Sunday, February 25, 2007

Burying the truth

It wasn't enough for James Cameron to falsely portray the fate of rich and poor to advance Marxism in his Titanic (what does it say for the truth of an ideology that one must lie for it?). Now he is conducting a clumsy, obtuse, pseudo-scientific attack against Christianity.

From here.
New scientific evidence, including DNA analysis conducted at one of the world's foremost molecular genetics laboratories, as well as studies by leading scholars, suggests a 2,000-year-old Jerusalem tomb could have once held the remains of Jesus of Nazareth and his family.
Of course,"scientific evidence," "DNA analysis," and "scholars" make every unsubstantiated assertion in this article legitimate, since everyone knows that if a "scientist" says it, it must be true.

"Could have"? Was only one family living in Jerusalem at the time? Perhaps someone ought to save Cameron from public humiliation by letting him know that there are eyewitness accounts of what happened to Jesus' body in these little texts called the Gospels.
The findings also suggest that Jesus and Mary Magdalene might have produced a son named Judah.
"...findings also suggest" should read, "these could be anybody's bodies, but we're going to draw the most absurd conclusion possible just to reach the preconceived outcome we desire. Yes, we could've have asked a local cabbie if Jesus had a son with Mary and come to just as reasonable a conclusion, but that wouldn't lend us the same air of authority."
The DNA findings, alongside statistical conclusions made about the artifacts — originally excavated in 1980 — open a potentially significant chapter in Biblical archaeological history.
"...archaelogical historical fiction," it should say. And statistics can never be misused as a means to one's ends, can they?

As for DNA findings, do the "scientists" have Jesus' mother's DNA? No? Then how in the world can they possibly conclude these are the remains of Christ and His family (especially since eyewitnesses testified upon pain of death to His Resurrection and Ascension)?
...Scholars know that from 30 B.C. to 70 A.D., many people in Jerusalem would first wrap bodies in shrouds after death. The bodies were then placed in carved rock tombs, where they decomposed for a year before the bones were placed in an ossuary.
So, when the opportunity comes to try to discredit among the naive and the eager the Resurrection, "scholars" know that First Century Jews prepared their dead in this way, but when looking at the eyewitness accounts of what was done with Christ's body recorded in the Gospels, then the knowledge of those same cultural practices lends no historical validity at all to those testimonies?
Five of the 10 discovered boxes in the Talpiot tomb were inscribed with names believed to be associated with key figures in the New Testament: Jesus, Mary, Matthew, Joseph and Mary Magdalene. A sixth inscription, written in Aramaic, translates to "Judah Son of Jesus."
Yes, no one was named "Jesus" in those days, except at least one male in every family (even Barabbas, the criminal sentenced to death but released in Christ's stead, was named "Jesus").

And of course, what are the odds of any other First Century Jews being named "Mary" or "Joseph"? Or of being buried in Jerusalem?

What does the statistical analysis of the fact that only half the boxes in this tomb have names matching New Testament figures?

It looks like all we have evidence of is a common, two-thousand year old, Jewish tomb (and someone's predetermined outcome), as evidenced by the following:
"Such tombs are very typical for that region," Aaron Brody, associate professor of Bible and archaeology at the Pacific School of Religion and director of California's Bade Museum told Discovery News.
Here comes support not for this supposed "discovery" but for the Gospels (and an odd bit on Mary):
...Frank Moore Cross, a professor emeritus in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, told Discovery News, "The inscriptions are from the Herodian Period (which occurred from around 1 B.C. to 1 A.D.). The use of limestone ossuaries and the varied script styles are characteristic of that time."

Jodi Magness, associate department chair of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told Discovery News that, based on the New Testament writings, "Jesus likely lived during the first century A.D."

In addition to the "Judah son of Jesus" inscription, which is written in Aramaic on one of the ossuaries, another limestone burial box is labeled in Aramaic with "Jesus Son of Joseph." Another bears the Hebrew inscription "Maria," a Latin version of "Miriam," or, in English, "Mary." Yet another ossuary inscription, written in Hebrew, reads "Matia," the original Hebrew word for "Matthew." Only one of the inscriptions is written in Greek. It reads, "Mariamene e Mara," which can be translated as, "Mary known as the master."

