New film claims Jesus and family buried in Jerusalem

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The Israeli-born, Canadian-based filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici is reigniting claims, first made over a decade ago, that a burial cave uncovered 27 years ago in Talpiot, Jerusalem, is the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth and his family.

At a press conference in New York on Monday, the two-time Emmy winner Jacobovici and his team -- including Hollywood director James Cameron -- will detail claims that of 10 ossuaries found in the cave when it was discovered in 1980, six bear inscriptions identifying them as those of Jesus, his mother Mary, a second Mary (possibly Mary Magdalene), and relatives Matthew, Josa and Judah (possibly Jesus's son).

Their documentary will be screened this week in the US [on the Discovery Channel], UK [on Channel 4], [in Canada on Vision,] on Channel 8 in Israel and around the world. The producers are said to have worked on the project with world-renowned archeologists, statisticians and DNA specialists.

But Bar-Ilan University Prof. Amos Kloner, the Jerusalem District archeologist who officially oversaw the work at the tomb in 1980 and has published detailed findings on its contents, on Saturday night dismissed the claims."It makes a great story for a TV film," he told The Jerusalem Post."But it's impossible. It's nonsense."

Kloner, who said he was interviewed for the new film but has not seen it, said the names found on the ossuaries were common, and the fact that such apparently resonant names had been found together was of no significance. He added that"Jesus son of Joseph" inscriptions had been found on several other ossuaries over the years.

"There is no likelihood that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb," Kloner said."They were a Galilee family with no ties in Jerusalem. The Talpiot tomb belonged to a middle-class family from the 1st century CE."...

The Jacobovici documentary comes more than 10 years after similar speculation about the so-called Jesus family tomb made world headlines, prompting a London Sunday Times feature entitled"The Tomb that Dare Not Speak Its Name" and a BBC documentary.

The assertion that the ossuaries found in the Talpiot tomb were those of Jesus of Nazareth and family members was branded by The Sunday Times at the time as an archeological discovery"that challenges the very basis of Christianity."

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