A documentary film, whose release was timed with the Easter season, claims that nails found in a 2,000-year-old tomb in Jerusalem could have been the very ones used to crucify Jesus.
Though that exact claim is inconclusive, the Israeli-Canadian filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici announced his findings on Tuesday in Jerusalem and promoted a new film of his regarding his findings.
“In the future things that look far fetched today may become facts tomorrow,” he said.
Jacobovici, whose findings are oftentimes mired in controversy, displayed two rusted, bent iron nails claiming that perhaps these were the very ones used to crucify Jesus to the cross 2,000 years ago on Golgotha. He said these nails were discovered 20 years ago in a Jerusalem excavation. They were found in a tomb, believed to be the tomb of Caiaphas, the high priest who handed Jesus over to the Romans to be killed.
“These are probably, possibly, the nails from that Caiaphas tomb. So, if you accept that this is the tomb of Caiaphas and, if you accept that these nails came from that tomb, given that Caiaphas is only associated with the crucifixion of Jesus they very well could be those nails,” Jacobovici said.
His film, “The Nails of the Cross,” will air on the History Channel and other major TV channels during the Easter season in the U.S., Latin America, Canada and on an Israeli channel, the first time Israeli TV will run a program featuring a historical analysis of Christianity.
A 1st-century tomb discovered in East Jerusalem in 1990, believed to be that of Caiaphas, contained the nails. According to Jacobovici, the nails mysteriously disappeared shortly after that until he tracked them down at Tel Aviv University, in the lab of an anthropologist who is an expert on ancient bones.
Jacobovici said 1st-century Jews regarded crucifixion nails to be a talisman of sorts.
But, “there’s no proof that the nails are connected to any bones or proof from textual data that Caiaphas had the nails for the crucifixion with him after the crucifixion took place and after Jesus was taken down from the cross,” said archaeologist Gaby Barkay. “On the other hand, those are possible things.”
Jacobovici speculates that Caiaphas may have become a follower of Jesus and taken the nails, or simply wanted them as an amulet to help him in his afterlife.
“Why would someone take these nails to the grave with them? I would say that in rabbinic literature there is only one kind of nail that is like an amulet and that is crucifixion nails,” Jacobovici said. “I guess that it is an insurance policy in the after life.”
At this point, there is no way to scientifically prove that these are the nails that crucified Jesus.
“From what I understand you cannot get DNA from iron. Maybe in the future they will be able to. So no real testing beyond looking at the limestone has been done on these. I think they have been looked at to see if there is bone residue and none has been found. I don’t think you can get blood and flesh,” Jacobovici said.
The Israel Antiquities Authority issued a statement: “Nails were commonly found in burial tombs of that period. The most accept view is that they were used to carve on the ossuary the name of the deceased. The claim that these nails had any other significance is baseless and a figment of the imagination. The theories presented in the film have no archaeological or scientific basis.”
Four years ago, he teamed up with James Cameron, director of the Titanic, to unveil what they claimed was the ossuary of Jesus. The burial chambers were marked with the names of Jesus, Joseph and Mary. These claims were contested by archaeologists and scholars.
By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah
Nicole Jansezian writes for www.travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.