Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Just for the Archives --an older Mudville Discussion on The Tomb of Jesus

Liberal Democrat said....

Last evening the Discovery Channel presented the film, "The Lost Tomb of Jesus." The film suggests that the family tomb of Jesus [photo] was uncovered in the 1980's and that it contained 10 ossuaries with the bones of 10 members of the family. Markings on 6 of the ossuaries give the names, Maria, Jesus Son of Joseph, Joseph, James, Judah, and Mariamne. The authors of the book/film suggest that the probability that these 6 names in the same tomb not being those of the family of Jesus is rare. Of course this find, especially the ossuary marked "Yeshua bar Josef," would diminish the long-held Christian belief that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. If a container found in this tomb held his bones, the Resurrection and Ascension would be negated.Many of the early Christians did not believe in the physical resurrection and ascension of Jesus, but rather believed in a spiritual one. The Gnostics and the writers of the Gospel Quelle [Q] did not mention either event. It was of no importance to them because the life of Jesus, what he said and did, was important enough for them to follow his example. They did not need to believe in these extra-human events in his life to increase his credibility. However, the hierarchical church which developed in the 4th and 5th century thought it important to stress the metaphysical/divine qualities of the man who walked the streets of Jerusalem. In order to make Jesus more important than the pagan gods of Rome and Greece, Jesus had to supersede them in ability, rising above the human into the divine. Thus, Jesus took on the qualities of the pagan gods- virgin birth, miracle-worker, rise from the dead, leave earth for the heavens. Naturally, the fact that he may have been married and sired a child with Mary the Magdalene, did not go over well with the early Church Fathers. Her subsequent demise- the 'prostitute' image- was the first step in denying the possibility of a married Jesus. Oddly, most ancient pagan gods were married and sired children. Male dominance of the church would not be helped by such a situation with Jesus and therefore, Jesus 'remained unmarried.' It seems to me that a married Jesus, wife, son, would be quite a great model for us humans. The majority of us do get married and have children. Why would we deny that for him? What purpose does it serve to have a 'chaste' Jesus? Nonsense. If he's 'one of us, then he's one of us.' A family tomb with mother, father, wife, children, and brothers seems quite logical and normal to me.
posted by liberal_dem at 10:23 AM on Mar 5, 2007

microdot said...
I'm sure it was one of Discovery Channels best rated films ever!
Right up there with the documentary on Atlantis.
I almost hate to ask but my naughty nature is forcing me to...
Barb, did you watch it?

12:46 PM EST

Barb said...
No, I had a choir practice. After that, I can't even remember what I watched on tv last night--something. --probably flipped channels in vain search of something interesting. Didn't know when this creative revisionist history was airing and wasn't looking for it.

What an imagination the revisionist historians have --yet --not so creative, just the sort of thing any skeptic could conceive. At least SOME of the gospel accounts which spend a lot of paper space detailing the resurrection of Christ and things he did and said afterward --were written in the first century --not in the 4th and 5th when an unmarried, celibate, resurrected Jesus served the purpose of the church in the Gospel according to LD/TV.

As you said, there wasn't a need for Jesus to be unmarried --from the standpoint of pagan cultures whose deities were VERY human in all ways -- there wasn't a need for Jesus to be resurrected IN ORDER to have a world religion with power and influence --take the married Mohammad and Buddha.

But by the Creator's revealed plan, there was a need for man's sins to be atoned for so he could regain immortality--because God had made man in His own image, longing for fellowship with us --forever. We are the apple of His eye called to "run the race set before us for the prize of the high calling of Christ Jesus."

Newsweek suggested that it was unlikely that Jesus' poor family would be buried in the location of this tomb. In fact, there was no family plot so Jesus was laid to rest in a donated tomb owned by a wealthy man.

Any craftsman in the early centuries (maybe even recent --can make forgeries that fool experts)and could have made these ossuaries hoping for some financial gain--or hoping to debunk the Bible. Also, the names were common to the era and could have been any other family's tomb.

