3/4/07

The Jesus Crypt-umentary: Dead before air time

I do have to agree with the Playful.com blogger, Iuliu Blaga, in the post, "DNA and Statistics in 'Tomb of Jesus' Effectively Debunked":

James Cameron's and Simcha Jacobovich's 'The Lost Tomb of Jesus,' has to be the first documentary to be effectively debunked before even airing. Their filmmaking work did not enrage as much Christians, used for their religion to be blasphemized, as it did enrage scholars, who took this con scheme quite personally.

Why? Because their dedication and expertise was derided by distorting their work and coming up with conclusions which not only defy research but also logic and reason. And as such, it took just days to obliterate virtually all the fantastic claims made by Cameron, Jacobovich and Tabor. And it wasn't that hard at all.

Moreover, some researchers who worked for the hoaxumentary have spoken out against the delusional conclusions which the filmmakers try to pull out of their hard work.
The viewers who do tune in no doubt will be curious to see how well the "stars" keep their straight faces during the show.

1 comment:

Charles Gadda said...

After all the hubbub of the past week, it should be pretty clear that the "Lost Tomb of Jesus" film is essentially a hoax.

To begin with, the name "Jesus" is not legible on the so-called "Jesus son of Joseph" ossuary, as any serious semitics scholar will tell you if you show him the tracing. This is why the original transcriber (see the Israeli Catalogue of Ossuaries) put a question-mark after, and two dots over, the "Jesus" part of the name, thus indicating in standard fashion that he was making a conjecture (in this case one that is obviously remote). The film's producer, however, has carefully omitted this fundamental point from his statements to the press, instead asserting that the reading had been "conclusively confirmed" by unnamed experts. For details, see http://jesus-illegible.blogspot.com/

So I started to poke around to try and understand the mechanics of this hoax.

What I found, somewhat astonishingly, is that James Tabor -- the religion professor who is promoting the Cameron film -- is the same character at the center of the recent claim that the finding of undatable feces near the site of Khirbet Qumran supports the -- now widely disputed -- thesis that a sect of Essenes lived there in antiquity and authored the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Tabor is also involved in the current exhibits of the Dead Sea Scrolls traveling around the country, which have been criticized as presenting a biased and misleading picture of the current state of Scrolls scholarship. For details, see http://jesus-crypt-fraud.blogspot.com/ and the other postings published by the authors of that blog.

For Tabor's "Essene latrine" efforts (also based in part on a misleading use of DNA evidence), see K. Galor and J. Zangenberg at http://www.forward.com/articles/led-astray-by-a-dead-sea-latrine/, or the most recent article by N. Golb on the Oriental Institute website, http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/projects/scr/).

Professor Jim Davila’s blog (March 6, 2007) http://paleojudaica.blogspot.com/ quotes Tabor as asserting to him in an email: "I have never excavated even one tomb, and I am not even an archaeologist and have never claimed to be such."

Yet Tabor himself, in an article published in the Charlotte Observer, excerpted on the same paleojudaica blog a year ago (February 13, 2006), wrote: "As an archaeologist, I have long observed and experienced the thrill that ancient discoveries cause in all of us. The look on the faces of my students as we uncover ancient ruins from the time of Jesus, or explore one of the caves where the scrolls were found, is unmistakable."

Tabor's Ph.D. was awarded to him by the University of Chicago’s Department of New Testament and Christian Literature (which is housed in that institution’s Divinity School building). The title of his dissertation was "Things Unutterable: Paul’s Ascent to Paradise". He clearly has no training as an archaeologist, historian, or semitics scholar, and we will no doubt be left to wonder at the motivations that led him to become involved in these phony scams.