Here we are in the Lent/Easter season again and here comes a new documentary rehashing some old archaeological evidence (BBC reported on this stuff 11 years ago) in a rather spectacular way. Familiar Biblical names like Joseph, Mary, Jesus (Joshua), Mariamene, and Judah son of Jesus (Joshua) on ossuaries (caskets) buried together. Add statistics, DNA tests, and an Oscar winning director and you have this year’s anti-Christian Easter special. It’s scheduled for March 4 on the Discovery Channel on March 4. Click to read the news report.

The documentary claims to have found the family plot of Jesus, buried along with his mother, father, wife, and child. Guess what! They have DNA evidence to prove their point. The DNA tests only shows that the supposed Jesus is not related to the presumed Mary Magdalene; and from this they conclude that they were probably married? The names were very common in first century Jerusalem, but they bring on a statistician to bombast their way to a preconceived conclusion. It’s so very convenient and so timely with a new book coming out at the same time. Another gift for Easter calculated for seasonal interest and maximum coverage.

Dr. Ben Witherington has some good answers to the documentary claims on his blog:

“…Professor Amos Kloner from bar Ilan University has already told the German press “It’s a beautiful story but without any proof whatsoever.” He is important since he did extensive work and research on this very tomb and its ossuaries and came to negative conclusions published in a journal in 1996. In short, this is old news, to which has been added only the recent DNA testing and statistical analysis neither of which makes the case the film makers want to make.”

For a good analysis of the evidence: Read his article and the comments (30+) following.

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