Moreoever, the followers of Jesus just wanted to save their own skins and were hiding out, dejected; Peter had denied knowing Jesus during the trial period --these men were not a brave lot --until transformed by their association with a resurrected God/man. The Resurrection was the turning point for the disciples --the event which birthed the church --whose central message was "christ, crucified, risen, and coming again." Because that's what they witnessed --along with His promise that He would return.

The Resurrection of Christ with a promise of salvation for all who believe is the greatest and best news in all of human history.

All that is said in a film like this and in your report is vain speculation, suggestions, no hard facts--which, however, will mislead many away from the truth --a damnable offense.

1:25 PM EST

liberal_dem said...
What an imagination the revisionist historians have

Would that be to a greater or lesser degree than the writers and scribes of the canonical Gospels?

2:26 PM EST

Barb said...
The gospel writers were THERE --no imagination required --just recording.

The revisionists are speculators only.

3:56 PM EST

microdot said...
So the bible was concieved word for inalterable word, exactly as the document you interpret so literally almost 2000 years ago?
What of the discovery of the Essenes scriptures, hidden in a cave since that time which vary wildly with the approved modern bible translations?
Personally, I think a lot of the History Channel stuff is junk history.
They recently referred to the entire Dark Ages as Europes Godless 400 years. In other words from the fall of Rome to the First Crusade.
Of course, I also think that Christianity, Islam and Judaism are flashes in the pan in the long view of religion and mankind. The reign of the gods of Egypt held sway for almost 8,000 years.
There are a lot of nutty sects, the Catholics and the Mormons...do you know anything about Mormon theology and history? Space gods coming to earth from other planets...Really, I was curious enough to want to know what exactly the Mormons believed and boy I wasn't disappointed when I found out! The entire history...Joseph Smith being a preacher in upstate New York who got a little too friendly with his female congregation (sound familiar?) he was run out of town with his sacred gold tablets...in reality hammered sheets of pewter from an old tea service. Ending up on Fox Island off the coast of Traverse City, Michigan where his followers polygamous lifestyle and attempts at converting the Irish Catholic Fishing community provoked a massacre with some of the Mormons escaping with their lives...culminating in the schism of the church...the church of Latter Day Saints and the Mormons and Joseph Smiths Religious Police State in Utah...read some of the early accounts of those who dared to defy him!
I also have been reading and researching the evolution of American Fundamentalism from storefront scams and tent revivals to radio glamour preachers of the 30's and 40's to the big business it has become today....
As I said there are some things that are much older than the religions of the west, there is the wisdom of the East, the Tao which says that when something becomes so big ands swollen with pride, it will destroy itself.

4:27 PM EST

liberal_dem said...
The gospel writers were THERE

Oh, what ignorance. You don't really believe...

Oh never mind.

4:35 PM EST

Don said...
Muslims believe that the Koran is a word-for-word transcript of God's word as spoken to Muhammed through the angel Gabriel. Wasn't Mohammed equally "THERE", just as much so as the authors of the Gospels?

If not, on what basis can we distinguish the two? Who are the false witnesses? Why are the authors of the Gospels contained in the Bible any more or less credible than the authors of the Koran, or the gnostic codices? Or the authors of the Greek epic cycle?

5:26 PM EST

Chris Rosebrough said...
Liberal dem this must be your lucky day. How would you like to hear a a comprehensive and scholarly rebuttal of the film’s evidence from the point a view of a conservative Biblical literalist? I'd love to know what you think you can find it at ExtremeTheology.com.

8:00 PM EST

liberal_dem said...
Well, Chris, to be perfectly frank, no. I've heard all of the biblical spin, bob and weave that I can tolerate.

It all comes down to personal belief, not facts or data. I'm comfortable with what I wrote in this article while others are comfortable with their own interpretations.

Nothing will be 'proved' one way or the other. My objective is to open the door to new possibilities.

I'm satisfied and I hope the person at the other end of the link is as well.

