Ted Koppel and Jesus
Okay, I didn't hang on every word of last night's Discovery Channel episodes of The Lost Tomb of Jesus and the follow up, A Critical Look, but it sure seemed to me that the panel that was supposed to be offering an educated critical look at the film seemed more like folks desperately seeking any way to criticize than to actually debunk what was said during the course of the film.
Instead Koppel couldn't get past the use of the dramatizations Jacobovici, the director, used to illustrate the questions raised by the archaeological findings. Koppel hammered Jacobovici over and again for using what is a very common technique in docudramas.
Apparently Koppel thought that Jacobovici was using those little excerpts of Jesus and Mary preaching or hanging laundry to unfairly influence the audience to believe the facts and theories he was presenting during his film. I don't think Koppel could have been more distressed by those dramatizations if they had depicted Jesus sodomizing puppies in the backroom of a Country Kitchen. Of course, the irony of immediately showing Noah's Ark: The True Story immediately after the Koppel criticisms was not lost on me. It is okay for the church to use dramatizations in order to convince folks of whatever they want, but woe be to the journalist who uses dramatizations to support his findings. It was okay for the Noah's ark crew to use dramatizations because they were using them to validate a Biblical story instead of question a Biblical story. In fairness, maybe Koppel would be as equally repelled by the Noah's ark film as he was by The Lost Tomb. Somehow I doubt it.
The other thing Jacobivici was railed on for was the fact that not enough scientific testing was done for his data to be irrefutable. He was chastised for this over and over again despite Jacobovici saying right off the top that he wants more scientific testing to be done and that he wants there to be more open dialogue on the subject. Jacobovici also went out of his way to say that his findings are NOT irrefutable proof that Jesus' body remained on earth and that he popped out a kid with the help of the lovely Mary Magdalene. He iterated that there was enough evidence to warrant continued investigation. That's what he said, but apparently what the opposing panel heard was, "I'm going to tear down your church, shit in the confessional, and eat your children." because they obviously weren't interested in what Jacobovici actually said, they only wanted to pick and tear at him and his work.
Several times, what Jacobovici actually said was ignored so his opponents could continue to rip on him. I don't have a transcript and I only watched the episode once. (I'm poor. Tivo and I are not yet friends.) I seem to remember one of Jacobovici's detractors, let's call him Mr. Stickuphisass, saying something like, I happen to know Dr. Whosisfuksis, and he says that you misrepresented what he said. Jacobovici replied (not an exact quote) "It's an unedited section of tape. Dr. Whosisfucksis said it. It's on tape." Apparently those words meant nothing to the opposing panel which just kept repeating the same inane comment over and over again.
I really could give a crap if Jesus' body went to heaven or if it was sent to a glue factory in east Herzegovina, but if the debates on the topic of Jesus' Tomb are to be continued, I hope the panel of scientists and theologians the church utilizes come off a little better than they did in last night's debate. Even with Koppel's biased mediating, I thought they came off looking petulant instead of presenting viable opposing views that were worthy of further discussion.