By Tuan Nguyen
Posting in Environment
A controversial documentary filmmaker, using a robotic arm, claims to have uncovered Jesus Christ's final resting place.
It's either one of the most significant archaeological findings of all time or... just a really bad case of mistaken identity.
A team of archaeologists, led by controversial documentary filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici, claims to have uncovered an ancient underground site in Jerusalem that serves as the final resting place for Jesus Christ -- and that they have the artifacts to prove it. The latest piece of evidence, found inside the tomb, is a 2,000 year old engraving on the side of a coffin known as an ossuary, which they believe alludes to the resurrection of Christ.
The artwork depicts what seems to resemble a fish with a human figure inside it's mouth. In the Old Testament, the Book of Jonah tells the story of a prophet named Jonah who was saved after being thrown overboard when he was swallowed by a whale that was sent by God. After spending three days and three nights in the fish's belly, God orders it to vomit to set Jonah free. For Christians, the tale symbolizes Jesus' crucifixtion, death and subsequent rebirth three days later.
Five years ago, Jacobovici suffered the wrath of skeptics in the field when he made the controversial claim that he had discovered Jesus' family tomb -- complete with human remains. The grave site, which is located about 200 feet away from the where the engraved ossuary was found, bore names such as "Jesus, son of Joseph."
At the time, many archaeologists and theologians dismissed Jacobovici's assessment as nothing more than speculation since it's more likely that the purported connection to the holy Jesus can be merely coincidental, especially considering that such names were actually quite common during that time period.
The team, which had been hoping to unearth more supporting evidence, also suffered a setback when Isreali officials decided to end the excavation and seal the tomb at the behest of orthodox Jews who weren't comfortable with the idea of scientists poking around a site dedicated to safeguarding the deceased. However, the researchers remained undeterred and eventually obtained permission from the government to drill holes and use a robotic arm instead to explore the surrounding area.
Jacobovici believes that both sites are part of an ancient estate belonging to Joseph of Arimathea, who, according to the Gospels donated his tomb for Jesus' burial. He recently published his research in a book entitled "The Jesus Discovery: The New Archaeological Find That Reveals the Birth of Christianity" and will present the evidence in the documentary "The Resurrection Tomb Mystery", which airs tonight at 10 PM ET on the discovery channel.
In a report by the Daily Mail, Jacobovici and his collaborator, Biblical historian James Tabor, point out a number of historical facts that they feel bolsters their argument:
Among the approximately 2000 ossuaries that have been recovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority, only 650 have any inscriptions on them, and none have inscriptions comparable to the team's finds.
Less than a dozen ossuaries from the period have epitaphs but, according to Tabor, these inscribed messages usually have to do with warnings not to disturb the bones of the dead. In contrast, the four-line Greek inscription contains some kind of statement of resurrection faith.
Tabor noted that the epitaph's complete and final translation is uncertain. The first three lines are clear, but the last line, consisting of three Greek letters, is less sure, yielding several possible translations: 'O Divine Jehovah, raise up, raise up,' or 'The Divine Jehovah raises up to the Holy Place,' or 'The Divine Jehovah raises up from.'
'This inscription has something to do with resurrection of the dead, either of the deceased in the ossuary, or perhaps, given the Jonah image nearby, an expression of faith in Jesus' resurrection,' Tabor said.
The ossuary with the image that Tabor and his team understand to be representing Jonah also has other interesting engravings. These also may be connected to resurrection, Tabor notes. On one side is the tail of a fish disappearing off the edge of the box, as if it is diving into the water.
There are small fish images around its border on the front facing, and on the other side is the image of a cross-like gate or entrance—which Tabor interprets as the notion of entering the 'bars' of death, which are mentioned in the Jonah story in the Bible.
But several archaeologists, theologians and bible scholars still don't buy it. Some experts, such as Duke University religious studies professor Mark Goodacre, have even suggested that the engraving isn't even a fish and that any such efforts to connect the dots don't amount to anything more than wishful thinking.
Here's an excerpt of interviews with skeptics conducted ABC News:
"He's seeing things that simply aren't there," Goodacre said. "His head is so full of 'DaVinci Code.'"
Robert Cargill, an assistant professor of classics and religious studies at the University of Iowa, told "Nightline" that the original image of the engraving that Tabor sent him is "clearly displaying the handles" but that the handles do not appear in the image that was distributed to the press.