I've always enjoyed reading of the humanity of Jesus, his dealings with the authority figures and the poor folks too. He spell-bounds both not by some deistic magic, but rather by being a person who speaks in terms of grand postulates like the many we studied and argued in the philosophy classes I took at the university.

He lived a full but short life and what he did and said during that time is enough for me; I need no risen 'lord' nor ascended 'master' to enhance his humanity.

As I, too, am human, we share that connection, not any supernatural, transcendence. My time on earth is what matters to me and his life has portrayed the model for all of us to follow: love one another.

Whether he is up there at the left or right hand of God is of little value to me down here in Northwest Ohio. He may be surrounded by 'hosts of angels' but I am surrounded by hosts of human beings.

He can take care of them and I'll do what i can down here.

9:35 PM EST

Barb said...
Interesting , LD, that you believe in the human Jesus --in that part of the accounts --so why don't you believe it when the writers go on to tell you about his miracles, resurrection and what He said afterwards? There were many witnesses --not just one man's claim to have seen a risen Jesus.

I also think the story of St Paul is very compelling to faith in Christ. He was a persecutor of Christians delivering them to their deaths --until he was blinded by a light on the Road to Damascus --and Jesus' voice spoke to Him--and told Him where to go to receive back His sight --after which He could say with authority and double meaning, "I once was blind but now I see."

Paul was completely changed by that experience. Encountering Christ still changes people today.
Read ACTS ch. 9 -- There were multiple witnesses to Paul's blindness and his experience on the road --and God told a man named Ananias to find Paul and follow directions so his sight would be restored. It's a wonderful story --with witnesses who traveled with Paul and also heard the voice.

Joseph Smith had just his own narrative of an angel visitation --and his life didn't produce Godly fruit. Any religion that departs from the Bible and adds to it and speculates wildly, claiming authoritative knowledge about Heaven beyond what the Bible says --saying our souls pre-existed, etc. as Mormons teach --those religions were founded by false prophets.

but Christianity was founded by a man that MOST people still admire for His life and teachings--though some dare to be sacriligious (like Conan the other night) to their peril. As Pilate said, people today say of Christ, "I can find no fault with this man."

Mohammad had his Gabriel visitation but he is the only witness to it and there was no righteous fruit to his life or ministry--and no healings and no resurrection. It is not a religion of love but one started by a wolf in sheep's clothing --whose followers would behead me for saying so. Look at the mess of radical Islam and all the bombings around the world.They can justify it in these heavenly writings received by mohammad. In his defense, HE was possibly genuinely spiritually deceived, believing in his revelation --perhaps an unwitting channel for something diabolical--because he twisted the revelation about Christ --and said Judas or a body-double was crucified instead --that Christ was assumed into Heaven rather than resurrected from the grave. And that he Mohammad is the greatest prophet, greater than Christ.

Christianity is the religion of the eye witnesses who saw the miracles --who saw Jesus on the cross --and after death in His resurrected body. It's not one man's account or writing --not even Jesus' writing about himself --it's not one man's revelation. His coming was predicted --read the pre-Christian Isaiah 53: 5 & 6 (the whole chapter actually) about the one "who was wounded for our transgressions." "who bore the iniquity of us all."

Jesus said at the Passover Feast before His crucifixion, "Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."

The witnesses preached, "Christ, crucified, risen, and coming again."

I assume, Microdot, you refer to the Dead Sea Scrolls? I don't think there is any contradiction to scripture in them, is there? they just are NOT scriptures. I believe they have been an aid in translation --for the linguists of ancient languages who have done Bible translations.

As for who will be taking care of whom in eternity, LD --Jesus will judge sinners and forgiven sinners on a Judgment Day. Like it or not, He will deal with you. "Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord."

12:50 PM EST

Barb said...
You say, Microdot,that the Egyptians and their religions existed for 8000 years --but no longer. Doesn't Abraham's life occur during those 8000 years --of course --and it is through him that the fallen world will start to hear from their Creator again --actually Melchizadek predates Abraham and is referred to as a true prophet of God who confirms Abraham's position as the father of a nation that will eventually bring light to the Gentiles. A new temple will be built on the foundation of the Jewish prophets and the Christian apostles --with Christ as the cornerstone --and the new temple will house the Spirit of God in the living stones, the believers --the Body of Christ.

