Intelligent Design

Who, exactly, doesn’t think there is a war on between materialists and non-materialists?

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In a recent column on the “lost tomb of Jesus,” Frank Pastore observes ,

Poor James Cameron. He wanted some of that Da Vinci Code action so badly that he jumped on a 27 year old story line that everyone else in Hollywood had wisely passed on. He ignored so many early warning signs, too. When he was hav-ing trouble early on finding A, B, or even C list “scientific experts” who were willing to throw their careers away if they would only validate his silly theories – and they all continued saying no – he didn’t let that slow him down one bit. He pressed on and signed the minor league guys. And later, when the best he could come up with for his advance publicity hook was to claim statistically similar names and unrelated DNA samples – He still didn’t pull the plug – even though any-one who has ever seen just one episode of CSI is sharp enough to spit out the bait. More astute critics simply repeated what the original archeologist on the scene had pointed out: that a poor family from Bethlehem could never afford a mid-dle-class tomb in which to place the ossuaries in Jerusalem, especially during a famine, and that the names on the boxes were far too common to jump to any conclusions about having found The Jesus Family Tomb.

Yes, I remember that “lost tomb of Jesus” canard kicking around in the early Eighties. The problems were so obvious that the story sank out of sight. See, it was one of those stories where, as Pastore notes, a person of average intelligence can see what’s wrong. Remember, Jesus’ family were so poor that they had to bring two doves (pigeons) to the Temple when they presented him – the lowest offering a poor family could bring, intended as a concession to extreme poverty. (It made sense. Anyone capable of producing a son and getting him to the Temple could presumably find a way to catch two pigeons … ) So these were not people who had money or a family tomb. And they had common names, so finding all these names together is no clincher.

The project principals would seem to be orthodox Jews, but the interesting part is the Discovery Channel’s role in all this. Pastore describes this story – accurately, I think – as “the requisite hit piece on Christianity that we’ve all grown accustomed to” in time for Easter, adding “Shame on you if you ever trust the Discovery Channel to teach your kids anything ever again.” 

Well now, that raises some interesting issues.

One way that many Christians in science have tried to avoid addressing either the current atheist putsch or materialist media hostility to Christianity (and all other non-materialist points of view) has been to announce that other Christians (the ID guys in particular) have bought into a “warfare thesis.” It is all their fault that science concepts are currently used to bash religion. If only they would just shut up and take what is handed out to them …

Such v oices are gladly heard – despite the fact that it would be hard to think of a point of view on the subject that is so much at odds with observable reality. There is in fact a war on – not between science and religion but between materialism and evidence. Materialists, who have a deathgrip on science, use it to assault any perspective that may harbour evidence against materialism.

Not only are science concepts regularly used to bash religion (in particular, Christianity), but notice two things: First, people have come to merely expect the bashing at key points like Easter.

The response from churchianity? Lame excuses, like “Christians have to face up to problems with the Gospel message.” Problems, yes. But nonsense? Streams of nonsense? Streams of nonsense on a big budget? Sponsored by major media organizations?

Second, it is no longer even thought necessary to find good stories to tell. The “lost tomb of Jesus” is not a good story.* So – if the warfare thesis is incorrect, why is the Discovery Channel fronting this stuff?

Now, I take the view that people do not deliberately run lame stories when they could run hot ones. So we can assume, I think, that no hot anti-Christian story has emerged, despite a pretty intense search.

The reality is that, as the recent attempt to institutionalize atheism – sponsored by major ultra-Darwinists – demonstrates, there is a war on. People who can’t deal with that fact drone on about a “warfare thesis” and accept lionization for their cowardice. The time for pushback never comes, it seems. But what else is new?

*No, “Mary Magdalene and Jesus” wasn’t a very good story either, in the strictly historical sense. But … Brown performed the brilliant manoeuvre of sheltering himself in the fiction aisle by telling it as a yarn. As a yarn, it worked. These “lost tomb” guys apparently couldn’t do anything clever like that.

66 Replies to “Who, exactly, doesn’t think there is a war on between materialists and non-materialists?

  1. 1
    rrf says:

    So – if the warfare thesis is incorrect, why is the Discovery Channel fronting this stuff?

    Teaching the controversy?

  2. 2
    Joseph says:

    What is it, exactly, that Christians do not like about the possibility that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a relationship that led to children? Just curious…

  3. 3
    tenstrings says:

    Joseph – the discussion isn’t operating on “liking” the idea of a married Jesus, it’s operating at the level of “where’s the evidence?”.

    J

  4. 4
    Joseph says:

    Thanks Tenstrings. So are you saying that we need to find a marriage certificate?

    I am sure there are many personal scenarios that didn’t survive history. And then there are secret marriages that didn’t have documentation.

    I get the feeling it is much more than “where is the evidence?”.

    Or is it the thought that Jesus and MM had a baby out of wedlock?

  5. 5
    Charlie says:

    Excellent perspective, Denyse.

    Although I expect anybody interested has already seen the reasons why the yarn is so bad, Stephen Jones has a pretty decent collection of the rebuttals. It’s in three parts, so follow his archive link for parts 2 and 3.

  6. 6
    Rowan says:

    It frustrates me that Christians are made to feel as if the onus is on them to prove that stories such Jesus having a family are false. Besides any theological objections, the fact that none of the books of the New Testament make any mention of it is good evidence against such a story.

    There is no substantiated reason to believe that Jesus had a family. And yet it is such a popular idea because it removes his divinity which many people find threatening and makes him “just” a man.

  7. 7
    Joseph says:

    If Jesus had a family how would that “remove his divinity”? I heard this before and still don’t understand the reasoning.

    The fact that the NT doesn’t mention that Jesus fathered a family could also be a sign of censorship. It could have also been omitted out of fear for the survivors- that is people going after his family. It could have also been omitted on purpose.

    That said I do understand the implications with finding the remains of Jesus. And I seriously doubt that Cameron has done so.

  8. 8
    DaveScot says:

    I don’t understand the “poor families couldn’t afford tombs in Jerusalem” argument. The example of doves brought as offerings at Jesus’ presentation is fine evidence if the tomb had to have been purchased when Jesus was a child but was that the case? The tomb could have been acquired in any number of ways. A gift, an inheritance, or just striking it rich in later years.

  9. 9
    tribune7 says:

    I get the feeling it is much more than “where is the evidence?”.

    OK, why is that some claim Jesus and Mary Magdalen had children?

  10. 10
    tribune7 says:

    A gift,

    Like the tomb which held his body for three days 🙂

  11. 11
    O'Leary says:

    One reason I think it implausible that Jesus had a family is that a family was NOT a disqualifier for honour in his culture. Quite the reverse, in fact.

    Anyone who could claim to be his descendant would have a claim on the whole church.

    If such claims didn’t arise within the community, the most likely reason is that no one could believably make one.

  12. 12
    tribune7 says:

    There are plenty of good non-dogma based reasons to think Jesus did not have a family.
    There are no good reasons to think he did other than wishful thinking.
    It’s exactly opposite of what convention wisdom would have you believe about the motivations of those holding their points of view.

  13. 13
    great_ape says:

    “Who, exactly, doesn’t think there is a war on between materialists and non-materialists?”

    There shouldn’t be any such war. The line between materialism and non-materialism, properly understood, is obliterated by the modern paradigm of information and process. Who ever new what the heck “material” was anyway? Much less “spiritual.” These days, however, I think “materialism” and “non-materialism” only serve as proxies for, “rational empiricism” vs. a conception of the world that is essentially not grounded in experience and/or logic. Personally, I think religious and non-religious people fall on both sides of that particular chasm.

  14. 14
    devilsadvocate says:

    The poverty argument does not hold much weight with me because Christ’s tomb was donated by a man of status,Joseph of Arimathea, according to the Bible.

