So maybe my friend Simcha Jacobovici was right after all …
Simcha and Titanic director James Cameron made a documentary last year, The Lost Tomb of Jesus. At first I was skeptical. Then, after seeing more information about the film, including this review from Hillel Halkin in Commentary Magazine, I came to believe Simcha may have really found the tomb of the family of Jesus of Nazareth.
Now, an archaeological bombshell has been dropped. The widow of the archaeologist who found the tomb in 1980, spoke to a gathering of senior archaeologists and scholars in Jerusalem yesterday and explained why her husband covered up the discovery for a decade:
…In an emotional voice, Ruth Gat said that Yosef Gat, a Holocaust survivor, was afraid a wave of anti-Semitism would ensue if he did so. Speaking at the three-day Third Princeton Symposium on Judaism and Christian Origins at Mishkenot She'ananim in the capital, Gat also said, "I thank God his fears did not come true in light of the discovery of the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth."
"As a boy, he wandered around the lion's den of occupied Poland," she also said. "The memory of those days never left him. It was one of the things that held him back as an archaeologist and that was also the reason for his great caution."…
Simcha, was floored by Ruth Gat's presentation:
"I fell off the chair," Jacobovici said Wednesday following Gat's presentation. "She said the leading archaeologist, who I thought had claimed it was nothing, actually thought he had discovered the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth, and as a Holocaust survivor was afraid it might lead to anti-Semitism."
Scholars are unsure if the tomb really is that of the family of Jesus of Nazareth and are still largely hostile to Simcha's film. But what has changed over the last year is the willingness of these academics to seriously consider the possibility that the tomb is, in fact, that of Jesus of Nazareth's family:
…In response to arguments by scholars against his film, Jacobovici said Wednesday that it was a great honor that such an august group had gathered to discuss the matter. He said that when [he and James Cameron] made the film, the feeling of the public and the scientific community was that there was no chance it was the tomb of Jesus. Now, Jacobovici said, the consensus is that it might be true.
Was Jesus buried in a tomb in the Talpiot section of Jerusalem? We may never know for sure. But, more and more, it seems that he very well may have been.