Mystery of the Jesus Family

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The top of the cave was sheared off to expose the interior, and a church was built around it to enclose the tomb.

The church was completely destroyed by the Fatimids in and rebuilt in the midth century. Excavations inside of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre during the 20th century revealed remains of what is believed to be Hadrian's temple and walls from Constantine's original church. Archaeologists also documented an ancient limestone quarry and at least half a dozen other rock-cut tombs, some of which can be seen today.

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The presence of other tombs of the period is important archaeological evidence, according to Magness. According to Dan Bahat , former city archaeologist of Jerusalem, "We may not be absolutely certain that the site of the Holy Sepulchre Church is the site of Jesus' burial, but we certainly have no other site that can lay a claim nearly as weighty, and we really have no reason to reject the authenticity of the site. During the past few days, the burial bed has been resealed in its original marble cladding and may not be exposed again for centuries or even millennia.

Before it was resealed, however, extensive documentation was performed on the surface of the rock.

Archaeologist Martin Biddle, who published a seminal study on the history of the tomb in , believes that the only way to really know, or understand why people believe, that the tomb is indeed the one in which the Gospels say Jesus' body was laid, is to carefully review the data collected when the burial bed and cave walls were exposed. So why did Bishop Eusebius identify this tomb as the tomb of Christ?

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He doesn't say, and we don't know. I don't myself think Eusebius got it wrong—he was a very good scholar—so there probably is evidence if only it is looked for. Meanwhile, the team from the National Technical University of Athens continues its restoration of the Edicule. Conservators will be reinforcing, cleaning, and documenting every inch of the shrine for at least another five months, collecting valuable information that scholars will study for years in an attempt to better understand the origin and history of one of the world's most sacred sites.

Read Caption. Here's what they found.

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

By Kristin Romey. A conservator cleans the surface of the stone slab venerated as the final resting place of Jesus Christ.

Months of Restoration, Decades of Study. An engineer uses ground-penetrating radar to detect the walls of the original tomb behind its marble facade. For an in-depth look at the holy city of Jerusalem, watch Explorer, coming in November on the National Geographic Channel.

Talpiot Jesus Family Tomb

But after winter, when it seemed as if everything had died away, spring arrives. New life surrounds us. Daffodils and crocuses begin to push through the once-frozen ground.

Was This Really the Tomb of Christ?

The bare branches of trees begin to show signs of new leaves. Another example within nature is a process that many park rangers use—a controlled burn. Certain areas are purposefully set on fire in order to improve the habitat for plants and wildlife. We are a part of nature too. Not only do we experience the seasons and see the process of dying and rising, we also have our own dyings and risings. Sometimes these are obvious—for example, a grandparent dies or a baby is born.

But other dyings and risings are less obvious. An experience of rising might be reconciling with someone you hurt or who hurt you, talking with your family about the homeless mother and child and discovering that an organization like the St. Vincent de Paul Society has the people and the resources to care for people who are homeless. These are some of the dyings and risings that we experience every day.

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Jesus' Burial Tomb Uncovered: Here's What Scientists Saw Inside

Now when we look at the Paschal Mystery in the context of our religious beliefs and the life of Jesus Christ, we come to a deeper meaning of dying and rising. We learn from Jesus that new life can come from death, that we can find meaning in tough times, that there really is light in the darkness.

We learn that all life has this rhythm of dying and rising and that God is with us in good times and in bad. Death no longer has the last word. Becoming conscious of our own dyings and risings helps us have a greater sense of compassion for others and a greater willingness to reach out. Think about your own life.


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What is a dying or rising that you have experienced today, this week, this year?

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