Here’s an archeological find that is likely to incite a firestorm that will not subside soon. In fact, it is so Earth-shattering that I find myself almost numb from its implications.

As with anything scientific, intense scrutiny will be needed to figure out the interpretation.

Jesus Family Tomb Believed Found
Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

Feb. 25, 2007 — New scientific evidence, including DNA analysis conducted at one of the world’s foremost molecular genetics laboratories, as well as studies by leading scholars, suggests a 2,000-year-old Jerusalem tomb could have once held the remains of Jesus of Nazareth and his family.

The findings also suggest that Jesus and Mary Magdalene might have produced a son named Judah.

The DNA findings, alongside statistical conclusions made about the artifacts — originally excavated in 1980 — open a potentially significant chapter in Biblical archaeological history.

[MBT’s comment: duh!]

There will be a documentary on March 4 at 9 pm ET/PT to further explain the find and interpretations. The archeologists state that funerial ossuaries in Aramaic (the language of Jesus) describe the bones of Jesus, “Mary, known as “the Master,” interpreted to be Mary Magdelene, a son of Jesus and Mary Magdeline named “Judah”, James, another Mary and Matthew. The carbon dating and batina on the boxes date to the time of Jesus.

The Discovery link can be found here.

However, there are opposing views:

Scholars, Clergymen Criticize New Documentary on Alleged Tomb of Jesus ChristMonday, February 26, 2007

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JERUSALEM — Archaeologists and clergymen in the Holy Land derided claims in a new documentary produced by the Oscar-winning director James Cameron that contradict major Christian tenets.

“The Lost Tomb of Christ,” which the Discovery Channel will run on March 4, argues that 10 ancient ossuaries — small caskets used to store bones — discovered in a suburb of Jerusalem in 1980 may have contained the bones of Jesus and his family, according to a press release issued by the Discovery Channel.

One of the caskets even bears the title, “Judah, son of Jesus,” hinting that Jesus may have had a son. And the very fact that Jesus had an ossuary would contradict the Christian belief that he was resurrected and ascended to heaven.

Most Christians believe Jesus’ body spent three days at the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City. The burial site identified in Cameron’s documentary is in a southern Jerusalem neighborhood nowhere near the church.

[MBT’s note: I’m not sure that the location of Jesus’ tomb at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher has much archeological basis either]

And more…

Stephen Pfann, a biblical scholar at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem who was interviewed in the documentary, said the film’s hypothesis holds little weight.

“I don’t think that Christians are going to buy into this,” Pfann said. “But skeptics, in general, would like to see something that pokes holes into the story that so many people hold dear.”

“How possible is it?” Pfann said. “On a scale of one through 10 — 10 being completely possible — it’s probably a one, maybe a one and a half.”

Pfann is even unsure that the name “Jesus” on the caskets was read correctly. He thinks it’s more likely the name “Hanun.”

Kloner also said the filmmakers’ assertions are false.

“It was an ordinary middle-class Jerusalem burial cave,” Kloner said. “The names on the caskets are the most common names found among Jews at the time.”

Archaeologists also balk at the filmmaker’s claim that the James Ossuary — the center of a famous antiquities fraud in Israel — might have originated from the same cave. In 2005, Israel charged five suspects with forgery in connection with the infamous bone box.

“I don’t think the James Ossuary came from the same cave,” said Dan Bahat, an archaeologist at Bar-Ilan University. “If it were found there, the man who made the forgery would have taken something better. He would have taken Jesus.”

Fox News link here.

A further interesting fact: the BBC claims to have discovered the tomb 11 years ago. So, maybe the ‘discovery’ is not so numbing after all….