In 2006, movie mogul James Cameron lent his name to a "documentary" detailing the "discovery" of the tomb of Jesus Christ and his family. The film was widely panned by archeologists, Christians, Jews and non-believers alike and the evidence of the find has been shown to be highly suspect. But, this doesn't seem to bother Time Magazine as the monthly is reviving the story once again in Jesus 'Tomb' Controversy Reopened, a story by Tim McGirk. Naturally, the entire article is written from the perspective of those who take the anti-Christian position on the story and Christians are presented as rejecting the "find" merely out of blind belief while those supporting the interpretation of the find as that of Jesus' final resting place are presented as serious scientists and academicians.
Catch this first paragraph:
When the Discovery Channel aired a TV documentary last year raising the possibility that archeologists had found the family tomb of Jesus Christ in the hills behind Jerusalem, it caused a huge backlash among Christians. The claim, after all, challenged one of the cornerstones of Christian faith -- that Jesus, after his crucifixion, rose bodily to heaven in his physical form.
Here we see Time setting the stage to lead readers to believe that Christians are only against the claims because it would challenge the "cornerstones of Christian faith." Time follows this line of discussion for nearly the entire article, giving only scant exposure to some of the many substantive issues that a host of people from a myriad of disciplines find standing in the way of believing that this is the tomb of Jesus Christ. One easily comes away from the article thinking that people who are against the claims are only against them because they are closed minded religious zealots.
In truth, there are so many problems with this story that few really believe the case for this find being the tomb of Christ and his family. (For a nicely detailed article presenting the problematic evidence connected with this find, see “Jesus’ tomb found” claim as empty as Jesus’ [real] tomb) Strangely, this Time article only revives the mythical claims of the tomb find without really going into any of the problems with the evidence. Out of the whole article, we only get this one bit of the proof against the claim:
But the professor has a few doubts. "The name on Jesus's ossuary was scrawled on, like graffiti. There was no ornamentation. And there should have been. After all, his followers believed he was the Son of God."
McGirk mentions that Cameron's "documentary" was pulled from TV after only one airing. He seems to allude to the reason the show was pulled as being that Christians forced the TV presenters to bury the thing, as if that truth was squelched by crazed Christians. McGirk says that, "it was no surprise that the film was panned by some academics and many Christian clerics," as if the many Christian clerics were against it solely on religious grounds as he pointed to in his first paragraph.
McGirk then gives us the opinion of the organizer of the small conference (50 attendees) that revived this issue that he is "vindicated" as if his position that this is Christ's tomb has been put on more solid grounds.
"I feel vindicated," Jacobovici told TIME. "It's moved from 'it can't be the Jesus' family tomb' to 'it could be.' "
Who could be surprised that the guy who had the idea to have the conference would deem the result a great success? His is hardly an unbiased opinion here!
In any case, the argument in favor of this find being that of Christ’s tomb is presented as a serious contention and the flavor of the story really makes the position seem respectable. In truth there are not many academics, scientists or archeologists who favor this theory.
Sadly, this Time article does a disservice to the argument against this being a discovery of Jesus Christ’s tomb and that of his family and unduly keeps this debunked story alive.