The Lost Tomb Losing More Ground

“The Lost Tomb of Jesus” aired on the Discovery Channel a week ago Sunday amid great publicity and debate. Produced by Oscar-winning director James Cameron and directed by Simcha Jacobovici, the film-makers made the bold claim that they had discovered the lost tomb of Jesus. The thesis of the film has received nothing but ridicule from reputable scholars, and even some of the scholars represented in the film have publicly distanced themselves from the film’s conclusions.

One of the film’s central claims focused on the inscription, “mariamenoumara,” found on one of the ossuaries (bone-containers) in the tomb. The film makers claimed that this inscription could only refer to Mary Magdalene, and they then used this claim to further claim that this tomb contained the remains of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and their son Jude, as well as other members of Jesus’ family.

Well, the film lost even more ground today now that scholars are getting a closer look at the inscription. Stephen Pfann, a textual scholar and the president of the University of the Holy Land, makes a convincing case that the inscription should read “mariamekaimara,” which would translate into two common names – Mary and Martha. This removes one of the central claims of the film leaving its other claims to flounder. You can see some neat color-coded examples of the inscription for yourself here. This will apparently be on the news tonight and tomorrow.

Updated 3/17/2007: More information continues to come in on the inscription. The most recent scholars weighing in seem to lean toward the two name theory, but there is still a question as to whether these were two different women buried in the ossuary or a single woman who went by two names. See Dr. Darrell Bock’s blog here for more information.


  1. Rachael says:

    Pastor Ray,
    What “proof” do they have that Jesus was married or “involved” with Mary Magdalene anyway?

  2. Ray Fowler says:


    That is one of the problems with their whole presentation. There is no indication from history that Jesus was ever “involved” with Mary Magdalene, nor that he ever married or had a child. Normally if you found a tomb with some names in it, you would first try to match it to the historical evidence at hand. In this case the historical evidence would tell you right away that this was not the tomb of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Instead, the film-makers completely ignored the weight of history and surged forward with their thesis anyways.

  3. Rachael says:

    Wow. Seems like the film-makers thesis is not going to fly with people who take the time and look into it. I just looked in the Bible (NIV)And In Mark 16:9 it says:
    “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.”
    That was the only involvement I could find, besides the point she went to the tomb with the other women!
    Thanks for answering my question!

  4. Timothy Michalak says:

    Even though they didn’t do their research, these scientist’s and archaeologists have made millions of dollars attracting people’s attention. So I ask the true question, who is the dumb people in this situation? The scientist’s making millions, maybe billions, or the people taking in lies. For all we know the people finding the tomb could very well know what they’re doing. But that is what America is becoming.

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. The Jesus Family Tomb and Bayes’ Theorum - You Do the Math! at Ray Fowler .org
  2. King Herod’s Tomb Found? at Ray Fowler .org
  3. The Jesus Tomb Unmasked at Ray Fowler .org

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