“The Lost Tomb of Jesus”
The Detroit Free Press has published an article about “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” (the new Discovery Channel documentary from James Cameron) that includes Marcus Borg’s response to the discovery of what may or may not be “the family tomb of Jesus.” Here are some excerpts from the article:
. . . At Oregon State University, internationally known Bible scholar Marcus Borg said, “All I know about this is what popped up in an AOL news alert today, but bottom line, I’m very skeptical. They’re claiming that the particular set of names found in this tomb make this Jesus’ family, but those names are all so common that this claim is extraordinarily speculative.”
. . . Borg raised a question about the advertisements for the documentary that claim it represents a “Revelation That Could Change Everything.”
Millions of Christians around the world believe that Jesus’ resurrection after his crucifixion by Roman authorities was physical. But Borg said millions more believe that what happened after the crucifixion was spiritual in nature.
“I do think it’s impossible for these filmmakers to prove their claim that this is the tomb of Jesus’ family,” Borg said. “But I also think it raises an interesting question to ask ourselves: What do we believe about the resurrection and Easter? For me, and I think for a lot of other Christians, it wouldn’t matter if the bones of Jesus were discovered someday, because I don't think Easter was about what happened to a body.”
That’s a provocative point of view that Borg has explored in several best-selling books about Christianity.
~ from Filmmaker says he’s discovered tomb of Jesus: Scholars decry film’s claims, by David Crumm, February 27, 2007, The Detroit Free Press
I think Dr. Borg raises a valid point, one he has raised before. In a 1999 PBS program, Dr. Borg made these statements about the resurrection of Jesus:
I do believe in the resurrection of Jesus. I’m just skeptical that it involved anything happening to his corpse.
. . . The truth of Easter really has nothing to do with whether the tomb was empty on a particular morning 2,000 years ago or whether anything happened to the corpse of Jesus. I see the truth of Easter as grounded in the Christian experience of Jesus as a living spiritual reality of the present.
. . . I think the Easter stories are true in the sense that the followers of Jesus really did have experiences of Jesus as a living reality after his death. I don't think those stories are simply saying his memory lives on. I think they had visionary experiences. I think they had experiences of him as a presence within the life of the community.
~ from The Resurrection of Jesus, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, March 26, 1999, PBS
More on “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” online:
“Official Site” of the Documentary: www.JesusFamilyTomb.com
The Discovery Channel: The Lost Tomb of Jesus
The New York Times: Leaning on Theory, Colliding With Faith
MSNBC: Claims about Jesus’ ‘lost tomb’ stirs up tempest
How important is a literal resurrection to the Christian faith? Did the post-Easter Jesus have a “resurrection body” that was different from his physical body? If these bones are indeed the physical bones of Jesus, would that negate our experiences of the living Christ?