A Canadian film maker, Simcha Jacobovici, is claiming that two ancient nails discovered in a Jerusalem archaeological excavation 20 years ago were those used to crucify Jesus.
The nails, discovered in an excavation of a first century Jewish tomb in 1990, have divided historical opinion. Mr Jacobovici’s view is set out in a documentary that will be aired on television in both the United States and Israel.
A number of ossuaries were found in the tomb, which belonged to the Caiaphas family. Caiaphas was the name of the Jewish high priest at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus, according to the New Testament.
“Do I know 100 per cent that these nails were used to crucify Jesus?” Mr Jacobovici said today. “No. I think we have a very compelling case to say: these are them.” And what case would that be? Nails that are dated back to the time that a man was crucified does not automatically mean they were used to crucify him in particular.
The nails were not photographed at the time that they were found, and there is no record of what was done with them, according to the documentary. If this is true than the theory can never be proved.
At around the same time as the excavation, two ancient nails from the Second Temple period were delivered to a Tel Aviv University lab from Jerusalem and remained there since then. These two nails are bent, which may be consistent with their being used for crucifixion or they could have been used to chisel the name of the deceased into the tomb according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Mr Jacobovici says that the crucifixion nails were seen as a powerful talisman that could protect the bearer in this life and the afterlife, and were therefore included in the tomb. He also says that for Caiaphas, the crucifixion of Jesus was one of the most important events in his life, and this is another possible reason they were included in his tomb.
The IAA said in response that there is no scientific proof for his theory. I think you will agree that if science can’t prove it then a film maker defiantly won’t be able to.
The tomb found in Jerusalem has not been proven to have belonged to the family of the high priest of that name, and may have belonged to another family with the same name. The theory seems to be unravelling at an alarming rate.
“There is no doubt that the talented director Simcha Jacobovici created an interesting film, at the centre of which is a genuine archaeological artefact,” the IAA said in a statement. “However, the interpretation presented in it has no basis in the find or in archaeological research.”
The documentary will be aired as part of a series called Secrets of Christianity.
However I suspect that this documentary is based on one man’s opinion and his desire to be famous.