The Lost Tomb of Jesus

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.


  1. With respect to your comments about Jesus and his genetic makeup, the christian account of Jesus’s birth simply doesn’t make biological sense. If Jesus had no father and his genetic makeup were identical to Mary’s, he should be a female. No why Y-chromosome, no male. In the rare instances where spontaneous births are seen in nature, the offspring are female.

  2. First I have to point out that James Cameron did not claim to discover this. He only helped the people who discovered it by making the film.I think this is a great discovery! The Christian/Catholic community should be in an uproar. Hopefully it will and can change some minds and some thinking.

  3. I don’t think you really read what claim has been made.As you stated, the names are common in the middle east, but to find the exact combination within a family has a change of 1 out of 600. Not very likely.Secondly you talk about DNA. It doesn’t show direct family ties with the other remains (no bones have been found as you stated!). This only makes the odds of this being another family slimmer.On the other side, a lot has to be proven: Are the names correct. Is the name for Maria Magdalena correct. Why are his parents in Jerusalem, how can his family afford a burial like this. Does he have the same DNA as Joseph etc.

  4. I don’t think you really read what claim has been made

    Oh, it’s entirely possible that I’m just making this up as I go along :-)

    to find the exact combination within a family has a chan[c]e of 1 out of 600. Not very likely.

    I’d be interested to hear how you came up with that number. But anyway, how many families do you think there were living in the area at the time? 1 in 600 doesn’t sound very unlikely to me. It still means there were probably hundreds of families with that combination of names.

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