1:03 PM EST

liberal_dem said...
She still doesn't get it, does she? Oh well, there is room enough for the ignorant too.

1:19 PM EST

Don said...
"...you believe in the human Jesus --in that part of the accounts --so why don't you believe it when the writers go on to tell you about his miracles, resurrection and what He said afterwards..."

For pretty much the same reason I believe that St. Nicholas was a real man who lived in 4th century, but do not believe that he currently resides at the North Pole, and possesses magical powers.

People lie, exaggerate, misunderstand, etc. Sorry, but I am not so stupid or naive to believe an "eyewitness" simply because a person claims to be an eyewitness. Just because the Gospels are written in such a way as to suggest the authors were eyewitnesses does not make it so. In ANY work of fiction, an author writes as if witnessing the events described.

Even if the Gospels are eyewitness accounts, how might they have been altered by subsequent copyings and translations? Even if the original authors had the best of intentions, the books could have been significantly altered over the course of 2,000 years. Maybe they had the wool pulled over their eyes, just like Mohammed.

1:58 PM EST

Agnostic and logical said...
I really liked the documentary, not so much the debate. I understand names are common. My parent's and my name are very common and I know a couple of families in my town with the same names. Is it a coincidence? well, assuming that we have common names I would say no. BUT, I have two brothers, and there are more siblings in the other two families that makes each of the family basically unique. In that tomb not all the names were so common and they are the ones that gives more credibility to the documentary.
The Christian church has made it own interpretation of the bible, which does not seems to be the same interpretation during the 300 years, and it has been used as a tool to control the population and governments. If you carefully read the bible there are many different interpretations, which have to be put into historical context with the help of archaeological and scientific evidence (and a bit of common sense). The church tries not to include these two elements, treating them as tabues, because they would negativelly affect the basis of what we, today, know as the christian church. The church doesn't like the documentary because they are scared of the potential truth. And the church's followers are so brain-washed that they do what the church says, without even considering that all the dots in the documentary finding seem to connect. This connection or "coincidence" is not a reason to discredit the validity of the documentary but it is the reason to keep finding more evidence that that tumb is in fact the real tomb of Jesus. It would be interesting if they could find the bones and try to do DNA analysis to really confirm the family tree of the different individuals found in that tomb. Also, at the end of the documentary, when they enter the tomb there are some inscriptions on the walls that may say something relevant. Just lets give them a chance to keep investigating and let's use a bit of common sense and make valid comments only if we are well informed. People talk about the bible without reading it, talk about history understanding the historical context.

2:18 PM EST

Barb said...
They found these things in the 1980's --so why haven't they interpreted the writings on the walls by now?

Common or uncommon names --you'd take the word of someone on what names were common in those days among the Jewish people --rather than the word of 4 gospel writers --not all of whom were eye witnesses but at least 2 or 3 were --matt, a tax collector, mark and John, I believe --and Luke, a physician, was an eyewitness to much of the book of Acts and did research for his gospel account, talking with eye witnesses.

The New Testament is simply the work of MANY writers --and not one Mohammad. It is not the writings of Christ himself blowing His own horn --but the account of those with Him.

Yet, you guys will get all excited about some old bone boxes that have some names the same as people in Jesus' family. For all you know, this was an early Christian family who named their kids after Jesus and HIS family. Just like all the Matthews, Joshuas, Davids, Johns and others of Biblical names today in Christian (and other) families. It takes a lot MORE faith to believe in the authenticity of these boxes with a few names on them--than it does to believe in the VOLUME of record-keeping about Jesus. The body disappeared though it was under Roman guard, People! You think it is going to show up 20 centuries later in a bone box with the rest of the family? I don't think so. Conspiracy theorists would sooner think the Christians would destroy such a box and the bones --and the Jews would have considered such a find to be proof that Jesus did not resurrect --and would have been glad to publicize the box's existance in the first century. No way does such a find get preserved in the family tomb of Christ's poor relatives.

