I was just flat wrong.
In the post I was responding to those who have posted comments, complaining that I had jumped the gun--that I had no right to criticize the documentary before it aired and heard the claims being made. My point was that a lot of the information covered in this documentary was not new-- not necessarily The book in question was (according to amazon), released in 1997. Here's what I wrote:
Well, there is already a lot of information out there on this "discovery"--keep in mind it was made in March of 1980! This is not new information to anybody who has been doing research on first-century Judaism. In fact, since my dissertation involves historical Jesus research, I've done a lot of work in some of the pertinent areas here myself.
The ossuaries have already been documented by L. Y. Rahmani, in his work, A Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries: In the collections of the State of Israel (Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1994). Other works relating to the topic of the ossuaries include Craig A Evans, Jesus and the Ossuaries: What Jewish Burial Practices Reveal About the Beginning of
Christianity (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2003) and Tal Ilan, Lexicon of
Jewish Names in Late Antiquity (TSAJ 91; Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002). Richard Bauckham also has a fine chapter on first-century Jewish name-giving practices
in his new and very important contribution, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006).
I went on to indicate that a documentary on this had already ran, called, "The Tomb That Dare Not Speak Its Name". Actually, that was apparently the what a newspaper claimed this recent documentary would be named. The documentary that ran in 1996 on this "discovery" was actually called something else.
Mark Goodacre explained this in a comment to my previous post:
Thanks for the post. Cf. my post on the 1996 documentary at
There are a couple of items that I think need correction in your post. First,
the picture is of the book connected with the current documentary, directed by
Jacobovici, not the 1996 BBC one. Second, the BBC documentary in 1996 was not
called "The Tomb that Dare Not Speak Its Name"; that was the title of the piece
in the Sunday Times the week before the documentary was aired. The documentary
was called, if I remember correctly, "The Body in Question" and it was part of
the regular BBC1 series presented by Joan Bakewell entitled Heart of the Matter. All best, Mark
I want to thank Mark for his kind correction. Mark is one of my favorite New Testament scholars out there these days--and his blog is at the top of my "favorites" list in my browser (and should be on yours as well). I'm quite humbled that he has graced these pages--and more than just a little embarrassed by the mistakes I made.
I've deleted the inaccurate post--I really do not want to risk confusing anybody else on this.
Thanks again, Mark.
For some other great Goodacre debunking, check out his important book, The Case Against Q: Studies in Markan Priority and the Synoptic Problem. Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 2003.