Pants on Fire

I know we’re getting closer to proving our case that a tomb found in the Talpiot suburb of Jerusalem in 1980 is the “Jesus Family Tomb”. How do I know? Because the critics are getting ever more personal and hysterical. Masquerading as scholars, these enforcers of Pauline theology believe that if you repeat libelous statements often enough, some of it will stick. Of course, we know these propaganda techniques work. Israel’s enemies, for example, keep calling us an “apartheid State”. And even though we are the only democracy in the Middle East, our enemies have been successful in smearing us with the apartheid defamation by repeating it ad nauseam. In the propaganda game, facts don’t matter.

Similarly with my argument concerning the Jesus Family Tomb in Talpiot. My detractors keep using the term “deception”. According to them, I am motivated by sensationalism and money. But not only that, when I present evidence to back up my arguments, they attribute tremendous powers to me. For example, when experts come forward supporting my thesis, my detractors accuse me of having hypnotic skills. I’m not kidding. For example, when my film on the subject first came out, they argued that no Israeli archaeologist supports my thesis. Then, when the late Josef Gat’s widow stood before a room full of academics and the international press and stated that her late husband, who was the Israeli archaeologist responsible for the Talpiot tomb excavation, believed that it was, indeed, the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth, she was accused of suffering from “false memory syndrome”. More than this, I was accused of planting those false memories into her head.

Last week, I posted an interview with Father/Professor Emile Puech. 60 meters from the Jesus Family Tomb is an unexcavated tomb under a building. In 2010, we inserted robotic cameras into this tomb and they gave us dramatic never-before-seen images of what looked to us as the earliest symbols of the followers of Jesus. One of these symbols is a fish with the name “Yonah”/Jonah inscribed in the fish’s head. Naysayers said that the fish is not a fish, and that the inscription is not an inscription but a bunch of random scratches. So I asked Father/Professor Puech his opinion on the symbol. I videotaped the interview where he states that the name “Yonah” is clearly inscribed in the fish’s head. Since the whole thing was taped and they didn’t want to repeat the “false memory” accusations, my detractors now accuse me of something called “cognitive priming”. Meaning, not only can I make Professor Puech see things that are not there, it turns out that I am able to use “cognitive priming” on viewers of the video. I can make them see evidence of early Christian symbols that is simply not there. Now that’s a trick. According to my detractors, I can make you, innocent reader, see and hear things that are not there. At long distance, at this very moment, it seems that I’m using “cognitive priming” on you.

All this would be funny if it didn’t have such an ugly side. After all, the purpose of this pseudo-scholarship is to rewrite history in Orwellian fashion. What they want to do is to tell you that what happened, didn’t. That what didn’t happen, did. And that evidence that you can see with your own eyes is really not there. It also has a sinister feel to it. A few years ago, Dr. Robert Cargill made fun of my kippah/yarmulke. Last year, he accused me of faking a Jerusalem mailbox in order to argue that a family named “Arimathea” lives in an apartment over the tomb. They do live there and it’s a curious coincidence because we believe that the tomb under the building belongs to Joseph of Arimathea, the man who buried Jesus. Cargill said that no such family lives over the tomb and that I manipulated the evidence so as to create a coincidence of metaphysical proportions. All he had to do is look in the Israeli telephone book to ascertain whether I was reporting truthfully. Instead, he implied that I planted the names on the mailbox. When I sent him the relevant page from the phonebook, he refused to apologize or to report the truth to his readers. But making fun of my religion and implying I’m a forger was not enough. A few weeks ago, Dr. Cargill incited his blog readers to treat me like a piece of “basalt” and “sledge” me with a hammer. Then he added in brackets that what he meant is that I should be beat up “with logic of course”.

Yesterday, Professor Mark Goodacre joined the frenzy. He suggested that two replicas we made of the ancient ossuaries (bone boxes) that we filmed next to the Jesus Family Tomb were somehow manipulated to mislead people who looked at them. Let me explain; a lot is riding on these ossuaries. In Talpiot, you have the tomb of a man called “Jesus, son of Joseph”. The naysayers say that it’s not Jesus of Nazareth. Next to this tomb is another tomb in which we found the earliest signs of Christianity. The naysayers deny that these symbols are Christian. Obviously, if its accepted that the symbols next to the Jesus tomb are Christian, then the naysayers would have to admit that the Jesus buried in Talpiot is, indeed, the Jesus of the Gospels. So they see it as their job to demonize me and marginalize the finds. Based on our robotically retrieved pictures, we created two museum quality replicas. But now, Goodacre wants to imply that there are contradictions between the two replicas and that these are tantamount to deception. He also wants to imply through pseudo-scientific analysis of photographs of the replicas that he got from us that he has uncovered a hidden secret. This is total disinformation.

The people who first drew the world’s attention to a deliberate error on one of the replicas are Professor James Tabor and I. We blogged no less than 4 times on the issue:

Why is there an error on one of the replicas? And why did we draw attention to it? Here is the story:

Our robotic cameras sent back clear images of the ossuary in question except for one part on the right hand side of the front of the bone box. On the left side, there is a unique image of the “Sign of Jonah”, the earliest biblical Christian symbol. On the right side, there is a temple like structure but we couldn’t see what’s inside the temple image. The first time we made a replica, we added at its center some scratches that our cameras were able to pick up. But since the image was incomplete and viewers did not understand that, we decided to leave it blank when we made our second replica. At a press conference in Jerusalem on April 4, 2012, I mentioned how we deliberately left the temple structure blank. I said that one day we hope to retrieve the full image but, in the meantime, it’s better to leave it blank than to create half an image which may mislead people. On December 27, 2012, in front of 300 people at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, Professor Amos Kloner, one of our biggest detractors, argued two things:

  1. That our replica is perfectly accurate;
  2. There was nothing new in it because he had drawn it 33 years earlier. He showed the audience his drawing:

The problem is that Kloner’s drawing looks more like our replica than the original ossuary. Meaning, Kloner left the temple structure blank, just as we did. Immediately I drew attention to this problem. Since Kloner had briefly entered the tomb 33 years earlier, before a building was built over it, I was expecting to see in Kloner’s drawing the fully executed drawing of the temple structure on the ossuary. Instead, it seems he was unaware of our decision to leave the temple structure blank and our decision worked its way into what was supposedly his original drawing. Because of this shocking development, I pressed Kloner to come clean and tell us whether he doctored his original drawing or whether he copied our recent replica.

Professor Goodacre ignores the fact that all of this was made public by me and my colleague Professor Tabor. He ignores the fact Kloner never answered our questions and, hoping that everyone’s forgotten about this controversy, he acts like he’s caught me red-handed with inconsistencies between our replicas. Why is he doing this? Because that’s the way disinformation works; ignore the facts, ignore the photos, ignore testimonies from world experts, and talk about my kippah, mailboxes, replicas and the need to beat me up – metaphorically, of course.

What does all this mean? It means that we’re getting closer and closer to the truth. The closer we get, the dirtier the criticisms. For my part, I’m going to take a shower because I feel slimed by these guys, and I will continue to tell the truth. Put differently, I’ll continue to report honestly in an effort to find the truth.

Click here to see my recent article “Christians at Masada!” on The Times of Israel

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