Book Discussion: "The Jesus Family Tomb"

A well known polymath whose published works range far and wide, including (but not limited to) Archaeology, Paleontology, Astronomy, Space Propulsion systems, and Science Fiction.

Official Website: http://www.charlespellegrino.com

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Book Discussion: "The Jesus Family Tomb"

Postby Darb » Tue Mar 06, 2007 6:11 pm

I'll kick off the book discussion thread with some comments by Charlie (which were intended for posting on Amazon), which address some of the book's many mis-informed critics out there.

Please do not post to this thread unless you either have read, or are currently reading, the author's book.

Pellegrino wrote:Throughout the world press (and to an inevitably lesser degree even here on Amazon) there have been nearly 2 million reviews that are largely repeating misstatements of facts and sheer mythology invented by drive-by media types who shouted their condemnations before the film or the book were even available to them for viewing.

Time and time again, I have seen myself and my peers described as being bent on sinking the basic core of Christianity by denying the Resurrection and producing "shoddy" DNA evidence from the bones of Jesus.

To begin, the DNA tests were designed based on doubt, and were intended to disprove this tomb, not to prove anything. They are merely one brief chapter in a series of attempted disproof’s. MORE IMPORTANTLY: There were no bones of Jesus, insofar as my science has been able to tell, from a (still ongoing)cubic millimeter-by-cubic millimeter investigation of the bioconcretion (fossil bed) samples from the bottom of the Jesus ossuary. All I have been able to find are shreds of material consistent with a burial shroud, contaminated with DNA (possibly of globin [blood] origin) and with minute fragments of semi-fossilized wood.

I'll return to the bioconcretion anomaly in a moment. But first, I ask readers to turn to my last paragraphs in the book, on page 192 of a chapter titled "A Crime Lab's Jesus." If you think the book may offend you, then don't buy it from this site - but instead go to the nearest library (libraries are, after all, good places), read just that page, if nothing else, and ask yourself if that passage could possibly have been written by someone who was intending, in any way, shape or form, to deny the founding prophet of Christian faith, and to go against him, or tear him down.

I was (and am) an agnostic - in the literal sense of, "one who lacks knowledge." As I was called into this project (specifically to go at it "Doubting Thomas style, and throw every scientific tool of doubt I could at this tomb - "no expense spared" - to explain it away), I was still working forensic archaeology in Ground Zero, Manhattan; and I was still getting rather distressed over it. The Tomb Project required me, while still working Ground Zero, to study everything Jesus had ever been quoted as saying, whether canonical or apocryphal. How evil could this Tomb project have been, when in one of the most damnable and apocalyptic places on Earth (a crevice in time, as it were), it was something Jesus said almost two millennia ago - which turned out to be the only words that brought me peace?

As for the Tomb itself, and the findings, I discovered (along with my co-explorers) that it does not contradict scripture if one merely steps back and actually reads scripture. First, there is evidence emerging from Pompeii's sister city (Herculaneum) indicating that, despite church teachings in which the Gospels are supposed to have been written more than 100 years after the events, the early first century AD was a time of general literacy in the Roman world and I am coming to the opinion that the Gospels were in fact penned almost as current events - probably to a large degree by the apostles themselves. This might explain Luke's opening passage attesting that the Gospels may sound strange or even contradictory - but that this is how it appeared to each of them to have occurred. As someone who works with people involved major accident investigations and in crime scene investigation, I can tell you that when all accounts are identical (as they clearly are not in the New Testament), that's when you begin to suspect the accounts have been rehearsed or extensively edited. This is perfectly consistent with observations that the very early Gospel of Didymos Judas Thomas echoes Matthew, and yet at the same time is enchantingly different.

