Three Tombs — We Take A Walk

by Steve Ray on March 9, 2007

I know of three tombs here in Jerusalem today that have proponents claiming they are the tomb of Jesus Christ. We visited two of them today and the third we could not find.

 The “Jesus Family Tomb”
First the one we could not find. It is the supposed “Jesus Family Tomb” which is located about 5 km. from the Old City of Jerusalem in E. Talpiot. Titanic director James Cameron made it famous last Sunday in his “documentary” on the Discovery Channel. But let’s make something clear from the start—it was not famous everywhere or with everyone. It seems to be an American phenomena, because here is Israel no one knows where it is, no one cares, and it is seen as a joke. 

We have tried many avenues to find it—calling on the phone, asking guides and taxi drivers, even calling the Franciscan protectorate. Nobody knows anything. We drove through E. Talpiot for over an hour yesterday asking the locals and no one knew anything about it or where it was.  

I have read a lot about this tomb and it’s claim to fame seems to be more about Cameron and his sidekick Simcha Jacobovici’s desire to defame Christianity and make money than it is about serious archaeology. People here in Jerusalem have heard such nonsense before and they are not as easily shnookered as Americans seem to be. They haven’t given this phony "archaeology" even a moment’s attention.

We will try again tomorrow. My friend in university will ask his Jewish archaeology professor how we kind find this tomb, but we are not hopeful. For a few blogs on this visit here and here.

And, it looks like Discovery Channel is embarrassed enough for airing this trash that they  have pulled a second showing off the schedule and are dead silent about the first showing–what viewers called "archeo-porn." I hope they never live it down–the @#&* money grubbers. Read TV Magazine's review of their backing off here http://www.tvweek.com/news.cms?newsId=11681

Garden Tomb.jpg The “Garden Tomb”
Today we also walked along the walls of the Old City to the Damascus Gate, then we turned left on Nablus Road and walked through the street vendors for a quarter mile to the Garden Tomb. There we entered the “English Garden” surrounded by walls and build around an ancient quarry. In the 1800’s General Gordon from England saw what he thought looked like a skull in the face of a small cliff and decided that it must be the place of the skull (golgotha Hebrew for “skull”; calvary Latin for “skull”).There he found a tomb carved from rock in the cliff wall and decided it must be the tomb of Christ. Unfortunately if was believed by many unwary folks and became lovingly known as the Protestant Tomb. It is maintained by the Anglican Church and many Fundamentalists today swear it is the actual tomb of Christ.

The owners of the site are careful to avoid claiming too much. As I overheard the guide say today, “It may be the place where some historical events may have taken place.” In their literature they say no one knows where Jesus was really buried and it does not matter. It only matters that we believe he really did rise from the dead. Aarrgghh, I hate those kind of stupid comments. Of COURSE it matters!

You can see me in the picture standing in front of this tomb. I was telling my friends with me that this is NOT the tomb of Christ. Early Christians knew where Jesus was buried and the tomb of General Gordon and the Protestants has been decisively dated between the 6th and 8th centuries BC. Jesus was buried a newly hewn tomb. So much for the second fake tomb of our search today. If you want to read more, I have a good bit of info on this in my book St. John’s Gospel.

Tomb.jpg The Tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Now to the third tomb—or more accurately, the first tomb. This is the tomb located in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre only a 10 minutes’ from where I am writing this blog now. Janet and I walked there again today—and we will lead our 100 pilgrims there in a few days. This is the tomb that has been venerated from the first centuries as the actual tomb of Christ.  

(Picture: Steve coming out of the Tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre)

The early Christians did not forget where their savior was crucified and buried. When Queen Helena came here around 325 she built a huge church over the site of Golgotha and the Tomb and it has been venerated by Christians and confirmed by archaeologists and historians over and over again. It IS the place!

The early Christians were no idiots—they knew and remembered and passed on the truth of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection for future generations. Not only did they know for sure it actually did happened, but they also knew WHERE it happened.  

Once again, Janet and I stood in front of the tomb with awe and emotion—and a prayer of thanksgiving on our lips. “He is risen!”   “He is risen indeed!”

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Parsons March 9, 2007 at 4:10 PM

Way to go Ray, make straight those crooked paths and deceivers. Indiana Jones is only a school teacher in comparison. See you on the cruise in a few months.

Bobby Brown March 12, 2007 at 4:06 PM

you speak the truth.. we watch your videos in our theology class.. i like u spilling the oil in your face and trying to continue.. i like your hat too.

Isaac Spinler March 12, 2007 at 7:23 PM

Hey Steve Ray, I’m a super-big fan of yours, and I appreciate all of your works. It must have taken some serious guts to do all of that in a foreign country. I wish I had the same, and all the biblical knowledge that you do.

You also do some very cool stuff in your videos like pour oil on your head like Bob said above, you can baaa like a sheep, and you splashed that water in the Rea Sea.

