical celibacy (Catholic Church))
- Jesus having brothers and/or sisters (see the discussion about Jesus' siblings)
- Presumably Mary not being virgin (see the perpetual virginity of Mary)
- New tomb of Jesus (see Church of the Holy Sepulchre)
- Presumably Jesus body being moved (see Empty tomb)
- Ordaining women (see apostolic succession, Ordination, Ordination of women)
- Appeal to sources not included in the Biblical canon, of Gnostic origin, such as the Gospel of Mary Magdalene or Acts of Philip, considered by scholars to be written later (see Origin of the canonical Gospels, dating of canonical Gospels, New Testament apocrypha)
The claim that Jesus was married also undermines the theological metaphor of the Church being the "Bride of Christ" (found in the writings of the New Testament). Jimmy Akin, director of Apologetics and Evangelization at Catholic Answers, wrote: "This image would never have arisen if there was a Mrs. Jesus living right there in Jerusalem…. We know about [the wives of religion founders] because they were honored figures as wives of The Founder, and if Jesus had a wife then (a) we would know about it and (b) the whole Church-as-the-Bride-of-Christ metaphor would never have come into existence." As for a possible "son of Jesus," he noted: "We tend to know about even the daughters of religious founders. Muhammad's daughter Fatima comes to mind. It would be much harder to sneak a forgotten son by the eyes of history…. It's not just hard to sneak sons past because patriarchal cultures focus more on sons; it's also because of this: In traditional societies, the son is looked on as the father's natural successor."
The filmmakers denied that the claims made in the film contradicted key teachings of Christianity, such as the resurrection and ascension. The film's religious consultant James Tabor stated that the fact that Jesus' tomb was discovered does not put in doubt biblical accounts of his resurrection, which he said could have been spiritual. With regard to the ascension, the documentary's website suggests that while the tomb's discovery does not render impossible the notion of a spiritual ascension, it does contradict the belief that Jesus physically ascended to heaven.
Finding someone's remains in Jesus' tomb conforms to the Muslim belief that a substitute for him was crucified, while he was raised bodily to heaven. The Islamic view of his disappearance, as mentioned in the Qur'an, states: That they said (in boast), "We killed Al-Masih 'Isa the son of Maryam, the Messenger of Allah"; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them. The general Muslim interpretation of the verse is that God, to revenge from Judas' betrayal to Jesus (the fatherless prophet), made his face similar to that of Jesus, while Jesus ascended into heaven and is to return near the end of time and kill the anti-Christ. Accordingly, the discovered remains in his tomb would then actually belong to Judas, a Roman guard, or a volunteering disciple.
Following the March 4, 2007, airing of The Lost Tomb of Jesus on the Discovery Channel, American journalist Ted Koppel aired a program entitled The Lost Tomb of Jesus—A Critical Look, whose guests included the director Simcha Jacobovici, James Tabor, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte who served as a consultant and advisor on the documentary, Jonathan Reed, Professor of Religion at the University of LaVerne and co-author of Excavating Jesus Beneath the Stones, Behind the Text, and William Dever, an archaeologist with over 50 years experience in Middle Eastern archaeological digs.
Alan Cooperman, writer of The Washington Post article also states this: "Similar assessments came yesterday from two Israeli scholars, Amos Kloner, who originally excavated the tomb, and Joe Zias, former curator of archaeology at the Israeli Antiquities Authority. Kloner told the Jerusalem Post that the documentary is "nonsense." Zias described it in an e-mail to The Washington Post as a "hyped up film which is intellectually and scientifically dishonest."
Israeli archaeologist Amos Kloner, who was among the first to examine the tomb when it was first discovered, said the names marked on the coffins were very common at the time. "I don't accept the news that it was used by Jesus or his family," and "The documentary filmmakers are using it to sell their film." he told the BBC News website.
During the documentary The Lost Tomb of Jesus, various professionals had claimed:
- concerning the ossuaries marked Yeshua` ("Jesus") and the one believed to be that of Mary Magdalene: because "the DNA did not match, the forensic archaeologist concluded that they must be husband and wife";
- that testing showed that there was a match between the patina on the James and Yeshua` ossuaries and referred to the James ossuary as the "missing link" from the tomb of Yeshua` (Jesus);
- and that an ossuary that became missing from the tomb of Yeshua` had actually been the infamous James ossuary believed to contain the remains of the brother of Yeshua`.