As for the Talpiot Tomb being built by a rich man, in Jerusalem: The Roman historians cited in the book made clear that the ministry of James the brother of Jesus, had wealthy followers in Jerusalem. This echoes two early Christian Roman homes now being excavated (one with a prayer to Maria the mother of Jesus, dating from AD 70-79): these homes are what would normally be described as mansions. This is also consistent with the prophecy in Isaiah 53: That the anointed one ("the Christ") would be buried by a rich man, near Jerusalem, with his family, and that he would look down before death from the place of his piercing and see that "his seed" had survived. John refers to this "seed" (meaning a living male heir) as Jesus' Beloved Disciple, who would tarry for a while after the crucifixion. John also references two men named "Judas" at the last super - and the Beloved Disciple is clearly depicted as an adolescent at the time of the crucifixion - where (according to John), he is described as taking his mother (one of the Marys at the foot of the cross, standing with this young man)into his home, at Jesus' direction. In the next chapter (20:2), it is to the Beloved Disciple's home that Mary Magdalene runs, upon finding the holy Sepulcher empty. The enigmatic Beloved Disciple, and the equally enigmatic second Judas (also called Didymos), spoken of as if in code and linked to Didymos Judas Thomas, did not appear to make sense, until we read the inscription, "Judas, son of Jesus." The name, Jesus, by the way, is emphasized, on his ossuary, by two symbols: a cross and a star, as if to emphasize the beginning and end, the alpha and omega, of Jesus' earthly existence. The book points out all of these resonances between the Tomb and scripture - and none of the offended Christian editorial-writers appear ever to have read this. (Note, I am equally disappointed with the atheists who have praised the book to the heavens on their blogs, also without having read it.) History teaches us that when one was condemned by the Romans for being a contender to kingship, the Romans killed wives and even girlfriends and infant children; but siblings were allowed (like James) to live. Didymos Judas Thomas, if in fact he was the Beloved Disciple and son of Jesus, would have been called someone else's child, or (as in John), Judas (also called Didymos Thomas)the brother of Jesus. Remember: James, brother of Jesus, was allowed to survive more than three decades after the crucifixion, until he himself became a contender. The first question for Christians is simply this: Does anything in scripture say or even suggest that Jesus broke bread with his disciples and with his parents, and that he did not as a fully living and breathing and feeling human being, actually digest his food and go to the bathroom like the rest of humanity? Why could Jesus not have lived a fully human Earthly existence, as Isaiah's prophecy and every Christian Bible says he did (including even that most human experience of all - a family); and yet, at the same time performed all those miracles anyway?

Now, back to the Jesus ossuary, and it's accretion bed: This may yet be disproved by continued research (as for example, if we do eventually find a micro-fragment of bone): However, so far, the anomalies with regard to the biological signatures normally found in the presence of powdering and dissolving bones over the course of centuries are suggesting an absence of bones near or on my scores of Jesus Ossuary "fossil bed" samples. At least the major masses of bone appear not to have been in this ossuary for at least a millennium, and possibly all the way back to the beginning. As I stated last week, there are three explanations for the Jesus ossuary anomaly: 1) Someone stole away with the bones in antiquity, and only material consistent with a burial shroud was ever placed in the Jesus ossuary. 2) Someone stole away with the body in antiquity, and only material consistent with a burial shroud was ever placed in the Jesus ossuary. 3) The evidence, so far, may be taken to mean that something else happened - a subject into which my science can probe only this far, and no farther.

All I can do is say, "I don't know" - which is of course the best place a scientist can be. Science and religion are not enemies. It's just that science is based on doubt ("can we try to explain this tomb away as a remarkable coincidence, and see if it stands the tests?"), while religion is based on faith (which occasionally leads the devout to ask, "What's taking the scientists so long to see little glimmers of what we knew all along?")

I'm sure that readers of my books have encountered the names Doug McClean, Don Peterson, Fr. John MacQuitty, and Fr. Mervyn Fernando in my other works. They are among the smartest people I have encountered; and they were specifically sought out for their opinions, as this book was being written. Far from locking Christians out (as has been reported) or attacking them, one of the above is a Franciscan, another is a Jesuit, and another is a Jehovah’s Witness.

This whole process, as reported in this book, is simply the twilight before the dawn, simply the beginning of an exploration into the most mysterious lost world of all. Let us begin. - - C.R.P.


I just ordered my copy, so I'll join in sometime a few days hence, as time permits.

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Postby Teamtunafish » Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:34 pm

My main difficulty with the book is that I find the statistical methodolgy flawed. You are taking an extrememly small universe - less than 1/2 of one percent of the population's names - and saying this is enough people that we can gather the frequency in which these names occur. That's like taking one block in New York City and saying all New Yorkers have these names in these proportions. You need a larger sample for these claims to be proper.
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Postby Mr. Titanic » Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:49 pm

Agreed. I also wasn't too pleased with the use of names as factual evidence that could actually justify a claim of this magnitude. Quite frankly the conclusions can go in many directions in the absence of more sophisticated data. * Granted collecting such information is difficult, and the prime goal was to attract more attention to this tomb as opposed to supporting a conclusion, but still. I think this would have been a bit less contraversial had the media not promised solid conclusions and had the team not been so confident that this was anything more than sheer possiblity. It is compelling, but so is fantasy, and sometimes without enough evidence people often mistake it for just that, instead of true science. But that can be expected, as you and I discussed Lee, with the cutthroat nature of archaeology these days. For the most part this has a lot going for it. if anything, it gets you thinking because the team presents an interesting case for discussion/debate. I like it, and with an open mind I'm sure people can escape bias and focus more on a scientific approach, which is what I think this team really tried to do. I commend them for that.

