Making cases out of mismatched data (e.g., in the paragraph where Mary the Magdalene is discussed: the Church has always included her in the list of disciples and even accorded her the title “apostle to the apostles” because of the role Jesus assigned to her) as well as suggesting that a 100 year discrepancy in the dating of the Exodus is equivalent to Jesus not being bodily raised from the dead and therefore the Scriptures are “a bit misunderstood” (and therefore need to be reinterpreted by these
heretics folks): this is where the doubt gets sown.
“And, of course, the filmmakers’ claim that they identified the burial remains of Jesus of Nazareth — including traces of DNA — suggests that he was not bodily resurrected, after all.
“Maybe, or maybe not. The archaeological arguments are plausible but not persuasive: this is a breakthrough that relies more on “what if” than “here’s how.” And even an amateur can see that the ifs are stacked to support one hypothesis. But it is a fashionable one. Early Christian Gospels suggesting that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus and a respected apostle in her own right, not a fallen woman, are the foundation of Gnostic studies by scholars like Elaine Pagels — as well as of the plot of the Dan Brown best seller “The Da Vinci Code.”
“The filmmakers get around reasonable doubt with the twin pillars of cable documentaries: hokey costume drama re-enactments and state-of-the-art robotic cameras that see around corners and down dark holes. And to add a fillip of legitimacy, the Discovery Channel will follow the film with a panel discussion led by Ted Koppel.
“The Lost Tomb of Jesus” is enjoyable, mostly because it is scripted like a cryptology treasure hunt and centered on the Indiana Jones-ish persona of Simcha Jacobovici, an Israeli-born filmmaker based in Toronto, whose recent documentary “The Exodus Decoded,” on the History Channel, argued that the Jews really did flee Egypt by parted sea. (But in 1500 B.C., a century or so earlier than most scholars suggest.)
“In “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” Mr. Jacobovici is once again trying to prove that the Bible is not wrong, just a bit misunderstood.”