Filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici explores a newly discovered early Christian tomb in his documentary The Jesus Discovery. Photo: VisionTV
This spring, the multi-faith network VisionTV will broadcast the Canadian premiere of a documentary film about a newly explored tomb that purports to shed fresh light on Jesus, his disciples and earliest Christianity.
The Jesus Discovery, based on the book of the same name by biblical scholar James Tabor and filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici, outlines a recent archaeological find that, they say, “revolutionizes our understanding of Jesus, his earliest followers and the birth of Christianity.” Tabor and Jacobovici claim to have reliable archaeological evidence directly connected to Jesus’ first followers and to Jesus himself.
In 2010, using a robotic camera developed in Toronto, Tabor and Jacobovici worked with archaeologists, geologists and forensic anthropologists to explore a sealed, previously unexcavated first-century tomb in Jerusalem.
Some of the limestone ossuaries, or bone boxes, contained carvings of Jonah, a big fish and a Greek inscription associated with Jesus. Tabor and authors allege they constitute important archaeological discoveries.
Since the newly discovered ossuaries can be reliably dated to before 70 AD, the year Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, the authors say they also provide the first evidence of the people who would later be called Christians. In fact, it is possible that whoever was buried in this tomb knew Jesus and heard him preach, they say.
The newly examined tomb is only 200 feet away from the so-called Jesus Family Tomb. This controversial burial place, excavated in 1980, contained ossuaries inscribed with names associated with Jesus and his immediate family.
VisionTV previously broadcast Jacobovici’s earlier documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, in which he made the case that the 2,000-year-old Tomb of the 10 Ossuaries, discovered by Jerusalem construction workers, likely belonged to the family of Jesus of Nazareth. That claim was widely dismissed by experts in the field.
In The Jesus Discovery, Tabor and Jacobovici discuss what the concept of resurrection meant to the first followers of Jesus, and particularly how it differed from the common understanding of the term today. Because the new archaeological discovery predates all other Christian documents, the authors say it offers a dramatic witness to what the people who knew Jesus believed.
The Jesus Discovery: The New Archaeological Find That Reveals the Birth of Christianity was published in 2011 by Simon and Shuster.