As I read the book, I'm sure I'll stumble on new things.

* For example, with Mariamne. They claim Simon was buried with Jesus if I recall correctly because they musth have been so close. This same idea can be applied to Mary as well, instead of assuming Jesus and Mary were married. There just seem to be many ways to interpret this.
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Postby Charlie P. » Wed Mar 07, 2007 1:53 am

Hello, Lee, and Mr. Titanic. Hope I'll run into one of you at the Hypercube Hilton later this month. As for the statistical sample, it was based on over a thousand inscribed ossuaries and while this is roughly 5% of the standing population of Jerusalem at any one moment during the first century AD (and a smaller percentage of the up to 160,000 people of the entire 100 year ossuary culture period), it is similar to recording the names of my three children against the approximately 1000 children in their school system. If we expand our sample to the entire local school district, the proportion will hold about the same (with minor refinements, unless someone in the district did something improbable and had six boys and girls, naming them all Ashley [we're talking about New York, now - so, it happens]).

Some of the names from the tomb are unique (the Jose and the Mariamne [Magdalene], known by the apostlistic term, "Master"). The rest, except for the latinized "Maria," are relatively common. (Note that in our conservative math, even if a name was unique to 1/1000 ossuaries, our upper limit (something traditional statisticians would not do) was 1/200, and no higher.

Even with names like Matthew - bound to show up one out of ten times (and counted by me as mathematically neutral) - we must take note that the number five is also common - bound to show up one out of ten times, in a sequence from zero through nine. Yet, if we take the numbers 0-9 and put them on four wheels and then spin once, the odds of any four digit sequence coming up once is factored as 1/10,000.

Feuverger's test was based on probability curves; mine was based on population dynamics of first century Roman cities. Feuerverger speaks therefore in terms of 1/600 - or about a little higher confidence than 99.5%. I speak in terms, even with conservative math, of a population of Jerusalem (approx. 20,000) having to exist for almost 800 years to produce this combination of names just once. Feuverger and I are both speaking in terms of disproof - of the probability that this family is simply a family other than the New Testament Jesus' family, whose combination of names occurred by chance, as an echo of the New Testament.

Our math does not prove that this is the Holy Family - only that it is probably not an accidental echo from some other family with the same names.

The DNA test was also an elimination test. A maternal match would have supported our working hypothesis of an echo family. It failed to support it, pointing Ocham's razor in another direction. And so it was with each test.

There were also symbols on the ossuaries, most notably the cross (or Taw) and the star on the Jesus ossuary.

I tried a test on the Los Angeles Telephone directory - on the premise of: What if we found an obelisk 2000 years from now, in California, dating to the right time. George, Steven and James are common names - - and Lucas is not uncommon. I've found Steven S. and George Lucas in the phone directory - but they are, out of a population of millions, not the ones we are thinking of. (because we know in our time, and future historians should also know, that the real guys have unlisted phone numbers). Yet if all three names end up spelled out on a Hollywood monument, we might wonder. The probability of an echo of names not related to the film-makers would seem to diminish if we found a symbol of a movie camera and a film strip on the monument (analogous to the cross and the star). Though I counted the symbols on the ossuaries as mathematically neutral, as being merely supportive anecdotal evidence, they are analogous to a film strip symbol on hypothetical 2000 year old Hollywood obelisk. If the obelisk capped a tomb and if DNA evidence confirmed that this James Cameron was not the maternal brother of George Lucas, then we might begin to suspect that these men were not a coincidental echo, and we would become more confident that they were connected to the only three 20th century films surviving, and bearing their names: "Arachniphobia, Pirahna II," and "Howard the Duck."

See you later,
- - CharlieP.

