- Title: USA/FILE: Filmmaker James Cameron shows relics from disputed Jesus tomb.
- Date: 27th February 2007
- Summary: (AMERICA) NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (FEBRUARY 26, 2007) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF THE OSSUARIES TOMBS
- Embargoed: 14th March 2007 12:00
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA3784TUWW2EBSTZA6JRIF6X0SB
- Story Text: "Titanic" director James Cameron unveiled what he believes to be the coffins of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Coffins of the rest of Jesus's family, including one with the transcription 'Judah, son of Jesus,' are being protected by the Israel Antiquities Authority.
"Titanic" director James Cameron unveiled what he believes may be Jesus's coffin on Monday (February 26), calling it possibly the first physical evidence of Christ's life of earth.
The plain limestone box, or "ossuary", was one of 10 discovered in a cave tomb stumbled on by builders in Jerusalem in 1980. Measuring just over a metre in length and around 30cm high, the ossuary inscribed with 'Jesus son of Joseph' took centre stage alongside one the team believed once contained Mary Magdalene's remains.
"So, what this, what this film and the investigation that the film shows is able to bring to light is for the first time tangible physical archaeological and in some cases, forensic evidence," said Cameron.
The severely disintegrated bones found in the coffins were reburied according to tradition, but human matter collected by film-makers has provided DNA profiles. Filmmakers say that the DNA results suggest that the couple were not related at that they may have been married.
The find is naturally causing a deal of controversy around the world; especially Cameron's role as producer, a man known world-wide for his fiction thrillers like "Titanic" and "Alien."
Although the coffins were found 27 years ago, the boxes merely gathered dust on storage shelves, because the names on the inscriptions on six of them were so common that they did not excite those who first catalogued them.
Chair of Religious Studies at University of North Carolina, James Tabor, is convinced that these are the coffins of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
"First of all the ossuaries were found in a tomb that had been properly excavated so that there was no chance of forgery as there sometimes is. Secondly, the cluster of names, people say the names are common, but it is actually the assemblage of names, the six names together that make them very unique. And thirdly, if you begin to look at those names, Jesus son of Joseph, Maria, Mariamene, Yose, these are names through historical texts that we can connect with this particular family. So that it is not any Jesus but Jesus the son of Joseph," Tabor said.
But one of the three archaeologists who excavated the site, Professor Amos Klouner disagreed.
The film-makers believe that five of the coffins which contain inscriptions represent the key New Testament figures not only of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, but also Mary, Matthew and Joseph, while a sixth could be a son of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None