Monday, February 26, 2007

Idiots trying to make a quick buck

This is my conclusion on the "documentary" that James Cameron is touting about at the moment... It's about a tomb which was found in 1980 in a suburb of Jerusalem (which in ancient times would have been outside the city). They and a few professionals claim that the tomb is that of Jesus, his mother, two brothers, wife and son. (You can read more about it here.) As much as it would thrill me to death to say that it is the "Tomb of Jesus" for the dangerous, controversial, cataclysmic theological implications, I am wholly unconvinced and I'll tell you why.

One, there were 10 coffins in this tomb... only 6 of them are connected to the Christian Bible according to Cameron et al's interpretation, the other 4 are ignored in the analysis... Sloppy... They need to account for all 10 or the analysis is incomplete and they're trying to put a square peg in a round hole.

Two, the six coffins they *are* concerned with are marked "Mary; Matthew; Jesua son of Joseph; Mary; Jofa (Joseph, Jesus' brother); and Judah son of Jesua." Okay... yeah, that may seem exciting, *but* 1.) I'd like to know what the names actually are in the original Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek (however they are written because the article doesn't say) and also any other evidence found in and around the tomb, not to mention the names of the other four. And 2.) do they have any idea how common these names were? This would be like going into a random cemetery and finding graves marked Mary, Michael, John son of Robert, Elizabeth, Robert, and James and making something out of it... These were *common* names... They also make a big deal out of the fact that one of the Marys, the one they claim is *clearly* Mary Magdalene is marked as Mariamne (they claim that this would be the "Ringo," if they also found "John," "George," and "Paul," and said that it was the "Beatles."). That's not all that significant really... Mariamne is the Hellenized version of Miriam (Mary), that's all... It's literally the difference between "Mary" and "Maria." Both very common names in post-Alexander Judea, just as they are today in the "Western" world... For example, one of the Harods (the Great, was it?) had like two (or was it three?) separate, unrelated wives whose given names were Mariamne simply by coincidence... Think how Henry VIII had three wives named Catherine because it was just like that, by coincidence... (and also because Harod had two of the Mariamnes executed for "treason" due to his own paranoia...) Very, very common name... Can't emphasize enough just how common that name was... And since any children that Mary Magdalene and Jesus may have had, assuming that they were even married (which, if they existed at all, I think was probably very likely, and for more reasons than just that I think its fun to turn doctrine on its head and expose its holes), are not named in the Christian Bible or any other record that we know of, having a grave marked "Yudah son of Yeshua" doesn't mean all that much either... Really, the names can be written off as mere coincidence since there is no other evidence that is anything close to firm and there are *four other coffins* that Cameron et al are clearly ignoring and not giving any explanation for their presence at all...

Three, Cameron et al claim that DNA evidence (the article doesn't specify what was tested or even what was in the coffins... if there were any complete skeletons, how many, etc) proves that these people really were who Cameron et al claim they were... All DNA evidence could possibly prove is that they were Jews, who lived and died and had genetic roots in Judea around the 1st century BCE-CE... And DNA evidence could also possibly confirm that Judah was the son of the 2nd Mary and Yeshua and that Yeshua, Matthew and Jofa were all sons of the 1st Mary and were brothers... That is, if they were able to obtain enough of the right kinds of samples (a pretty big IF). That's about it... Oxygen isotopes in the teeth would confirm geographic place of origin... Other than that, they have nothing. Because, dude, we don't have any DNA samples of confirmed identity to check against to prove that this Yeshua is the Yeshua that Christians the world over call Jesus... We just don't, so that proves nothing and Cameron et al are stupid to claim otherwise.

Now, *if* in the coffin marked "Yeshua" there was a male skeleton which showed signs of crucifixion and could be determined to have died in his early 30s (because despite the discrepancy of age between the Synoptics and John, I take the Synoptics over John because John's a little too out there on too many other things and wholly unreliable as an historical record, except to illustrate what some people were believing in the area of its composition at the time it was composed), then and *only* then would I *maybe* believe that we *might* be talking about Jesus... But if they had found a skeleton like that, this would have made news a hell of a lot sooner than 17 years after the tomb's discovery. And even if there was evidence of death by crucifixion, who is to say that Jesus was even really crucified? Written records can easily be forged (it happens all the time in history, in ancient times even more so than today... Why do you think wedding banquets were such a big deal back then - a piece of paper was not what made a marriage because such things could be destroyed or forged easily, rather it was the memory of the witnesses which testified to the validity of a marriage, and the more witnesses the better...) and the writings of the Christian Bible are suspect because without that major event, a large portion of the basis of Christian belief would fall flat, so they have a stake in the crucifixion having occurred and are too biased to be taken at face value on the account of whether or not it happened.

So, in the end, this is bullshit and Cameron et al are idiots trying to make a quick buck off of pointless controversy. So bully for them in their great success of clouding an already murky and BS issue.

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