"There are clearly handles on the top of the so-called 'Jonah fish' image, but Tabor and Jacobovici don't include them in their museum replicas or the CGI image," Cargill said. "No credible scholar except those that work with or for Simcha on this or some other project believe his conclusions... The evidence does not support their sensational claims. But that doesn't stop them from wanting it to be true, so in their minds, it's true."
Whether Jacobovici's conclusions holds up to scrutiny or not (right now it's not looking too good), what's perhaps really intriguing is the innovative use of robots to conduct archaeological excavation. Similar to how infrared satellites and Google Earth were utilized to probe some of the most mysterious spots on earth, the technology has enabled them to circumvent political, military, and yes, even religious sanctions that have prevented scientists from digging into sites of interest.
Here's a video which provides an inside look at the technology that Indiana Jones only wishes he had:
Photos: University of North Carolina, Charlotte
- Can computers solve mystery of bible’s ‘ghostwriters’
- Will the world really end in 2012?
- Perspectives: liberals vs. conservatives
More great mysteries on SmartPlanet:
Apr 11, 2012
To call a person a liar when opposed to the truth you must have faith in the word of God. The Holy blood Holy grail pretending that Jesus escaped death on the cross and married Mary Magdalene.Then the Da Vinci code pretending a secret marriage between Jesus and Mar Magdalene and that the real blood is inside Mary based on the painting of the last supper by Leonardo Da Vinci.Even thousands have traveled to Louvre museum to see that painting.Now some persons pretend finding Jesus tomb and bones and halve linked before their discoveries to the above fake stories.The truth is that the real Blood is on His forehead shown in the real and true story The Coin Of The Temple and not in the womb of Mary Magdalene.The blood of Dan Brown and others and the bones of these people are fake.The real idiots who believe these garbage lies and travel to Louvre instead of Lourdes and Turin.Souheil Sami Bayoud.
The book of Jonah does [b][i]not[/i][/b] say a whale, it says a big fish swallowed Jonah. What [i]I like[/i] about the story is that for once God is more merciful than His human worshipper. He rebukes Jonah for wanting to watch the destruction of Nineveh.
Anyway, I like "The ARTWORK depicts what seems to resemble a fish with a human figure inside it???s mouth"
If Mr. Jacobovici's robot can provide live film coverage of a meal in progress at the dining hall in Valhalla, then his claim that he has found the tomb of the mythical god Jezeus will be more believable.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roza_Bal Some historians speculate that Jesus survived his torture on the cross, thanks to his studies with the ancient Vedics in India (when everyone thought he was in Egypt), and his fantastic yogi abilities. He exited the near Middle East after the crucifixtion (lest he be drawn and quartered!) and lived to the ripe old age of 80, and his real tomb is a modern day shrine. There is genuine historical evidence for this, if you ignore the hype. Tell me that the above makes any less sense than the Biblical story of a virgin birth and resurrection!
A drawing of a fish (if it is a fish) proves nothing in and of itself. Archiologists are great at building an entire culture out of a single scrap of evidence. 'Look, we found a scrap of a jug with remains of a rabbit stew on it. This was obviously a community that depended upon the rabbit for food. They raised rabbits and ate them as part of a religious ceremony, and had an advanced pottery making trade, enabling them to create long-lasting jugs for cooking and storage...'
That's the whackiest looking fish carving I have ever seen. I don't see a human form in its mouth. To me it looks more like a chestnut or walnut or scrotum. I'm not so sure it's a fish. When I first glanced at it before I read that it was a fish, I thought it might be a person (poorly carved of course) without shoulders and a really poor fitting dress of dubious design. The fact that a team of "archiologists" was lead by a film maker is the first fly in the ointment. I'm reminded of those shows about monsters and UFOs on the history channel, which always end with the same line about lab reports "Results are inconclusive".
Just wait until time travel starts, then we will have live reports of all historical events. No, we will not be able to change anything to do so ( even the slightest detail which could also cause the travellers to instantly none exist) would stop invention of time travel instantly as time line would change considerably over thousands of years. This suggestion is no more provable than any other regarding Jesus or anything else that may or may not of taken place 2000 years ago. Jonahs trip sound more like a submarine controlled by aliens than a whale but that is just my option and you all have yours as mine, all based on none facts.