EMMY WINNER TO SHOW LATEST DOCUMENTARY
Has the tomb of the man who took Jesus off the cross, prepared his body and placed him in a tomb been found?
Three-time Emmy award filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici believes he has found the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea 60 metres away from where he says Jesus was entombed.
Jacobovici’s 2007 film The Lost Tomb of Jesus generated controversy when he claimed to have found the spot where Jesus was first laid to rest.
His latest film, presented by Huntington University at Rainbow Cinema Monday evening, takes viewers into a tomb not seen in more than 2,000 years.
Jacobovici says he had to convince a lot of people before trying to get a look inside a tomb that had been built over the course of centuries.
“In Jerusalem there is tension between the archeologist and the Jewish religious activists. The archeologists want to dig up tombs and the activists are saying ‘you are not God-fearers, you don’t care, you are disturbing the dead’,” Jacobovici said.
Using ground-penetrating radar, he spotted what he thought was the entrance to a tomb underneath an apartment building.
“The opening was as big as a page from a notebook. That was our whole access,” Jacobovici said.
To get a look inside, he had to get an archeology permit, and assure religious activists that he would not disturb the tomb.
“I thought they might be related because according to the gospel, Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus. He took Jesus off the cross and buried him, then they went to the tomb and it was empty. So I thought “maybe, Joseph of Arimathea is here.” They said ‘come on!’,” Jacobovici said.
To get inside, his team had to build a robotic arm that would be able to get a camera through the tiny hole.
“It is the first look at a Jesusera tomb with bodies still in there. It was like time travel. We saw things people had not seen in 2000 years.” Jacobovici said.
That was just the start of his findings, he said.
“There’s never been a statement of faith on thousands of other ossuaries found (where Israel is now). On this tomb we found a statement of faith. It’s a statement someone wrote saying ‘I believe in resurrection.’ You can argue how to interpret it. It’s not clear if they are talking about their own resurrection, or about their faith that Jesus resurrected. At the screening I’ll show the options and say what I think,” Jacobovici said.
While his 2007 movie drew controversy for suggesting he had found the tomb of Jesus, reaction to this latest film has been different.
“To find the only resurrection statement, and this image of the birth of Christianity (Jesus’s tomb) 60 metres apart … everybody is going ‘he might have something here.’ Even the people who don’t like me say there is something to this finding. There are convinced they should take another look. We don’t have to be right; if we create a civilized debate then we’ve done our job,” Jacobovici said.
He says he didn’t go out looking for the tomb of Jesus. Someone else found a tomb that belonged to Jesus, son of Joseph but since those names were common back then, there wasn’t much fuss.
“I just followed the leads. Western civilization is built on these stories. Very few people had that kind of impact on history. Jesus, Moses, Mohammed had that impact. It’s like the Da Vinci code. You get into some things and realize some people don’t want to touch it. It’s too sensitive, they say. That’s an adrenaline rush for me. I’m a filmmaker. I didn’t wake up in the morning wondering ‘how can I get a billion Christian agitated,” Jacobovici said.
The film Resurrection Tomb: The Jesus Discovery will be screening at 7 p.m. at Rainbow Cinemas. Admission is free and Jacobovici will be answering questions following the movie.