I feel I should comment on James Cameron’s claim to have found the tomb of Jesus and his family.
This claim seems to be based on two things. Firstly the names on the tombs and secondly DNA testing of the remains. Obviously I haven’t seen the documentary, but I can’t see how either of these can provide any kind of proof.
Firstly, the names. Cameron says that the combination of names would have been very rare in the Middle East at that time. But historians say that just the opposite is true, all of the names on the coffins would have been common. And even if the names were rare, that’s no proof of the identities. You only need one other family with the same set of names for this identification to be in severe doubt.
Then there’s the DNA. This is even less conclusive. DNA testing shows the genetic relationships between the bodies found in the tomb. And in this case it apparently shows exactly what you’d expect for a close family interred together. Many of the bodies have DNA in common showing that they are related but the main couple have no genetic links at all – as you’d expect from a husband and wife. Nothing here backs up Cameron’s claims that this is Jesus and his family.
Of course, I’d love to have prove that Jesus died and was buried instead of floating off to be with the sky pixie. But that level of proof is very unlikely. And this certainly isn’t it.
Many christians seem to be rather angry about these claims, as you would expect. You can’t have an eternal and undying god when his bones are on display in the museum. But there are a few possibilities that they perhaps haven’t considered. If two of the bodies were Jesus and his mother Mary then their DNA should be identical as Jesus didn’t have a father to donate half his genetic makeup. Taking that one step further – shouldn’t Jesus have no Y-chromosome? There are plenty of opportunities to make scientific discoveries that back up the gospels.
And that’s all before we even start to consider the possibilities of cloning.