James Tabor and Simcha Jacobovici are lucky that Christians are more forgiving than fundamentalist Muslims. Otherwise, the archaeologist and the documentary filmmaker would be running for their very lives.
Remember when Salman Rushdie published his fourth novel, “The Satanic Verses”? Muslims were offended. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, actually issued a fatwa against Rushdie, calling for his death. The novelist went into years of hiding.
The so-called “Jesus Discovery,” a project by Tabor and Jacobovici, that includes a book and film, is, in many respects, more grossly insulting to Christians than “The Satanic Verses” was to Muslims.
Rushdie didn’t pretend that his book was anything other than fiction. Tabor and Jacobovici, on the other hand, insist that they truly have found the 1st-century tomb of Jesus and his family inJerusalem.
And they did not stop at that controversial claim.
They also maintain that ossuaries – caskets – inside the tomb not only contain the bones of Christ’s family members, but those of Jesus Himself. And, to add insult to offense, purport that writing on the outside of the tomb indicates that Jesus had a wife and kids.
Of course, the wild claims by Tabor and Jacobovici are completely contrary to the gospel. But even members of the scientific community, who are not Christian, criticize the pair for their shoddy, unscientific methods; for their leap to unproven, sensationalized conclusions.
More than 30 years before Tabor and Jacobovici made their putative “Jesus Discovery,” Amos Kloner was the very first archaeologist to examine the site. “It’s an ordinary middle-classJerusalemburial cave,”he told MSNBC. “The names on the casket are the most common names found among Jews at that time.”
Kloner said that Tabor and Jacobovici are making false archaeological claims to pimp their new book, which was released this week. “They just want to get money for it,” he told MSNBC.
Christian ought not threaten violence against Tabor and Jacobovici, as Muslims did against Rushdie. But they also ought not let the attack upon their faith go unchallenged.
They should e-blast their indignation both to Simon & Schuster, publisher of “The Jesus Discovery,” and the Discovery Channel, which plans to air a documentary based on the inflammatory work of comtempt.