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The Jesus Discovery: The Resurrection Tomb that Reveals the Birth of Christianity Hardcover – February 28, 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In 1981, a tomb was discovered under a condominium in Jerusalem that held ossuaries inscribed with such names as Jesus, son of Joseph; Mary; and Mariamene Mara. Although the bone boxes were ignored for more than 20 years, when they were finally examined, the case was made that they held the bones of Jesus, mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ brother, and a son of Jesus (!). This theory was largely rejected due to the commonality of the names. Now, another tomb under the same condo building has been examined using specialized robotic cameras. Untouched for more than 2,000 years, two of these newly discovered bone boxes contain further references to Jesus, according to the authors. One, they claim, is inscribed with a large fish, symbolic of Jonah, whose story is mentioned by Jesus in Matthew and Luke. The other has words scratched upon it that say, “The Divine Jehovah raises up from the dead.” Tabor, a religious studies professor, and filmmaker Jacobovici do an excellent job of walking readers through the discoveries, framing the history; explaining the what, why, and how of ancient ossuaries; and taking another look at the statistical evidence surrounding the names in the first tomb. For readers, however, the book’s problem is the photographs. Printed on dull stock, they are difficult to make out. The fish looks like a decorative urn, and it’s almost impossible to see the stick figure of Jonah often mentioned in the text. Considering the conditions under which the photos were obtained, the poor quality may be understandable, but why not at least have labels to show what is being discussed? Will this discovery cause heated debate? It already has. And a Discovery Channel television program coming soon will turn up the temperature still higher. --Ilene Cooper


“An exciting, extraordinary, exceptional discovery. See for yourself the first archeological evidence ever for early Christian belief in resurrection.” (Barrie Wilson, Professor of Religious Studies, York University, Toronto and author of How Jesus Became Christian)

“These newly discovered findings, revealed by a sophisticated robotic camera exploration, are extremely important for early Jewish-Christian archaeology.” (Peter Lampe, Dr. theol., Dr. habil., Professor of New Testament Studies, University of Heidelberg) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145165040X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451650402
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #850,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Dolby on September 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had read The Jesus Family Tomb and had seen the the TV programs dealing with each of the Talpiot tombs and felt that this book would probably not have much more to offer.

I was wrong.

This book presents strong arguments to support the hypothesis that the two tombs in the Talpiot suburb of Jerusalem are quite special. When analyzed in tandem, they represent not just a clearly pre-70 CE Christian burial area and a tomb that might have some interesting coincidence in name inscriptions, but instead two tombs that each held the bones of people we know from scripture.

This is a book that deals with history, not theology. Indeed, the authors firmly point out that the findings they present in no way counter one's belief in resurrection. Indeed, their report includes the earliest yet discovered symbols of Christian resurrection.

This is exciting stuff!

Their research used techniques ranging from "good ole archeology" to the study of ancient scripts, to the most modern of techniques, including robotic cameras and advanced DNA analysis techniques.

This book is perfect for three groups of people: those who are not at all familiar with this subject; those who are reasonably in agreement with the information presented in the earlier book and TV shows; and, perhaps most importantly, those who know something about these prior efforts and are in strong disagreement.

Beside enjoying the results of all the research James Tabor & Simcha Jacobovici presented here, I was highly impressed by the pace of the book and even more so by the logical progression of findings, building to the final conclusions.

This book doesn't have to change your mind or your beliefs. Just read it with an open, historical rather than theological, mindset and I think you will find this intriguing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Right out of the gate, the discovery that this book describes has been viciously attacked by academics and conservative Christian leaders, as was the previous book and documentary on the original Talpiot tomb. Sadly, those on the attack often do so without fully examining all the evidence. On the day of the press conference, scholars such as Jodi Magness were already resorting to near histrionics ("it pains me to see archaeology hijacked in the service of non-scientific interests, whether they are religious, financial, or other"). It is ironic that Magness and others who accuse Tabor and Jacobovici of using unscholarly methods resort to such unscholarly ad hominem attacks.

That being said, yes, the authors of this book have gone against the grain of the laboriously slow, methodical scholarly approach. And for that the world should be thanking them! If their theses and conclusions are false, the academics have plenty of time to refute them. What is interesting is that in the years since the initial release of information on both the so-called "Jesus Family Tomb" and the "James" ossuary, the scholarly refutation of these finds has been eroded by increasing evidence supporting their authenticity. The trial of Oded Golan on charges of forging the inscription on the James ossuary is presently completely collapsing. The supposed "commonness" of the names on the ossuaries in the Talpiot tomb is being stood on its head by the latest statistical research. The grouping of these particular names is not statistically probable, adding to what is now a likelihood that these ossuaries do belong to Jesus and his family. Now, the latest evidence from the neighboring "Patio tomb," discussed in this book, adds further evidence in support of the initial claims of Jacobovici and Tabor.
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As with all Dr. Tabor's books, The Jesus Discovery is well written and clearly lays out the facts. The discovery and exploration of a second tomb close to the original "Talpiot Tomb" strongly backs up the original theory that the first tomb belonged to the man whose name has come to us as Jesus, and his family. I personally was skeptical about the claims for the first tomb, although I could see why the archaeologists believed it was what they said it was, but with this additional information it's much more clear that they were correct.

Anyone with an open mind can see all the facts for themselves. There are many people who will adamantly refuse to try to understand anything outside their own comfort zone, and thinking in new and different ways about religious beliefs is very difficult for many. Those people have already gone out of their way to try to discredit Dr. Tabor and Dr. Jacobovici and all they've done is make themselves look desperate.

The only real down side to the book is the horrible, horrible cover. I think it's supposed to look like a Torah scroll with an image of Jesus faintly superimposed on it. What it actually looks like is... well, people have seen it as someone's bare behind and people have seen it as a closeup of female anatomy. One has to wonder whether the publishers were trying to sabotage the book from the get-go! One should not judge the book by its cover, but with a cover this blatantly awful, that's not easy to remember.
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Format: Kindle Edition
‘Good history is never the enemy of informed faith.’ Seems true enough to me but for many Christians the physical resurrection of Jesus is an essential principle of their religion. ‘The Jesus Discovery’ would be a difficult read for these followers as it suggests that if such a resurrection did take place, it would have been of the spiritual, astral form of Jesus, a visionary experience for his disciples.

I was raised as a Catholic, but never felt at home amidst all the dogma, even as a small child. I left the Catholic Church, mentally, when I was 13, but was still forced to be physically present at endless masses, benedictions etc. all of which gave me time to study the Bible. I discovered that the gospels of the New Testament were not one unified story and that the actual teachings of Jesus appeared to differ dramatically from the vengeful Jehovah of the Old Testament and also from the teachings of the Catholic Church. All fascinating. I went off on my own path but retained a strong interest in the historical Jesus. Did he exist? If so, what actually happened 2,000 years ago? ‘The Jesus Discovery’ provides some possible answers.

James D. Tabor and Simcha Jacobovici approach their subject with sensitivity and respect. ‘The Jesus Discovery’ gives a very clear and readable account of their investigations into a sealed tomb dated to the first century CE (AD under the old system). I was amazed by the discovery of the ‘sign of Jonah’ on one of the ossuaries contained inside the tomb. For me, this suggests that the early followers of Jesus believed in direct mystical inner experience, raising their consciousness to find enlightenment, exactly matching a ‘visionary’ resurrection.
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