Christ's coffin

February 27, 2007

Director of the film, Titanic, James Cameron, claims to have found the bone boxes (ossuaries) of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and other members of Jesus' family. When I first saw the news story I scoffed. Which is kind of strange for someone in my position: why wasn't it the most interesting piece of news I've heard in ages? I guess there are a few reasons I was underwhelmed:

1. The words came out of James Cameron's mouth, and he isn't someone I generally refer to for my NT history.
2. There have been a number of stories like this in recent times (Dan Brown's being the biggest of course), so I'm probably a little theory-weary.
3. The ossuaries were empty, so it would seem that they have no possible bearing on the discussion of the resurrection of Jesus nor anything remotely relevant to Christian faith (except, perhaps, adding some historical data to what we know from the New Testament).
4. I do expect evidence of the Passion events to keep being found, but I expect it to match Gospel accounts, such is my confidence in their historicity.

But suppose for a moment this IS the ossuary of Jesus of Nazareth. Suppose it could somehow be demonstrated that Jesus' bones were in here, that the body decayed and returned to dust like everyone's does.

That would be news. Unwelcome, lifechanging news. Such is the historical seriousness of Christian faith.
I'll get our NT scholars onto a more detailed look at the story.

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