    “Joseph took the body(of Jesus), wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb”
    Matthew 27:59-60

    It does not seem like a stretch that the rest of Jesus’ family might be burried there also if Jesus did not physically rise from the dead.

    Did anyone else check AOF’s link in comment 14 under the post RE the anti-God crusade?
    When Judaism and Christianity Began: essays in memory of Anthony J. Saldarini.

    Is this describing the same tomb because the author lists two Jesus in the tomb, which would be strong evidence suppporting the commonality of names rebuttal, but this is not mentioned by anyone else including the archeologist who did the initial inventory. So I am begining to wonder if this is the same tomb or if the name translations are incorrect by either party.

  15. 15
    bevets says:

    The trumpet of this gigantic spiritual warfare marks the dawn of a new day and the end of the long darkness of the Middle Ages. For modern civilization, in spite of the progress of culture, lies bound in the fetters of the hierarchy of the Middle Ages; and social and civil life is ruled, not by the science of truth, but by the faith of the church. We need but mention the mighty influence which irrational dogmas still exercise on the elementary education of our youth, we need but mention that the state yet permits the existence of cloisters and of celibacy, the most immoral and baneful ordinance of the “only-saving” church; we need but mention that the civilized state yet divides the most important parts of the civil year in accordance with church festivals; that in many countries it allows the public order to be disturbed by church processions, and so on. We do indeed now enjoy the unusual pleasure of seeing “most Christian bishops” and Jesuits exiled and imprisoned for there disobedience to the laws of the state. But this same state, till very recently, harboured and cherished these most dangerous enemies of reason.

    In this mighty “war of culture,” affecting as it does the whole history of the World, and in which we may well deem it an honour to take part, no better ally that Anthopogeny can, it seems to me, be brought to the assistance of struggling truth. The history of evolution is the heavy artillery in the struggle for truth. ~ Ernst Haeckel

    Did James Cameron Find Jesus?

  16. 16
    bdelloid says:

    This crappy documentary has nothing to do with materialism per se. It’s about James Cameron’s ego and stupidity.

    No, if there was some convincing evidence for Jesus’ tomb…Now that would be cool.

  17. 17
    bFast says:

    Joseph, you don’t seem to be getting a straight answer here. I don’t suppose that you are displaying anything but your lack of understanding of Christian theology, so let me help you understaind.

    All of Christianity is hinged on the event of Christ’s crucifiction and ressurection. The appostle Paul said, “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (1 Corinthians 15:14)

    If the Jesus of the Bible married Mary Magdaline and was burried in Jerusalem, then the entire easter story is a mere story. If it is true, Christianity is a hoax, plain and simple. So the bottom line is not what this report suggests happened, but what could not have happened if this scenerio is true that is the issue to Christians. Does that help?

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    Ms O’Leary:

    You have aptly put your finger on a key cultural trend, one that was highlighted in the last generation by men like Francis Schaeffer.

    Going back 2,000 years [Paul, e.g. in Romans 1 – 3], and even 2,500 years [Plato, e.g. The Laws, Book 10, which is also an ID source], there has always been a trend in Western culture to turn the back on evidence that may point to God.

    Knowing that backdrop, it is no surprise that — as some evolutonaty materialists lash out at their major cultural opponents, they would now clutch at stories that simply don’t pass the basic historical smell test. For, as British Attorney Frank Morison observed long ago:

    [N]ow the peculiar thing . . . is that not only did [belief in Jesus’ resurrection as in part testified to by the empty tomb] spread to every member of the Party of Jesus of whom we have any trace, but they brought it to Jerusalem and carried it with inconceivable audacity into the most keenly intellectual centre of Judaea . . . and in the face of every impediment which a brilliant and highly organised camarilla could devise. And they won. Within twenty years the claim of these Galilean peasants had disrupted the Jewish Church and impressed itself upon every town on the Eastern littoral of the Mediterranean from Caesarea to Troas. In less than fifty years it had began to threaten the peace of the Roman Empire . . . . Why did it win? . . . . We have to account not only for the enthusiasm of its friends, but for the paralysis of its enemies and for the ever growing stream of new converts . . . When we remember what certain highly placed personages would almost certainly have given to have strangled this movement at its birth but could not – how one desperate expedient after another was adopted to silence the apostles, until that veritable bow of Ulysses, the Great Persecution, was tried and broke in pieces in their hands [the chief persecutor became the leading C1 Missionary/Apostle!] – we begin to realise that behind all these subterfuges and makeshifts there must have been a silent, unanswerable fact. [Who Moved the Stone, (Faber, 1971; nb. orig. pub. 1930), pp. 114 – 115.]

    This of course reflects the core eyewitness testimony and record of the Christian church, dating to the 30’s – 60’s AD [cf 1 Cor 15:1 – 11] that we may read in the NT, and which finds significant support across Jewish and pagan sources. [Cf here.]

    Many skeptical alternative attempted explanations have been made up over the years, especially since the hey-day of Deism. But, they all founder on the rock of comparative explanatory power. (The same fate that is increasingly meeting Dawkins et al as such materialists are increasingly forced to confront evidence that points to Design in nature, with similarly unwelcome possible implications.)

    In short, yes, Virginia, there is a cultural war going on over God, possible signs of his handiwork in the world, and the linked issue of moral accountability before him — for at least the past 2,500 years . . .

    GEM of TKI

  19. 19
    Jehu says:

    This is all so confusing. According to the Blasphemy Challenge guys Jesus never existed. They are still handing out DVD’s of the documentary “The God Who Wasn’t There.” Now this latest documentary tells us that not only did Jesus exist but He was married and had children and we have His tomb to prove it.

    Can’t all these anti-Christian folks get on the same page and get their story straight?

  20. 20
    inunison says:

    Joseph said: “If Jesus had a family how would that “remove his divinity”? I heard this before and still don’t understand the reasoning.”

    Hi Joseph,

    If true it will make Jesus a deceiver and a lier. Hardly a Divine attributes.

    Further, it really does not fit gospel narrative.

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    H’mm:

    It’s worth commenting a bit on evidence and proof with a couple of examples that illustrate the problem of selective hyperskepticism, which is relevant to this particular point and also to the main theme of this blog, intelligent design. For, much hinges on what is deemed an acceptable degree of warrant in particular contexts.

    1] What is “proof”?

    An easy way to look at that is to take on board a remark by Simon Greenleaf, a founding father of th emodern theory of evidence, in his Testimony, one based on centuries of courtroom experience:

    [27] . . . . A proposition of fact is proved, when its truth is established by competent and satisfactory evidence.

    By competent evidence, is meant such as the nature of the thing to be proved requires; and by satisfactory evidence, is meant that amount of proof, which ordinarily satisfies an unprejudiced mind, beyond any reasonable doubt. . . . . If, therefore, the subject is a problem in mathematics, its truth is to be shown by the certainty of demonstrative evidence. But if it is a question of fact in human affairs, nothing more than moral evidence can be required, for this is the best evidence which, from the nature of the case, is attainable. Now as the facts, stated in Scripture History, are not of the former kind, but are cognizable by the senses, they may be said to be proved when they are established by that kind and degree of evidence which, as we have just observed, would, in the affairs of human life, satisfy the mind and conscience of a common man.

    However, often we are tempted to an inconsistency, which SG did not label, so we may descriptively term it, selective hyperskepticism:

    In the ordinary affairs of life we do not require nor expect demonstrative evidence, because it is inconsistent with the nature of matters of fact, and to insist on its production would be unreasonable and absurd . . . The error of the skeptic consists in pretending or supposing that there is a difference in the nature of things to be proved; and in demanding demonstrative evidence concerning things which are not susceptible of any other than moral evidence alone, and of which the utmost that can be said is, that there is no reasonable doubt about their truth . . . .

    In short, when something does not sit well with how we wish the world to be, we often demand an inappropriately high degree of proof that would not obtain in a comparable case. This is an error.

