Simcha Jacobovich, famous for the Jesus family Tomb project a few years ago is releasing a new book claiming that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. I will preface this work by noting I have not read the new book yet, though I will, but before believers start questioning the faith, I thought it might be helpful to note some of Simcha Jacobovich’s greatest hits, well make that some of his more spectacular misses.
In the Tomb of Jesus film and book, Simcha astounded us by telling us that:
- The missing ossuary from the Tolpiot Tomb was the James Ossuary, despite the fact that the tenth ossuary was not actually missing and photographic evidence later surfaced demonstrating that the James Ossuary was unearthed before the Tolpiot tomb was discovered.
- The chevron on the tomb matched a chevron in a painting by one of DaVinci’s students (named Potormos), and Simcha theorized that the tomb was entered by the Templars (who then blackmailed the papacy), and the Jesus ossuary inspired the Jolly Roger. These assertions seems to be based on the eminently practical assumption that linking Jesus to DaVinci and the Templars sold a lot of books for the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail and Dan Brown’s copycat work The DaVinci Code and would likely boost sales a third time, and if pirates made great movies for disney, it might make sales even better!
- The Tolpiot tomb had dislodged skulls on the floor forming the three points of a triangle, which is clearly evidence of some kind of occultic ceremony. Actually, any time three objects are resting on a flat surface, like the ground, and they are not in a straight line, these points will form the three points of a triangle. If this were an equilateral or isosceles triangle he might have had a point, but they don’t so he doesn’t.
Mockery aside, Jacobovich’s past project managed to misrepresent numerous facts, while speculating wildly on the basis of a questionable interpretation of the ahistorical gnostic gospels in order to prop up a mathematical proof that the Tolpiot tomb was the tomb of Jesus, his wife, son and mother. Now he is apparently in need of cash, so he is publishing something new – OK so now the mockery is over.
According to some news articles, Jacobovich has found a manuscript about the marriage of Joseph (the son of Jacob) and Aseneth, and Simcha has “decoded” this text so that we can now be certain that Jesus secretly married Mary Magdalene in Egypt after an assassination attempt by Tiberius’s adopted son, Germanicus and that this story was suppressed during the council of Nicea – and no, this time I am not joking.
As I noted before, Jacobovich has quite an imagination, which unfortunately is not a sound substitute for scholarship. I will of course review this work when I am able to borrow a copy from our local library (or sack out at Barnes and Nobles or Joseph Beth’s for an afternoon), but before we consider abandoning the gospels we know in the Bible, we ought to keep two things in mind.
The first thing I have already noted, Simcha has a history of making overblown statements and dishonestly fostered several conspiracy theories – this of course does not mean that he cannot be right, but it does indicate that a strong dose of skepticism (to say the least) should be maintained. We assume in our courts that perjurers are likely to commit perjury a second time in a court of law, the same is true with pseudo-intellectual scholarship.
Second and far more importantly, a sixth century manuscript (which is younger than multiple copies of the canonical gospels), which requires imaginative decoding should require substantial corroborating evidence to be considered sufficient to rewrite Church history to this extent. As I and others have demonstrated elsewhere, the source material for the gospels is excellent. The author of Luke-Acts has demonstrably been proven to be a historian of the first rank, Paul, a first rate scholar in his own right converted from persecuting Christians between 2 and 5 years after the death and resurrection of Christ to becoming one of the infant church’s most important supporters and consulted with other eyewitnesses, and later died for the faith. John was written by someone who claims to be an eyewitness and this claim is consistent with the evidence.
I’ve noted elsewhere what I consider to be required to change my mind about Christianity – it is highly doubtful that Simcha’s sixth century document can challenge that evidence.
So while we are likely in for some sensationalistic stories, it does not appear at this juncture that we will have much of actual value in understanding early Christianity.
For more on the Jesus family tomb, our pamphlet on the matter is for sale here.