Above: The Miramne ossuary
The Talpiot ossuaries raise a number of issues relevant to the themes of this site. One, of course, is religious symbolism. Why was the Miramne ossuary decorated more ornately than that of its counterparts in the Talpiot tomb? What is the significance of the chevron pictured below? Why were skulls--apparently of a much later date--placed in front of the ossuary rooms?
These questions have been debated for well over a decade, and the makers of the James Cameron documentary make some intriguing arguments. Could this indeed be the first family of the original Nazarene sect inspired by Jesus? Did the early church cover-up the existence of Jesus' son in order to keep him from being crucified by Rome? Did the Crusaders in Jerusalem encounter the last remnants of this ancient Nazarene sect, who led them to their holiest secret shrine? We may never know the answers with absolute certainty, but they are well worth debate.
Another issue raised by the documentary is the tension between faith and commerce. Christians have vehemently attacked the theory as a sensationalist tactic cynically concocted to stoke ratings and sell books. However, is a commercial project more or less trustworthy than an inquiry from a devout point of view? For that matter, is it possible for commercial projects to be more revelatory than academia, in which peer review all too often serves to suppress disruptive change? In the press conference on 2/26, one of the production team said that "telling the truth is never a publicity stunt," but I'm not sure that Jesus would agree.