    2] Now, did Jesus exist?

    As Jehu observed: According to the Blasphemy Challenge guys Jesus never existed

    But this sort of assertion is based on selective hyperskepticism. For, Jesus is as well documented as any other person from the C1, and his astonishing example, teaching and work is the best explanation for the religion that began in Palestine at about the time of his ministry. Indeed, Paul Barnett has given us an apt summary from extra-NT sources [NB: in addition, we have good reason to see the NT reports as being based on a strong historical core]:

    On the basis of . . . non-Christian sources [i.e. Tacitus (Annals, on the fire in Rome, AD 64; written ~ AD 115), Rabbi Eliezer (~ 90’s AD; cited J. Klausner, Jesus of Nazareth (London: Collier-Macmillan, 1929), p. 34), Pliny (Letters to Trajan from Bithynia, ~ AD 112), Josephus (Antiquities, ~ 90’s)] it is possible to draw the following conclusions:
    1.Jesus Christ was executed (by crucifixion?) in Judaea during the period where Tiberius was Emperor (AD 14 – 37) and Pontius Pilate was Governor (AD 26 – 36). [Tacitus]
    2.The movement spread from Judaea to Rome. [Tacitus]
    3.Jesus claimed to be God and that he would depart and return. [Eliezer]
    4.His followers worshipped him as (a) god. [Pliny]
    5.He was called “the Christ.” [Josephus]
    6.His followers were called “Christians.” [Tacitus, Pliny]
    7.They were numerous in Bithynia and Rome [Tacitus, Pliny]
    8.It was a world-wide movement. [Eliezer]
    9.His brother was James. [Josephus]
    [Is the New Testament History? (London, Hodder, 1987), pp. 30 – 31.]

    That brings us to . . .

    3] Are the Gospels a credible history in any reasonable sense?

    On this, we can begin from a remark by John Wenham:

    H. E. W. Turner [16] has distinguished two basic approaches to the Gospels: the historical and the interpretative. The former believes that the Gospels were intended to be historical records, the latter that they were essentially propaganda, written to present a particular view of Jesus. The former assumes that the records are true unless good reason can be showed to the contrary; the latter assumes the opposite. The attitude . . . has been summarised as . . . ‘(1) If it reflects the faith of the church after the resurrection, it must be regarded as a creation of the church, rather than an authentic saying of Jesus. (2) If there is a parallel saying attributed to a Rabbi, it must be held as a Jewish tradition which has been erroneously attributed to Jesus . . . This approach produces an improbable view of both Jesus and the early church. Jesus becomes an eccentric who took almost nothing from his environment. The church becomes inexplicable, since it took almost nothing from its master. [Christ and the Bible, (Guilford, Surrey, England: Eagle, 1993), pp. 45 – 46. Emphasis added.]
    _______________
    16: H. E. W. Turner, Historicity of the Gospels (London, 1963)

    The interpretive approach, of course results in a patent absurdity: a “messiah figure” isolated from his cultural base, and a church that did not follow his teachings or value them sufficiently to accurately record and transmit them. It only prevails by applying unreasonably high dates of myth formation, and by imposing now unquestionably far too late dates on early Christian documents. For, apart from rather arbitrarily skeptical schemes, there is no really good reason to date the bulk of the NT’s fact claims and teachings later than the early 60’s AD.

    Food for thought

    GEM of TKI

  22. 22
    tribune7 says:

    If the Jesus of the Bible married Mary Magdaline and was burried in Jerusalem, then the entire easter story is a mere story. If it is true, Christianity is a hoax, plain and simple. So the bottom line is not what this report suggests happened, but what could not have happened if this scenerio is true that is the issue to Christians. Does that help?

    Good point, bfast concerning Cameron’s claims.

    Concerning a marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalen before the Resurrection, it is not that it’s an offensive idea, it’s just that there is no objective reason to believe it.

    Those who do, base it on what they want to believe and filitering evidence through through own wishful thoughts, not by looking at things with cold, hard reason.

  23. 23
    tribune7 says:

    Re 21 — Great Post, Kairosfocus!!!

  24. 24
    Joseph says:

    Joseph said: “If Jesus had a family how would that “remove his divinity”? I heard this before and still don’t understand the reasoning.”

    inunison:
    Hi Joseph,

    If true it will make Jesus a deceiver and a lier. Hardly a Divine attributes.

    I was unaware that Jesus said he didn’t have a family. It could also be that his child was born after his death. In which case if he said he didn’t have children while he was alive he would not be lying.

    And as I said earlier the Gospel could have been censored. It was put together by man. Never forget that.

    bfast:
    If the Jesus of the Bible married Mary Magdaline and was burried in Jerusalem, then the entire easter story is a mere story.

    I understand the resurrection. I understand almost all of Christianity having attended Catholic schools as well as catechism. I also understand that even the “normal” scenario has Jesus being buried in Jeruselum. However in that scenario he didn’t stay there.

    Jesus could have filled that scenario and still have fathered a child.

    “Be fruitful and multiply”

    Denyse:
    Anyone who could claim to be his descendant would have a claim on the whole church.

    Maybe, maybe not. Ya see Chistrianity is about worshipping Christ. I am pretty sure that Jesus didn’t want to be worshipped. He was trying to bring people closer to “The Father”.

    Denyse:
    If such claims didn’t arise within the community, the most likely reason is that no one could believably make one.

    How could such a claim be verified? Do we have the DNA of Jesus? And why would anyone want such a burden?

    I still don’t get it. I have thought it would be a point of celebration that Jesus had at least one child.

  25. 25
    TerryL says:

    Re: Pastore’s comment: “Shame on you if you ever trust the Discovery Channel to teach your kids anything ever again.”

    Amen to that. Don’t you remember from the Discovery Channel’s “Walking With…” series an episode entitled “The Strangest Animals You’ve Never Seen”? A bunch of computer-driven graphics portraying a number of odd creatures on “alien” worlds (my personal favorite was the planet Darwin 4), all demonstrating how live evolves purely on its own, no matter how inhospitable the environment.

    And the disclamer at the start of the program how these weren’t real animals but projections “based on the laws of evolution.” Whatever those are…

    DISCOVERY Channel?? More like, Spurious Conjecture Channel.

  26. 26

    Joseph wrote:
    I still don’t get it. I have thought it would be a point of celebration that Jesus had at least one child.

    Being a lawful Jew, Jesus would not have had a child without getting married. The Bible strongly implies that Jesus never married.

    One of these implications is that the Christian church is collectively the bride of Christ. We are therefore all children of God.

    Jesus would have made Christianity an extremely exclusive group if He had gotten married to one woman and had just one or two children.

  27. 27
    Rude says:

    Interesting to compare this urge to discount the James Ossuary—should anyone have followed that story—and then this enthusiasm in regard to James Cameron. On the one hand they want an empty tomb and on the other hand they want it to be full!

    Here—probably y’all missed it—9 on this other thread—but today’s Purim and—remember Esther?—Purim’s message is quite pertinent. Haman the enemy—doesn’t he cast lots for the better part of a year in regard to his evil scheme? And Esther is the only book in the Hebrew Scriptures that doesn’t mention God. So on the one hand you have evil represented by the chance worshippers and on the other hand you have a nation that sees God in historic events: “There are no coincidences!”

    Losing Faith? With Purim upon us I thought maybe y’all would be interested in this take on the spirit of Amalek from Rabbi Avi Shafran: ‘And it lurks … in the contemporary insistence that chance-based evolutionary theory is the only explanation for the diversity of species.’”
    ]]>

  28. 28
    tribune7 says:

    I have thought it would be a point of celebration that Jesus had at least one child.

    Certainly worth at least a mention in Scriputre hmmmmm?

  29. 29
    devilsadvocate says:

    Jesus fathering a child raises the issue of ‘What is the nature of the child?’- divine, human, partially divine/human as Jesus was both fully divine and human.