Meanwhile, Jim has been watching the condemnations from the Vatican and the press and even from the Pope of the Greek Orthodox Church. He says it's going to be pitchforks and burning at the stake, next. I'm practicing the "Life of Brian" Monty Python song just in case it comes to burning at the stake: "Always look at the bright side of life - Jim! I can see your house from up here! - just before you draw your terminal breath..."
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Postby Teamtunafish » Wed Mar 07, 2007 1:51 pm

Don't worry about the condemnation - WSFA thinks Alexis and I eat baby kittens for breakfast (without ketchup) at the moment. Long story, I'll tell you at the Escher Hilton, but you're in sympathetic company.

In the meantime, may I have your source for the population figures for Jeruselem in the 1st century you're quoting, pretty please? All I can find are "It is geneally agreed upon...." figures, but nobody wants to put a face on them. Either that, or if you can give me an idea of how you came to the figure - number of tombs? I know how you do it today - War College being a necessity if you're in the Air Force - but that works on the assumtion of how many can you feed. Is this similar?

Also, the article in the Washington Post and the stats expert quoted on the forum here both mentioned the number of ossuaries with names used in the study to be in the low 300's, yet you say a thousand, where'd you get the extra 700?

Yea, yea, picky, picky, picky.
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Postby Darb » Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:59 pm

I ordered the book by mail. However, I was in a borders bookstore last night, and while there I briefly picked up and flipped through a copy. I saw something on the back cover that slightly put me off. It was a testimonial by J.C. on the back jacket in which he said (paraphrase) "... avalanche of evidence ... beyond all doubt ...".

As a philosophical point, I always grimace when the phrase "beyond all doubt" ('b.a.d.' for short) is used in a scientific context, expecially in a book in which controversial & debateable material is being presented for further analysis and wider discussion by the larger community. Using the 'b.a.d.' phrase up front, seems, IMHO, to be opening the matter with too much certainty.

I think the title of the book should, perhaps, have had a question mark at the end (encouraging people to form their own opinions, based on the evidence presented), and that JC's statement on the dust cover was too self-assured and definitive.

Meanwhile, I'm eager for my copy to arrive, so I can begin reading.
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Postby Teamtunafish » Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:06 pm

Lucky you - I had to try two mega-B. Daltons and three mega-Borders to find the thing. Which news probably makes Charlie grin.

The problem with a non-scientist introing a scientific book tends to be inprecision. But I did get a laugh out of J.C.'s comment that his main role was to continually remind those two that not all of us were the scholars they were and would not know all the minutiae they did - that's Charlie to the life.

I, too, add a voice to the chorus - the book would definately benefit from a question mark in the title. Maybe next printing?
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Postby Darb » Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:32 pm

I think I'm going to wait patiently on the sidelines until my book arrives. There's entirely too many people out there blathering about this book without having actually read it, and i dont want to engage in similar behavior.

[digressive aside]

I do have one humorous observation though, for my fellow C.R.P. insiders. As a little-known sub-plot in Charlie's works of science fiction, he usually finds creative ways to kill off one or more friends and professional colleagues (either outright, or in name-only effigy) in creative and dramatic fashion. I find it rather ironic that here, in realm of Non-Fiction, everything is exactly backwards from that. Here, the central figure (presumably Jesus) was already executed off-stage, in dramatic fashion, and Charlie is working in reverse, as an archeologist, to see if there are ties to recently discovered physical evidence, and (indirectly) what the evidence might entail for our understanding of the nature of his resurrection.

Now for the slightly sad ironic part ... at least one of the scientists involved in the project has already received death threats, as a result of this research project. I'm at a loss for words there.

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Postby Mr. Titanic » Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:34 pm

Teamtunafish wrote:Don't worry about the condemnation - WSFA thinks Alexis and I eat baby kittens for breakfast (without ketchup) at the moment. Long story, I'll tell you at the Escher Hilton, but you're in sympathetic company.


Eww Lee, That's disgusting. Why would you eat anything without Ketchup? :lol:

Anyhow, funny thing you proposed the question mark in the title Brad, Lee did so as well in a conversation we had through IM. Like I previously mentioned, I too was stung by the great deal of confidence in something that shouldn't be considered anything but possiblity. Usually, however, that is what sells. Catch phrases like changing history forever or absolute gaurentees that compell one to read the evidence that could justify something of this significance. That was the main downfall, I think. Scientists too sure of anything will end up getting a critical look at their work. This isn't considering the book comes out already and mentions this may be the most contraversial find of the century. In science, something first proposed hardy ever becomes law without futher reasearch and revision....

