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Seminary Provides Theological Resource for Viewing “The Lost Tomb of Jesus”

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis is pleased to announce the availability of a document for potential viewers of the television program “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” scheduled to air Sunday, March 4, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT, on The Discovery Channel. Professor Jeffrey Kloha, a member of the Concordia Seminary faculty who specializes in New Testament studies, is the primary author of the document. Several other Seminary faculty members provided input. The document, “‘The Lost Tomb of Jesus’: A Perfect Storm?”, is available free of charge in pdf format on the Concordia Seminary faculty’s Web site, www.concordiatheology.org, and on the Seminary’s news and information Web site, www.csl.edu.

“The Lost Tomb of Jesus” is the work of Hollywood film director James Cameron, the winner of Academy Awards for “Titanic” and “The Terminator.” The documentary, and a companion book by the same title, feature a 2,000 year-old tomb that was discovered more than 20 years ago during a construction project in a residential area between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. A total of 10 limestone burial boxes were found in the tomb, along with a series of scattered bones. Among the inscriptions found on the limestone burial boxes were “Jesus, son of Joseph;” “Mary;” and “Judah, son of Jesus.” Cameron and his colleagues suggest that the boxes contained the remains of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and a child that could have been the son of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

In “‘The Lost Tomb of Jesus’: A Perfect Storm?”, Kloha addresses issues directly related to the tomb featured in the documentary, such as the person of Mary Magdalene; DNA testing of the remains; names found on the ossuaries; and science, scholarship and the mass media.

Kloha concedes that his eight-page document is written prior to viewing the documentary and is based upon media reports concerning the documentary’s contents. “It seemed best, however, given the massive media interest in the story, to offer some reaction before the airing of the show on March 4, so that pastors can share with their congregations some things that they should watch for as they see this story unfold.”

Kloha also discusses the theological challenges presented by the discovery of the tomb, including the “ruling out” of the bodily resurrection and ascension of Jesus. “As you watch the program on Sunday evening, and continue to read and ponder this news, carefully filter what you hear labeled as ‘Christian theology’ or ‘Biblical witness,’ for what is presented will often not be either.”

For more information, contact Seminary Relations, Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105; (314) 505-7370; semrelations@csl.edu.