  30. 30
    bFast says:

    Joseph, “I understand the resurrection.” If Jesus was resurrected, what on earth are his bones doing in some box.

    Joseph, “I understand almost all of Christianity having attended Catholic schools as well as catechism.” I don’t know the rest of the world, but in North America, if you count by who is in church on any given weekend, you will find that it is the protestants — specifically the evangelicals — who fill the pews. The vast majority of evangelicals do not use the Catholic catechism. In fact, most evangelicals question the christian status of catholics. (I happen to think they are wrong in that reguard.)

    Joseph, “I also understand that even the “normal” scenario has Jesus being buried in Jeruselum. However in that scenario he didn’t stay there.” You’re right about that. He was burried for a whole 3 days, then he got up from the grave, bones and all. 40 days later he “ascended” into heaven in front of the desciples. There can be no bone box for Jesus.

    Joseph, “Jesus could have filled that scenario and still have fathered a child.” Jesus could possibly have produced a child before dying and rising agian. If he did, he would have been a sinner by his own definition, and would not have qualified as the pure lamb of God that, because of his sinlessness, can take on the sins of everyone else. Alas, because of the resurrection thing, his bones still shouldn’t be in a bone box.

    Bottom line, if Jesus really rose from the dead — permanently — as the Bible says he did, then there should be no bone box for the Jesus of Nazareth. If his bone box exists, then the Bible, in its primary tennet, is wrong, and all Christians are fools to believe. If the box found is not that of the Jesus of the Bible, then the rest of the tale wieved around the boxes has nothing to do with him either.

    BTW, Jesus is always referred to as “Jesus of Nazareth”. Why does the bone box refer to “Jesus of Jerusalem”?

    Jesus, being greek for Joshua, one of the pivotal early Biblical characters, was a common 1st century name. There should well be lots of “Jesus” bone boxes which have nothing to do with the Jesus of the Bible.

  31. 31
    Ekstasis says:

    OK, so, whose version of events do we believe, the Discovery Channel and Mr. Cameron or the 12 disciples (make that 11)? The Discovery Channel and Mr. Cameron are making $$ off of their “creative” approach to history. The disciples paid for their version with their own blood. Peter was crucified upside down, not feeling worthy of Jesus. The others, with the exception of John, died in similar a similar manner.

    Don’t forget, the disciples could have admitted the whole resurrection thing was a hoax, and they would have gotten off the hook, and probably could have spent their retirement years in Medittaranean seaside villas living the good life and telling great stories about the Jesus heist.

    Somehow I thought the Materialists refused to believe anything that was not testable, verifiable, and repeatable. Suddenly they fall for this work of art and imagination, and call it truth. Or, at least they entertain the idea that it may be true, conjuring up fanciful visions of some imaginary Jesus.

    Some people continously search for the Holy Grail, and we either want to lock them up or get them serious help. Others endlessly search for reasons why God does not exist or is not to be taken seriously, and we call them brilliant scientists. Hmmmm.

  32. 32
    jb says:

    bFast, you make a number of good points. However, I think, based on his comments, that Joseph already “gets it” that if Jesus rose from the dead his bones wouldn’t be in a box somewhere. (sorry to speak for you Joseph; correct me if I’m wrong). But that’s not what he’s questioning. He’s asking why is it that Christians find the idea that Jesus might have been married so offensive. That’s a different issue altogether.

    My response to that would be twofold (speaking now more to Joseph):

    1) There are some theological difficulties this would cause, although this–by itself–wouldn’t necessarily demolish Christian belief. It would only introduce unecessary complications.

    2) There is no textual, historical, traditional or any other evidence or reason to believe that there was any marriage (that I’m aware of), so–as Alvin Plantinga would say–“why think this?” What reason would there be to conjure up some relationship with Mary Magdelene or speculate about offspring if not to deliberately introduce the theological difficulties referenced in (1) above.

    Some of the theological complications would be:

    1) Christ was sinless. Without going into a lot of detail, this is related to the virgin birth, original sin inherited from Adam, etc. If Jesus had children, what status would they have had with regard to this?

    2) As Denyse pointed out, this would introduce unecessary power-struggle issues.

    3) If Jesus was God incarnate, and if a person’s children somehow inherit some piece of their spirit, (I admit this idea is a little fuzzy and open for discussion that maybe we don’t want to get into on this thread) what status would these children have? Would they be like some sort of Greco-Roman-style demigod? Nephilim of some sort?

    4) What sort of “special” status would his wife have had to have? Jesus’ relationship with those around him would necessarily need to be somewhat egalitarian (altough, there was some special favor shown to some disciples, but not rising to the level of joining to be one with them in a consumated marriage). I realize that Roman Catholic tradition gives a special sort of status to Jesus’ mother Mary, which I as a Baptist do not accept. However, even if I were a Catholic, I’d still have a problem here, because then you’d have not one, but two people with elevated status like this. Were this the case, you’d think that either the Bible or Church tradition would have had something to say about it, and neither do (about a purported marriage, that is).

    There are probably many other difficulties that this would raise, even though, as was pointed out by Craig Blomberg in a lecture he gave on the Da Vinci code, even though this would cause more head scratching, it wouldn’t necessarily negate the rest of Christian doctrine. However the fact that no such relationship is mentioned in either the Bible or Church tradition indicates that the Church or God has been hiding something and been a little less than honest, which casts doubt on the whole affair (which was exactly the problem with the Da Vinci Code).

    I hope that helps.

    (bFast, are you suggesting that for Jesus to have had a congugal relationship with a lawfully wedded wife would have amounted to sin? I’m not so sure I agree with that, though I agree with the general gist of what you’re trying to say)

  33. 33
    rrf says:

    OK, so, whose version of events do we believe, the Discovery Channel and Mr. Cameron or the 12 disciples (make that 11)?

    Why not present both sides and let the students decide?

  34. 34
    jb says:

    When I said “However the fact that no such relationship is mentioned in either the Bible or Church tradition indicates that the Church or God has been hiding something and been a little less than honest,”

    I meant to say “However the fact that no such relationship is mentioned in either the Bible or Church tradition indicates that the Church or God WOULD HAVE been hiding something and been a little less than honest,”

  35. 35
    Charlie says:

    Here’s a good link to a page entitles “Was Jesus Married?
    A Careful Look at the Real Evidence” on Mark Roberts’s website.

    He says what I believe and what several here have mentioned already:

    Another reason I have taken time on this issue is that most proponents of the marriage of Jesus thesis have an agenda. They are trying to strip Jesus of his uniqueness, and especially his deity. They want a Jesus who was a mere human being, one with spiritual insight, but otherwise ordinary. The supposed marriage of Jesus is taken by many to be proof that he really wasn’t God in the flesh, but only a mortal man.

  36. 36
    Ekstasis says:

    rrf says “Why not present both sides and let the students decide?”

    Sure, and should that not apply to ID vs NDE as well? Present both sides, and let the students decide. Are you in favor of this? If not, why?

  37. 37
    rrf says:

    Extasis, considering how much biolgy we’be been able to learn from computer programmers, is it such an odd notion to be able to learn some theology from a filmmaker?

  38. 38
    jb says:

    Charlie, that’s a excellent link! I’d never heard of Mark Roberts, but it looks very interesting. Thanks for that!

  39. 39
    Doug says:

    Ekstasis said:

    OK, so, whose version of events do we believe, the Discovery Channel and Mr. Cameron or the 12 disciples (make that 11)? The Discovery Channel and Mr. Cameron are making $$ off of their “creative” approach to history. The disciples paid for their version with their own blood. Peter was crucified upside down, not feeling worthy of Jesus. The others, with the exception of John, died in similar a similar manner.