Also good work on this article, I didn’t know there were three different believed tombs. I only knew about the claim to fame one (the one you couldn’t find).

Thanks For Hearing my comment.

Your SUPER BIG FAN,

Isaac

Ryan Aceto March 13, 2007 at 9:51 AM

Mr. Ray

I love your DVD’s. I can’t get enough of them. hey provide great insight to the mystery of the catholic faith. You are my official hero.

Ryan Aceto

P.S. Mr. D says hi

Ryan Aceto March 13, 2007 at 10:00 AM

mr. ray, u r so amazingly amazing. i am a very big fan of your work, i would like to join u on your expeditions sometime.

yo biggest fan
R.Aceto

Tom Parvesse March 13, 2007 at 4:04 PM

Hey Steve I go to Malvern Prep and I really appriciate all the biblical knowledge you have given me. I really liked when you poured oil on your head and made your sheep call

Keep up the good work,
Tom Parvesse

Isaac Spinler March 13, 2007 at 5:58 PM

Steve dont listen to Ryan, you know i am your BIGGEST FAN.

Once again great work on this article, keep up the great work.

FROM YOUR BIGGEST, MOST SUPER FAN IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD,

Isaac

BobCatholic March 14, 2007 at 1:46 AM

Good job on smashing this nonsense.

Mike Smith March 14, 2007 at 11:11 AM

Dear Steve,
Your passage throughout Jesus’s life has helped me connect with God. Your simple explanations and wisecracking jokes, coupled with your willingness to undertake any risk, has caused God to live in me.

Keeping holy,
Mike Smith

PS I think you are greater than Indiana Jones with your sweet archaelogical skills
PPS I would love to help write your material

Luke Stanish March 14, 2007 at 11:16 AM

Dear Mr. Ray
Thank you for undertaking the great task of informing our class about the Bible and especially Jesus. Your antics keep us awake and attentive. Your jokes are among the best. Your delivery is polished. Thank you.

Breaking his bread,
Luke Stanish

PS I love your SUV. It takes you everywhere so you can spread the faith (a type maybe?)
PPS Your cameraman also deserves kudos

Mike D from Chicago May 18, 2007 at 8:28 AM

When I first saw interviews of Simcha Jacobovici on CNN and MSNBC, I thought he was just a misguided director. But then I saw part of this documentary and the “evidence” was thinner than air. I later saw another documentary he made about the Jews living in Egypt around the time of Moses and it had just as much non-sense! He obviously had an agenda when making the “Jesus Family Tomb”: to discredit Christianity. He wants to reinvent history. In the Egyptian documentary, he tries to justify Jewish claims to Egypt. I realize that there are hundreds of crazy directors out there, making outlandish documentaries about every possible subject. I just don’t think this guy or his film deserved the attention it got. I don’t think the media did a good job of pointing out the absolute errors made, either.

Shame on James Cameron for backing Simcha Jacobovici and this film. He has, in my view, ruined his reputation.

Nomoinhaftini November 16, 2007 at 5:06 AM

Two new studies show why some people are more attractive for members of the opposite sex than others.

The University of Florida, Florida State University found that physically attractive people almost instantly attract the attention of the interlocutor, sobesednitsy with them, literally, it is difficult to make eye. This conclusion was reached by a series of psychological experiments, which were determined by the people who believe in sending the first seconds after the acquaintance. Here, a curious feature: single, unmarried experimental preferred to look at the guys, beauty opposite sex, and family, people most often by representatives of their sex.

The authors believe that this feature developed a behavior as a result of the evolution: a man trying to find a decent pair to acquire offspring. If this is resolved, he wondered potential rivals. Detailed information about this magazine will be published Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

In turn, a joint study of the Rockefeller University, Rockefeller University and Duke University, Duke University in North Carolina revealed that women are perceived differently by men smell. During experiments studied the perception of women one of the ingredients of male pheromone-androstenona smell, which is contained in urine or sweat.

The results were startling: women are part of this repugnant odor, and the other part is very attractive, resembling the smell of vanilla, and the third group have not felt any smell. The authors argue that the reason is that the differences in the receptor responsible for the olfactory system, from different people are different.

It has long been proven that mammals (including human) odor is one way of attracting the attention of representatives of the opposite sex. A detailed article about the journal Nature will publish.

Gregory May 3, 2008 at 6:32 AM

Nice article. One additional thing needs to be mentioned in relation to the real tomb of Jesus, which is indeed located in the Church of the Holy Sepelchure: Every year on the Saturday before Eastern Orthodox Easter (actually called “Pascha”) a great and wonderful miracle occurs which is called the Miracle of Holy Fire. This begins in the tomb of Jesus and is carried out into the Church. This has been going on for centuries and centuries that we know of, and perhaps all the way back to the time of the Apostles. This is even more evidence that the real tomb is located in the Church. I would encourage all who don’t know about this miracle to do a web search on it. It is truely amazing.

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