March 14, 2007

Jimmy Can't Read

It appears that James Cameron's claim to have found the tomb and ossuaries of Jesus Christ and his family, which were never taken seriously by biblical scholars, may have resulted from an inabilty to properly read and translate the Greek writing on at least one ossuary.

The film and book suggest that a first-century ossuary found in a south Jerusalem cave in 1980 contained the remains of Jesus, contradicting the Christian belief that he was resurrected and ascended to heaven. Ossuaries are stone boxes used at the time to store the bones of the dead.

The filmmakers also suggest that Mary Magdalene was buried in the tomb, that she and Jesus were married, and that an ossuary labeled "Judah son of Jesus" belonged to their son.

The scholars who analyzed the Greek inscription on one of the ossuaries after its discovery read it as "Mariamene e Mara," meaning "Mary the teacher" or "Mary the master."

Before the movie was screened, Jacobovici said that particular inscription provided crucial support for his claim. The name Mariamene is rare, and in some early Christian texts it is believed to refer to Mary Magdalene.

But having analyzed the inscription, Pfann published a detailed article on his university's Web site asserting that it doesn't read "Mariamene" at all.

The inscription, Pfann said, is made up of two names inscribed by two different hands: the first, "Mariame," was inscribed in a formal Greek script, and later, when the bones of another woman were added to the box, another scribe using a different cursive script added the words "kai Mara," meaning "and Mara." Mara is a different form of the name Martha.

According to Pfann's reading, the ossuary did not house the bones of "Mary the teacher," but rather of two women, "Mary and Martha."

"In view of the above, there is no longer any reason to be tempted to link this ossuary ... to Mary Magdalene or any other person in biblical, non-biblical or church tradition," Pfann wrote.

In the interest of telling a good story, Pfann said, the documentary engaged in some "fudging" of the facts.

Okay, an inability to read and an apparent willingness to deceive.

Somehow, I doubt anyone is all that surprised.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at March 14, 2007 08:03 AM

There is no historical evidence that Jesus and the two Maries continued living in Palestine while there is convincing evidence that they traveled to India. The fist detailed research was published a hundred years ago by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) in his book Jesus in India (, www.tombofjesus dot com) referring to many ancient sources. Graves of Jesus is well known in Srinagar India and that of one Mary in Murree in Pakistan.

Posted by: Syed Sajid Ahmad at March 14, 2007 11:43 AM

CY, I agree completely with two posts in a row! (Pace "don't ask/don't tell" and now this about bonehead Cameron). What's the world coming to? ;)

Posted by: Lex Steele at March 14, 2007 12:24 PM