    Don’t forget, the disciples could have admitted the whole resurrection thing was a hoax, and they would have gotten off the hook, and probably could have spent their retirement years in Medittaranean seaside villas living the good life and telling great stories about the Jesus heist.

    A whole industry has popped up overnight fleecing the rubes of their money. Fear of the knowlege of hell has spawned an entire industry of deniers and people who utterly deny the teachings of the Christ.

    Yes indeedy, there is a war and the bad guys are spending a whole lot of money trying to cover the tracks left by their own consciences. And asking shamelessly for more I might add.

    You too can go to hell! just $19.95!
    Click Here

    Why don’t we just discuss going to hell? Simply follow this link!

    Television Shepherds with living room sheep.

    Makes me sick. I can’t wait to see all those other folks rot in hell.

  40. 40
    mike1962 says:

    I’ve always thought Isaiah 53:10 was rather interesting. Most Christians believe that pertains to Jesus given that at least one Gospel quotes it relating to Jesus. “Seed” here is ZRA and rendered “sperma” in the Septuagint, and simply means “offspring” in the common sense of that word.

    Some “spiritualize” this away saying that it actually means his “spiritual children”, and so forth. Nevertheless the text says what it says.

    Of course, the “seed” here, if meant in the normal sense, could refer to a future time, not 20 centuries ago, given that “he shall prolong his days”, etc.

    I personally have no trouble with Jesus having been married and having kids. But there seems to be absolutely no credible evidence for it having occured so far. Isaiah 53 may indicate it will occur in the future. From a logistic standpoint, it would seem that Yahweh may not have wanted some family dynasty getting undo attention (the way I think Mary gets. Sorry Catholics.)

    Just my two centavos.

  41. 41
    great_ape says:

    I stayed up late to watch the re-broadcast of the tomb special with one specific question in mind, “why would Cameron stake his reputation on such a claim?.” By the end of the special, I was left with the impression that a plausible case had been made but not a conclusive one. It wasn’t so far-fetched that I thought Cameron was a fool for signing off on the show. It would be more interesting to hear rebuttals of specific points in the film as opposed to sweeping claims about the producers agendas and the theological implications of the findings. Theological implications should not be worried about until the truth of the matter is discerned. The most dubious bit of data, for me, was the latinized form of Mary’s name found on the ossuary that corresponded to the usage in Mark’s gospel. Why would a presumably Hebrew family use this latinized form in a Jeruselem burial location, presumably under jewish rites? I doubt it was because they were that enamoured with the Romans. Maybe she was buried by Christians from elsewhere in the empire? Seemed odd to me. Yet, strangely, it made me less likely to think it was a hoax b/c it would be a rather silly detail to add. The rest of the evidence was more suggestive, assuming no hoaxes, etc. Contrary to many critics, I think they did adequately and conservatively address the statistical issues of the commonality of the names (Joseph, Mary, Jesus, Jose’) at that period in history.

  42. 42
    Rude says:

    Mike1962,

    Fascinating! Isaiah 53:10—“… he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days [יִרְאֶה זֶרַע יַאֲרִיךְ יָמִים] …”—I suppose the prolonging of days could be interpreted as the resurrection—but a “seed” of the Messiah! The New Testament nowhere (that I know of) teaches that we are the spiritual children of Christ. Nevertheless the principle type is Adam (Rom 5:14), “who is the figure [τύπος] of him that was to come.” So is the type—at least in part—that at the end of six millennia God says to Adam and his bride (Gen 1:28), “Be fruitful, and multiply, and [fill] the [land] …”? The Adam imagery is pretty common in Paul (Romans 5; 1Corinthians 15; Ephesians 5 …)—what’s it all mean?

  43. 43
    tribune7 says:

    Great_Ape, I didn’t watch the documentary so I can’t really speak for it but here’s what Time quotes critics as saying.

    The other objection I’d have to the story being false is the powers that be in that region, the Jews and the Romans agreed on little but that little included that it was not good for Jesus to be thought of as risen from the dead.

    Christians were an oppressed minority for 300 years. It is inconceivable that their enemies would not have made a point about find the tomb in which he and his family were buried.

    So, did his followers manage to keep the burial place of Him, his father, mother, brothers, wife and child secret? It seems pretty hard. It also seems that it would sure put a damper on their zeal. I mean why get sawn in half, fight wild animals etc. claiming this fellow rose from the dead if you knew where the body was buried?

    Now, what is Cameron’s motivation? I suspect he’s going to get a chance to do some serious bragging at Hollywood cocktail parties.

    As far as Simcha Jacobovici goes , he’s no archaeologist.

  44. 44
    Jehu says:

    Rude,

    I think Isaiah 53 is best explained as prophecy of the resurrection. In verses 7, 8, 9 and 10, Jesus is “lead like a lamb to slaughter,” “cut off from the land of the living,” “in death,” and made a “guilt offering.” Then in verse 11 he will “see his offspring and prolong his days.”

    In the New Testament the term “seed” is used in many metaphores. Someone who preaches the word of God is described by Jesus as a “sower” of seed. The Spirit of God is a seed that is sown into man by the preaching of the word. Jesus is described as the “Word” in John 1. Likewise, the seed is seen as a metaphor of death and rebirth or resurrection. So there are many levels on which Jesus could see his “seed” other than having children.

  45. 45

    Ugh, it feels like being back in Bible class. 😉

    Anyway, here are the relevant verses in context for Rude, et al (NIV for clarity):

    He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

    Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring [seed in the KJV] and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

    After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

    Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

    It’s interesting that this was written at least a few centuries before the birth of Jesus.

    Here’s Jesus telling a parable about seeds, in the same sort of context because He mentions Isaiah afterward. I found the theme ironically Darwinian. NIV again, Matthew 13:

    Then he [Jesus] told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed.

    As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.

    Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.

    But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

    Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.

    Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

  46. 46
    Charlie says:

    Hi great ape,
    You said:

    It would be more interesting to hear rebuttals of specific points in the film as opposed to sweeping claims about the producers agendas and the theological implications of the findings.

    Your request has been answered.
    In my comment #5 I gave you just the kind of link you are looking for (if you follow it, part three has another link in the comments section to further analysis).
    Here are just a few more places where I have read critiques in the past week: Stand To Reason, With All Your Mind, The Constructive Curmudgeon, Craig Blomberg.
    Plenty more abound.

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    Continuing . . .

    Plainly, in the Christian worldview, much hinges on how we respond to credible truth and right. So, we now need to take up the issue: is the resurrection-anchored Gospel account in 1 Cor 15 reasonable and credible?

    William Lane Craig took this up powerfully in his debates with Gerd Ludemann, e.g.:

    __________

    . . . the historian’s task is very much like that of the trial lawyer: to examine the witnesses in order to reconstruct the most probable course of events . . . . I propose to defend two basic contentions in this debate: (1) Any adequate historical hypothesis about the resurrection must explain four established facts: Jesus’ burial, the discovery of his empty tomb, his postmortem appearances and the origin of the disciples’ belief in the resurrection. (2) The best explanation of these facts is that God raised Jesus from the dead . . . .

