Updated April 8, 2012
There is a substantial quantity of background material regarding the Talpiot tomb that is available to the interested non-specialist. In
using this material the reader should be aware that most of this material has been prepared by persons who are clearly either supporters
or critics of the proposition that the Talpiot tomb is the family tomb of the biblical Jesus. In many cases, it is clear that the religious beliefs
of certain authors have heavily influenced there opinions. The reader can decide on a case-by-case basis whether on not that is a good
For those interested in material beyond the references given below, one can easily enter the search terms like “talpiot tomb”,“Jesus
tomb”,”Jesus Discovery” or “ James ossuary” into your search engine or at your favorite bookseller and find a large quantity of added
Following are some useful sources, sampling from both sides of the argument. For several references the editor has supplied a potential
link to the material on the internet. While every effort has been made to confirm these links, readers may find that some of them are not
operative, for which we apologize in advance.
Some readers may want to start with a few pieces that provide a general overview of material before diving into more detail. An asterisk
has been placed on some of the entries below as suggested starting points. Be patient some of the recommendations come at the end
of the list.
1. Tabor James D. (2009), TaborBlog, http://jamestabor.com/
James Tabor (Ph.D. 1981, University of Chicago) is Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the
University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In his blog Dr. Tabor has several posts which relate to various aspects
of the Talpiot Tomb. They are organized under the category “Talpiot Jesus Family Tomb ”. Several of the “line
of argument guides” will reference specific posts from Dr. Tabor’s blog.
See in particular - http://jamestabor.com/2007/04/29/the-talpiot-tomb-separating-truth-from-fiction/
2. Tabor, James D. (2007), Testing a hypothesis, Near Eastern Archaeology 69: 3-4,
This web article is basically a summary of the arguments made in his book.
In this article Tabor examines how the Talpiot Tomb fits with what could be expected from a hypothetical Jesus
family tomb. This paper molds much of the material found in his blog into an argument for the possibility that the
Talpiot tomb is the family tomb of Jesus. One may still want to read through his blog as it adds a good deal of
flavor to his arguments.
3*. Jacobovici, Simcha and Pelligrino Charles, (2008) , The Jesus Family Tomb: The Evidence Behind the
Discovery No One Wanted to Find, Harper, San Francisco
This book presents the most comprehensive review of the facts and arguments in favor of the proposition that
the Talpiot Tomb is the family tomb of Jesus. This book updates a 2007 treatment of this subject under a similar
See the http://www.jesusfamilytomb.com which is a website for both the 2007 version of the book and a film (see
4. Jacobovichi, Simcha and Cameron, James, (2007), The Lost Tomb of Jesus,
This documentary, told in docudrama style, is basically a companion to the book – “The Jesus Family Tomb”.
This material is available in multiple formats:
DVD(Directors Cut): http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Tomb-Jesus/dp/B000OHZJSC/ref=sr_1_1?
5. Gibson, Shimon, (2009), The Final Days of Jesus, Harper, San Francisco
Gibson provides a rich account of the final days in the life of Jesus that is anchored in archaeological evidence.
The book concludes with an Excursus that provides an overview of the Talpiot Tomb and a brief explanation of
why Gibson does not accept the Talpiot Tomb as the family tomb of Jesus.
6. Amaral, Joe and Atkins, Chris, (2007), Unearthed: The Talpiot Tomb, Legacy Pictures, Milton, Ontario
This DVD documentary reviews many of the arguments for and against the Talpiot Tomb and generally comes to
the conclusion that it is unlikely that the Talpiot Tomb is the family tomb of Jesus. Available at:
7*. Habermas, Gary, The Secret of the Talpiot Tomb (2007), Holman Reference, Nashville
This short book provides a broad set of criticisms of the Talpiot Tomb proposition. The author generally employs
arguments based on history, but he also incorporates his religious views of the resurrection into his criticism.
Habermas, Gary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus: A Response to the Discovery Channel Documentary, http://www.
8. Shanks, Hershel and Witherington, Ben, (2003),The Brother of Jesus, Harper, San Francisco
This book provides the basic facts and historical context surrounding the James Ossuary.
9*. Tabor, James D. (2006), The Jesus Dynasty, Simon and Shuster, New York
This book offers an interpretation of the life of Jesus and the origins of Christianity. Of particular relevance to the
Talpiot Tomb, Tabor provides a detailed examination of the family of Jesus, giving us one point-of-view about
who we might expect to find buried in a Jesus family tomb.
