Barbara Thiering on "The Jesus Family Tomb"
In Response To: "The Jesus Family Tomb" ()

Hi Charles and all,

Here is what Barbara Thiering had to say:

"A. There are two reasons for believing that the ossuaries are fakes:

The first is that any normally observant person would suspect that the inscribed limestone boxes illustrated are not genuinely ancient. That is despite the statement in the documentary that they were discovered in 1980 and have been in storage since. The archeological world is not as ordered as it should be, especially in Jerusalem.

If the ossuaries with the names so clearly on them were discovered in 1980, their publication then would have made the discoverers both famous and rich. It is more than suspicious that nothing was known of them until Dan Brown demonstrated last year that millions were to be made out of saying that Jesus was an ordinary mortal who married Mary Magdalene and had offspring.

There is now an industry of fakery, especially of ossuaries. The editor of the Biblical Archeology Review, Hershel Shanks, was deceived a few years ago by one that looked genuine enough, an inscription saying that a bone-box was that of James the brother of Jesus. It was sold to a museum but then found to be a clever modern fake, reproducing letter forms found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. That industry, which had developed considerable skills, has no doubt not died out, just gone quiet until this new way of financially exploiting gullible people opened up.

The second reason is that full written evidence, meeting the highest standard of proof, is available that Jesus died in Rome in the 70s AD. From that evidence, it may be supposed that his bones were substituted for those of Peter and are now in St Peters basilica in Rome. Readers of this site will know why that can be said.

The media, whose memories are as short as most of their readers, know only the Either-Or of Christian orthodoxy versus this new claim. The only positive thing about it is that the new fraud has gone through the door opened by genuine historical research on the human Jesus that has been going on since the 19th century. Every step of the genuine research has been met by denunciation, but in fact has gradually disseminated enlightenment. There is no future in that scene for petty crime.