Thursday, March 01, 2007

the tomb of Jesus?

if you've been following the news at all, you have probably heard the story about the supposed discovery of the tomb of Jesus. it's been made into a movie by james cameron of titanic and true lies fame, and ironically, those two movie titles may do a better job of describing this project than its actual title (the lost tomb of Jesus). if it were true, it'd be an archaeological finding of, well, titanic proportions. biblical christianity rests firmly on the reality of the resurrection of Jesus; if that's not true, christianity is something very different than what it claims to be. but given the flimsy evidence and sloppy reasoning for the amazing claims cameron is making, i don't christians are the ones to be pitied in this case.

cameron's case has been savaged, both by scholars (also here) and in the media (and here). professor amos kloner, former jerusalem district archaeologist of the israel antiquities authority and the first archaeologist to examine the tomb back in 1980 recently concluded,
"the new evidence is not serious, and i do not accept that it is connected to the family of Jesus... they just want to get money for it."
during this time of the year (the lenten season, during which christians look forward to the celebration of Jesus' resurrection), 'revelations' that challenge the orthodox view of Jesus have become common; anthony sacramone even catalogued them in a recent article in first things, including the shocking revelation that Jesus was a space alien whose tomb is really in japan.

if it sounds like i'm having a bit of fun, i'll cop to that. but this is serious business. i heard a religion professor from one of the local universities on the radio recently, trying to explain away the tomb finding by saying that resurrection doesn't have to mean that Jesus actually, physically rose from the dead. if that were true, it would give christianity a certain invulnerability, as no one could ever find an evidential way to challenge it. but in 1 corinthians 15:1-19, the apostle paul makes it clear that the literal resurrection of Jesus is crucial to our faith and our future. his argument: if Jesus has not been raised, then our faith is in vain; we are still in our sins, and we are not headed for resurrection ourselves. we ought to be pitied. but paul's conclusion is that Jesus was in fact raised from the dead and is living today. that's a really amazing claim, certainly bigger than james cameron's. i've bet my life on it. what do you think?

for those interested in a brief, accessible look at academically viable evidence for Jesus' having risen from the dead, take a look at this.

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