Easter weekend has once again come and gone - as have massive chocolate eggs and anthropomorphic bunny rabbits carrying weaved baskets. However, a new claim has also emerged which could dispute the original reasoning behind Easter. Y'know, that whole resurrection of Christ thing.
A geologist in Jerusalem has claimed he now has "virtually unequivocal evidence" that an ancient tomb was the final resting place of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Aryeh Shimron has carried out tests which he thinks prove the Talpiot Tomb - a burial site first uncovered in East Jerusalem in 1980 - is in fact the family grave for Jesus, Mary Magdalene and his son, Judah.
This isn't the first time the Talpiot Tomb has been connected to Jesus of Nazareth. Back in 2007, intrepid explorer/film director James Cameron directed a documentary movie about the very same tomb. Titled The Lost Tomb of Jesus, the film's claims were strenuously criticized at the time. The most salient claims made by the documentary were that many of the burial boxes, or "ossuaries," were inscribed with names such as "Jesus son of Joseph," "Mary" and other New Testament names.
This led some to suggest Jesus married and even fathered a child. However, even more controversial were the suggestions that bodily remains proved Jesus actually never resurrected.
Critics of these claims - which included historians, archaeologists and theologians - suggested these names were incredibly common during this time and could not conclusively prove anything.
However, now Dr. Shimron is claiming a 10th ossuary could hold the final irrefutable piece of evidence. The burial box is currently in the hands of a private collector, however Shimron suggests geochemical tests have proven it also came from the Talpiot Tomb.
The tests, carried out under the supervision of the Israel Antiquities Authority, discovered that both the Talpiot ossuaries and the '10th ossuary' both contained traces of the same clay which features a distinctive mineral make-up.
But how does this prove the Talpiot Tomb was the final resting place of Jesus? Well, the inscription on this 10th ossuary reads, "James son of Joseph brother of Jesus," adding further proof to suggestions is was the family tomb of Jesus. Dr. Shimron stated:
The evidence is beyond what I expected. I think I’ve got really powerful, virtually unequivocal evidence that the James ossuary spent most of its lifetime, or death time, in the Talpiot Tomb.
Of course, this claim has also been met with skepticism. The collector who owns the James ossuary told the Times Dr. Shimron's research proves nothing "conclusively," while other archaeologists have said they'll wait for the research to appear in a peer-reviewed journal before commenting.
Do you think this could be the final resting place of Jesus?