It started with a murder….

Posted by Censor Librorum on Mar 1, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

Whatever I’m doing this coming Sunday you can bet at 8 pm I’ll be in front of the tv watching “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” on the Discovery Channel. I love historical fiction, especially when it includes all kinds of “what ifs” that with a stretch of the imagination look quite possible.

National Geographic blew their opportunity with The Gospel of Judas because they relied too heavily on panels of scholars and news conferences. The Discovery Channel wasn’t going to make the same mistake. If you want to stay in the news you need a sensational made-for-TV program–just a few weeks before Easter–with ancient crypts and caskets and enough mitochondrial DNA to blow the whole resurrection story open. The marketing department must be dizzy with joy at their success.

27 years ago Israeli construction workers unearthed a 2,000 year old cave in the Jerusalem suburb of Talpiyot. Of the ten ossuaries found, six are inscribed with names: “Yeshua bar Yosef” in Aramaic, which is translated, “Jesus, son of Joseph.” The second box is inscribed “Maria” in phonetic Hebrew. “Maria” is the Latin version of “Miriam.” A third box is labeled “Matia” in Hebrew, or “Matthew.” The fourth box is inscribed, “Yose” or a nickname for “Yosef” or “Joseph” in English. The filmmakers believe the fifth box held the bones of Mary Magdalene. The inscription is in Greek and says “Mariamene e Mara,” which they say can be translated as “Mary, known as the master.” The sixth casket bears the inscription, “Judah, son of Jesus.”

Besides citing the New Testament heavily, the filmmakers also referred a work by a Harvard professor, Francois Bovon, of the “Acts of Phillip,” a text from the 4th or 5th century and recently recovered from a monastery at Mount Athos in Greece. The filmmakers say that Professor Bovon has determined from the “Acts of Phillip” that “Mariamene” is Mary Magdalene’s real name.

The documentary’s driving force, Simcha Jacobovici, said there was enough mitchondrial DNA to conclude the bodies in the “Jesus” and “Mary Magdalene” ossuaries were not related on their mothers’ side. Mr. Jacobovici deduced they were a couple, because otherwise they would not be buried together in a family tomb.

The articles reporting “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” have left me with a number of questions:

– Why are only six of the ossuaries inscribed? What about the other four?

– Where are the bones?

– Why are the names in Hebrew, Latin, Greek and Aramaic?

– Why were Jesus and his family buried in Jerusalem if they were from Nazareth?

– Mary Magdalene’s ossuary is so much bigger and ornate compared to rest of them. Why?

– Why is Mary Magdalene refered to as the “master”? Isn’t this how the disciples refer to Jesus?

– What is the meaning behind the six-petal design on her casket?

So far, the filmmakers haven’t been able to ignite enough Christians into an uproar, so that isn’t good. But there are enough clues and questions from the film that a good paperback writer should be able to embellish the story with some corrupt politicians, Vatican assassination squads, the apocalypse, kinky sex, and Iranian nuclear threats to write a best-seller that will be featured on talk shows and airport bookstores for months.

Somebody is going to make a pile of money from crafting a story about a few caskets nobody paid any attention to. Until the Da Vinci Code pointed the way.

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3 Responses to “It started with a murder….”

  1. Jordan Says:

    I’ve been following this in the news. Curious.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Jordan, curious in what way? K.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Just curious as to how it turns out. I have been reading about it. I too love those historical mysteries.
    I’ll be watching it on the Discovery Channel on Sunday.

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