The Jesus Family Tomb tells the story of what may very well be the greatest archaeological find of all time—the discovery of the family tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. Following the accidental bulldozing of a tomb during the building of a housing complex in suburban Jerusalem in 1980, archaeologists from the Israeli Antiquities Authority were immediately called to the scene. Inside, the archaeologists found ten ossuaries—limestone boxes that served as first-century coffins. Six had inscriptions, including Jesus, son of Joseph; two Marys; and Judah, son of Jesus. The team concluded that the unusual group of names was merely coincidence. After removing and cataloging the ossuaries, they left the tomb to the builders to finish what they had already started.
Twenty-five years later, Simcha Jacobovici, an Emmy award-winning journalist, tracked down the ossuaries in the Israeli Antiquities Authority's warehouse and decided to investigate this remarkable collection of names. Simcha mapped and then located the original tomb, which, to his surprise, was still intact. Granted unequaled access, he soon found that the archaeologists were unaware of key evidence that made this the discovery of a lifetime.
This is a story that is destined to grab international headlines and raise fundamental questions about the historical Jesus. Are the "Jesus" and "Mary" referred to in these inscriptions the Jesus and Mary Magdalene of the gospels? Readers are taken on a remarkable journey: from telling statistical analysis, to a time-bending trip across two millennia, and an investigation of the patinas and DNA of the tombs that makes an episode of CSI look mundane. The Jesus Family Tomb arrives at an extraordinary answer to an ancient mystery.
A riveting combination of history, archaeo-logy, and theology, this book will change the way we think about God, religion, and everything we have learned about the life and death of Jesus.
Foreword by James Cameron
“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
“A suspenseful and riveting account of the unfolding investigation of a tomb discovered just outside the Old City of Jerusalem. The authors pursue every possible bit of evidence related to this tomb. That the tomb is indeed ancient and from the time of Jesus is not to be doubted, but were the bones of the individual identified therein as "Jesus son of Joseph" those of Jesus of Nazareth? The Jesus Tomb properly opens that discussion and invites scholars and the public alike to consider what we can know.” —James D. Tabor, author of The Jesus Dynasty
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.