10*. Lutgen, Jerry, The Talpiot Tomb: What are the Odds?, (2009), (click here)
This essay demonstrates that the wide range in odds estimates offered by several authors is due to differences
in historical, archeological or epigraphic assumptions employed by these authors, as opposed to disagreements
over statistical methodology. Please note that Lutgen is the editor for this site.
11. Feuerverger, Andrey, Statistical Analysis of an Archeological Find, The Annals of Applied Statistics,
Volume 2, No. 1, March 2008
Feuerverger provides an extensive review of the background material that is relevant to making an odds
estimate. He further proposes an essentially new method for dealing with this type of name data based on the
concept of “surprisingness. He presents odds estimates that make a strong case that the Talpiot Tomb is the
family tomb of Jesus.
12. Elliott, Mark and Kilty, Kevin, Probability, Statistics and the Talpiot Tomb, June 10, 2007, www.lccc.
This paper uses the same basic data as Feuerverger, but makes its calculations using a simpler but roughly
similar approach as Feuerverger. However, they differ from Freuerverger on some important historical and
archaeological assumptions. Their odds estimates essentially show that there are neither strong odds for or
against the proposition. This paper also includes a useful discussion of the Dominus Flevit necropolis.
13. Ingermanson, Randall, Analysis of the Talpiot Tomb Using Bayes Theorem and Random Variables,
January 3, 2008, http://lib.stat.cmu.edu/aoas/99g/supplement.pdf
As with Elliott and Kilty, this paper uses a variation on the method employed by Feuerverger. It also bases it
estimates on its own set of historical and archeological assumptions. Ingermanson’s odds estimates essentially
show that there are strong odds against the proposition that the Talpiot Tomb is the family tomb of Jesus.
14. Arnold, Philip (2009), Talpiot and Jesus Christ, Reunion Institute, Houston (click here)
This unpublished paper develops the argument that the Talpiot tomb can not be the burial location because if it
had it would have been know and it would have altered the course of Christian history.
15. Wilson, Barrie (2008), How Jesus Became a Christian, Saint Martin’s Press, New York
This book demonstrates how early Christianity, as spearheaded by Paul, was distinct from the Jesus movement
centered in Jerusalem and under the initial leadership of James.
16. Schonfield, Hugh (1965), The Passover Plot, Bantam Books, New York
This book was among the first to popularize the theory that Jesus did not die while on the cross and that he
was essentially involved in a “plot” to fulfill prophesies associated with the Messiah, while still surviving the cross.
His theory, taken as a whole, is now regarded as highly speculative by most experts. However his book opens up
some interesting possibilities regarding the modus operandi of Jesus and provides useful insights into the world
in which Jesus operated.
17. Tabor, James D. (2007), Testing a hypothesis, Near Eastern Archaeology 69:3-4, http://jamestabor.
In this general background paper on the Talpiot Tomb, Tabor provides his reasoning in support for 1) the
“Yeshua bar Yosef” reading, 2) associating Yoseh with a brother of Jesus, 3) associating Maraimene with Mary
Magdalene and 4) associating Marya with Mary the mother of Jesus.
Readers may also want to search the Tabor blog under these names in order to find more detailed information
regarding each one.
18. Pfann, Stephen, 2007, Mary Magdalene in Now Missing, University of the Holy Land,
Pfann provides a detailed discussion as to why the so-called Mariamene inscription should be read as “Mariame
19. Pfann, Stephen, (200&), How do you solve a problem like Maria,
Pfann argues that “Maria” is not as rare as proponents claim and is no more likely a name for the mother of
Jesus than the name “Mariam”.
20. Pfann, Stephen, (2008)Yoseh can you see?, University of the Holy Land, http://www.uhl.ac/blog/?p=448
Pfann argues that no certainty can be attached to the association of the “Yoseh” inscription with a brother of
(Note: that the link to Pfann’s alternate rendering of the Yeshua inscription is no longer available.)
21. Bovon, Francis, Harvard Divinity School, Letter to the Society of Biblical Literature, http://www.sbl-site.
In this short letter Bovon clarifies his position regarding the Mariamene ossuary. Proponents used Bovon as a
source for associating Mary Magdalene with this name. Bovon states that this association should be regarded as
literary rather than historical.
22. Pond, Wendy, (2007), Guest Post on Sorting out the Marys, TaborBlog
In this post on the TaborBlog, Pond makes the case that the New Testament is unwittingly telling us that Mary
Magdalene was very likely the wife of Jesus.
23. Tabor, James (2007), Was Jesus Married?, TaborBlog
In this post Tabor makes the case for Jesus being married.