I believe with the doubting thomas --who had to see the nailprints in his hands. He is risen! he is risen indeed!

5:08 PM EST

microdot said...
Oh yes, I forgot, Abraham lived for 8000 years, silly of me. Did they use dog years back then?
And yes the dead sea scrolls contain a lot of radical variations from the modern translations of the bible and there are another set of scrolls discovered even more recently.
I will accept that there was someone named Jesus or a person resembling him who lived in or about the Aramic speaking region of what is now called Israel about 2000 or so years ago and he was very good at marketing.

5:12 PM EST

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5:23 PM EST

Don said...
"The New Testament is simply the work of MANY writers --and not one Mohammad."

Actually, Muslims believe Mohammad transcribed the Koran directly from God. Right from the diety Himself (if we assume Gabriel was a reliable mouthpiece). Isn't there less possibility of error that way, rather than having a bunch of people provide ex post facto recollection?

"It is not the writings of Christ himself blowing His own horn..."

Good grief, Barb...

If writings were discovered that appeared to be written by Jesus Christ himself, would you really be down on him for "blowing his own horn"? I'd much rather hear from Jesus first hand than any second-hand witness.

"For all you know, this was an early Christian family who named their kids after Jesus and HIS family."

A reasonable speculation. If an anthropologist made such a comment, though, we should denounce it as "blah, blah, blah". Right?

I guess speculation is OK when questioning the other side's position.

5:25 PM EST

microdot said...
was it something i said?

3:56 AM EST

Barb said...
A religious leader who writes his own story and claims unique revelation directly from God --needs a little corroboration from others, i think.

Jesus had that --lots of it from the first century witnesses who produced the New Testament scriptures. The groundwork for the church was laid by prophecy in the Old Testament as in Isaiah 53 --and by Christ's miracles and teachings --and ultimately his death and resurrection.

Jesus' life is credible because He did NOT write about Himself --except as part of the God-head, the Trinity, the work of the Holy Spirit inspiring and protecting the writings.

I would be glad if we had writings from the Pen of Jesus in addition to what we already have. As it is, we have parables and teachings that even a child can understand. And a record of miracles with the teachings that paved the way for faith in Him by people like us, who were not eye witnesses.

The Good news is clear --that "while we were yet sinners, christ died for us." and He conquored the grave as only Deity could.

6:00 PM EST

liberal_dem said...
and He conquored the grave as only Deity could.

Several Deities 'conquered' the grave, if you care to look back on religious beliefs.

By the way, what is so grand about conquering the grave? Seems to me that i can't do that. However, something i can do is to follow some of his examples and incorporate them into my life.

One of my favorites is: 'love your neighbor.'

9:10 PM EST

Barb said...
Exactly --you can't do that --conquor the grave. But Jesus did it for you and said,"Because I live, you shall live also."

12:06 PM EST

Barb said...
About Abraham, Microdot --I said he was likely born during this 8000 Year era of Egyptian religions you wrote about --I didn't say he lived 8000 years --HIS RELIGION, Judaism, DID --it has survived LONGER than the Egyptians' religion. When Abraham and God were establishing the Jewish nation through whom Jesus would come --the rest of the world was committing child-sacrifice and worshiping all sorts of man-made gods in their grand temples -the ruins of which you can see today.

Meanwhile the God of Abraham was laying the foundation for an eternal temple of people in whom God would dwell, the Jews and Gentiles who make up the body of Christ - going strong to this day --despite world-wide persecution.

12:19 PM EST

Barb said...
LD, "love your neighbor" is the reason that Christians don't shut up --but keep proclaiming the "inconvenient truth." Inconvenient now, to those who don't want to make a choice --but expedient in the eternal run for those who DO choose to believe Christ.

12:29 PM EST


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