28 February 2007

The tomb and the foreskin of Jesus

I am grateful to Bryan over at Why Now? for drawing my attention to news of a new documentary by director James Cameron concerning what he believes to be the tomb of Christ

The tomb, which was found near Jerusalem in 1980, contained ossuaries (not coffins as stated in the BBC report, thanks Bryan!) bearing the names Mary; Matthew; Jesua son of Joseph; Mary; Jofa (Joseph, Jesus' brother); and Judah son of Jesua. Another grave close by said to be Mary Magdalene's apparently convinced researchers this must be the tomb of Jesus.

Speaking in New York, the Cameron said statistical tests and DNA analysis backed this view. Not unsurprisingly his claim has been attacked by archaeologists and theologians as unfounded. Israeli archaeologist Amos Kloner, who was among the first to examine the tomb when it was first discovered, said the names marked on the coffins were very common at the time. "I don't accept the news that it was used by Jesus or his family," he old the BBC News website.

Personally I think it is a load of rot. The DNA samples can probably prove a family relationships (Y chromosome for father/son relationships and Mitochondrial DNA for for mother/son-daughter) but how can you prove that Jesus is the Jesus of the bible?... You can believe it but you can’t prove it

The Tomb of Jesus story got me thinking about sacred relics. Predictably, perhaps, my favourite sacred relic must be the Holy Prepuce which was said to be imbued with healing and other powers - Fifth Century Irish saint Bridget who received it form an angel was said to have "orgasm-like sensations" when she placed bits of it on her tongue….

Circumcision of Christ by Hams Leonard Schaufelein

Leaving aside theological issues about whether it would have reattached when Jesus ascended to heaven (and the number of times he must have been circumcised for that matter!) several versions of the foreskin made their way to Europe during the Middle Ages. Churches/Cathedrals claiming to be in possession of it included the Lateran Basilica in Rome, Santiago de Compostela Antwerp and Chartres.

The only version believed to have survived into the 20th century was the in the Italian village of Calcata and was displayed during the annual procession on the feast day of the circumcision (1 January) The relic was stolen in 1983 and now sadly there are no more holy foreskins left.

Perhaps all of these relics were fakes: 17th century theologian Leo Allatius was of the view that it divinely ascended to become the rings of Saturn. The mind truly boggles, or at least mine does…


Agnes said...

Interesting labels. These Catholics....Remember that movie, The Tomb or what? Forgot the title.

jams o donnell said...

The Tomb of? I'm not sure.. Tomb of Christ?????

beakerkin said...


Let me explain how the traditional Hebrew naming system works. The person's first name is generated from a dead relative. The last name is whatever the fathers first name is.

The middle part is if the person is a son or daughter.

The people who state that these names are common are correct. Even with the addition of middle names
there are name clusters. The name Jesus is not used for obvious reasons. I did see the Yiddish derivation used on a person from the Soviet Union.

How one does a test to determine who is Jesus or any ancient remains a mystery.

Agnes said...

Hardly the father's DNA tests.

Steve Bates said...

What's the big deal? Having worked with a database of Hispanic names for almost all of the people in an entire small city about 30 years ago, I can assure you that Jesus is alive and living in Laredo, TX. Actually, quite a few of him are alive and living in Laredo, TX, unless the distribution of names has changed over the years more than I expect.

jams o donnell said...

It looks like a happy coincidence that the names are what they are, Beakerkin, You cant prove it was Jesus, you will need faith that it is his tomb.. wait isn't that a parallel to christianity???

Hmm Red, perhaps the archangel Gabitrel will come to the lab with the Good Lord's mouth swab!

jams o donnell said...

LOL Steve, go to Laredo and see the tomb of Jesus, and another tomb of jesus, hey over there is the tomb of Jesus.. Christ there's lots of them!!!

elasticwaistbandlady said...

That was one of my very first blog entries. Papi got to experience the magic of Jesus right in his very own office. Jesus was a player too. Who knew? Lots of women at the Igloo coolers factory got to examine the foreskin of Jesus too.

By the way, I don't find it at all unfathomable nor blasphemous to think of Jesus as having had a wife and a child.

jams o donnell said...

The idea of a celibate Jesus sounds pretty ludicrous to me. While I find the idea that they have found his tomb is preposterous.

So this other Jesus went forth and multiplied???

elasticwaistbandlady said...

Well, if Jesus was sent here and charged with following the example of his Father and living his life accordingly, wouldn't it make sense that he married and procreated? We believe in a Heavenly Mother, after all. Probably the Catholic faith differs as my faith believes the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost to be separate entities and not all rolled up into one being known as God.

jams o donnell said...

The Catholic church does not go much on the idea that Jesus had siblings, let alone offspring!