Thursday, March 01, 2007

Cherrypickers,Gnostic Nasties,Unholy hype

Here is Simcha, the self-dubbed Naked Archaeologist, who insists he found Jesus. Literally. Then got James Cameron in on the deal.

No bones about it, the most hits in the brief history of the Israelity Bites blog came this weekend after Izzy Bee posted that Discovery Channel docu-drama preview of the disputed “Lost Tomb of Jesus” on Friday. James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici triggered a major cyber-spasm on this site with their claim that a suburban Jerusalem tomb had contained Jesus Christ & son, plus a clutch of other relatives. So the Holy Sepulcher’s not wholly holy? The implication made some clergymen get rather hot under the dog collar. Nuns were having none of it. After all, second Temple-era stone ossuaries, similar to the two caskets unveiled at the NYC public library this week, are so common that Israelis frequently use them as planters for begonias or geraniums. But when a Canadian journo and the Titanic showman teamed up to think outside the box, plenty of people got that sinking feeling.

Hey, I did not intend for my blog to be another conduit for the James Cameron publicity machine, but it turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg. The comments poured in for days and Izzy pored over them in fascination.

They ranged from testimonies of faith, rationalist discourse, gnostic nasties and Monty Python shtick, with some doubting Thomases and furtive freemasons weighing in, too. And all blasphemers were cursed in CAPS by a fire-and-brimstone believer in a vengeful deity. Izzy Bee hopes that after the controversial show runs on Sunday, sceptics and believers will resume their dialogue here. Time to curb your dogma, sharpen your tongue, and go at it with logic and vigor.

This afternoon, Izzy Bee followed the senior archaeologist Dan Bahat through a subterranean tunnel that skirts the sacrosanct Western Wall of the Temple Mount. An Al-Jazeera film crew came along too, trailing the heritage protection team from UNESCO, and after a few snarls from the Israeli security detail, all were allowed inside. Dr Bahat is both a scientist and a religious man, and besides teaching at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, is on the theology faculty at the University of Toronto. Like most experts on Jerusalem’s past, the professor seemed to be bothered by the sketchy science behind the “Lost Tomb” program. The Talpiyot cave's 10 caskets were catalogued and the bones reburied 27 years ago, so this earth-shattering hypothesis is a non-starter in Israeli scientific circles. The video trailers suggest that evidence was cherrypicked to support the documentary’s premise that the body of Jesus, son of Joseph and worshipped as Christ, was stuffed in a box outside the walled city for 2000 years. This strikes Jerusalem-based scholars as pseudo-science based on conjecture. But interesting if true...

As our group walked past enormous Herodian stone blocks, where Jewish prayers on paper slips were tucked into some ancient crevices, then beside Byzantine arches, Umayyad masonry, old Roman toilets, moats, cisterns and the like, this unholy row over Cameron’s slight-of-hand documentary seemed carefully manipulated for maximum profit. Watch this space.


Ozymandias said...

Just shut up about it and don't throw oil on the publicity fire

Grand Exalted Druid said...

I can't wait NOT to watch it. The only thing that even comes close the insidious nature of religion itself is the attempt to profit from it. . .from both the yays and the nays.

Cameron with his pockets stuffed with cash can rot in a hole along side the Pope, the Dalai Lama, David Koresh, Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi and Tom Cruise.

Rosebud said...

News reports say the DNA tests were done on residue--not bone fragments.
Will Christians settle for residue, instead of Resurrection? I wonder

izzy bee said...

See the advance review from the NY Times, which points out some fallacies and inconsistencies

boney m. said...

Here is an interesting link to a Scientific American blog, where some of the experts sound off about the shoddy scholarly methods. Bad science, but good tv,

Grand Exalted Druid said...

I disagree, bad science equals BAD TV.

I have been quite vocal on my beliefs concerning the negative nature and effect of religion, but if the science that goes into a program is fundamentally flawed, then the program is garbage.


Watchers may as well be viewing a cartoon. Without verifiable scientific methodology, the program is nothing more than Bubble Gum for the Brain.