During Ted Koppel's critique, The Lost Tomb of Jesus—a Critical Look, Koppel revealed he had denials from these three people that Simcha Jacobovici had misquoted in the documentary.
- Koppel had a written denial from the forensic archaeologist asserting that he had NOT concluded that the remains of Yeshua` and Miriamne showed they were husband and wife. In fact, he had logically stated, "you cannot genetically test for marriage."
- Koppel had a written denial from the Suffolk Crime Lab Director (Robert Genna) asserting that he had NOT stated the James ossuary patina matched that of the Yeshua` ossuary. He denied ever saying they were a match, and said he'd have to do much more comparison testing of other tombs before he could draw any conclusions.
- Koppel had a verbal denial from Professor Amos Kloner, the archaeologist who had supervised the initial 1980 dig of the tomb of Yeshua`, with whom he spoke on 3/4/07, asserting that the ossuary that later turned up missing from the alleged Tomb of 'Jesus' could not have been what is now known as the James ossuary. In fact he indicated there was evidence that it was not the same by saying that the now missing ossuary he had seen and photographed and catalogued in 1980 had been totally unmarked, whereas the James ossuary is marked with the name of James and a rosette.
The archaeologist William Dever summed it up when he stated on Koppel's critical analysis, The Lost Tomb of Jesus—A Critical Look, that Jacobovici's and Cameron's "conclusions were already drawn in the beginning" of the inquiry and that their "argument goes far beyond any reasonable interpretation."
The Three Skulls
Three skulls were found on the floor of the tomb in 1980 which the film makers assert was usual but others disagree: "This too was decidedly not typical. In ancient Jerusalem, the dead were placed inside tombs; in tombs, the dead were placed inside ossuaries. If anything was left behind, it was a lamp or a bottle of perfume, not skulls."
Criticism of the documentary
Early Christianity scholar R. Joseph Hoffmann, chair of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion, says the film alerts the public to the fact that there are no secure conclusions when it comes to the foundational history of a religious tradition. But he charges that the film "is all about bad assumptions," beginning with the assumption that the boxes contain Jesus of Nazareth and his family. From his view as a historian specializing in the social history of earliest Christianity, he found it "amazing how evidence falls into place when you begin with the conclusion—and a hammer."
When interviewed about the upcoming documentary, Amos Kloner, who oversaw the original archaeological dig of this tomb in 1980 said:
- "It makes a great story for a TV film, but it's completely impossible. It's nonsense."
Newsweek reports that the archaeologist who personally numbered the ossuaries dismissed any potential connection:
- "Simcha has no credibility whatsoever," says Joe Zias, who was the curator for anthropology and archeology at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem from 1972 to 1997 and personally numbered the Talpiot ossuaries. "He's pimping off the Bible … He got this guy Cameron, who made Titanic or something like that—what does this guy know about archeology? I am an archeologist, but if I were to write a book about brain surgery, you would say, 'Who is this guy?' People want signs and wonders. Projects like these make a mockery of the archeological profession."
The aforementioned Joe Zias has published in his own site a "viewers' guide" to the Talpiot Tomb documentary, in which he systematically rebuts the film's argumentation and gives much background information about the people involved in it.
Stephen Pfann, president of Jerusalem's University of the Holy Land and an expert in Semitic languages, who was interviewed in the documentary, also said the film's hypothesis holds little weight:
- "How possible is it?" Pfann said. "On a scale of one through 10—10 being completely possible—it's probably a one, maybe a one and a half."
Pfann also thinks the inscription read as "Jesus" has been misread and suggests that the name "Hanun" might be a more accurate rendering.
The Washington Post reports that William G. Dever (mentioned above as excavating ancient sites in Israel for 50 years) offered the following:
- "I've known about these ossuaries for many years and so have many other archaeologists, and none of us thought it was much of a story, because these are rather common Jewish names from that period. It's a publicity stunt, and it will make these guys very rich, and it will upset millions of innocent people because they don't know enough to separate fact from fiction."
- "So far as we can tell, the earliest followers of Jesus never called Jesus 'son of Joseph'. It was outsiders who mistakenly called him that."