But that doesn't mean it can be debunked without reading the material first. I give no credit to the bible-thumpers. Then again, for someone to act on limited data is in the same catagory as someone who takes the bible for absolute fact. I really love Cameron's writing though. Oh, and his movies. :P

Grr... later this month. Oh, sure Charlie. You'll see one of us! :cry:
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Postby Mr. Titanic » Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:16 pm

I started reading more in my book today, sitting alone at a table during lunch waiting for my friends to come out from class at 12:45 (fourth lunch). I wasn't paying much attention, as usual, to my surroundings while I was reading, and had my MP3 player on listening to some tracks from the Titanic movie album. I knew that people started sitting around my table, but I didn't mind or look at them really.

I was essentially drawn into the book, so not much really mattered at that point, until the quiet music in my ears couldn't mask their loud voices, and constant disruptions. I noticed that other tables, very near were vacant, and as I was deciding to move... Well, lets say that someone near me, whom was goofing around and screaming happened to have a soda. And that's when it happened. I was still reading at that point, and the very next second, Pepsi is dripping off my fingers, and twenty pages of my book have gone from yellow to brown. Ink started draining away from words, and I felt like I had swallowed my tounge when I looked down at it.

I was suddenly so upset, I couldn't speak. In fact, I don't think I expressed a reaction at all. It dawned on the imature student that he ruined my book, and so he took it and started wiping it across his shirt. Pages started getting dent, but I just stared back at him speechless. He pretended to feel sorry, or interested and put on this caring act getting the title and saying he'd "steal" a new copy for me tomorrow (which I reminded him was Saturday). At that moment, I picked up the Jesus Family Tomb book, shoved it in my backpack and moved. I haven't looked at it since.

I'm so upset.
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Postby Darb » Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:53 pm

Stealing is out of the question. Ask him to buy you a replacement copy, since he ruined it. If he says he cant afford it, look at him and see if he has something of comparable value on his person that interests you, and ask for that instead.

If he remembers the title and wisecracks about turning the other cheek, say ok and slap him ... hard. ;)

p.s. All kidding aside, if the person who spilled the soda is unwilling to pay, I'll buy you a copy. Easy enough to get a gift certificate code, and PM it to you, so you can order through amazon. Let me know, my friend.
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Postby Teamtunafish » Fri Mar 09, 2007 7:26 pm

OMG, Ant, I'm so sorry! let's not steal. Is that one readable until I can fly to the rescue?
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Postby Mr. Titanic » Sat Mar 10, 2007 12:22 am

Thanks everyone. Actually, he wasn't being serious when he said he'd steal a copy, at least I didn't think so. He thought the thing was a big joke, and that his offering to steal me a copy was one as well. I suspect he was acting tough or something, but I was so upset at the moment I really didn't care what he said, I just kept looking at the huge stains and wrikles of the book I sought to keep pristine, having bought it just recently, and never finished it. I knew he lied about replacing it anyway. And its not like I was going to ask him for anything. All I wanted was people to act a bit mature, stop goofing around and ruining people's day. Its my own fault for not moving, I just wanted to finish the page first... But its no big deal, I just had to unload somewhere.

That said, it means a lot that you care. I really appreciate your call Lee, and Brad's post. Thanks for reading.
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Postby mccormack44 » Sat Mar 10, 2007 9:51 am

I was too rushed yesterday to take in the true impact of your post. No one can help when a personally valued book is damaged in that manner, but we can extend our sympathies.

I'm sure that most "USns" wouldn't even see the damage. In a nation of mostly nonreaders, books don't appear to be property, much less a matter of attachment.

And these days, the idea of politeness is either ignored or brushed off as being "politically correct." (Not that I've forgotten my high school years, when the boys thought that goofing off was the only way to behave, and that to apologize was "unmanly." Some things don't change, even in 60+ years. Also, note that I said "high school" not because I think that young males in college are more mature, but because there were no young males in college — they were all rapidly maturing in the battles of WWII. And finally, please note that I use "young males" as a collective, but not as an all-inclusive one. Many do not act in this fashion, and most avoid it at least some of the time.)

Well, I didn't mean to insert a lecture. I just wanted to say I'm sorry, and to share your pain a bit.

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Postby Teamtunafish » Sat Mar 10, 2007 11:10 am

As long as we're getting off topic here - Ant, shame on you; pages were not getting dent. DENTED. Yea, I know I'm a pain in the patootie. And yer point is?