The day following the program airing will find mind-numbed fools gathering around water-coolers everywhere quoting just as much BS in favor of all of this as those who gather in righteous indignation that someone would question the "Word of God."

This televised "event" belongs on the trash heap along with all the other pseudo-documentaries about Noah's Ark, the Bermuda Triangle, Atlantis, Global Warming, Roswell aliens and the 9/11 conspiracies.

Just shut the damn TV off for a change, and play a game with your kids for fuck's sake.

Tabitha said...,7340,L-3371608,00.html

This link ro an Israeli website delves into the history of the Discovery program. Weird reasoning why the government archaeologists were reluctant to pursue the lead. Jacobovici is Israeli, also.

Ram Blogwallah said...

In India, protests by Christians--who represent a very small minority of the billion plus people-- have persuaded the discovery channel not to broadcast the Lost Tomb of Jesus after all. They fear riots or worse. I do hope we can see it online. Plenty of godmen and gurus here...but still JC has followers. Christ-like Charisma.

O Exalted Druid, how do you know what you will be missing? Have you no cuirosity? You prejudge it so much. As a rule I won't play with my kids after 9...let them get a good night's sleep :0
-- that's a yawn

Grand Exalted Druid said...

My 'prejudgement', as you suggest, is in response to the assertion that one can have great television while ignoring the integrity of the content. I do not support censorship, but I do suggest that if people would quite devouring this kind of garbage then the networks wouldn't rush so quickly to put it on.

Do you actually believe that this will be a balanced presentation with well thought out scientifically based arguments?

On the contrary, I expect it to be on par with Al Capone's Vault.

Money will be made.

Science will not be served.

boney m said...

This links to a rather dry report by academic archaeologists at the Israeli Antiquities Authority, giving interpretations about the caving on the ossuaries. Some of the lettering may have been carved years afterward, says one expert. I wonder why this did not dissuade Simcha and Cameron from persuing their line of questioning. Are they just debunkers or cash-sniffers? You have to wonder...

halogen said...

I hear James Cameron is a known freemason.
Is this just New World Order jibberish then? Have we all been had?

Grand Exalted Druid said...

Follow the money.

I wonder who makes more - the ones who say it is so, or the ones who say it ain't.

You can fill in your own definition of "it" there.

gnostic gnu said...

According to the British Press Association reports, Simcha also said they discovered a second, as-yet unexplored tomb about 65 feet from the Talpiyot crypt, and used a robotic camera to film inside it.

Speculation is that this tomb could contain the remains of additional family members, or disciples.

Why haven't we heard any more?
And why has the Discovey Channel pulled further broadcasts of the se®ies in the US? Is there pressure from advertisers?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Dan Bahat, Israeli archeologist currently with the University of Toronto, told the press:
"I don’t think the James Ossuary came from the same cave. If it were found there, the man who made the forgery would have taken something better. He would have taken Jesus."

Simcha just want sall his ducks in a row. Efficient fellow.

Izzy Bee said...

Joan Bakewell was the British reporter who raised the lid of the tomb before, in 1996 for the BBC...she was pilloried , even though she did not jump to the same conclusions as the4 Discovery Channel crew
click here
to see her take on the clash between science and faith.

Grand Exalted Druid said...

In another five years, the tomb will be "discovered" again. . .probably by Sean Penn or Al Gore.

Let's all meet back here then.

Ogorian said...

I don't understand why so much fuss is being made. Let us understand the simple facts that the Christian Authorities seem to want to keep hidden from all thier faithfull. JESUS WAS A JEW. Christianity is based on the teachings of Paul, not Jesus.
As a Jew, and a Rabbi, he would certainly have been married, and regardless of what else he may have been, he was a human being.
If you care to examine the religious writings that came out of the Middle East and that the Church of Rome rejected, you will find a different Jesus to the one portrayed by Christianity - a more spiritual, and a more human Jesus,
Try the Gospel of Thomas, and the Pistis Sophia. If you dare, you will learn.
I have.