Monday, March 05, 2007

The Lost Tomb of Jesus

I watched The Lost Tomb of Jesus on The Discovery Channel last night. My first reaction was that it was pretty boring. About halfway through I was having trouble paying attention. The program that followed was much more interesting, as Ted Koppel moderated a discussion between Simcha Jacobvici - the director of the documentary - and others. Jacobvici was grilled pretty hard, and rightfully so, as his program was full of bad science and bad history. Koppel never let him off the hook and really revealed the problems with the program by reading quotes from some of those featured in the program. Most, if not all, of the experts Jacobvici quotes in his program distanced themselves from his findings and claimed they were quoted out of context.

This program has obvious paralleles to The DaVinci Code, especially with the way it uses materials such as the Acts of Phillip and the legends of the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and it will end the same way - it will stir a lot of short-term interest and then disappear.

One obvious casualty of the program is the reputation of Dr. James Tabor, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A highly respected Biblical scholar, his association with the producers of this documentary and his sympathy for their conclusions are akin to a journalist with the Wall Street Journal writing for the National Enquirer. Very unfortunate.

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