At the weekend, a casket thought to have once contained the bones of a "Jesus, son of Joseph" was reported to have been found in Jerusalem by a BBC TV crew.
"Mystery tomb may reveal the secrets of the death of Jesus", the Sunday Times solemnly declared, breaking the story. "TV team's discovery of Jesus' tomb dismissed by scholars", retorted the Independent the next day.
Chris Mann, producer of the BBC's Heart of the Matter, and his team. In Jerusalem to film an Easter special, Mann discovered five caskets in a museum warehouse, bearing the names Jesus, son of Joseph; Mary; Joseph; Mary (possibly Magdelene); Matthew; and Juda, son of Jesus. An apartment block now stands over the tomb. Could it be, Joan Bakewell will ask on Sunday, that an find of staggering significance has been overlooked? If so, what of the Resurrection?
Mann likened discovering what might be the burial caskets of Jesus and his family to "the balls of the National Lottery coming up one by one", but experts insisted it couldn't be Him. Professor Geza Vermes, a leading authority on first century Judaism, called it "an April Fool one day too early", claiming it was easy to miss the caskets' significance "because they have none". But Joe Zias, of the Israel Antiquities Authority, thought the combination of names "impressive."
"Do you realise this could be evidence challenging the very basis of a religion which transformed the spiritual life of Western civilisation?"
And what you shouldn't
"So long as we still get the Bank Holiday."
"I always thought it was a pile of codswallop."Reuse content