Middle East News
Film-maker claims to have found nails from Jesus' crucifixion
Apr 12, 2011, 12:57 GMT
Jerusalem - Israeli investigative filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici claimed Tuesday he may have found the nails used in the crucifixion of Jesus.
The Israeli-born, Canadian-raised producer is making his case in a new documentary, The Nails of the Cross, shown to journalists in Jerusalem for the first time, and to be aired during Easter in the US, Israel, Latin America and Canada.
His hypothesis has many qualifications, but is likely to spark a heated debate.
Two Roman nails, probably from between 30 BC and 70 AD, were found in a 1st century tomb discovered in East Jerusalem in 1990, and believed to be that of the Roman-appointed Jewish high priest Caiaphas, said to have handed Jesus over to the Romans and sent him to crucifixion.
One of the nails was inside one of twelve limestone boxes, the other outside, according to the records of the archaeological find.
It is not clear in which of the ossuaries it was found. One of them carries the Aramaic inscription 'Joseph, Son of Caiaphas,' the other, more modest, just 'Caiaphas.'
The name is 'extremely rare' and found only in one other cave in the Jerusalem area, said Professor of Archaelogy Gabriel Barkay, of Israel's Bar Ilan University.
The nails have since vanished. Jacobovici, who embarked on a nearly three year quest for them, believes he found them in a Tel Aviv University lab, which also stores the only other crucifixion nail, hammered into ancient heel bone.
The pair was brought to the lab at the time of the discovery of the Caiaphas tomb in the East Jerusalem settlement of Talpiot, which has since been covered, with a park built over it.
Caiaphas, infamous for the crucifixion of only one man, could have asked his offspring to place the nails in his ossuary, speculated the filmmaker.
Professor Barkay said no proof existed that the pair of Roman nails in the Tel Aviv University lab were the ones found in the tomb of the Caiaphas clan, but said it was both 'probable' and 'possible.'
If they were the ones found in the tomb, they could have been placed there for many other reasons, for example after using them to make inscriptions or as a charm to ward off evil, but he agreed the nails were significant and should not have been ignored by the finders.
Read more about Israel Archaeology
Read more about Religion