Excitement over the discovery of Jesus’ burial site is premature, Israeli archeologist Professor Amos Kloner said.
Kloner was referring to the hype surrounding a new documentary film, which has made the claim that coffins found in a Jerusalem cave nearly 30 years ago contain the remains of Jesus, Mary, Mary Magdalene, and other family members.
The internationally renowned archeologist, who revealed the findings of the dig 10 years ago, criticized the filmmakers' marketing strategy and warned against being over enthusiastic about the alleged discovery.
“The claim that the burial site has been found is not based on any proof, and is only an attempt to sell,” Kloner said.
He mentioned that a similar film was released 11 years ago, and said that this current film was merely a renewed effort to create controversy in the Christian world in order to make a bigger profit.
“I refute all their claims and efforts to waken a renewed interest in the findings. With all due respect, they are not archeologists,” Kloner said, referring to the filmmakers.
According to him, the names inscribed on the coffins were very common in the Second Temple era, and as such were not sufficient proof that the cave was the burial site of Jesus' family.
“A burial chamber of Jesus’ family would be a discovery that would shake up the world, and that’s what the filmmakers want to do,” Kloner said.
Sinai Abet, manager of Israel’s Channel 8 and a partner in the film, said that he would not discuss the conflicting claims until after a press conference in New York on Monday, in which the film will be shown.
“As of this moment, no one other that the production crew and experts has seen the film in its entirety, not even Professor Amos Kloner. The film will present different and interesting findings, and claims can be made after it is aired,” Abet said.
The film, which documents the stages of the discovery, is the result of three years of labor and research. It will be broadcast on the international Discovery Channel, Britain's Channel 4, Canada’s Vision and Israel’s Channel 8, which also took part in the film's production.