Monday, March 5, 2007

The Jesus Family Tomb: exquisite marketing and MOB

I’ve followed the saga of the new book The Jesus Family Tomb and the related documentary produced by the Discovery Channel.

Headlines have been impressive—Jesus’s Tomb Found! The mystery of Christianity is now cracked!

And just in time for Easter, no less.

We have a book out, a documentary, and even a Discovery Channel Web site just for this topic, set up where visitors can quiz a high profile academic, Dr. James H. Charlesworth (A.B., B.D., Ph.D., ET, Litt.D. [hon]), Princeton’s George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature.

Visitors to the forum at the site are enjoying banter about topics like DNA, ancient languages spoken, and the vacuuming of certain bones from ancient ossuaries.

Simcha Jacobovici, one of the authors of the book, remarked in a Time Magazine interview (3-12-07) on the criticism he’s encountered since writing it. He cites mobilization of bias—“certain questions cannot even be asked, and certain answers are not conceivable.”

Americans are well acquainted with the thought processes producing what sociologists call mobilization of bias. We are the greatest myth-buyers in the world. After all, we pay ridiculous prices for water in little plastic bottles. And if a theory is cloaked in any kind of science, many of us bite down on it with the enthusiasm of a dog chewing on his very first bone. We may not be able to comprehend the science, but by Jove, we believe it.

The idea of matching anyone’s DNA when it is two millennia old is a little quirky, in my book. I’m no Bible thumper, but trying to locate the DNA of the Christian savior says it all. Where's your standard for comparison?

The book is at the moment #39 on’s list.

Now what I’d like them to do is find the DNA of Beowulf and Grendel. If we come up with a match there, imagine the rewrites we’d have to do on the first Christian epic.


Lillie Ammann said...

Randy Ingermanson, Christian physicist and author, has done a statistical analysis on the likelihood of the bones actually belonging to Jesus.

Kay Day said...

Lillie, thanks for posting the link. It's an interesting method Ingermanson uses and I enjoyed reading his article.

I don't necessarily think the film's producers and the authors of the book are biased in an evil way.

I do think they are motivated by financial gain.

Otherwise, they'd donate the profits to charity.

I didn't watch the movie and I won't read the book simply because the market has an overabundance of such books.

It's so much more intriguing when fiction is clothed as fiction.

Thanks for stopping by--Kay Day