After rereading your post, a thought occurs. You are a godlike Senior - what was this guy, Freshman or Sophmore? He was freaking because he had pissed off someone from Olympus. Think back to when you were that age. And then, you didn't respond, you were frozen. That made you REALLY scary - had you yelled, I'll betcha anything it would have been easier on him. Trust me on this.
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Postby Mr. Titanic » Sat Mar 10, 2007 5:55 pm

Don't worry, I can split the thread eventually. Anyhow, I like dent. Dented makes it sound too past tense. For me at that point, it was as if it were still happening. :(

And, Shame on you! I'm not a senior, I'm a Junior! I really don't think that was the case at all though. The person himself was probably a senior, acting like a child.... Also, thanks for understanding M44. :)
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Postby Teamtunafish » Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:09 pm

Well, be that way, see if I care, hmmph.

Back on topic, I am also wondering, even if the entrance to the tomb was in plain sight, why nobody cleared investigation of the tomb with the Israli state archeologists? I would think any professional scholar who was putting so much effort in on a project would take the time to use due diligence. Am I off here?
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Postby Charlie P. » Tue Mar 13, 2007 12:48 am

Permission was granted - at all times, before we made any entrance into the tomb. Shimon Gibson had made it very clear, from the start, that he would not personally go inside without IAA approval.

As for Joe Zias being quoted often as an original excavator of the tomb, he simply was not. Moreover, back in 1996, Zias was the anthropologist who said the sequence of names was certainly compelling - and that he would have (even before anyone knew the meaning of "Mariamne") belived the assemblage of names a hoax were it not from a provananced tomb excavated and recorded by archaeologists. At the time, he called for a further investigation of the Talpiot Tomb and went on public record with this call. A decade later, this same Zias condemns us for having conducted the very same investigation for which he had called.

See you later,
- - Charlie P.
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Postby ufojoe » Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:13 pm

Hi Charles,

Loved the interview with Ian P. on C2C. Great job.

On that show, you stated that there were no bone fragments in the
Jesus ossuary. So, one of three possibilities occurred: Body stolen, Bones stolen early on, something "mysterious" happened.

And yet, on James Tabor's blog, he writes:

[b]I have read a lot of misleading and incorrect information on various Web sites and in press reports regarding the mitDNA tests that were run on [i]bone fragments from two of the ossuaries from the Talpiot tomb–the ones inscribed “Yeshua bar Yehosef,â€
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Postby Charlie P. » Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:39 pm

I was sent some of the samples from the ossuaries, when, in my own samples, objects that were pointed out to me as bones turned out to be merely mineral concretions that stood apart from the rest of the fossil bed in merely appearing to be bones. I've seen bones with crystal structure in the Mariamne ossuary and at one point I had beleived I found a 1/2 mm fragment of bone from the Jesus ossuary myself ... but higher magnification revealed this not to be the case. Most of the usual signs of decaying flesh and disintegrating bone are also anomolously absent in the Jesus ossuary. The fiber samples I have been able to isolate are anomalously pristine. If these are shroud fibers, they differ from, for example, the Mariamne fibers in not being black with the mold spores and stems that typically infiltrate shroud material during the year-long period of primary burial.

I continue to search the Jesus ossuary samples cubic millimeter-by-cubic millimeter; and while it is possible that I may eventually encounter a microfragment of bone material (which would be consistent with someone having removed most of the bones from the ossuary - perhaps in the time of the terra-rossa intrusion), I have yet to encounter anything except concretion enclosed shreds of fiber and an equally pristine fragment of wood (ancient ossuary warehoused presumably had many sources of wood; so I'm not talking about that wood).

- - Charlie P.
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Postby ufojoe » Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:34 pm

Thanks, Charlie. I just heard back from James. T. via email and without cutting and pasting what he wrote, I'm under the impression that the DNA tests were done on the bone fragments from the "Jesus" ossuary before you came on board the project. If true, then your claim of no bone fragments found in the "Jesus" tomb is inaccurate. Thus, the possibility of "something mysterious" happening in the Jesus tomb is improbable.

If it's just the patina results you are talking about, how can you say that there were no bones in that ossuary?

I am NOT trying to get you guys into an argument. I just want to know the facts so I can relate them to others who have an interest in this. I don't know what to think right now. I'm confused! Sorry for being dense. Maybe I'm missing something obvious.



* * * * *

This is really pathetic.

The Discovery guy says they added the Koppel-hosted, show once they realized there was worldwide interest. Who in their right mind wouldn't know that this program was going to garner intense interest around the country and world? The guy is obviously covering his butt.

