“historical jesus” expert grinds his axe…

Prof Jas D Tabor has a website and blog. He is one of the so-called experts who is sought out in the Lost Tomb of Jesus debacle appearing on the Discovery Channel this weekend… This is his agenda:

“The film and the book [The DaVinci Code] are of course works of creative fiction and I remain unconvinced that there is any solid historical evidence that Jesus was married or sexually involved with Mary Magdalene and had children with her. It is not that I find the idea offensive or shocking in any way. I just think it lacks any historical source. That is not to say that the Jesus family has no offspring today, since we do have evidence that James and the other brothers, and we might assume Jesus’ sisters as well, were married and had children, the descendants of whom are surely on the planet today. It has also been demonstrated that the entire notion of the Priory of Sion, made famous by Baigent’s Holy Blood, Holy Grail, is a fictitious creation based on a hoax. I suppose there is a “danger” that the masses of readers and film goers exposed to The DaVinci Code story will naively believe it is the truth. But the interviews I have seen seem to indicate that people are aware of the fictional nature of the story. Surely the Christian opponents of the film have worn themselves out pointing out these elements to any who will listen, as a simple Google search on the Internet will abundantly demonstrate.

Frankly, these fictional elements do not overly worry me because I think the film on the whole conveys an important message loud and clear—that Jesus of Nazareth was an extraordinary teacher and prophet, but a human being, not a God—and that the recovery of his humanity can free Christianity of a wrong turn it took many centuries ago and allow us to discover him anew and hear his message unclouded by theological dogma. Since the primary purpose of my own non-fiction book, The Jesus Dynasty, is to give the reader a glimpse at the historical Jesus as a human being in his own place and time, I found that element of the book, and particularly the film, to be laudatory, and in some sense, complementary, to my own work. Also, the film speculates on the possibility that the DNA testable remains of the Jesus family might indeed be found, and as far-fetched as that might sound, if the ossuary or “bone box,” that came to light in 2002, inscribed “James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” turns out to be authentic, such an option might be possible. The latest on this subject is conveniently archived at the Biblical Archaeology Web site and I relate the story of the dramatic discovery of this artifact in the Introduction to my book.

Of course there are millions of Christians who believe that the salvation of their eternal souls depends on faith in Jesus as God, but if people are willing to educate themselves regarding the origin and development of this idea it would open the way for Jesus as a Jew who honored the One God of Israel and quoted the Shema to emerge from obscurity. Such an insight can in turn lead to a new type of devotion to Jesus more in keeping with his own message. The essential Jewishness of Jesus is a theme that scholars have abundantly explored now for over 100 years, but without really penetrating the wider public consciousness.”

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