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Science Channel’s new Biblical Conspiracies series

December 15, 2014 8 comments

ripped from the pages of speculative sensationalism

imageJoe Marino tips us off. After reading Joe’s note below, click on the image to the right to see a couple of back to back trailers of the show. The trailers may be all you need to see.

The Science Channel premiered a new series tonight (Sunday) called "Biblical Conspiracies."  One of the episodes was titled "Nails of the Cross."  The description from the Science website:  "Two nails were discovered in the tomb of the High Priest Caiaphas who, according to the gospels, sent Jesus to the Romans, who then sent him to the cross. Using high tech tools, scientists try to prove that these nails were used to crucify Jesus."

imageThis is a follow up documentary to the recent Simcha Jacobovici program that was on the Discovery Channel I believe, that also sought to prove that the nails may have been the ones used in Jesus’ crucifixion.  Many mainstream scholars dismissed his claims out of hand after that airing, but this program features a skeptic of Jacobovici who proves that the nails were, in fact, used in a crucifixion.  He found bone and wood on the nails.  Before it was proved to be wood (in an altered form), it was thought that it might have been the Shroud.  One other Shroud-related point is a depiction of how the nail may have nailed into wood and through the palm.  The program shows the use of a scanning electron microscope as well as many other scientific tests and interviews of various scientific experts.

There may be two interesting segments. Here is a link to the schedules for . . .

  • Nails of the Cross:  Two nails were discovered in the tomb of the High Priest Caiaphas who, according to the gospels, sent Jesus to the Romans, who then sent him to the cross. Using high tech tools, scientists try to prove that these nails were used to crucify Jesus.
  • Secrets of the Crucifixion:  A scientific investigation of 2,000-year-old bones may hold the key to the Crucifixion, revealing that the classical depiction of Jesus on the cross may be all wrong.

And then there is also . . .

  • Bride of God:  Gathering dust at the British Library is a 1500-year-old manuscript, written by an anonymous monk. After millennia of rumors, this seems to be the first solid written evidence that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.

And this is what the Science Channel calls science; it’s kind of like thinking that Ice Road Truckers and Ax Men are history on the History Channel.

Utter hogwash

November 12, 2014 6 comments

imageIt has been mentioned at least twice in comments to postings in this blog. So here is a good article by Greg Carey (pictured) that appears in the Huffington Post:

Just this week another Jesus hoax has appeared in the media. Media producer Simcha Jacobovici has collaborated with a professor named Barrie Wilson on a book called, "The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text That Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary the Magdalene." I don’t wish to be rude, and I will freely admit I haven’t read the book yet, but the entire premise is utter hogwash.

[ . . . ]

We might begin with the book’s title. "The Lost Gospel" suggests the discovery of a new literary source, one that is either recently discovered or has been largely neglected. Instead, the "lost gospel" is actually an ancient Jewish (perhaps Christian) novel we call "Joseph and Aseneth." It’s well known, and it’s received quite a bit of scholarly attention. Joseph and Aseneth is included in the standard collections of ancient Jewish literature that all biblical scholars consult. This month’s Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, the most significant gathering of biblical scholars in the world, will include two papers devoted to the story. Just type "Aseneth" into your Amazon search window, and you’ll find quite a few books devoted to the story, including monographs by leading scholars.

Unfortunately, Jacobovici and Wilson describe the text as "Gathering dust in the British Library" and suggest they have "uncovered" it. Unfortunately, the media has bought into that narrative. . . . In fact, Duke University professor Mark Goodacre created his Joseph and Aseneth home page in 1999 — quite a bit before its recent "uncovering."

The new book’s subtitle reveals a second problem: "decoding." The authors claim this ancient novel carries a secret meaning. Joseph and Aseneth makes perfect sense without decoding.

[ . . . ]

It is always bad form to attack a theory by condemning its proponents, but Simcha Jacobovichi is a notorious peddler of misleading theories. He promoted an ossuary as containing the bones of Jesus’ brother James, a theory that has been disconfirmed. He also developed a documentary that claimed to unveil the Jesus family tomb, also refuted by experts, and even claims to have uncovered the nails used in Jesus’ crucifixion. It’s a shame that the media ever pays attention to him, at least when he’s talking about Jesus.

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