    I want to share four facts that are widely accepted by New Testament scholars today.
    Fact 1: After his crucifixion, Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathea . . . .
    Fact 2: On the Sunday following the crucifixion, Jesus’ tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers . . . .
    Fact 3: On multiple occasions and under multiple circumstances, different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead . . . .
    Fact 4: The original disciples believed that Jesus was risen from the dead despite their having every reason [i.e. it was counter to their interests and even safety] not to . . . .
    In his book Justifying Historical Descriptions, historian C. H. McCullagh lists six tests used by historians to determine the best explanation for historical facts. The hypothesis “God raised Jesus from the dead” passes all these tests.
    1. It has great explanatory scope. It explains why the tomb was found empty, why the disciples saw postmortem appearances of Jesus and why the Christian Faith came into being.
    2. It has great explanatory power. It explains why the body of Jesus was gone, why people repeatedly saw Jesus alive despite his earlier public execution [his death being certified by the executioner and accepted by the governor, who then released his body for honourable burial] . . .
    3. It is plausible. Given . . . Jesus’ own unparalleled life and claims, the resurrection serves as divine confirmation . . .
    4. It is not ad hoc or contrived. It requires only one additional hypothesis — that God exists . . .
    5. It is in accord with accepted beliefs. The hypothesis . . . does not in any way conflict with the accepted belief that people don’t rise naturally from the dead . . .
    6. It far outstrips any of its rival theories in meeting conditions 1 through 5. . . . various rival explanations have been offered — for example the conspiracy theory, the apparent death theory, the hallucination theory and so forth. Such hypotheses have been almost universally rejected by contemporary scholarship. No naturalistic hypothesis has attracted a great number of scholars . . . .
    [W]hy, we may ask, does Dr Ludemann reject the resurrection hypothesis? As you read his book, the answer becomes clear: the resurrection is a miracle, and Dr Ludemann just cannot bring himself to believe in miracles. He states, “Historical criticism . . . does not reckon with an intervention of God in history.” Thus, the resurrection cannot be historical; the hypothesis goes out the window before you even sit down at the table to look at the evidence . . . He says, “Hume . . . demonstrated that a miracle is defined in such a way that ‘no testimony is sufficient to establish it.’ ” The concept of a resurrection, he says, presupposes “a philosophical realism that is untenable since Kant.” [Excerpted, Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact or Figment?, Eds. Copan & Tacelli, IVP 2000, pp. 32 – 38.]
    ___________

    In short, the underlying issue is that Ludemann (and many others) assume naturalism as their context of reference, so they cannot bring themselves to accept a level of evidence that would immediately gain their consent where this worldview-level assumption is not at stake. Selective hyperskepticism, in short.

    Pausing, again . . . .

    GEM of TKI

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    Finally:

    By contrast, how does the Cameron thesis hold up to reasonable scrutiny?

    Here, we may excerpt Habermas et al, on ten key unanswered factual issues on the Talpiot claim:

    [TEN FACTS ON TALPIOT:]

    1.There is no DNA evidence that this is the historical Jesus of Nazareth.
    2.The statistical analysis [NB: i.e. that the relevant cluster of names would be otherwise hard to account for] is untrustworthy.
    3.The name “Jesus” was a popular name in the first century, appearing in 98 other tombs and on 21 other ossuaries (or stone tombs).
    4.There is no historical evidence that Jesus was ever married or had a child.
    5.The earliest followers of Jesus never called him “Jesus, son of Joseph.” [NB: Instead, he was known as Jesus of Nazareth, or even Jesus the Christ, which soon became in effect his surname.]
    6.It is highly unlikely that Joseph, who died earlier in Galilee, was buried in Jerusalem , since the historical record connects him only to Nazareth or Bethlehem .
    7.The Talpiot tomb and ossuaries are such that they would have belonged to a [relatively] rich family, which does not match the historical record for Jesus. [NB: this includes homelessness as an itinerant preacher: “the foxes have holes, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head . . .”]
    8.Fourth-century church historian Eusebius makes quite clear that the body of James, the brother of Jesus, was buried alone near the temple mount and that his tomb was visited in the early centuries, making very unlikely that the Talpiot tomb was Jesus’ “family tomb.” [NB: this also tells against the claim that the James ossuary was the missing one from this tomb.]
    9.The two Mary ossuaries do not mention anyone from Migdal, but simply has the name Mary, one of the most common of all ancient Jewish female names.
    10.By all ancient accounts, the tomb of Jesus was empty, making it highly unlikely that it was moved to another tomb, decayed for one year’s time, and then the bones put in an ossuary. [NB: within several weeks of his death, the resurrection-anchored gospel cited from 1 Cor 15 was being preached within walking distance of the unanswerably empty tomb, as Morison highlights.]
    [Excerpted, Kristen Fyfe, Culture and Media Institute, February 27, 2007]

    In short, there is simply no comparison across factual adequacy, coherence and power between the two competing accounts – precisely as Craig pointed out in his public debate. [And BTW, had there been any credibility to the Talpiot case, which had been in the peer-reviewed archaeological literature since the 1980’s, Ludemann would surely have raised it as a knockout argument, instead of permitting himself to be twice publicly defeated by Craig.].

    I trust this helps set the issue in its wider context.

    GEM of TKI

  49. 49
    Janice says:

    41, great ape

    I doubt it was because they were that enamoured with the Romans.

    I am not an historian however I have read around the subject and here’s the thing; when the Seleucids were running Israel there were high priests with names like Alexander and Jason. When the Romans took over it should hardly be surprising if certain segments of the Jewish population (e.g., the rich ones living in the capital and seeking influence) would choose Latinized forms of Jewish names.

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    H’mm:

    Seems my first part is resistant to getting though . . .

    GEM of TKI.

  51. 51
    DaveScot says:

    I was going to watch but “The Dog Whisperer” was playing on The National Geographic Channel at the same time. The Dog Whisperer episode was a repeat I’d already seen but was still more appealing than James Cameron doing a poor imitation of a Michael Moore documentary. And even if The Dog Whisperer wasn’t on there were MASH repeats playing on the Hallmark Channel. 😆

  52. 52
    Charlie says:

    great_ape,
    I thought another comment I had made to you was in the filter but I may just have lost it.
    It was a bit heavy on the links, so here’s an easier version.
    If you go to Mark Roberts’s website (linked above) you can follow links to several rebuttals.
    Particularly, there are a few to Ben Witherington’s blog.
    From links in the comments section at Witherington’s site you can also go to a Washington Post article ( ‘Lost Tomb of Jesus’ Claim Called a Stunt: Archaeologists Decry TV Film), or also to N.T. Wright’s Grave Matters on his own website.

    I am not providing the links here this time as that may be what lost my comment last time but everything is covered: the names, the probability calculations, the James ossuary, the inscriptions, the DNA tests, the patina evidence, etc.

    I can’t resist one more link, this to Pastor Resources Blog where many more such rebuttals are referenced.

  53. 53
    devilsadvocate says:

    AOF,
    If your out there, I wanted to reread the page you referred me to in the book on Jewish burial practices (from another post)but the applicable pages have now been removed from the preview. Just wanted you to know.

    I still wonder if it is the same tomb because the interpretation of some of the names is quite different.

  54. 54
    Mats says:

    Jesus never existed, but if He did, then He got married and had plenty of kids, and his tomb is still among us!!

    It’s obviously clear why Darwinian news agency want to attack Biblical Christianity. The Bible is the word of God, and the Absolute Truth. Materialists hate the Bible, and want to convert everyone to their faith. Accordingly, they seek to undermine the Book which is overwhelmingly responsible for the existence of people skeptic of unguided evolutionism. As long as the Bible stands, materialism will always be in trouble.

    Even so, Darwinists show once again that they don’t understand what are they up against. Even though many people can rightly list the Bible as the major reason as to why they reject unguided evolutionism, there’s also the scientific aspect of the all issue. IN other words, even if the unfullfilled atheists manage to irradicate the Bible from the world, they would still have to explain all the empirical evidence that mitigates against unguided evolutionism. Attacking Christianity as a way to defend materialism/evolutionism is a waste of time, since many people are skeptical of materialism/darwinism for *scientific* reasons, and not only for religious reasons.

    But in a way, we have to thank the unfulfilled atheists for attacking the Bible. By that, they show why is the theory of evolution so important to them, and what role does it play in their worldview (a tool against religion/Christianity, and not a scientific theory like the thory of relativity or something like that).

  55. 55
    j says:

    great_ape (41): “It would be more interesting to hear rebuttals of specific points in the film as opposed to sweeping claims about the producers agendas and the theological implications of the findings… Contrary to many critics, I think they did adequately and conservatively address the statistical issues of the commonality of the names (Joseph, Mary, Jesus, Jose’) at that period in history.”

