Easter: Did Archaeology Disprove the Resurrection?

March 23, 2010

Sometime ago, archaeologists working in Jerusalem discovered a “bone box” from the time of Jesus that contained names the Bible tells us were in Jesus’ family, including the name “Jesus” itself.  A man named Simcha Jacobovici investigated further and co-authored a 2007 book with Charles Pellegrino named The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence That Could Change History. It became a bigger story when director James Cameron, of “Terminator,” “Titanic” and “Avatar” fame—benefiting from the then roaring popularity of the highly speculative best-selling book, The DaVinci Code, got involved in an equally speculative “documentary,” entitled “the Lost Tomb of Jesus,” based on the book

To make a longer story short, the book and documentary rapidly joined history’s scrap heap, decimated by scholarly critics—using descriptions like “nonsense!”—who exposed major flaws in the presumed “evidence.”  The “heat” (i.e., emotional claims) level dropped to where the “light” (i.e., sound reasoning) level won out.  As The DaVinci Code was revealed as engagingly-written bunk from a historical standpoint, The Jesus Family Tomb and “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” also ended up being more fiction than fact.

After running into The Jesus Family Tomb in Half-Price Books last week, I recalled the above furor.  For this article, I decided to research and see what else had been written since then on the “evidence.”  For whatever it’s worth, I found a blog article by Randy Ingermanson (Ph.D., Cal Berkeley) in which he, using standard statistical methodology, conservatively estimates the possibility that the “bone box” was that of Jesus’ family as at least 10,000 to 1.

Bottom line: The resurrection of Jesus remains one of, if not the, most highly-attested fact(s) of all history.  Believers still have every right to proclaim “He is risen indeed!”

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