- "The ancestral home of Joseph was Bethlehem, and his adult home was Nazareth. The family was still in Nazareth after he [Joseph] was apparently dead and gone. Why in the world would he be buried (alone at this point) in Jerusalem?"
- "One of the ossuaries has the name Jude son of Jesus. We have no historical evidence of such a son of Jesus, indeed we have no historical evidence he was ever married."
- "The Mary ossuaries (there are two) do not mention anyone from Migdal. It simply has the name Mary—and that's about the most common of all ancient Jewish female names."
- "We have names like Matthew on another ossuary, which don't match up with the list of [Jesus's] brothers' names."
The Archaeological Institute of America, self-described on their website as "North America's oldest and largest organization devoted to the world of archeology," has published online their own criticism of the "Jesus tomb" claim:
"The identification of the Talpiyot tomb as the tomb of Jesus and his family is based on a string of problematic and unsubstantiated claims [...] [It] contradicts the canonical Gospel accounts of the death and burial of Jesus and the earliest Christian traditions about Jesus. This claim is also inconsistent with all of the available information—historical and archaeological—about how Jews in the time of Jesus buried their dead, and specifically the evidence we have about poor, non-Judean families like that of Jesus. It is a sensationalistic claim without any scientific basis or support."
DNA and family evidence
Dr. Darrel L. Bock, a New Testament scholar and research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary points out some of the inconsistencies, including: "If Jesus' family came from Galilee, why would they have a family tomb in Jerusalem?"
Dr. Ben Witherington III points out an inconsistency related to the James Ossuary. He points out that the James Ossuary came from Silwan, not Talpiot. In addition, the James Ossuary had dirt on it that "matched up with the soil in that particular spot in Jerusalem." In his opinion, this is problematic, because "the ossuaries that came out of Talpiot came out of a rock cave from a different place, and without such soil in it." Therefore, he believes that it is difficult to believe that the one known family member of Jesus was buried separately and far away from Jesus' family.
In addition, during the trial of antiquities dealer Oded Golan there has been testimony from former FBI agent Gerald Richard that a photo of the James ossuary, showing it in Golan's home, was taken in the 1970s, based on tests done by the FBI photo lab. This would make it impossible for the James Ossuary to have been discovered with the rest of the Talpiot ossuaries in the 1980s.
With reference to the DNA tests, Witherington wrote in his blog: "[T]he most the DNA evidence can show is that several of these folks are interrelated…. We would need an independent control sample from some member of Jesus' family to confirm that these were members of Jesus' family. We do not have that at all." This quote clarifies the fact that the documentarians do not believe they have tested the DNA and have proven it to be Jesus. They simply used DNA testing to prove that the "Jesus son of Joseph" and the "Mariamne" in this tomb were not maternally related (i.e. that they did not have the same mother or grandmother). The film asserted that this DNA evidence suggests they were probably spouses. Critics contend they could have been paternally related (e.g. father and daughter, or grandfather and granddaughter), or related by someone else's marriage. Mariamne could just as well have been the wife of one of the other two males in the ossuary.
The documentary's director and its driving force, Simcha Jacobovici…, said there was enough mitochondrial DNA for a laboratory in Ontario to conclude that the bodies in the "Jesus" and "Mary Magdalene" ossuaries were not related on their mothers' side. From this, Mr. Jacobovici deduced that they were a couple, because otherwise they would not have been buried together in a family tomb. In an interview, Mr. Jacobovici was asked why the filmmakers did not conduct DNA testing on the other ossuaries to determine whether the one inscribed Judah, son of Jesus was genetically related to either the Jesus or Mary Magdalene boxes; or whether the Jesus remains were actually the offspring of Mary. "We're not scientists. At the end of the day we can't wait till every ossuary is tested for DNA," he said. "We took the story that far. At some point you have to say, I've done my job as a journalist."
In the televised debate following the airing of the film, Ted Koppel pressed Jacobovici on the same question and received the same response. According to the authors of one blog, "the response is manifestly disingenuous. The question, in fact, necessarily arises whether the team or one of its members decided not to proceed with any further DNA tests. Such tests may have revealed that none of the ossuaries are related—hence defeating the underlying presupposition that the crypt was in fact a family tomb, and thereby eliminating any valid basis at all for producing and showing the film."