    ‘James’ Ossuary:

    The Talpiot tomb was discovered in 1980. Just last month, a photograph dated prior to 1980 emerged that clearly shows the “James” ossuary… The earliest tradition regarding James indicates that he was buried near the Temple Mount, some distance from Talpiot… Two of the original archaeologists of the Talpiot tomb – Amos Kloner and Joe Zias – claim in no uncertain terms that…the missing tenth was bereft of all inscriptions, names or otherwise. Amos Kloner also claims that the tenth ossuary is a different size than the “James” ossuary.

    Circumstantial:

    …Even if we assume that Jesus was buried, it is exceedingly unlikely that he would be buried in or around Jerusalem. Everybody had an interest in finding his body. It would have been a prize “get” for early Christian opponents – who were of course centered in Jerusalem – to produce it. How did they miss it when it was so close by? One would expect the Jesus family tomb, if it did exist, to be either in the north (the family’s first century A.D. home), or in the south (the family’s ancestral home)…

    The ossuary in question is unadorned. It bears only chicken-scratch writing that simply says, “Jesus son of Joseph.” Most scholars consider Jesus minimally to have been a teacher, probably a healer, with a devoted following. Would his followers have treated him so shabbily in his internment, considering how much care was taken to anoint the body? Meanwhile, other ossuaries found at Talpiot are well-adorned, with names not so carelessly scratched into decorated ossuaries. Why would his followers give a more “worthy” box to others?

    Above quotes from http://news.yahoo.com/s/realcl.....tomb_evide

    ‘Mary Magdalen’:

    We can now turn to the inscription on the ossuary, which has, in Greek: MARIAMENOUMARA. The two words Mariamenou and Mara are written consecutively with no space between. This makes it rather unlikely that two women are named here. But Rahmani takes a small stroke between the last letter of Mariamenou and the first of Mara to be a Greek letter eta (long e). He takes this to be the relative pronoun he (eta with a rough breathing), reading: ‘Mariamnenou who [is also called] Mara.’ (Note that this is different, it seems, from what the Discovery Channel do when they read the eta with a smooth breathing, meaning ‘or’.) There are parallels (I gather from Rahmani) to this abbreviated way of indicating two names for the same person.

    Above quote from a statement by Richard Bauckham, found at paleojudaica.blogspot.com/

    Also see: ralphriver.blogspot.com/

    Etc.

    I’ll leave the statistics (which I think is the strongest argument, when all the proper probabilities are in place) to someone with a Ph.D. in mathematics. 😉

  56. 56
    jerry says:

    If anyone is interested in another discussion of this, then go go Dinesh D’Souza site

    http://www.tothesource.org/3_6_2007/3_6_2007.htm

    They dispute the statistics there.

  57. 57

    devilsadvocate,

    Google thinks it’s the same tomb.

    It’s spelled a little differently (book’s “Talpiyot” vs. most news stories’ “Talpiot”) but I’m guessing that’s due to the uncertainty involved in translating Semitic languages (e.g., “Quran” vs. “Koran”).

    If you type “Talpiyot” into Google, though, you get a boatload of hits for the Cameron/Jacobovici story.

    Amos Kloner is mentioned in the news stories and the book as the archeologist who did the excavation, and both cite 1980 as the year he did it. The news articles also make it plain that Kloner disagrees strongly with the Cameron/Jacobovici position.

    BTW, I think Google is being sued about book copyrights and whatnot, and that’s why large numbers of pages are no longer visible. If you have a Google account you can sign in and view the page in question, I think.

    Jewish Funerary Customs, Practices, and Rites in the Second Temple Period, page 260.

  58. 58

    Sorry, one more thing.

    If you can view page 260 from the book again, you can compare it to this PDF from the Discovery Channel about the tomb.

    If my memory serves me right, the floor plans are identical. I have no memory of how the inscriptions looked in the book, though.

  59. 59
    benign says:

    “The project principals would seem to be orthodox Jews,”

    James Cameron isn’t an orthodox jew.
    Simcha whatever is, but this is definitley not the orthodox jewish opinion. If one of the makers of this film was a bhuddist would you say the principal players in this affair seem to be bhuddists?

  60. 60
    benign says:

    Jesus’ family were so poor that they had to bring two doves (pigeons) to the Temple when they presented him – the lowest offering a poor family could bring, intended as a concession to extreme poverty.

    The poorest offering was a meal (grain) offering not birds. Furthermore every women who gave birth brought one bird.

  61. 61
    kairosfocus says:

    Greetings

    Seems this is still the hot thread overnight, and that there is a filter that has interesting characteristics. Okay, some follow up thoughts (in part built from the first point from yesterday) . . .

    Mats, in # 54, puts his finger on a key point: [Darwinists] seek to undermine the Book which is overwhelmingly responsible for the existence of people skeptic of unguided evolutionism. . . . . [they] show once again that they don’t understand what are they up against. Even though many people can rightly list the Bible as the major reason as to why they reject unguided evolutionism, there’s also the scientific aspect of the all issue . . .

    My take is that it also highlights the issues of evidence and inference to best explanation vs selective – thus inconsistent — hyperskepticism. For, if you doubt everything to the same standard of “absolute proof”, you end up in an infinite regress of doubts; so if you then inconsistently apply such skepticism to what you don’t want to accept, you are begging worldview level questions. Thus, this ties into the main cluster of issues that obtains for the blog’s theme debate over design. (Cf. #’s 18, 21 and 47 – 48.)

    In short, once the commitment to seek out and follow what is sound [though often unpalatable] is lost, instead men will follow those who tickle their itching ears with what they want to hear, even though there are serious, perhaps even obvious, questions about its soundness. In this light, it shouldn’t be hard to see that even the statistical argument is deeply flawed, through analytical double-standards and flawed calculations, cf. “the statistical analysis falls apart” section, here:

    they removed Matthew and Judah because they were not ‘explicatively’ mentioned in the gospels. Yet, they are keeping Mariamne in their formula despite the fact that she is also NOT ‘explicatively’ mentioned in the gospels . . . . there is absolutely no way to equate Mary Magdalene with Mariamne [too, so] we can [by the same standard] remove Mariamne from the statistical equation . . . . Joseph should not be counted twice . . . the statistical chance that the Talpiot Tomb is the THE tomb of Jesus of Nazareth falls even further to ONLY .19 to 1 [i.e. ~ 5 to 1 against . . .]. In other words, [even on just the evidence on names alone, if consistently handled] there is a greater chance that the Talpiot tomb ISN’T the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth than it is.

    That underscores the importance of consistent and fair standards in assessing and accounting for evidence. Further to this, explanations have to coherently account for the full set of relevant facts, and that includes the basic point that the Christian church from 30’s AD on has taught, starting in Jerusalem, that Jesus rose from the dead and that there were 500+ witnesses, the most prominent 20 or so of whom can be easily identified. These witnesses – according to the 55 AD 1 Cor 15 verses1 – 11, etc, include James [and also the rest of Jesus’ family]. In short, the Talpiot theory reduces to a conspiracy between the 11 remaining disciples, the women of the company of disciples [including their leader, Mary Magdalene], and Jesus’ family – who up to the time of the crucifixion were HOSTILE to Jesus’ mission (indeed, at one time tried to get him committed as insane!).

    The implication that his same unlikely cluster of co-conspirators bought a tomb near Jerusalem, and buried there Jesus and other members of his family over a span of 30+ years – James was murdered in 62 AD – while successfully preaching at Jerusalem and across the Mediterranean world that this same Jesus was risen from death, immediately falls apart. This is exactly what Morison pointed to [cf # 18]. But, if there is an unyieldingly closed-minded commitment to naturalism, then the most unlikely stories will be preferred to an account that coherently and elegantly accounts for the origins of the Christian faith, but at the expense of allowing a Miracle-Working God’s foot in the door.