24. Tabor, James (2007), The Talpiot Tomb: Separating Truth from Fiction, TaborBlog
The referenced blog makes a general argument for the possibility that Talpiot tomb is the family tomb of Jesus.
See paragraph #12 for Tabors argument that Jesus could have had a son.
25. Byrne, Ryan and Mcnary-Zak, Bernadette, Resurrecting the Brother of Jesus, UNC Press, 2009
In addition to reviewing the evidence against the authenticity of the “James Ossuary”, the authors provide
interesting material about the role of archeological finds and the manner in which they are dealt with in our
26*. Elliott, Mark, Bible and Interpretation (website), http://www.bibleinterp.
This website offers a section that is largely dedicated to articles related to the “James Ossuary”.. Readers will
find and interesting give-and-take on a variety of subjects related to the “James Ossuary”.
27. Witherington, Ben, Ben Witherington Blog,
This entry points to a series of blog entries relating to the authenticity of the “James Ossuary”. Of particular
interest in Witherington’s comments of the report from a Professor Krombein which criticizes the IAA report that
called the authenticity of the “James Ossuary” into question.
28. Kalman, Mathew, James Ossuary Trial Jerusalem Blog,
This is the blog of the only journalist who has followed the details of the entire trial against Oded Golan.
29. Shanks, Herschel, Israel Antiquities Authority vs. Conspiracy of (Alleged) Forgers,
This link points to a collection of articles related mostly to the James Ossuary forgery trial of Oded Golan.
Shanks explains in an e-book available at the site why he believes the judge was correct in rulint that Oded
Golan was not guilty of the forgery trial brought against him.
30. Lutgen, Gerald, Did the set of names from the Talpiot tomb arise by chance?, 2010, (click here)
Lutgen makes it clear that the names found in the Talpiot tomb did not arise by chance. There could be many
reasons for this non-chance occurrence, only one of which is that the Talpiot tomb is the family tomb of Jesus.
This result is important because many of those opposed to the Talpiot tomb as the family tomb of Jesus often
state that the names found in the tomb must have arisen out of chance given that individually some of these
names are common.
31*. Magness, Jodi, Has the Tomb of Jesus Been Discovered, March 5 2007, http://www.archaeological.
Magness makes several arguments agains the Talpiot tomb, including that the family would either have been
buried in Galilee or that they would have been too poor to afford a large rock-hewn tomb of the Talpiot type in
32. Kilty, Kevin, Elliott, Mark. Talpiot Dethroned", http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/talpiot357921.shtml
The article reviews many of the arguments given against the Talpiot tomb and it challenges many of them. In
particular it contains a nice discussion of the importance of the Yoseh inscription and how this impacts the
argument that names in the Talpiot tomb arose by chance.
33. Shanks, Hershel, et al, Jerusalem Forgery Conference(aka "Real of Fake") , 2007, Biblical Archaeology
This is the report of a conference convened by the BAS in 2007 for the purpose of reviewing evidence of forgery
relating to several important but contested artifacts, including the James Ossuary. Hershel Shanks, BAS editor,
prepared a summary of the conference in which he concludes that the James Ossuary is most likely authentic,
even while expressing concern regarding its association with Oden Golan, a suspected forger. The report also
contains a extensive appendix in which the conference attendees express their views on the artifacts. The
opinions of the expert physical scientists and epigraphers generally support the conclusions of the editor
34. Netzarim website,http://www.netzarim.co.il/Museum/Sukkah03/Burning%20Issues%20Talpiot%20Tomb.
This website is brought to you by the Netzarim who make the following claim for themselves: "The Netzarim are
the only followers of Ribi Yәhoshua as Mashiakh on the planet since 135 C.E. (!) who are in good standing in the
same community in which Ribi Yәhoshua and the original Netzarim lived, practiced and taught — i.e., recognized
by Pharisaic (today's Orthodox) rabbis as Jews and geirim in good standing." Their site offers a very extensive
review of the Talpiot tomb and its associated issues. The reader will also find that the site has a definite point-of-
view that at a simple level would be described as favorable to the Talpiot tomb being the family tomb of Jesus.
However, it really strives to make a much bigger historical point about the nature of Jesus (Ribi Yәhoshua) and
the original Netzarim. Even if the reader does not accept the religious and historical point-of-view of the site, you
will still find it interesting and thought provoking, A starting point into the site has been offered in the reference.
However, the site can be somewhat difficult to navigate,so some patience on your part will be required to fully
explore its relevant content.
