Scholars Critical Of New Jesus Documentary

Wednesday, February 28th 2007, 8:30 am

By: News On 6

Claims by an Oscar winning documentary filmmaker that he's found the tomb of Jesus are being criticized worldwide. On Monday, filmmakers and researchers unveiled two ancient stone boxes they said may have once contained the remains of Jesus and his family. News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports that would be a contradiction to the Christian view that Jesus was resurrected.

A new documentary produced by Oscar winning director James Cameron contradicts basic Christian beliefs. It argues that ten ancient ossuaries, small caskets used to store bones, discovered in a Jerusalem suburb in 1980, may have contained the bones of Jesus and his family.

"To a layman's eye it seems pretty darn compelling, and as a documentary filmmaker, I was very attracted to this story and I said 'biggest archaeology story of the century' and I still believe that to be true," said Cameron.

But, many say if Jesus had an ossuary, which would contradict the belief that he was resurrected and ascended to heaven. Dr. Rusty Maisel is a historian and curator of the "from Abraham to Jesus" religious artifact exhibit now on tour in Tulsa. He's critical of the documentaries claims.

"When we start looking at the evidence, there are all kinds of holes in this boat," he said.

As a Christian, Maisel believes in the resurrection of Jesus. But he says he also looked at the issue outside his faith, and came to the same conclusion. He says the documentaries claims aren't accurate.

"It's been well debunked by the experts," Dr. Maisel said.

The filmmakers say the tomb ossuaries show the names of Jesus, Mary and Joseph among others. But many experts say those names were very common and don't serve as proof.

"They are claiming it says Jesus son of Joseph, that's like saying today, this is Bill son of John in America,” Maisel said. “It's the most common name."

Other critics say if Jesus' family could have even afforded a tomb it would have been located in Nazareth, not Jerusalem.

"The Lost Tomb of Jesus," is scheduled to air March 4th on the Discovery Channel.

If you’re interested in seeing the "from Abraham to Jesus" exhibit at the Tulsa Civic Center, you have until Wednesday, February 28th, then it leaves for Dallas.

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