    Similarly, in all cases where we do directly know the causal story, functionally specific, complex information such as we find in the molecular information systems of life originates in intelligent agency, and the assertion that the technologies in DNA and the associated cellular nanomachines originated by chance immediately exhausts the probabilistic resources of the known universe. But, since inference to design here opens the philosophical door to inference to a Designer, such is resisted with utmost ferocity to the point in too many cases of incivility.

    So, the root debate is over worldview level question begging vs proper assessment of alternatives through comparative difficulties.

    GEM of TKI

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    H’mm:

    Seems the filter does not like biblical references, even in contexts where such are in fact relevant . . .

    GEM of TKI

  63. 63
    kairosfocus says:

    Then too . . .

    We have now brought up the core analytical question of theory-level and worldview level comparative difficulties in arguments by explanation. This is worth discussing.

    First, proof is in the end relative to assumptions. To prove A we need B. But why accept B? Thus, C, D, . . . In short, we see here an infinite regress which is beyond the reach of finite, fallible thinkers such as ourselves. That means we in the end stop all chains of demonstration and evidence at some point F, our faith-points or presuppositions or axions or whatever. These are core plausibles or basic beliefs, and in fact are the largest single body of our beliefs: think of how many deliverances of your senses etc you – for excellent reason — took for granted over the past day or so, without a moment’s hesitation. (Those who did classical geometry will at once recall the core axioms and the “Common-sense: notions that that discipline starts from. More advanced students will recall Godel’s 1930’s work that for sufficiently rich mathematical systems there is no set of coherent and complete axioms, and that there is no constructive process for creating a known- to- be- coherent set of axioms. Even Mathematics, the ideal for deductive logical systems, at length cannot avoid an element of faith and its twin, doubt.)

    In the messy empirical world, our plight is worse, for one can easily enough construct world models that are empirically indistinguishable from the one in which we think we live, starting from Plato’s famous Cave Parable, and going forward to brains in vats and Matrix type worlds, or Russell’s famous five minute old universe paradox, etc. As Thomas Reid and others pointed out, in effect, we make – a usually, unconscious – choice to accept that we live in the “common-sense” world, because if we cannot trust the general [not absolute] reliability of our senses, we cannot even begin to think and operate in our day to day lives.

    That means that we come back to accepting certain things by “reasonable” criteria as credible facts, and then seek explanations for those facts that make best sense out of them. These are our worldviews. Such worldviews, have core assumptions, which are ALWAYS problematic, i.e. face difficulties. So, a mature thinker assesses worldview level systems based on comparative difficulties across live option alternatives. In the West, this set includes in the main: theism, naturalism/evolutionary materialism, and pantheism and/or [more rarely] panentheism. Each of these systems has a core warranting argument, which renders the system plausible to adherents, despite the difficulties. For naturalism, that includes the evolutionary materialist “Scientific” account of origins, from hydrogen to humans. For the Christian form of theism, that includes the 500-witness anchored resurrection of Jesus, which in turn for many Christians anchors the Bible as the word of God, which “cannot be broken,” by the testimony of him who is Lord of Life and Death.. For pantheists, that includes the sense that all is obviously one, so one is the number of truth and two the number of error. And, so on.’

    But the analytical [dialectical as opposed to rhetorical] issue then is the comparative success of such systems, across: factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power.

    And, as they say, thereby hangs a long tale. For, arguably [as C S Lewis and Alvin Plantinga among many others point out], naturalism cannot account for the credibility of the mind we need to think materialistic thought, nor can it ground the ethical systems that motivate us to the truth and the right. Pantheistic systems, likewise founder on the issue of unity and diversity, for the world is many just as it is one – and that includes the conundrum over good and evil. This is often cast up as a counterto theism, as well, but in fact Plantinga showed that theism is coherent in the face of the problem of evil through his free-will defense . . .

    GEM of TKI

  64. 64
    Fross says:

    i wouldn’t call this materialist vs. nonmaterialist, but as one Catholic put it: Religion vs. bad science.

  65. 65
    ericB says:

    There is a legitimate and meaningful question that science itself cannot answer.

    Is nature an isolated system?

    Within nature, we know there are no completely isolated systems. Is nature itself the one exception?

    Materialists (or whatever they are called) answer Yes. Others have reasons for coming to the alternate conclusion.

  66. 66
    kairosfocus says:

    Following up:

    I cannot but observe:

    Fross: i wouldn’t call this materialist vs. nonmaterialist, but . . . Religion vs. bad science.

    What I find fascinating about this comment is how hard it seems for many to see that Religion and Science are not so-called “non-overlapping magisteria,” but in fact are both linked to a common-core issue, one way of another: worldviews.

    Religions, plainly, make claims about the nature of the cosmos,and of our status within it, which are thus amenable to worldviews analysis. Insofar as they make factual claims and historical assertions, as the historic Christian tradition has for 2,000 years, they are subject to [indeed, sometimes even invite, cf 1 Cor 15:1 – 11] epistemological tests, as I have outlined above.

    Then, too, as Lakatos has outlined, scientific research programmes have a belt of major theories that are integrated by a common core that is largely philosophical, i.e. constitute a view of the world. In this case, evolutionary materialismas a programme, since the mid-late C19, has asserted that everything from hydrogen to humans is self explanatory without reference to an external entity, through evolutionary mechanisms driven by in Monod’s famous allusion to Plato’s The Laws, Book 10, “Chance and Necessity.”

    In short:

    1] neither religions nor scientific research programmes are free of worldview level assumptions and claims, some of which are testable;

    2] Evolutionary Materialism, is not equivalent to Science as a discipline [indeed the founders and many current practitioners of science work in the framework of seeking to understand the principles used by the Creator of the cosmos in unfolding the reality we see and experience], but is instead, a particular, worldview freighted research programme; and

    3] Therefore, the conflict between Judaeo-Christian theism and Evolutionary Materialism, is not “Religion” vs “Science” but rather between two worldviews that make overlapping and contrary, in part testable claims.

    Thence, we see the key value of worldviews analysis in providing a level playing field for the analysis. Of course, this is directly a major chunk of the discipline known as philosophy. Here, therefore, we can see and fairly assess the key contrasting worldviews: Judaeo-Christian theism, and evolutionary materialism (a more clearly descriptive term than “Naturalism”). So, the underlying contrasting worldviews can be examined on their core warranting arguments, and compared on ability to handle issues of factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory elegance.

    Handling the issues at stake at such an analytical level, first, has the great advantage of moving beyond rhetorical games and emotionally loaded language [e.g. Science – good, Religion (usually, here, the Judaeo-Christian tradition) – bad (or at least questionable), usually] to a level where the real underlying questions can actually be seriously addressed on a level playing field.

    But then, such a move robs the usual rhetors of their favourite emotionally loaded persuasive arguments.

    On the particular matter at stake in this thread, Mr Cameron has plainly abused the scientific aspects of archaeology to make a claim that cannot stand reasonable historiographical scrutiny seem plausible to the ill-informed. In so doing, he has abused the science of statistics in particular, creating an argument that asserts an unwarranted probability for his thesis. The underlying purpose is plainly to make it seem that Christian theism’s fundamental warranting argument rests on fraud [whether or not he openly says that, it is directly implied]. It is therefore entirely in order to highlight the underlying worldview level issues and agendas, and to correct his scientific errors.

    Unfortunately, many who are only looking for ear-tickling rhetoric, will latch on to his fallacies and cling to them as “proof” that they are right to reject the Christian claims.

    In promoting such obvious fallacies, Discovery Channel has been grossly irresponsible, and we should take note of it in assessing the credibility of any further claims made by the same entity.

    GEM of TKI

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