Matters at Hand
The year of 2009 promises to be a year of many enjoyable events. On November 1, for instance, will appear Het grote boek der apokiefen (The Great Book of the Apocrypha), a comprehensive work in which virtually all Christian apocryphal and secret writings from the first four centuries have been incorporated. I am happy to see that even in church circles, ever more room is provided for texts that have been hidden for centuries, because they do not agree with the vision of the church in the fourth century. It has become increasingly clear that this vision deviates considerably from what was experienced and felt in the earliest Christian churches.
Apart from that I also perceive a growing interest in “the find of the century:” i.e., the tomb of Jesus, his family, his wife and children. Naturally, there is still a good deal of reticence, not only from church authorities, but also from Bible scholars. This reticence is actually a good thing. Practicing science is not the same as writing a novel. Yet, I have noticed that one of the reasons for that is fear. If this is true, one might wonder what then is left of faith? The Theological College of Princeton University had the courage to organize a congress in Jerusalem where more than fifty international scholars gave their opinion on this spectacular discovery. It turned into a rather fervent discussion. There was a great deal of skepticism among theologians. How could this be the Jesus? Had he not bodily ascended to heaven, and was he not single instead of married with children? That simply couldn’t be true. And anyway the names from the tomb occurred frequently in Palestine during the first century.
Other researchers mentioned the significant combination and the undeniable facts. It was decided that further investigation was called for. We are waiting for the results, although I have the impression that not a great deal is going on right now . . . After the notorious film about the find during Easter 2007 by the Discovery Channel which strongly suggests that Jesus’ tomb has finally been located, the arguments in the National Geographic documentary on the other hand, are not very convincing, and can easily be refuted.