If the second box did contain the remains of Jesus, those remains would have been placed there by family/followers. They would no doubt have noted His mother's name, not Joseph's, since the Gospels cease mentioning Joseph very early in their accounts and often identify Him with His mother, even at His crucifixion where He makes arrangements for her life without Him.

So was this "Mary" actually the wife of Jesus ("Mrs. The Master") as Cameron and Jacobvici seem to hope? Or was this some sort of First Century gender-identity conflict?

Using Cameron and his Partner-in-Crime's logic, we might as well conclude that this tomb is evidence of Mary Magdalene's central place in authentic Christian theology, no doubt usurped by those patriarchal, misogynist Church Fathers.

Someone call Dan Brown quick!

Francois Bovon, professor of the history of religion at Harvard University, told Discovery News, "Mariamene, or Mariamne, probably was the actual name given to Mary Magdalene."

Bovon explained that he and a colleague discovered a fourteenth century copy in Greek of a fourth century text that contains the most complete version of the "Acts of Philip" ever found. Although not included in the Bible, the "Acts of Philip" mentions the apostles and Mariamne, sister of the apostle Philip.

"When Philip is weak, she is strong," Bovon said. "She likely was a great teacher who even inspired her own sect of followers, called Mariamnists, who existed from around the 2nd to the 3rd century."

So, is their "Mariamne" the Magdalene, Philip's sister, or a first century Oprah?

...Jacobovici, director, producer and writer of "The Lost Tomb of Jesus," and his team obtained two sets of samples from the ossuaries for DNA and chemical analysis. The first set consisted of bits of matter taken from the "Jesus Son of Joseph" and "Mariamene e Mara" ossuaries. The second set consisted of patina — a chemical film encrustation on one of the limestone boxes.

It's hard to call something "lost" that was used for only a couple of days and then never needed again.
The human remains were analyzed by Carney Matheson, a scientist at the Paleo-DNA Laboratory at Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada. Mitochondrial DNA examination determined the individual in the Jesus ossuary and the person in the ossuary linked to Mary Magdalene were not related.
Now, we've gone from "possibly" to a definite identification of Mary Magdalene's remains.

(It would be useful to notice here that "scientists" will admit the Biblical Jesus was really a man, but only when they want to defame and discredit Him.)

Since tombs normally contain either blood relations or spouses, Jacobovici and his team suggest it is possible Jesus and Mary Magdalene were a couple. "Judah," whom they indicate may have been their son, could have been the "lad" described in the Gospel of John as sleeping in Jesus' lap at the Last Supper.

Could this have been one of those common exceptions indicated by the use of the word "normally"?

Count the weasel words: "suggest," "possible," "indicate," "may have," and "could have." Doesn't sound like much with which to destroy two thousand years of established historical fact.

Never mind that the last sentence in that paragraph reveals someone who's never read the Biblical text. There was no boy sleeping in Jesus lap (now He's a pedophile? They must be thinking of the founder of that other world religion).
Robert Genna, director of the Suffolk County Crime Laboratory in New York, analyzed both the patina taken from the Talpiot Tomb and chemical residue obtained from the "James" ossuary, which was also found around 1980, but subsequently disappeared and resurfaced in the antiquities market. Although controversy surrounds this burial box, Genna found that the two patinas matched.

...Upon examining the tomb, the filmmakers determined a space exists that would have fit the "James" ossuary. Given the patina match and this observation, Jacobovici theorizes the lost burial box could, in fact, be the "James" ossuary.

So, the James Ossuary has gone from being "controversial" to establishing that the Son of God had a child and is still dead.

Not only is the James box being used to validate this ahistorical defamation of Christ, the fiction itself is being used to establish the identity of the remains in the James Ossuary.

That's the problem with false, circuitous logic: it never ends. Neither do the lies of those who hate Christ.