Aren Maeir on Media Fantasy and Biblical Archeology

Professor Aren Maeir (Bar Ilan University) delivered a talk entitled “Media Fantasy & Biblical Archeology: Must Everything Be Interpreted As A “Da Vinci Code?” as part of the Orange County Community Scholars Program (OCCSP), podcasted November 14,  2007. The talk examines media exaggerations and archaeological forgeries in biblical archaeology. The talk is available in m4a audio format:


A very interesting character by the name of Simcha Jacobovici claims that a bunch of ossuaries were found in the tomb…. They had names such as Jacob, and Joseph, and Jesus, and Miriam, and from this, this group of scholars which included Jacobovici and James Cameron from The Titanic carried out this enormous hullaballoo, as they say, claiming that since you have these names, this is the tomb of the family of Jesus. Now, all of this is very nice, except that those names, which we know from the New Testament as being the names of Jesus’ family, were extremely common in Jerusalem during that period. So if we were to find a tomb nowadays in the Jewish cemetery and there was a David, a Solomon, a Bathsheba, and Ruth, we would hardly say that that’s David’s family. It’s just that those are common names…. [Jacobovici] connects the dots in places the dots should not be connected…. If you take a story and either you don’t know it or you hide from the viewers all the little details which make the connecting of the lines difficult, then you can do it. And that’s exactly what [Jacobovici] does a lot.

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