The Lost Tomb of Jesus

The Lost Tomb of Jesus
Photo: Discovery Channel

In March 2007, the Discovery Channel show produced by James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici declared that Jesus’ family tomb had been discovered (back in 1980) and that Yeshua (Joshua/Jesus) son of Joseph, Maria (Mary), Mariamene e Mara (Mary Magdalene), Judah son of Jesus, Jose (Joseph, brother of Jesus), and Matia (Matthew) were among those found in it. The tomb is known today as the Talpiot Tomb in Armon HaNatziv or East Talpiot.

While I suppose anything is possible, the objections from religious scholars were more interesting than the show itself: why would this family from Galilee be buried in south Jerusalem at Talpiot in the first place and, since they were a poor family, how did they come to afford it? What is Matthew doing there and, anyway, can those names be translated in this way? Finally, what are the statistical chances of these being Christ's family? Fascinating though all this is, there appear to be too many American evangelical amateur archaeologists digging around in Israel and the West Bank...

After the tomb was excavated, the ossuaries were removed by the Israel Antiquities Authority and they were put on display in various museums. The original site has been sealed up and looks like this these days, under a concrete slab in a courtyard in front of the entrance to an apartment building at 273 Dov Gruner Street. Photo: Debresser.