35. Krumbein, Wolfgang, Preliminary Report: External Expert Opinion on three Stone Items, September 2005,
Professor Krumbein studied the physical properties of the James Ossuary, along with two other stone items, and
issued this detailedreport regarding the likelihood that these items were modern forgeries. In the case of the
Jesus ossuary Krumbein concluded that there is no physical evidence that points to the James Ossuary as being
a modern forgery. Furthermore he concludes that this ossuary was held outside of a cave environment for a
period in excess of 150 years.
36. Rosenfeld, Amnon, Feldman, Howard, Archaeometric Overview of the Jehoash Inscription and the James
Ossuary, January 2007 (click here)
This document is a companion to the Jersalem Forgery Conference. In this report the authors show pictoral
evidence for why they do not believe that the James Ossuary is a modern forgery.
37. Baigent, Michael, et al, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, 1982, Dell, New York
This book presents evidence that a shadowy French group called the Prieure de Sion in some form represents a
bloodline of Jesus through Mary Magdalen rooted in what is now Provence. It presents evidence that well back
into the dark ages through to this day there has existed organized groups who have held such beliefs. It
attempts to weave together tales involving the Knights Templars, Cathars, alchemy, Merovingian royalty, Mary
Magdalen devotees and others into this story. While some of this material has been shown to be misinterpreted
or driven by hoaxes, this book still succeeds at convincing the reader that there have been adherents to a core
idea of a bloodline of Jesus through Mary Magdalen for a very long time.
38*. James D. Tabor and Simcha Jacobovici(2012), “The Jesus Discovery”, Simon and Shuster, New York
This book serves two purposes. It introduces readers to the discovery of fascinating and important symbols and
an inscription found in a tomb that is very nearby the Talpiot tomb, thought by many to be the family tomb of the
biblical Jesus. The book asserts that this discovery shows a connection between the two tombs and that this
second tomb gives us new insights about what the early followers of the biblical Jesus thought about the concept
of resurrection. The book also serves as an update of the evidence that favors the proposition that the Talpiot
tomb is the family tomb of the biblical Jesus. Also see www.thejesusdiscovery.org which is a companion to the
book and contains a nice set of images of the Patio tomb and the ossuaries
39. American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), ASOR Blog, Various Dates, www.asorblog.org
The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), founded in 1900 and located at Boston University, is the
preeminent society for individuals interested in the archaeology and history of the eastern Mediterranean. There
blog contains many entries that relate to the Talpiot Tombs and the “Jesus Discovery”. Especially see the period
of March/April 2012.
40. Goodacre, Mark, NT Blog, Various Dates, http://ntweblog.blogspot.com/
Mark Goodacre's academic blog, focusing on the New Testament and Christian Origins. This blog contains
several interesting posts relative to the Talpiot Tombs and the “Jesus Discovery”. See in particular March/April
41. Lutgen, Gerald, Did the set of names from the Talpiot tomb arise by chance?, March 8, 2010, www.talpiottomb.
In this article Lutgen demonstrates that is incorrect to argue that the Talpiot Tomb should not be a candidate for
the burial location of the family of the biblical Jesus because some of the names found in the Talpiot Tomb are
common. This article shows that, depending on certain assumptions, the combination of names found in the
Talpiot Tomb could be considered highly uncommon.
42. Starbird, Margaret,(1993), The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, Bear and Company, Vermont
This book explores the history of the symbolism associated with Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail. It makes 43. Howell, Robert, (2011) Inside the Priory of Sion:Revelations from the Worlds Most Secret Society –
the point that the belief that Mary Magdalene traveled to the south of France and was the wife of Jesus was a
widely and deeply held belief in southern France for several centuries.
Guardians of the Bloodline of Jesus
This book attempts to review what is known about the secret society known as the Priory of Sion. The book also 44. Burgess, Bruce, (2008), Bloodline, DVD
provides a good review of material that relates to the hypothesis that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and
that he had at least one child who lived in the south of France. This already difficult material is made more
difficult because it is known that elements of this secret society have engaged in purposeful obfuscation and
outright deception, which the author bravely tries to negotiate.
In documentary style this DVD describes the pursuit of evidence that purports to prove that Mary Magdalene and
a bloodline of Jesus were established in the south of France. It furthermore attempts to show how the Priory of
Sion is central to this investigation.
45. Rahmani, Levi, (1994), A Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries in the Collections of the State of Israel, Israel
Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem
This volume catalogs the ossuaries that are in the possession of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Rahmani offers
a translation for every ossuary with inscriptions, while also providing a description of the ossuaries and
provenance if know. For most ossuaries at least one photograph is offered.
46. Widipedia, Talpiot Tomb, www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talpiot_Tomb