The “Jesus Family Tomb:” One More Gnostic Onslaught

It just does not stop. Following in the footsteps of The Da Vinci Code, the Gnostic offensive against Christianity is forging ahead with new pretexts, and, once again, with massive media coverage.

The New Onslaught: Archeological Fiction

This time, it is not a pseudo-historic novel,but a pseudo-scientific Discovery Channel documentary, titled: The Lost Tomb of Jesus, which was directed by James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici.1

The two are well-suited for the task. Mr. Cameron is a science fictionfan, while Mr. Jacobovici could be considered an archeological fiction aficionado. Four years ago, he produced another Discovery Channel documentary claiming a funeral urn had been discovered with the inscription, “James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.” Later, Israel’s Antiquities Authority officially declared the inscription a forgery.2

He and Mr. Cameron now suggest that a set of ossuary-urns, engraved with the names, Jesus, Mary, a second Mary, Matthew, Joshua and Judah, proves that the Divine Savior did not resurrect and ascend to Heaven, but married Saint Mary Magdalene and had a son named Judah, not a daughter named Sarah, as The Da Vinci Code claimed.3
However, even Professor Kloner disagrees with their claim: “‘Jesus son of Joseph’ inscriptions had been found on several other ossuaries over the years. There is no likelihood that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb. They were a Galilee family with no ties in Jerusalem. The Talpiot tomb belonged to a middle-class family from the first century CE [A.D.]4

Speaking of the documentary, Prof. Kloner went even further: “It makes a great story for a TV film, but it’s impossible. It’s nonsense.5

He also stated: “In their movie they are billing it as ‘never before reported information,’ but it is not new. I published all the details in the Antiqot journal in 1996 and I didn’t say it was the tomb of Jesus’ family. I think it is very unserious work. I do scholarly work … based on other studies6

Gnostic Propaganda

The Lost Tomb of Jesus’ web site indicates clearly that this is simply another bit of Gnostic propaganda. Among the “holy books” which allegedly provide a theological basis for the documentary’s absurd thesis are various Gnostic works, including the Acts of Philip, The Gospel of Mary [Magdalene] and The Gospel of Thomas. Curiously enough, these are the same “sources” cited by The Da Vinci Code.7

Gnostic partisanship here is obvious. According to the site, the Gnostic “Acts of Phillip” were part of the canon of the New Testament in the fourth century but were removed “because they did not adhere to common cultural and church practices established at the time.” However, the Church has always rejected the Gnostic writings. They were never part of the canon of the New Testament, which was pretty much defined by the end of the second century.8

The site recognizes that the Acts of Philip was attributed to “Christian Gnostics” and adds: “As is the case with the other Gnostic writings, the spiritual role of Mary Magdalene has proved to be the most contentious subject in the text. Some believe that passages relate Mary’s privileged status and leadership role amongst the apostles, a view that has not been espoused by Christian theology in the past.”

According to the same source, one must know Gnosticism to understand Christianity. Christianity is allegedly an eclectic mixture of Jesus’ doctrines and paganism. Thus, the site reads:

In fact, the religion as it is currently practiced is actually a fusion of the teachings of Jesus himself (as well as their interpretations by his followers), Judaism, paganism, Greek thought, and even mystical religions. To begin, get the basics on the Judeo-Christians, and their contribution to the development of Christian thought. Then read about the Nazarenes and the Ebionites, two Judeo-Christian [Gnostic] sects that were arguably the earliest followers of Jesus – although each enjoyed divergent legacies within the context of Christian history. Next, learn about the Gnostics, the Essenes, and the Gentile Romans – all of whom have been at the center of debate at some point during the evolution of the Christian faith9

After Liberalism and Marxism, Gnosticism

Beginning in the nineteenth century, the Church was the object of a savage attack by liberalism, which denied the existence of the supernatural and grace on the pretext of exalting human liberty.

Throughout most of the twentieth century, the Church faced political and cultural persecution by Marxist materialism that deemed religion “the opium of the people.”

As the twenty-first century begins, the Church continues to suffer from these two offensives, but now is attacked once again by the “eternal heresy,” irrational Gnosticism.

Facing this new onslaught, we must hold fast to our Faith and deepen our knowledge of it. We must also manifest our indignation against these public attacks on the adorable Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us not forget we are members of the Church Militant. By Baptism and Confirmation, we are made milites Christi, soldiers of Christ. One only really loves that which he is willing to defend. If we truly love Christ and his Church, we must oppose these pernicious ideas.

Footnotes

  1. Cf. TFP Committee on American Studies, Rejecting the Da Vinci Code (Spring Grove: 2005).
  2. Cf. Biography for James Cameron http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000116/bio
  3. Dion Nissenbaum, Tomb of Jesus, son found, film reportsDirector claims titanic `new’ evidence; experts call it bunk, McClatchy Newspapers, Published February 27, 2007, Chicago Tribune<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/" target="_blank"http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/[/note]

    A Twenty-seven-year-old “Novelty”

    The factual basis, or rather, the pretext for this new onslaught is a mausoleum discovered in Tilot, Jerusalem, by Israeli archeologist Prof. Amos Kloner of Bar Ilan University in 1980. The burial chamber contains several funeral urns engraved with the names mentioned above. Ten years later, he publicly announced his discovery, with little excitement. Nevertheless, the documentary’s authors claim it to be the tomb of Jesus’ “family.”[note]David Horovitz, New film claims Jesus buried in Talpiot, “The Jerusalem Post,” Feb. 25, 2007,

  4. Ibid.
  5. Judith Sudilovsky (Catholic News Service) Biblical scholars reject filmmakers’ claim about tomb of Jesus, Feb-27-2007,http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0701131.htm.
  6. http://www.jesusfamilytomb.com/holy_books.html.
  7. http://www.jesusfamilytomb.com/holy_books/apochryphal/acts_philip.html.
  8. Cfr. TFP Committee on American Issues, Rejecting the Da Vinci Code, (Spring Grove-PA, 2005) pp. 57-58.
  9. http://www.jesusfamilytomb.com/back_to_basics/early_christianity.html.

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