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The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence That Could Change History Hardcover – February 27, 2007

116 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“A slick and suspenseful narrative. . . . Jacobovici is a maverick, a self-made Indiana Jones.” (Newsweek)

“Absolutely fascinating . . . many would argue the biggest story or one of the biggest stories of our lifetime.” (Today Show)

“This discovery is potentially the last nail in the coffin of biblical literalism” (John Dominic Crossan, author of God & Empire)

About the Author

Simcha Jacobovici is an Emmy-winning documentary director and producer and a widely published writer and lecturer. His articles have appeared around the globe in publications such as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Currently the host of The Naked Archaeologist on the History Channel, Simcha Jacobovici lives in Toronto.

Charles Pellegrino is the author of numerous internationally bestselling books. Her Name, Titanic sold over a million copies and was one of the nonfiction sources for James Cameron's movie Titanic. Several of Pellegrino's books have been adapted for Time Life and National Geographic specials, including Unearthing Atlantis. He has a Ph.D. in paleobiology and is one of a small number of scientists who brought forensic science methods into the field of archaeology. As a forensic archaeologist, he has worked on the Titanic, in Pompeii and its sister cities, and at New York's Ground Zero.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (February 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061192023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061192029
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #790,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

107 of 126 people found the following review helpful By Itamar Bernstein on March 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book basically describes the making of a TV documentary, during which the Talpiot tomb, discovered in 1980, was relocated and reopened briefly. Good pleading of a case requires a clear, logical, well-organized, and comprehensive presentation, including all material evidence. In my opinion the documentary and the book incompletely, dispersively, obliquely and sometimes over-dramatically present the inherently strong case of that tomb. It sometimes relies on anecdotal, long shot evidence (such as the Acts of Phillip connection) or remote speculation (such as the Didymus Judah Thomas-Judah son of Jesus connection) while ignoring direct, compelling evidence (such as symbology) right under its nose. The documentary still deserves much credit for exposing this previously hardly known discovery on a mass media scale to the general public. However, the grand exposure also drew criticism of the magnitude of the find. The critics basically argue:

1. That the Jesus family would be buried in Nazareth, not Talpiot;
2. That the "Jesus" ossuary would have been inscribed "of Nazareth";
3. That the Jesus family couldn't have afforded a tomb like the Talpiot tomb;
4. That the "Jesus son of Joseph" ossuary is not inscribed "Yeshua" (Jesus) at all;
5. That the names inscribed on these ossuaries were supposedly common;
6. That the "Mariamne" ossuary didn't contain the remains of Mary Magdalene, but of two other women.

I believe the first five of these allegations against the book's premise don't carry much water. The sixth argument actually supports the conclusion that this is the real thing. My comments:

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77 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Aethelred on March 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover

On 28 March 1980 a tomb was discovered in Talpiot, Israel ( a suburb of Jerusalem) by workers building an apartment complex. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) was called in and preceded to excavate the tomb over the course of several days.

The tomb contained 10 ossuaries of which six were inscribed and four were not. An ossuary is in essence a "bone box" used to house human remains. After a person died, their remains were wrapped in fabric and placed in a temporary location (inside a tomb generally on a specially designed shelf) for a period of about one year to allow all soft tissue to decompose. After soft tissue decomposition was complete the person's bones would then be placed in an ossuary which would be positioned in a permanent location, which would generally be in the same tomb.

The use of ossuaries was confined to the period of c. 40 BC to AD 70. Christ was crucified in c. AD 30.

The IAA cataloged the ossuaries as 80-500 to 80-509, they are inscribed as follows:

80-500 - Mariamene

80-501 - Judah, son of Jesus

80-502 - Matthew

80-503 - Jesus, son of Joseph

80-504 - Yosa

80-505 - Maria

80-506 - not inscribed

80-507 - not inscribed

80-508 - not inscribed

80-509 - not inscribed


Simcha Jacobovici began his investigation of the Talpiot tomb in 2002, he enlisted the help of Charles Pellegrino, James Cameron and others. Jacobovici seems to have concluded early on that this was the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth and some members of his family.

He states that the odds that this is not the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth are 1 in 600.
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63 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Ginro on April 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Following on from a discussion that took place here recently, and makes for interesting reading, in one of the comments sections, after much thought I decided that having read the book (contrary to the usual accusations thrown at critics) I really ought to put up my own review.

So read on, you are about to meet it (;-p)

The book is full of what can only be described as flawed assumption, speculation, guesswork, insinuation. The claim is basically this: The authors found that a tomb had an ossuary which possibly read 'Jesus son of Joseph', another one named 'Mary', and an ossuary named 'Judah son of Jesus'. They then leapt to the conclusion that they have stumbled upon the family tomb of Jesus of Nazareth and the ossuaries therefore prove that Jesus was married and had a son. They begin with a conclusion and then work backwards to find the 'evidence' that fits. This project and its conclusions have been roundly condemned by many people qualified to do so, as the articles in the Washington Post, American Scientist, and many other journals and articles etc more than adequately show.

The only things consistent about this book are the repeated factual errors and guesswork. If people wish to believe what this book purports to claim, that is their prerogative. However, some have a habit of jumping to exaggerated conclusions based on insufficient data and that is exactly what the authors of this book have done. In the sciences it is always important to examine all arguments regarding certain claims, putting personal feelings to one side, not supporting or denying things simply because it might be what one wants to hear.

Let me use an analogy: at first glance you might see what appears to be a perfect diamond.
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