"Dem bones, dem bones, dem...dry bones..." (fragments) of the Holy Family? Unbelieveable! This would maybe mean that the "Da Vinci Code" may have some truth to it. That's right. Twenty-seven years ago,(1980)in the East Talpiyot neighborhood of Jerusalem, Southern Israel, the bones of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, his wife?, Mary, his mother, two of his brothers Matthew and Jose and his son, Judah, by Mary Magdalene(?) were found in a crypt in ten limestone boxes called ossuaries. The inscriptions on the outsides are interpreted to be authentic.
In 1996, when the British Broadcasting Corp. aired a short documentary on this, archaeologists challenged the claims. Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to examine the site, said the idea fails to hold up by archaeological standards but makes for profitable television. Most Christians believe Jesus' body spent three days at the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem's Old City. This is no where near where these bones were found. Do we have a monumental hoax on our phalanges? Is it possible that someone else in the area also had the same names and were buried together? Talk about "a bone(s) of contention" or "... a bone to pick with you"...
James Cameron ("Titanic") now has produced a documentary that more thoroughly investigates the above claims and authenticates them with DNA testing by a forensic lab in the U.S. He further shows the tests of the "patina" or crusts of the ossuaries because one, James, brother of Jesus (father Joseph), was missing, stolen and turned up later in another collectors collection. It is all very fascinating and I saved the TIVO'ed, two-hour presentation to pour over again. They also had a mathematician from Toronto work out the probabilities that this is not the Family Tomb of Jesus, historically. He, at first, put it at 1 in 600 that it wasn't...but then with the discovery of the missing ossuary he put it at 1 in 30,000. The tomb is now sealed up again after being rediscovered and searched. The local authorities hadn't given permission.
I was raised in a church that taught us to celebrate on Easter Sunday by saying and responding, "He is risen...He is risen indeed!" as our mutual greetings on that day. I think its origin might be Eastern Orthodox (Catholic Church). Just think how much of history and how many wars have been fought based on this belief in the resurection of the dead "in Christ". A great portion believe in the "bodily resurection" and therefore will not be cremated. Forget cryogenics. Is there something "special" about bones? Do they contain the "soul"?...if there is one. Do they have special "powers" that "live" on? Some aboriginal tribes ground up the bones and kept them or sprinkled them on special ceremonial sites. Some american tribes put the bodies on stilted platforms where they were desicated and picked clean by the elements and birds.
I have had the privilege(?) or opportunity to witness a cremation at Forest Lawn behind the "Wee Kirk of the Heather" chapel; back when I worked as a "pall bearer/flower carrier" there. The casket is a cheap pine wood covered with thin gray cloth. After the fire turns it all into "ash" it is raked into a wooden box and a magnet is passed through it to pull out the nails and hinges of the casket. There remain small fragments of "bone"...not really ash (wood ash). That is what is then put in an urn and interred. In that capacity, I saw and participated in all kinds of funerals. i.e. both open and closed casket, ceremonial interment in crypts, walls and the ground. "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust" is frequently referred to...not bones.
To my way of thinking, now, and or my level or depth of faith, or lack of it; I am not changing any of my thinking/faith/beliefs about all of this. Finding historical remains of "the Holy Family", Jesus' marriage, His son existence, although extremely interesting to me, have very little to do with my over-riding faith and belief in a "hereafter", another dimension, another reality. Yes, I believe that there are "mediums" who have been able to communicate with "those beyond" in whatever physical or non-physical shape they are in. I have been to one and have had "things" shared that no one else could've or would've known. This has nothing to do with "bones" or remains on this "physical plane". Now you can see why I really "dig" the popular TV shows, "Ghost Whisperer" and "Medium". No, it's not just Jennifer Love Hewitt. Bob!