* * *

When the Nielsen ratings revealed that "Tomb" averaged 4.1 million viewers - Discovery's largest audience since September 2005 - the network declined to put out a press release touting the numbers, as would be standard practice for a highly successful premiere. The second-season premiere of Discovery Channel's "Future Weapons," for instance, earned a media announcement for its audience of 2.5 million. A network representative, however, insisted Discovery was not trying to bury "Tomb."

http://www.tvweek.com/news.cms?newsId=11681

Is Discovery Burying 'Lost Tomb'?

By James Hibberd

Discovery Channel's controversial James Cameron-produced documentary "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" drew the largest audience for the network in more than a year on Sunday night, but the network has taken several recent steps to downplay the project.

Departing from normal procedures, the cable network didn't tout its big ratings win. The network also scheduled a last-minute special that harshly criticized its own documentary, and has yanked a planned repeat of "Tomb."

"This is not one where you necessarily beat the drum, from a business perspective," said David Leavy, executive VP of corporate communications at Discovery. "It's not necessarily about making money, or making ratings, or shouting from the highest office building. Sometimes having some maturity and perspective is more important than getting picked up in all the ratings highlights."

The documentary, executive produced by Oscar-winning "Titanic" director Mr. Cameron, claims to have found the family tomb of Jesus Christ, unearthed in Jerusalem. The findings include circumstantial evidence suggesting Christ and Mary Magdalene were a couple, and that they had a son named Judah.

Discovery formally announced the special last month and quickly incited a worldwide media frenzy, including stories in Time and Newsweek and links on the Drudge Report. But much of the coverage was highly skeptical of the documentary's findings. Prominent archeologists disputed the program, while Christian groups criticized it for conflicting with the New Testament.

Although Mr. Leavy said the network stands by the documentary "100 percent," the company took several unusual steps in the wake of the controversy that could be seen as distancing itself from the content.

Last week, Discovery abruptly scheduled a panel debate to air after the documentary, moderated by Discovery newsman Ted Koppel. Discovery's announcement of the panel emphasized that Mr. Koppel "has no connection to the production of 'The Lost Tomb of Jesus'" and that "the panel will explore the filmmakers' profound assertions and challenge their assumptions and suggested conclusions."

When the panel discussion aired, guests criticized the documentary as "archaeo-porn" that played fast and loose with the facts.

The day after the March 4 airing, Discovery yanked a planned repeat of "Tomb" from its more hard-news-branded Discovery Times Channel.

When the Nielsen ratings revealed that "Tomb" averaged 4.1 million viewers - Discovery's largest audience since September 2005 - the network declined to put out a press release touting the numbers, as would be standard practice for a highly successful premiere. The second-season premiere of Discovery Channel's "Future Weapons," for instance, earned a media announcement for its audience of 2.5 million. A network representative, however, insisted Discovery was not trying to bury "Tomb."

No press release on the ratings was sent out, Mr. Leavy said, because of the show's subject matter. As for the yanked Discovery Times repeat, Mr. Leavy said that outlet wasn't the best venue to repeat the special.

The last record-setting Discovery Channel project also was about a sensitive subject, the9/11-themed "The Flight That Fought Back," yet Discovery issued a press release about its ratings.

The network still plans to air a previously scheduled "Tomb" repeat on its Spanish network on March 18, as well as an HD version on Discovery HD Theater on March 28.

"We are very proud of the program - we stand by it 100 percent," Mr. Leavy said.

Mr. Leavy said the network should be credited for airing a critical post-show panel.

"We added the Koppel panel once it was clear there was worldwide interest," he said. "Our responsibility is to give viewers all the information and let them decide. There is no way to ever prove this beyond a reasonable doubt."

Moving forward, Mr. Leavy said the network plans to increase its focus on archeology projects. The network recently signed History Channel's "Digging for Truth" host Josh Bernstein to develop new archeology series and specials.

"We are going to be doubling down in this space," he said. "We will soon be back in the news with more archeology."