William G. Dever said that some of the inscriptions on the ossuaries are unclear, but that all of the names are common. "I've known about these ossuaries for many years and so have many other archaeologists, and none of us thought it was much of a story because these are rather common Jewish names from that period. It's a publicity stunt, and it will make these guys very rich, and it will upset millions of innocent people because they don't know enough to separate fact from fiction."
Jodi Magness, an archaeologist at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, notes that at the time of Jesus, wealthy families buried their dead in tombs cut by hand from solid rock, putting the bones in niches in the walls and then, later, transferring them to ossuaries. "If Jesus' family had been wealthy enough to afford a rock-cut tomb, it would have been in Nazareth, not Jerusalem," Magness writes.
According to Magness, the names on the Talpiot ossuaries indicate that the tomb belonged to a family from Judea, the area around Jerusalem, where people were known by their first name and father's name. As Galileans, Jesus and his family members would have used their first name and hometown. "This whole case (for the tomb of Jesus) is flawed from beginning to end."
There is no information on analyzing relation of "Mary" and "Jesus son of Joseph" or any other tomb occupants. In Jewish tradition of the time, after one year, when bodies in rock-cut tombs were decomposed, bones were collected, cleaned and then finally placed in an ossuary. Due to this conduct there is no real assurance that what scientists have really examined are remnants of "Mariamne e Mara" and "Jesus son of Joseph."
Interpretation of the inscriptions
David Mavorah, a curator of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, points out that the names on the ossuaries were extremely common. "We know that Joseph, Jesus and Mariamne were all among the most common names of the period. To start with all these names being together in a single tomb and leap from there to say this is the tomb of Jesus is a little far-fetched, to put it politely." David Mavorah is an expert of Israeli Antiquity, and (presumably) not an expert of statistics. However, Dr. Andrey Feuerverger, the statistician cited by the makers of the documentary, has said that determination of the identity of those in the tomb was the purview of biblical historians, and not statisticians. For another interpretation of the statistics see the statistics section above.
Professor Amos Kloner, former Jerusalem district archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the first archaeologist to examine the tomb in 1980, told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that the name Jesus had been found 71 times in burial caves at around that time. Furthermore, he said that the inscription on the ossuary is not clear enough to ascertain, and although the idea fails to hold up by archaeological standards it makes for profitable television. Quote: "The new evidence is not serious, and I do not accept that it is connected to the family of Jesus…. They just want to get money for it."
Dr. Richard Bauckham, professor at the University of St Andrews, catalogued ossuary names from that region since 1980. He records that based on the catalogue, "Jesus" was the 6th most popular name of Jewish men, and "Mary/Mariamne" was the single most popular name of Jewish women at that time. Therefore, finding two ossuaries containing the names "Jesus" and "Mary/Mariamne" is not significant at all, and the chances of it being the ossuaries of Jesus and Mary Magdalene are "very small indeed."
Concerning the inscription attributed to Jesus son of Joseph, Steve Caruso, a professional Aramaic translator using a computer to visualize different interpretations, claims that although it is possible to read it as "Yeshua" that "overall it is a very strong possibility that this inscription is not 'Yeshua` bar Yehosef.'"
The name "Mary" and its derivatives may have been used by up to 25% of Jewish women at that time.
Lawrence E. Stager, the Dorot professor of archaeology of Israel at Harvard, said the documentary was "exploiting the whole trend that caught on with The Da Vinci Code. One of the problems is there are so many biblically illiterate people around the world that they don't know what is real judicious assessment and what is what some of us in the field call 'fantastic archaeology.'"
Jodi Magness criticized the decision of the documentary makers to make their claims at a news conference rather than in a peer-reviewed scientific article. By going directly to the media, she said, the filmmakers "have set it up as if it's a legitimate academic debate, when the vast majority of scholars who specialize in archeology of this period have flatly rejected this."
Joe Zias, former curator of archeology at the Israeli Antiquities Authority, described it in an e-mail to The Washington Post as a "hyped-up film which is intellectually and scientifically dishonest." He also wrote an extended Viewers Guide to Understanding the Talpiot Tomb documentary, published on his web site.
- As I was interviewed for the Discovery Channel's program The Lost Tomb of Jesus, I would like to express my opinion here.
- First, I have now seen the program and am not convinced of its main thesis. When I was questioned by Simcha Jacobovici and his team the questions were directed toward the Acts of Philip and the role of Mariamne in this text. I was not informed of the whole program and the orientation of the script.
