Simcha Jacobovici is in Jerusalem this week working and filming in the area of the “tomb of Jesus” in the Talpiot neighborhood. Jacobovici previously claimed that he had discovered the actual tomb of Jesus and he is currently producing a new documentary with compelling new “proof.”
One possible strategy is that Jacobovici will take patina samples from the “tomb of Jesus” and claim that they match those from the James ossuary. Since this ossuary is inscribed “James son of Joseph brother of Jesus,” Jacobovici can argue that this was the family tomb of Jesus.
Much of this has been discussed at great length in past years, and with the exception of his partner James Tabor (who benefits financially from Jacobovici’s work), I don’t know of any scholars who accept this claim. Simon & Schuster’s website promotes their forthcoming book and promises a “primetime Discovery television commentary” and press conference.
A few basic points may be recalled:
1. The tomb of Jesus’ family was likely located in his hometown of Nazareth.
2. The economic status of Jesus’ family makes it unlikely that they could afford an expensive rock-hewn tomb.
3. The names Jesus, James (Jacob), and Joseph were very common in the first century.
4. Jacobovici is attempting to do what no one in the first century could do: prove that Jesus is still in the tomb.
5. Jacobovici has made it clear in interviews that his primary interest is entertainment, not truth.
Tabor appears ready to chase after anything that will undermine the historic Christian faith.
6. As long as people will buy, Jacobovici will keep selling his sensational stories, especially before major Christian holidays.