UPDATE: The best single resource to respond to this is William Lane Craig’s work on the “Empty Tomb” tradition. It’s summarized very well in this essay.
UPDATE II: Much fuller details in this news story. And the Discovery Channel website for the movie is here. Many more connections to the DVC/Gnostic gospels in this information.
The tomb of Jesus has been found by…wait…..wait…..a Hollywood director. Well, sortof. Here’s the story that you’ll hear when “DVC Part II” opens Monday with a James Cameron press conference announcing that the tomb of Jesus has been discovered.
Yes, Virginia, there will be a movie on the Discovery Channel. With DNA.
James White has the story updated on his site, and reprints two AP stories announcing all of this in 1996. (He is dead on: it’s the DVC $$$$ cha-ching that has this out again.)
My short response:
1. The current faddish hatred for the claims of the Christian faith are an embarrassment to any serious person who buys into them. DVC madness has driven a segment of the Christianity hating world nuts.
2. DNA? Are you sure you don’t have a letter? Or a DVD?
3. The testimony of the early church to the resurrection must completely be unknown to these opportunitists. It’s the resurrection appearances that are the key to the Christian claim. The Gospels have credibility that can’t be demolished by finding caskets in a place Jesus wouldn’t be buried using names that only make sense in the DVC conspiracy community. Just straight on “dead men don’t resurrect” or “the disciples made it up” gets far more traction.
4. This is a relentless attempt to wrench as many minds as possible away from the Christian faith. It will work with the usual suspects. It will get Cameron and Co. on Larry King and it will fill up the Discovery Channel with more psuedo-science. It will sell a lot of bad books and make a lot of preachers mad. To the person who looks at the claims of the resurrection calmly, they will fail. As Wright says, why is this failed Messiah different? And why such a difference? To which I would add, “Does anyone care?”
5. I wonder if Mr. Cameron might have read this book? Or this one? The wish for a “smoking gun” to disprove Jesus is telling. The fantasy is to destroy God with one fell swoop from Science and archeology. And it’s just that—a fantasy that tells us much about the person selling it.
6. If this weren’t associated with the Mary Magdalene marriage, DVC conspiracy train, it would have slightly more credibility. That would be, about none, of course, as the archaeologists in the article on White’s site clearly said in 1996:
But Israeli archaeologists and Bible scholars said Tuesday that Christians have no reason to worry that one of the pillars of their faith Jesus’ resurrection is about to crumble.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph were among the most common Jewish names in biblical times and that their appearance together in one place had little significance, they said.
Biblical scholar Father Jerome Murphy O’Connor of Jerusalem’s Ecole Biblique said there was no way to prove that the ossuary had contained the bones of Christ.
But, he said, if such proof could be made, ”the consequences for the faith would be disastrous.”
The burial chamber was discovered in March 1980 during a salvage dig in the Armon Hanatziv area in southern Jerusalem before construction of a new neighborhood there.
Archaeologists found 10 ossuaries, bones included, in the underground central chamber and six niches, said archaeologist Zvi Greenhut of the Antiquities Authority.
Greenhut said the combination of the names Jesus, Mary and Joseph on the ossuaries did not prompt archaeologists at the time to probe further. ”The names are common names. There is nothing unique in the appearance of all names together,” Greenhut said.
He said that among the about 1,000 ossuaries from biblical times unearthed in
Jerusalem, six carry the inscription ”Yeshua,” or Jesus. Of those, two are engraved with the words ”Jesus, son of Joseph.”
He said about 25 percent of the women’s caskets bore some form of the name
Mary and that Joseph was the second most common man’s name of the period.
What you are going to get is a lot of people saying “So they found the tomb of Jesus, and he was in it.” That’s what you will be answering.