More Debunking of the "Jesus Tomb"

Mark Goodacre, of NT Gateway, had previously refuted the claim made by proponents of this theory that Jesus was buried with his wife, Mary Magdalene. After learning more about the Jesus Tomb claims, he now critiques the statistical arguments that supposedly shows why we should pinpoint Jesus Christ as the occupant of the tomb when the names involved were incredibly popular in Jesus' day. Basically, the promoters of the theory concocted a relationship for which there is no evidence -- Jesus' supposed marriage to Mary M. -- and ignored other occupants of the tomb, which if included would have added substantial evidence against the notion that this is Jesus Christ's tomb. As Goodacre concludes,

In short, including Mariamne and leaving out Matia and Judas son of Jesus is problematic for any claim to be made about the remaining cluster. All data must be included. You cannot cherry pick or manipulate your data before doing your statistical analysis.

Christianity Today also has an article that reports that so far New Testament scholars and historians are not impressed. Critical scholars who find the claims as baseless as they are sensationalistic include, Darrel Bock, Ben Witherington, Paul Maier, Scot McKnight, and Gary Burge. Burge, I think, captures the essence of what is going on:

"This is really a brilliant example of archaeological sensationalism," said Gary Burge, professor of New Testament at Wheaton College. Burge notes that allegations like Jacobovici's are nothing new. "It happens again and again in the Holy Land that people win their 15 minutes of fame by discovering some new burial cave."


Update
: Richard Bauckham has weighed in over on Ben Witherington's blog. The main focus of his critique is the claim that the Mariamenou in the tomb was Jesus' wife, Mary Magdalene. In addition to the fact that there is no evidence that the two occupants were even married, Miraomenou is certainly not Mary Magdalene.

Update2: Bauckham's blog entry is up at the site at which he is guestblogging.

Update3: Darrel Bock has some good info on the number crunching purportedly supporting the Jesus Tomb proponents.

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