Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength has done an excellent job of pulling together more information about the bone boxes that I discussed yesterday.
Also, it is interesting what the official website for the Lost Tomb of Jesus says is the relevance of this discovery:
“The Lost Tomb Of Jesus” does not challenge the fact of the Resurrection. It does, however, ask viewers to consider the possibility that it occurred from another tomb.
The writer of the Gospel of Matthew (28:12-15) addresses a rumor that was circulating in Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion, a rumor that we suggest can be taken for the truth. The rumor was that the disciples came by night to remove Jesus’ body from the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, a temporary tomb close enough to bury Jesus before sundown on the Sabbath. They would have moved Jesus to safeguard his remains from desecrators.
His followers then would have taken Jesus to a permanent tomb, a family tomb.
Theologically speaking, even if Jesus were moved from one tomb to another, this does not negate the possibility that he was resurrected from this second tomb. Our documentary does not address the issue of whether or not the Resurrection took place, and how. Belief in the Resurrection is based not on which tomb Jesus was buried in, but on alleged sightings of Jesus that occurred after his burial as documented in the Gospels.
It is also a matter of Christian faith that Jesus, on the fortieth day after the Resurrection, ascended to Heaven. Christians accept the Ascension as a fact; however, they have long debated certain issues around the Ascension.
For example, if Jesus ascended into Heaven, does that mean Heaven is "up?" Did Jesus really sit in a throne at the right hand of God or is this actually a metaphor? And finally, was the Ascension spiritual or physical? Did Jesus leave his body behind or did he take it with him?
If Jesus’ mortal remains have indeed been found, this would contradict only the idea of a physical ascension. However, it says nothing against the possibility of a spiritual one nor does it dispute the idea of the Ascension.
Obviously, if there was a finding of the real tomb of Jesus, that would have incredilbe implications for the Christian faith because Christianity is built on the claim (backed by evidence found in historical records) that Jesus actually, physically rose from the dead and bodily ascended into heaven.
Counter-cult Apologetics has also gathered together a number of responses to this "discovery". One of the links is to Dr. Paul Maier who has written a piece entitled Who's Writing the Ficiton Here? in which he gives more reasons for rejecting this tomb as being the tomb of Jesus. He notes (among other things):
5) What in the world is the “Jesus Family” doing, having a burial plot in Jerusalem, of all places, the very city that crucified Jesus? Galilee was their home. In Galilee they could have had such a family plot, not Judea. Besides all of which, church tradition – and Eusebius – are unanimous in reporting that Mary died in Ephesus, where the apostle John, faithful to his commission from Jesus on the cross, had accompanied Mary.
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8) Please note the extreme bias of the director and narrator, Simcha Jacobovici. The man is an Indiana-Jones-wannabe, who oversensationalizes anything he touches. You may have caught him on his TV special regarding The Exodus, in which the man “explained” just everything that still needed proving or explaining in the Exodus account in the Old Testament! It finally became ludicrous, and now he’s doing it again.
Right now, I can say that I find this find of the "Jesus Family Tomb" interesting, but for the reasons I stated yesterday plus the additional reasons posed by Weekend Fisher at Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength, I find it far from convincing that this is the actual tomb of the Jesus Christ.
Addendum: Dr. Ben Witherington has posted about the problems with identifying these burial boxes as being those of the Jesus, Mary and Joseph described in the Bible. His post is entitled THE JESUS TOMB? ‘TITANIC’ TALPIOT TOMB THEORY SUNK FROM THE START and includes some information provided by Richard Bauckham about how common the names of Joseph, Mary and Jesus were at that time. One of his points is actually a number of points related to the problems from what we know from history:
The historical problems with all this are too numerous to list here: A) the ancestral home of Joseph was Bethlehem, and his adult home was Nazareth. The family was still in Nazareth after he was apparently dead and gone. Why in the world would be be buried (alone at this point) in Jerusalem? It’s unlikely. B) One of the ossuaries has the name Jude son of Jesus. We have no historical evidence of such a son of Jesus, indeed we have no historical evidence he was ever married; C) the Mary ossuaries (there are two) do not mention anyone from Migdal. It simply has the name Mary-- and that's about the most common of all ancient Jewish female names. D) we have names like Matthew on another ossuary, which don't match up with the list of brothers' names. E) By all ancient accounts, the tomb of Jesus was empty-- even the Jewish and Roman authorities acknowledged this. Now it takes a year for the flesh to desiccate, and then you put the man's bones in an ossuary. But Jesus' body was long gone from Joseph of Arimathea's tomb well before then. Are we really to believe it was moved to another tomb, decayed, and then was put in an ossuary? Its not likely. F) Implicitly you must accuse James, Peter and John (mentioned in Gal. 1-2-- in our earliest NT document from 49 A.D.) of fraud and coverup. Are we really to believe that they knew Jesus didn't rise bodily from the dead but perpetrated a fraudulent religion, for which they and others were prepared to die? Did they really hide the body of Jesus in another tomb? We need to remember that the James in question is Jesus' brother, who certainly would have known about a family tomb. This frankly is impossible for me to believe.