- Second, having watched the film, in listening to it, I hear two voices, a kind of double discourse. On one hand there is the wish to open a scholarly discussion; on the other there is the wish to push a personal agenda. I must say that the reconstructions of Jesus' marriage with Mary Magdalene and the birth of a child belong for me to science fiction.
- Third, to be more credible, the program should deal with the very ancient tradition of the Holy Sepulcher, since the emperor Constantine in the fourth century C.E. built this monument on the spot at which the emperor Hadrian in the second century C.E. erected the forum of Aelia Capitolina and built on it a temple to Aphrodite at the place where Jesus' tomb was venerated.
- Fourth, I do not believe that Mariamne is the real name of Mary of Magdalene. Mariamne is, besides Maria or Mariam, a possible Greek equivalent, attested by Josephus, Origen, and the Acts of Philip, for the Semitic Myriam.
- Fifth, the Mariamne of the Acts of Philip is part of the apostolic team with Philip and Bartholomew; she teaches and baptizes. In the beginning, her faith is stronger than Philip's faith. This portrayal of Mariamne fits very well with the portrayal of Mary of Magdala in the Manichean Psalms, the Gospel of Mary, and Pistis Sophia. My interest is not historical, but on the level of literary traditions. I have suggested this identification in 1984 already in an article of New Testament Studies.
- François Bovon, Harvard Divinity School
Symposium and media coverage
Scholars who had been present at the symposium then accused Jacobovici and Cameron of misleading the media in claiming the symposium reopened their theory as viable. Several scholars, including all the archaeologists and epigraphers, who delivered papers at the symposium issued an open letter of complaint claiming misrepresentation, saying that Jacobovici and Cameron's claims of support from the symposium are "nothing further from the truth".
On March 15, 2007, Discovery Channel released a DVD of the documentary with a listed running time of "2 hours."
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- Pilkington, Ed; McCarthy, Rory (2007-02-27). "Is this really the last resting place of Jesus, Mary Magdalene—and their son?". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-02-28.
- "Clergy, scholars assail tomb of Jesus film". The Courier-Journal. 2007-02-27. Retrieved 2007-02-27.[dead link]
- "Hollywood Hype: The Oscars and Jesus' Family Tomb, What Do They Share? (expanded version)". 2007-02-26. Retrieved 2007-02-28.
- "The Lost Tomb of Jesus: A Response to the Discovery-Channel Documentary Directed by James Cameron"
- "Society of Biblical Literature".
- "Jesus 'Tomb' Controversy Reopened". Time. 2008-01-16. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
- "Video". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
- Duke University Religion Department: The Talpiot Tomb Controversy Revisited
- Meyers, Eric M. (2006). "The Jesus tomb controversy: an overview". Near Eastern Archaeology 69 (3/4): 116–118..
- Official Discovery Channel site
- The Lost Tomb of Jesus site
- Official documentary site
- "Israel May Open 'Jesus Tomb' to Public", Jerusalem Post, February 27, 2007.
- "Is Discovery Burying 'Lost Tomb'?", Television Week, March 8, 2007.
- Discussion by Ben Witherington and James Tabor
- Biblical Archaeologists Reject Discovery Channel Show's Claims by Ben Witherington
- Family Tomb of Jesus story (Theopedia.com - conservative Christian viewpoint with MP3 resources)
- Has the Tomb of Jesus Been Discovered? by Jodi Magness of the Archaeological Institute of America.
- Special Report: Has James Cameron Found Jesus's Tomb or Is It Just a Statistical Error?, Scientific American
- The Lost Tomb of Jesus: A Response to the Discovery-Channel Documentary, critical commentary by Dr Gary Habermas.
- The Jesus Tomb: Did they Find it? by Dr. Bobby Harrington
- The Alleged Jesus Family Tomb by New Testament Scholar Richard Bauckham
- Tomb of Jesus Nonsense by Jimmy Akin
- Overview of evidence against the Jesus Tomb Documentary by Chase A. Thompson
- Review of the Jesus Family Tomb by Kent P. Jackson
- National Review Online: "The Fruit of Thy Tomb"
- The Case for the Real Jesus - Lee Strobel A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ
- Jesus Dynasty Blog by James Tabor (religious consultant of the film)