So said James Cameron, erstwhile King of the World, oscar-winner and Titanic wreck-obsessive. And if he’s right, he’s right! For he has just completed a documentary in which scholars present evidence for the tomb of Jesus having been unearthed in Jerusalem (Ladies and Gentlemen, please now turn to your right where you will see a particularly fine example of an ancient (-looking) tomb which is held (by many scholars) to be the tomb of one Jesus of Nazareth, who lived and died in the early 1st Century C.E.). It is certainly a coup. See the whole story on the BBC site. There are some classic quotes from the article though.
Academic Stephen Pfann, a scholar at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, said he did not expect Christians to accept the film’s findings. “I don’t think that Christians are going to buy into this,” said Mr Pfann, who was interviewed by the film-makers. “But sceptics, in general, would like to see something that pokes holes into the story that so many people hold dear.”
You don’t say!
Others are very quick to see the commercial opportunities though:
Local residents said they were pleased with the attention the tomb has drawn. “It will mean our house prices will go up because Christians will want to live here,” one woman said.
All quite fun. But it is funny how it has taken 2000 years to find it. For it is not as if there were no sceptics in the 1st century who would have relished the chance to unveil such a tomb. The fact that we never knew where the tomb was until this week indicates that no one ever did. After all, Christians didn’t exactly have control over events in the 1st Century and so were hardly in a position to construct elaborate conspiracy theories let alone conspiracies.
What’s more it is not as if either Mary, Matthew, Joseph or Jesus were uncommon names in those days. There are all kinds of name-combinations that people have in common. After all, when we first came to All Souls, we found that another family on the staff had children with the same names. And i discovered the other day that there’s actually a bloke in Colorado called Rico Tice – how about that! So big deal. Quite fun and just a little bit silly – as the Israeli archaeologist Amos Kloner, who was among the first to examine the tomb when it was first discovered, said:
I don’t accept the news that it was used by Jesus or his family,” he told the BBC News website. “The documentary filmmakers are using it to sell their film.