[Mod note: I took the liberty of adding 'quote' feature codes to the post above, to better visually offset the article. -- Brad, 14-Mar-2004]
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Postby Charlie P. » Sat Mar 17, 2007 11:51 pm

Discovery Channel does appear to have taken some unusual steps to kill its own film. There were in-fighting factions even before the first broadcast (there were in fact people within Discovery channel who had a knowledge of the scientific issues involved, and who defended this project all the way to the end). During the weeks leading up to the broadcast, the entire third hour of the program was ordered deleted. Simcha was thrown into an exhaustive, eleventh hour schedule to cut 45 minutes out of the film (15 minutes of every broadcast hour are devoted to commercials). On top of this, the broadcast date had been moved all the way back to March 4, without warning - (which put even the book into an early publication track, on what was termed, a "crash schedule"). A later promise to air the whole program on Discovery-Time was broken. The deleted hour was replaced by the Ted Koppel program, with Simcha set up for what turned out to be an ambush by people who were selected, evidently, on the basis of being universally against the findings, and who collectively outnumbered Simcha - not stopping short of a pre-arranged bombing run of soundbites, including the infamous "archaeo porn" statement. The powers that be, elected to over-rule the voices of reason at D.C., and to reduce a most fascinating archaeological discovery to the level of a high-school rank out contest.

Not only was a press release about the very high ratings (including the gain of an additional 800,000 viewers for the program's second, late night presentation), never sent out, but when a decision was made to pull the already scheduled broadcast of the original full-length version (important because it dealt with more of the science), the Discovery Channel posted, front page on its own website (for about 24 hours), what could only be described as a self-destructive review of its own film, championing loudly, the "archaeo porn" phrase. The self-review also echoed the (patently false) claim that this film was an assault on Christianity.

As for the question of bones in the Jesus ossuary - I was sent (in addition to samples that I had collected in December of 2005) samples of the accretion beds at the bottoms of the Mariamne and Jesus ossuaries, from which ("bone fragments") had been recovered for the DNA tests. The lresidue. The "bone fragment" from my sample of the Jesus ossuary turned out to be a cluster of mostly apatite crystals, and the bioconcretions I found only enclosed fibers, consistent with shroud material.

I have not personally had a chance to examine the fragments studied by Carney Matheson at the Thunder Bay lab. They may in fact be small fragments of bone. I can only speak for the material I have personally examined. Not only have I (so far) encountered a complete absence of bone material - but a complete absence of the usual biological signatures of bone deteriorating in an ossuary (nematode traces, etc). Additionally, the fibers in the concretion samples are inconsistent with what normally happens to fibers during the year long period of primary burial (half of its mass is usually bundles of black mold stems; whereas the Jesus fibers, though ancient and enclosed by minerals, are pristine). If there were bones in the Jesus ossuary, then the greater mass of bones that should have been there was removed by someone, many centuries ago. We're still trying to explain this; but there is a significant anomaly in the Jesus ossuary.

- - Charlie P.
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Postby tollbaby » Sun Mar 18, 2007 12:49 am

office politics gone wild? I've seen some pretty strange stuff go on at the tv station when I worked there.
And what manner of jackassery must we put up with today? ~ Danae, Non Sequitur
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Postby ufojoe » Sun Mar 18, 2007 11:12 am

Thanks for the update. 45 Minutes cut out of the film? I had no idea.
It keeps getting worse!

This reminds me of when NBC aired, "The Mysterious Origins of Man," in 1996, which featured some HIGHLY controversial theories.

NBC had a lot of pressure from the scientific community not to air the special but they stuck by their guns. And they aired it again a few months later! Wish Discovery had the same will.

http://www.mcremo.com/mysterious.htm

One viewer's response to NBC's showing...

"I am truly dismayed at this particularly steamy pile of rodent remains. What your program presented as 'very reliable alternative theories' are nothing but bizarre speculations by people whose only gain must be by selling a book..." (CB, Canadian Academic)

"...I will be boycotting all of the sponsors of this program, and I will be encouraging others to do the same. I *don't* encourage censorship of this type of thing. In fact, I would encourage science teachers to show this program in their classrooms, followed by a thorough debunking...." (TL)
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Commentary on Jesus Family Tomb

Postby mayavision2012 » Wed Mar 21, 2007 7:53 am

I just completed my first reading of "The Jesus Family Tomb". The argument was exquisitely laid out, and each introduction of new evidence kept me enthralled and certainly impressed with the careful and thoughtful approach to this discovery. In the end, I was left with a personal hope that this will not fade away and that we will have the privilege of seeing sequels and updates done on a timely basis.

The writing style was also done with grace and excellence. I really enjoyed the little thumbnail sketches describing various eras in history that prevailed as the tomb lay silent and still.

I was born into a family with strong Catholic ties paternally. However, from my first encounter with the persona called Jesus and his "companion" Mary Magdalene in my childhood, I saw friends, I saw teachers, I saw enlightenment there. Man and woman, fully human and endowed with the Light of Knowledge.

With much appreciation,
Valerie
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