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Is THIS the tomb of Jesus? FILM SPARKS FURY.

Byline: By VANESSA ALLEN

A DOCUMENTARY made by Titanic director James Cameron has infuriated clerics - by claiming to have found Jesus's coffin.

A group of 10 caskets discovered by builders who stumbled across a 2,000-year-old tomb in a suburb of Jerusalem are also claimed to include those of Mary, Joseph, Mary Magdalene and Judah - said to be Jesus's son.

Cameron says that it is "one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time."

According to Cameron, names in the ancient Aramaic script on some of the caskets translate as "Jesus son of Joseph", "Maria", "Joseph",

"Mariamne" - thought to be Mary Magdalene's real name - and "Judah, son of Jesus".

He says it is compelling evidence that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a child with her - a central theme of the novel The Da Vinci Code. Cameron yesterday appealed to critics not to rubbish the theory until they saw the evidence when the film is screened in America this week. He said: "I have never doubted that there was a historical Jesus, but the simple fact is there has never been a shred of archaeological evidence until now.""M

Angry churchmen say claims that Jesus had a coffin contradict Christian belief in the resurrection.

And Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to study the burial site when it was discovered 26 years ago, said Cameron's claims were "nonsense".

He added: "The names on the caskets are the most common names found among Jews at the time."

vanessa.allen@mirror.co.uk

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THEORY: James Cameron; ANCIENT: 'Jesus' name on casket
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 27, 2007
Words:260
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