He claims to have found the tomb of Jesus. He also claims that Jesus was married to Mary Magdelene and had a child with her. Hmmm. This sounds familiar. Oh, right. The DaVinci Code. Cameron’s a little late to this party.
A Hollywood director will today unveil three coffins he claims were those of Jesus, his mother Mary and his ‘wife’ Mary Magdalene.
James Cameron says he has proof that Jesus married Mary and that she bore him a son, Judah, who was buried alongside them.
The Lost Tomb of Jesus, made for the Discovery Channel, will be shown in the U.S. this week and later in Britain by Channel 4.
Today, Cameron is holding a press conference on what he describes as ‘one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time’.
Crucially, he is not denying the resurrection – as there were no bones in the caskets.
But the £2million film still strikes at the foundation of Christianity in the same manner as the novel The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown, in claiming that Jesus married and had a family.
His theory, which has already met with derision from experts, centres on a tomb found in the Talpiot suburb in 1980. Inside, archaeologists found ten coffins, or caskets for bones, and three skulls.
Six had names etched into them, which were translated as Jesus son of Joseph, Judah son of Jesus, Maria, Mariamne (thought to be Mary Magdalene’s real name), Joseph and Matthew.
At the time the inscriptions provoked little interest. The Israeli Antiquities Authority said the names were common at the time.
A connection to the holy family was not made until 15 years later, when a film crew stumbled across the collection in a storeroom.
Though the bones had long since been reburied elsewhere, as was the custom, tiny traces of DNA left in the caskets were tested.
The results for the coffins labelled Jesus and Mariamne showed the two were not related by blood, leading Cameron and his team to conclude they were married.
But the archaeologist who was on site says no way:
However, the archaeologist who oversaw the work at the tomb described the theory as ‘nonsense’.
Amos Kloner said the names found on the coffins had been found in tombs before, adding: ‘It makes a great story for a TV film, but it’s impossible.
‘Jesus and his relatives were a Galilee family with no ties in Jerusalem. The Talpiot tomb belonged to a middle-class family from the first century.’
And Mr. Kloner isn’t the only one dismissing Cameron’s claim:
But CBS News correspondent Mark Philips reports that, although archeologists have long argued over the factual and historic accuracy of Christianity’s version of history, in this case, the archeological establishment has lined up to label this claim as bunk.
But scientists have argued the names etched into the stone ossuaries which held the bones, which can be seen at left in a photo from Kloner’s book, were extremely common during that time period, and in no way prove that the Jesus of the Bible was buried at the site with his family.
Another researcher whose work has focused on the Middle East, biblical anthropologist Joe Zias, has dismissed Cameron’s claims as “dishonest”.
“It has nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus, he was known as Jesus of Nazareth, not Jesus of Jerusalem, and if the family was wealthy enough to afford a tomb, which they probably weren’t, it would have been in Nazareth, not here in Jerusalem,” he said.
He said the appearance of the names proved nothing.
Mr. Kloner makes another point that warrants mentioning: how are we do determine that the bones in the tomb were actually the bones of the Biblical Jesus of Nazareth? Compare his DNA to God’s? How does one get a mouth swab from God?