The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation & the Evidence That Could Change History

ISBN: 0061192023
ISBN 13: 9780061192029
By: Simcha Jacobovici Charles R. Pellegrino James Cameron

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Archaeology Christianity Favorites History Jesus Library My Library Non Fiction Religious Spirituality

About this book

The Jesus Family Tomb tells the story of what may very well be the greatest archaeological find of all time: the discovery and investigation of the Jesus family tomb. The tomb in question houses ossuaries (bone boxes) with inscriptions bearing the names of Jesus of Nazareth, the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Judas, the son of Jesus. This crypt has been overlooked and ignored for years and exists today under a patio just outside of Jerusalem. The authors have tracked down the location and been granted unequaled access to inspect the findings within the tomb. The artifacts were found, recorded and catalogued by professional archaeologists in a controlled setting. There is no question of their authenticity. A fascinating combination of history, archaeology, and theology, the revelations inside the book will change the way we think about God, religion, and everything we have learned about the life and death of Jesus.

Reader's Thoughts


I did find the history of "ossuaries" interesteing but I didn't finish the book as I found it quite heavy going and got bored.


Simcha does an outstanding job of sourcing his finds. Not sure about it all, but again...who knows?


I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I thought it was going to be one of those books that sensationalizes a trivial discovery, but the evidence and the arguments, admittedly a little rough around the edges, are quite compelling. Is this the Jesus family tomb? I have no idea. It would be great fun if it was. But the discovery will never be taken seriously because, as the authors document, of political intrigues. Christians don't want anything to do with it because it fundamentally challenges belief in the resurrection.I hope that some serious scholars take on the investigation and treat this as an important archaeological and historical discovery.


The idea is facinating. The book raises so many of the "What if?" questions. Interesting how these possiblities create so many negative responses. I really enjoy Simcha. I have watched pretty much every episode of the Naked Archeologist and find he is curious and willing to question conventional or traditional thought while not pushing his own agenda. Just makes you want to go dig stuff up!

Betty McMahon

Very interesting. Surprised the book didn't get more attention.


Wow! Wow! I have never claimed to be a christian, but have always believed that Jesus was an actual human being that walked the earth and who was one of the greatest people that ever lived. I think that this book documents the real discovery of his tomb, and the tomb of his family, found in the current century. You would think that that is enough, but it isn't. The events surrounding the discovery are just so entirely, nearly farcically, reminiscent of his life and death as told in the Bible, as to be heartbreaking. The only negative is the pure conjecture, fantasy really, about the mystery of the skulls found. I wish Jacobovici had left the mystery open ended to allow us all to indulge our imaginations and to explore the findings in more depth.

Patrick McFarland

I didn't really think I'd like this book when I first picked it up but I was pleasantly surprised. The evidence that this is indeed the Jesus family tomb is pretty overwhelming. Intriguing and thought provoking and an overall good read for anyone interested in the man behind the myth.

Erik Graff

I give this book four stars for being a page-turner, not as an endorsement of its credibility. This is the third book I've read about the discovery in 1980 of a first century tomb in Jerusalem containing ossuaries ascribed to Yeshua bar Yosef; Mariamne, also known as Mara; Maria; Yosa; Yehuda bar Yeshua; Matiah and Yaakov ben Yosef akhui diYeshua. The authors argue that the individuals so designated were Jesus; Mary of Magdala, his wife; Mary, his mother; Jose, his brother; Judah, his son; Matthew, another relative; and James, his brother and head of the organization after his death. The arguments are, presuming the honesty of the authors, at least plausible, though most are contested. What I'd like to do next is read a detailed critique of their books and their documentary on the matter.

Priska Wahyu

saya belum pernah bisa selesai membaca buku ini. entah kenapa...

Muhamad Chatab

The findings on this book indirectly has attacked Christianity dogma about ascension Jesus physically.


This book is not written for serious scholars of religion or history. In fact, there is very little in the way of citation in the book. In order to examine the manuscript claims of the book, you would have to have a good bit of knowledge of the field already, since the book gives no direction for those who wish to interact with the material at a reasonable level. If, for example, you were already familiar with the provenance of the "Acts of Phillip" or had read the work, you would know that using it to discover the "real" name of Mary Magdalene is an exercise in crypto-archaeology. There is no point at which the Acts of Phillip mentions Mary Magdalene, nor is there any point at which Mary Magdalene is called "Mariamne" in ancient texts. Plus, the idea that a fourteenth century manuscript can tell us the real name of someone testified to in first-century documents is the acme of silliness. Ancient texts are mishandled throughout the book. Take, for example, this citation from page 98:As recorded in the Gospel of Thomas, Simon and [sic] Peter, in sayings 22 and 114, eventually rose and spoke out against Mary Magdalene… And jesus replied, with more than a hint of wry humor, "Behold! I shall guide her as to make her male, that she too may become a living spirit like you men...Let's catalogue the errors in this very brief example:-Simon and Peter are two names for one man, "Simon Peter." The fact that neither the authors nor anyone on their editing team knew this does not speak well for their understanding of the text in question.-The Gospel of Thomas is a "sayings gospel"-- unconnected sayings (attributed to Jesus) with no apparent chronology. There is no "eventuality" to be inferred.-Simon Peter does not speak in saying 22.-Saying 114 seems to reflect exactly what an Egyptian gnostic group might believe. The authors read humor into the text.-The authors append the end of saying 22 to the middle of saying 114, and cite the amalgam as "Gospel of Thomas, saying 114”.Factual errors are actually the least of the problems. The claims about the facts are worse, for here, the authors treat their wild fancies as necessary conclusions. Speculations about the Knights Templar become "explanations" of the "facts" of the Talpiot tomb. The Biblical gospels are dismissed in favor of speculation when their contents are inconvenient, but paraded as evidence wherever they can provide support. A plain ossuary which was catalogued but subsequently lost is claimed to have been the so-called "James ossuary," a magnificently-ornate box whose measurements do not match those of the plain one. The claims of experts appear without context so that they cannot be examined. On top of that, several of the experts have revealed that their statements were taken out of context and that their work does not allow for the conclusions of the authors!The book identifies two groups, the Ebionites and the Nazarenes, as early Jewish followers of Jesus, citing Irenaeus for the name, but supplying an invented history of the groups. Suddenly, they are "the original [Jesus] movement" who "lost its power base and disappeared from official histories" when a new group, the Gentile Christians, took over (p. 36). No shred of evidence is supplied.All of this occurs without even the slightest hint that there might be contrary evidence. The authors completely neglect the testimony of Amos Kloner, who actually discovered and catalogued the tomb in favor of his erstwhile colleague, James Tabor. Jacobovici has said in interviews that he's just presenting the facts for others to evaluate, but you'd never know it by reading the book-- you'd think he had an agenda.I have no doubt that this book will sell well in the current market, which is a shame, but don't let "true believers" try to convince you that these men have proven anything aside from the fact that they have no case at all.

Mormon Heretic

Interesting and controversial look at Christ.

Raymond Strodl

This was an exciting book about an important if controversial discovery. Well researched and written putting forward a reasonable and believable premise.I enjoyed it.

Karlie Nyte

This is a fascinating book! Regardless of your religious beliefs, it's fascinating! I've read this book more than once, and each time I've read it, I become more fascinated by what the authors have to say.


That we can never take the word of man and if we want to know the full truth then only by investigation and self reliance is the key to truth and knowledge...What we know today as truth is false...

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